*Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After * She Thought She Could
Back again for another look at the books on my summer book shelf. But it’s not just my shelf we are peeking at, some of my favorite blogging buddies have joined me. Sure would appreciate it if you’d run by their blogs…but after you have finished here!
You might remember what I had hopes of reading this month. To be perfectly honest, though, I had to go back to last month’s post, here, to see for myself what I had said I was going to read. Now that’s bad.
I did finish the book that was on the top of my list, though. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. And that’s good.
So is this book. Very. I read it on my Nook and highlighted the rich descriptions, clever analogies between war and the real world, and witty dialogue with great abandon. Billy Lynn is such a strong example of good writing.
Our main character is Army Specialist 19-year-old Billy, a member of Bravo squad home temporarily from the war in Iraq. He and the other soldiers in his unit have become instant heroes after engaging in the fierce Battle of Al-Ansakar Canal. Several of the men are killed or wounded but the survivors are ushered home for a whirlwind “Victory Tour” in hopes of kindling renewed support for the war among the American public.
The story opens with the men of Bravo arriving at the Texas Stadium for a celebratory Thanksgiving Day Cowboys game before they return to the front lines the following day. Their halftime appearance at the game is the climatic finale to the Victory Tour. We meet the soldiers briefly at first. Then their individual stories unfold slowly along with the details of the battle that has brought them to where they are. Surrounded at the stadium by Beyonce and Destiny’s Child, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, team execs and big wigs, the players and fans. All of whom only superficially support and momentarily rally around the soldiers.
Billy has seen so much in his short life but is still so innocent at the game’s kick off. By halftime, he has become jaded by all of the false fanfare and promises. I held my breath throughout the last half of the book anticipating the worst and waiting for the other “boot” to drop. Now I cannot wait to see the movie when it is released in early November. In time for Veteran’s Day.
Author Ben Fountain is my (current) hero. He is my age, almost exactly. We were both born in 1958. I am just hopeful he is a few months older than I am. He has accomplished so much in his 58 years albeit a late bloomer, publishing his first work at 48. I need to try to catch up. This is the year that I write my book, though. So look out, Ben Fountain, I am right behind you!
So what’s up next? Well, for Christmas in July, my Secret Santa (secret no longer) Katie, sent me the book Giddy Up, Eunice: Because Women Need Each Other by Sophie Hudson.
I started that book today. Hudson’s writing style is very warm and conversational. I know I am going to enjoy this read. And she is a teacher who became a blogger. Whose blogging worked into writing books. Getting published. Becoming a successful author. The best I can determine by looking at photos on her blog, Sophie is younger than I am by a good 15-20 years. I probably can’t catch up with her, huh?
So these books were up for consideration until I received Katie’s gifted book. Still hoping to get to them. Just need more summer.
And then my sweet mama just finished reading a book that sounds like something right up my alley. Can you say World War II? Nonfiction. True story. And also soon to be a movie. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.
My mama knows me so well. Already have the sample on my Nook.
So, I am handing the baton off to you. Your turn to share what you are reading this summer. Please leave me a comment below. And if you ever want to share a review on the blog, just holler.
Hugs and kisses,