Monday, August 11, 2014

Dear Great Book Guru,  I feel summer is slipping through my fingers and there is so much I want to do before Labor Day and top on my list is reading a great book down on Sea Cliff Beach under one of those beautiful blue striped umbrellas. Any suggestions?   Anxious in August

Dear Anxious,  I will be joining you down at Sea Cliff Beach this Saturday from 5 to 10 pm listening to Crash the Beach- a fundraiser for Mutual Concerns and featuring many of Sea Cliff’s finest performers. Get there early and start reading a beautiful and disturbing classic ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT by Erich Maria Remarque.  With the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, there have been many books and articles published this year about the so called Great War but this short novel (258 pages) written in 1929 by a young German soldier  stands out as the most devastating account of the futility and brutality of war.  The book follows six German soldiers fighting on the western front .  The suffering- physical and emotional- that these young men endure and inflict is recounted in painstaking detail. Told by eighteen year-old Paul Baumer, the novel depicts how the lives of all those who fought were changed forever. He questions over and over the morality of killing other young men who are not his enemy, but rather the declared enemy of statesmen and politicians who rule far from the dangers of battle.  An astonishingly relevant book written over eighty years ago- highly recommended!

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