- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Teaser Tuesday - Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Book one of Ken Follett's Century Trilogy begins on June 22, 1911, coronation day for King George V at Westminster Abbey in London. To the northwest of London in the mining town of Aberowen, South Wales, 13 year old Billy Williams went down in the pit for the first time. On nearby Ty Gwyn (Welsh for White House) estate, Earl Fitzherbert and his family live in wealth and priviledge by licensing the mineral rights to rich coal seams beneath the Fitzherbert farm lands. Fall of Giants is the story of five families--American, German, Russian, English and Welsh-- intertwined and conflicted by class, ideology, nationality,and world views in the leadup to World War I and its initial conflicts. ("Barmouth Evening" by Welsh artist Christopher David Williams, 1873-1934)
Teaser Tuesday is described by its host Miz B over at Should Be Reading as a "weekly bookish meme" open to any reader who wants to play along. If, like me, you're always curious about what people are reading or on the lookout for the next great read, then this may by your meme. To play, just click on Miz B's link above for the simple rules.
Fall of Giants
by Ken Follett
December 24, 1914, battle trenches near Ypres on France and Belgium border, Welsh Major Earl Fitzherbert:
"He spotted two sergeants, one British and one German, deep in conversation. He tapped the Brit on the shoulder. 'You!' he said. 'What the devil are you doing?'
The man answered in the flat guttural accent of the Cardiff docks. 'I don't know how it happened,sir, exactly. Some of the Jerries got up on their parapet, unarmed, and shouted, ''Happy Christmas,' then one of our boys done the same, then they started walking towards one another and before you could say chips everyone was doing it.' " p. 384
Book Description: As with this description of the WW I Christmas Truce of 1914, Follett tells the stories of five very different families as they live through the drama and separations of the First World War and the corresponding fight for worker rights and women's suffrage. Follett commented in an interview that his approach to historical fiction was to not take liberties with historical facts for the sake of advancing the story. In actuality, he had eight historical scholars of the period fact check his writing before publication. This attention to detail adds great richness and believeability to the stories of individual characters.
When I came to this Christmas Truce account in Fall of Giants, I was delighted. It reminded me of the 2005 Academy Award-nominated film Joyeux Noel which tells the powerful story of other soldiers who spontaneously decided to lay down their arms--for just one night--and walk out to meet each other in No Man's Land between the trenches and wish each other a "Merry Christmas." Here's the trailer:
Another example of how literature, art, music, and drama ties all the great stories together and helps us make sense of it all.