First, let me say that I didn't make it to the January book club. Something about beaches and sand and water kept me away.
The book was The Massey Murder, by Charlotte Gray. I am told that the majority of the members found the book too weighted with legal process and not enough story. Most had not heard of this case.
Interestingly, CBC covered it greatly last month, calling it the most notable trial in Canadian history.
Check it out for yourself. It is available from the Meaford Library.
Now on to Birdsong:
This book is entirely appropriate for this time as we remember “the war to end all wars”. However, even in the absence of the centenary, this book is a must-read for everyone if we have any hope of ending this practice of sending soldiers into battle and then somehow glamourizing it.
Birdsong is a difficult read: not in its writing style, which is smooth and flowing, but in its subject matter.
This is tunnel and trench warfare at its worst.
In November 2013 I was privileged to take part in the Remembrance Day services at Vimy Ridge in northern France. You see, my grandfather's name is on that monument. As part of the time there we were able to take a tour of the tunnels and the trenches that have been preserved. I thought at the time that I would go mad if I had to spend significant time in either. Even well fortified and well lighted it is gruesome.
Birdsong is about the men who dug the tunnels, and those who fought in the trenches. It is not pretty.
There is a circling story around the war that has to do with love lust and trying to fully understand what happened in that war.
As on of the characters cries, “ Why did I not know, why did no one tell me!”
Well, this book will tell you. To me it is a must. To be honest, most of our members could not read the book or could not finish it.
We had great discussion around whether warfare had changed at all, and whether we treated our vets any better.
At Vimy, there are over 10,000 names on the monument. These are the names of the Canadian men who were never found and that is from one part of the Great War.
“Pack up your troubles in an old kit bag and Smile, Smile, Smile...” NOT!
The March book is The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton.
Executive meetings will start Thursday, March 12, at 7:00 pm in the Library Board Room second floor. We are always looking to increase our numbers. Why not come out and see what you think. These meetings seldom last more than an hour.
HOPE TO SEE YOU THEN!