Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

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If I Read Books About Houses of Mirth in the Balkan Combat Zone

seifaiden sent me a Solstice present! It's The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. Ey didn't even wait until I actually got around to reading the first gift ey sent me (back in August; I should hurry up about that) before sending me another! Thank you, thank you, seifaiden!

Also on the subject of books, especially for gamesiplay and anyone else with an interest in war novels: This week I presided over a spontaneous, unplanned battle of male-centered versus female-centered war novels by randomly deciding to read If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home by Tim O'Brien the day before yesterday, and then equally randomly deciding to read S.: A Novel About the Balkans by Slavenka Drakulić yesterday. The former is about being a male American foot soldier in the Vietnam War; the latter is about being a female Bosnian prisoner forcibly impregnated by Serbian soldiers in the Bosnian War. It hadn't occurred to me until I started the second book to realize how much the first book could be said to be about the "typical" male experience of war, and the second book about the "typical" female experience of war. But it definitely occurred to me then, and reading the two books on consecutive days made it impossible not to compare them continually. My judgment of the two books may partly reflect my personal biases, but however that may be, I'd have to say that in my opinion, Slavenka Drakulić's book won this particular battle of the sexes very handily. She made Tim O'Brien look like an only moderately promising amateur by comparison! So I really, really recommend reading Slavenka Drakulić's book. It's been published in the U.K. under the title As If I Were Not There: A Novel About the Balkans, but in the United States the title is S.: A Novel About the Balkans. S. is the name of the woman who is the main character; all the characters in the book are named only by their middle initials.
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