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20th of November, 2017

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Fifth Book of the Year


“The Red Badge of Courage (Penguin Popular Classics)” (Stephen Crane)

This is one of those books that I spent a lot of energy avoiding back in High School. I’m not sure why, now that I finally did read it. It’s only about 200 pages, and is a funny, easy read. I read a page here and there for a couple of weeks, then tore through the last 180 pages while sitting in Amsterdam last week with nothing to do. When I was done, I left it sitting on the bench for Trustafarian weed-tourists to puzzle over. It’s probably still sitting there.

The plot is very basic, with most of it happening during a two-day stretch of some protracted American Civil War battle. The ‘tagonist (an- or pro- is a bit tough to make out sometimes) develops mightily during this short stretch. The ending of the book is sad and sweet, and left me a little weepy, sitting full of thought at the departure terminal of Schiphol. The arc of redemption experienced by young Master Fleming is from cowardice to determination, from youthful bluster to open honesty. The transformation is very human, and touching.

It was nice to read something that didn’t have Yodas or Elves for a change. I’ll get back to slogging through Harry Potter now. I’ve decided to liven it up a bit by drawing little dongs on the pages that have both Hermione and Ron in them. (Two if Seamus is there chicka-chicka-bow!).

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