On My Bookshelf

The Man Who Invented Christmas:How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits Les Standiford

It’s odd what I take away from books. Did you know that Vincent Price starred in a version of A Christmas Carol? This is a look primarily at the events leading up to Dickens writing Carol and its impact on his life. It’s actually pretty astonishing how the book hit English culture and took off running. I do wish the book had stopped slightly earlier; it seemed like the last few chapters dragged. Overall though, a pretty interesting read.

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

Death is both exceptionally simple and terribly complicated. The American Civil War had one of the strongest and most lingering influences on the structures in place for the social conceptualization of death in the nation’s history; perhaps the only other major military events to shape attitudes to a greater degree were World War I and Vietnam. This is a fairly dense read, though fascinating, especially with its dealings with the concept of a good death. Modern readers used to a sanitized death behind hospital doors may not be aware of how much death changed in that four year period.

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