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comment by Herunar
Herunar  ·  1614 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: August 24th: What are you reading this week?

Just finished The Things They Carried. It was like a better version of Phil Klay's Redeployment (also an excellent book). I can't really stress just how much of an impact that The Things They Carried had on me. The writing style was really haunting and it really serves as a reminder as to how horrific a foreign policy mistake the entire Vietnam War was, and the experiences our soldiers went through. I also read In the Footsteps of the Prophet, a nice little biography by Tariq Ramadan on the Prophet Muhammad. It was not nearly as hagiographical as I thought it would be, which was a plus.

As for this week, I will be reading Andrzej Sapkowski's The Last Wish - short stories that help set up his Witcher series of books, which I aim to eventually read. After that, I might try out The Sorrow of War for a nice little account of the war in Vietnam from the other side's perspective.

user-inactivated  ·  1612 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I typed a reply in the thread without reading it only to see a bunch of us all talking about "The Things They Carried." Weird how that works out.

tehstone  ·  1613 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I read The Things They Carried for ap English in high school. It was by far the most impactful of the books we read for that class. I ended up reading most of the other books O'Brian wrote after that. I might have to reread it now, is been almost ten years.

insomniasexx  ·  1614 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I absolutely love The Things They Carried. I studied it in college which helped a lot because there is so much there that you can gloss over. It's super interesting how deep and crazy and the connections you can make in a piece like that. If you have the time, kb and I had a long-ass discussion on truth and fiction and lies and stuff over here a while back. The Things They Carried comes up.

Herunar  ·  1614 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Damn, that was one hell of an interesting conversation. It's definitely a lot to take in. I think what really struck me about The Things They Carried was that it didn't actually matter to me how much of it was true or not but rather what mattered was that it had this feel of authenticity to it. It focused on so many little tiny things that I never associated with war stories - like the feel of the landscape, and just the primordial aspect of Vietnam as a place (in the eyes of those soldiers). I think for a long time I was pretty enamored by the idea of serving in the military but this book (among other things) really shattered the idea that I would ever have the stones for that sort of thing.

But yeah it really is a fantastic book. I would recommend Phil Klay's Redeployment as a sort of modern rendition of the same thing (a collection of short stories about a war, this time Iraq) but it lacks the same impact because it doesn't have the same sort of continuity. Still a good read, though!