I’ve been trying to do a lot more reading lately, to get through my giant stack of unread books. A big part of why is that I inherited my dad’s gigantic library of history books, and I have nowhere to put all of them, so I’ve been trying to read them as quickly as possible and then give them away to friends and followers to make room for more boxes of books. If you want a chance to get your hands on the books I’m giving away, be sure to follow us on twitter [twitter.com/cirsova], where I regularly raffle off the books I finish.
The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
This has been a fantastic read. I’m about half-way through. I don’t think I’ve ever read a clearer narrative by a soldier and commanding officer of his campaigns. Even if it were only the first 100 pages covering the Mexican War, this would be a priceless account.
While extremely detailed, it serves to give the reader vivid and precise accounts of the action rather than bog the reader down.
Grant’s deference in his prose to the various commanders under him and over him is delightful–the frank portrait of Zachary Taylor as a commander in the Mexican War, his friendship with and deep admiration for Sherman, his frustration with Halleck as his superior and McClernard as his subordinate, are all laid out from a Grant who is focused principally on the facts of events, generous with praise for men who did their duty’s well and reluctant to disparage those deserving beyond stating what occurred in the course of things.
Lorena – Frank G. Slaughter
I’ve taken a quick break from Grant at roughly the half-way point [Chickamauga & the relief of Burnside in Knoxville] to read a period romance from Frank G. Slaughter. I really enjoyed his Phoenician romantic adventure, The Purple Quest, and have been meaning to read more of his books. I grabbed this and read the first four chapters while my GF was shopping at the Goodwill, and so far, it has not disappointed.
A brilliant young woman from the East coast has married a southern officer who is the heir to a massive plantation. The officer turns out to be a total wastrel and scoundrel; his father, the old county judge, realizes this and, before his death, teaches Lorena the ins and outs of the business of running a plantation.
Fast forward to mid-to-late in the Civil War: Lorena has managed to keep things running and profitable after the Judge’s death and while her husband is fighting in the war, though her methods are rather unorthodox for a Southern Lady [among other things, she has made a black her bookkeeper!] Her husband thinks himself a Rebel Hero and looks down on his wife; if he ever gets back and in charge, he’ll run the place into the ground. On the other hand, when the North inevitably wins the war, will Lorena be able to hold things together? She is well-loved and respected by the blacks on her plantation, including some who would be willing to stay on with her after the liberation–but if her rotten no-good husband has anything to say about it, he’ll drive them all to ruination.
Okay, this is just a for funsies thing on the side [and no, I’m not raffling these off]. Redfox is a British indie sword & sorcery comic from the 80s. It’s been amusing and pretty fun so far. Redfox is looking for treasure in dungeon, but it turns out that the treasure is bogus and the rumors existed so that at some point someone would come and revive a wizard from a healing torpor he placed himself in.
The wizard DOES reward Redfox, offering to teach her magic; while she’s an apt student, however, magic ultimately disagrees with her barbarian nature.
While the art isn’t amazing, the story has been pretty engaging. It’s a little shlocky and gaggy the way a lot of indie comics tend to be, but it’s not so much so that it detracts from the enjoyment.
So far, I think my favorite character is Whitefox… After Redfox leaves the wizard, the wizard becomes despondent and fixated. He ultimately creates a clone of Redfox who he makes his new apprentice. She is powerful and brilliant but like the other living magical creations of the wizard, she struggles with her identity [it has very strong Dying Earth vibes.] You just want to give her a hug.
We’re going to be taking pre-orders soon for Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars V: The Artomique Paradigm on Kickstarter! Please sign up for notification!
We’ll also begin serializing Wild Stars VI: Orphan of the Shadowy Moon in our Spring issue that will be out March 15th!
Also, I was sick with the flu, so I didn’t get to properly advertise that the retail edition of Absolute Evil & A Goth From Boston is now available on Amazon!