Sunday, June 10, 2012

Guest Blogger #5 - John Gallo

Lloyd Russell Blog

This is truly the first time I have ever blogged.  In fact, I am not sure at this moment if this is going to actually become a blog…as I have no idea how to link this to the blog world.  However, I have asked our host to read, edit and post, or delete…so this may not make it past the Russell filter.

I have read through the previous guest blogs and must take a moment to agree with one contributor who noted the advantages of the world of Kindle.  While I don’t use my iPhone to read books, most all of my Kindle downloads are read on my iPad.  I understand and am somewhat sensitive to the position of those who relate to the tactile experience of the printed book - and in fact our host indicated early on that he did not believe the Kindle experience would be able to replace the bond he has with his printed and published library.  All I can say to those who are on the fence is…live dangerously and give it a try.  While the electronic experience may not be the answer for everyone…if you don’t try it – you will never know. If it hits you like it did me…you won’t go back very often.  Onward!

Until recently I was a reader of non-fiction.  Who knows why?  At some point I began to realize that I only have a limited amount of time to read left in my life (that’s truly a scary thought) and I felt that this serious perspective meant that non-fiction was the only option…every book had to have meaning and add knowledge to my faltering brain.  As a result, entertainment became second to the accumulation of knowledge (I guess I thought I could take the knowledge with me when I pass on).  I think there was a certain amount of ego engaged in the concept as well.  About a year ago I became entrapped within a stressful project and found the need to ‘escape’ from the hour-to-hour stress that I was experiencing.  Thanks to our host, I was introduced to what I was lead to believe, as the options were noted within his blog, as the best quality fiction available.  I engaged some of these options and I found them to be ‘fun reads.’  Then I began hitting a slippery slope and found that reading was becoming more ‘fun.’  To my fellow nonfiction readers…be careful – you too might slip into more fun if you try a few examples from the dark side … fiction.

With that stated…allow me to suggest trying a non-fiction, rather fact filled-option entitled “In the Garden of Beasts; Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin.” One only needs to review the glossary (23% of the pages) to raise one’s appreciation of the amount of research necessary to recreate an accurate account of this family’s experience in Berlin, circa 1933-4.  Quoted conversations, diary quotes of many providing various perspectives, maps, newspaper articles…and much more is engaged to assure the reader that what they are reading relays an accurate firsthand account of what the life of the United States ambassador and his family was like in Hitler’s developing war machine…while being trapped within the US political scene.  This is not a ‘fun’ read…but rather an engaging opportunity to better our history and how it related to Germany.  Thank you Lloyd.  Good call.

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