Is always the hardest. After all, in one post one has to justify the very existence of the blog. Too much pressure? No. I'll just pretend this is a draft.
The book of the moment is The Winds of War by Herman Wouk; 896 paperback pages of an American family during the Second World War. This is one of those books that's gone from being a hot book, to a classic, to a miniseries/"Television Event", to a strange obscurity. I can't remember what possessed me to tackle this, especially knowing that it's followed by a Part Two of Sorts, War and Remembrance, that's 1,056 pages long. (War and Peace, which took me an entire summer to read, is only about 1,400 pages long.)
I think it started when I read The Fall of Berlin by Antony Beevor and realized how woefully uniformed I am about World War II. I know the basics: Nazis, Pearl Harbor, Bunkers, Atomic Bombs, etc. But the fact is I've started more non-fiction books on World War II than I've finished. Maybe I thought that fiction would be an easy entry into the subject.
Still, 896 pages isn't usually associated with easy.
That's why I'm amazed that I'm 350 pages in after only a week. Using simple, straightforward prose Wouk has built a narrative drive that rivals the best, slickest genre fiction. He doesn't skimp on ideas or characters or atmosphere. Yet what in the hands of, say, James Michener would equal the most painful of boredoms becomes in Wouks hands a book that's hard to put down. I'm actually looking forward to propping myself up in bed at night for my ritual hour long reading session.
I'll get into the text in another post. Now I simply want to revel in the sheer readability of a modern classic.