Of my Christmas vacation goals I have been most successful at reading books. But that’s not to say that I won’t accomplish all that I have set out to do. I have already done lots of cooking, as planned. I have also played my guitar enough to have new callouses. I am pretty sure that I will have Carol of the Bells knocked out by the time I start back to work.
Thus far I have read, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer and 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I just started Thinking Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman. I have to admit that as compared to the others, I practically flew through 11/22/63; I was driven to late night reading due to King’s writing style and the suspense of the story.
Slaughterhouse 5 and The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals were a little more tricky to get through. Both are about mentally and emotionally fatiguing aspects of war. So the very subject matter makes them a little more difficult to read for hours on end. Plus, Mayer’s book is packed with quotes and winds through the bureaucratic labyrinth that is Washington DC.
Both books foisted difficult thoughts about war on my mind. They both hold in the light that which we would rather ignore: human cruelty. I found Mayer’s book slightly more challenging in this regard due to my being of voting age when our country engaged in the actions described. Most of Mayer’s book is about the legal wrangling that took place to enable the CIA and military to torture suspected terrorists. While she describes what some of what the detainees claimed to have suffered, the language of torture is often spoken through clinical, antiseptic legal jargon. There’s something so chilling about this.
I like all of these books for different reasons. It’s time to start on Thinking Fast and Slow.