The Fog of War

KafkaKafka by Robert Crumb & David Zane Mairowitz PT2621.A26 Z6374 2007I’ve recently been interested in Franz Kafka, I wish I could remember why, but this oppressive bureaucracy is crushing my spirit (get it!).  This graphic novel paints a picture of Kafka as a depressed, self-hating, tortured artist evidenced through his literary works.  The idea of the tortured artist may originate with Kafka (and Camus), but it’s almost cliche to keep reading about his psyche (and eastern Europe) rather than grapple with his writings.  Nonetheless, this is a fascinating look at Kafka and his works, particularly all the stories I haven’t read (most of them). Also, Robert Crumb’s involvement is always a bonus and his artwork is always top-notch. /JMS/
Why You Should Read KafkaWhy You Should Read Kafka Before You Waste Your Life by James Hawes PT2621.A26 Z746214 2008Naturally, I read another book about Kafka that dispelled all the rumors about him as a depressed loner (see above).  This work indicates that Kafka had a pretty privileged upbringing with a rather normal (for the time) relationship to his parents.  This should free us, as readers, to put aside the myth of Kafka and just appreciate his oeuvre.  That said, it’s fun to believe the myth, right?  The tortured artist!  The thinly veiled autobiographical details in his stories!  Etc.!  /JMS/
dispatchesDispatches by Michael Herr DS559.5.H47 1991And speaking of myths, here is an interesting first hand account of the Vietnam War!  The Vietnam War is probably the least well known war that the U.S. has been involved in despite being in the last half of the 20th century.  It’s sort of a near-afar type situation.  I think most middle school social studies programs start at the Roman Empire and end with the JFK administration, thus ignoring a great swath of the war.  Anyway, this is a pretty interesting account, although it takes a while to get used to the 1960s jargon the author uses.  What is particularly interesting is how the soldier’s the author interacted with felt about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Pretty revelatory stuff! /JMS/