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Fozzie
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Re: Shadrach

The Shadrach case is mentioned on page 140. I hadn't heard of it before. Here is some information on it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadrach_Minkins
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Anthony Burns

Anthony Burns is mentioned on page 155. Here is some information on him.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2915.html
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Rasselas by Samuel Johnson

[ Edited ]
Once again, I was wondering about what Cain bought and read. Rasselas, by Samuel Johnson, was mentioned on page 167. Here is a short introduction to the work.

http://www.victorianweb.org/previctorian/johnson/rasselas1.html

The entire text is available to read on line in other locations.

Two points mentioned in the introduction struck me as pertinent to Soul Catcher:

Rasselas "describes Prince Rasselas's escape from the pleasant but boring Happy Valley, follows his determined search for earthly happiness, and chronicles its inevitable failure, and the return of the Prince (sadder but wiser) to his home."

I thought of Cain, leaving his home and family farm, searching for adventure and happiness, and, I assume, since I haven't completed the book yet, returns to Virginia, realizing he hadn't found happiness.

"One of its morals, for example ... is that human beings learn not from books but from experience."

Again I thought of Cain. He spends time reading, often hoping to remove himself, at least temporarily, from life's experiences. My guess is that he will realize that life's experiences have as much to teach him as books do.

Message Edited by Fozzie on 11-04-2007 05:40 PM
Laura

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IBIS
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Re: Rasselas by Samuel Johnson

Fozzie,
Rasselas is a wandering character... pointlessly searching for happiness. I see some parallel in his search for happiness with Cain's hope for happiness by going to California, and seeking his fortune there.

Cain hopes to find paradise there in California. Maybe his fanciful dream for traveling West is just as romantic as Rasselas.

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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vivico1
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Re: Rasselas by Samuel Johnson

Something just hit me, with all this talk about the fact that Cain reads a lot and what he reads and maybe he is trying to escape reality...we are all avid readers, obviously, here we are anyway lol...so what would someone from the outside say about what each of us read and why? :smileywink:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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IBIS
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Re: Reading to gain experience

Vivian, like a lot of people, I read fiction to escape reality. It's fun and entertaining.

But other times, I read because books open windows that allow me to see and learn things I wouldn't ordinarily have a chance to in real life. It's so much easier for me to read Ken Burns' book about the Civil War than it is for me to drive to Logan, catch a plane, rent a car, and drive to Gettysburgh.

I also read books about unpleasant topics that make me squirm (The Rape of Nanking, for example) that are initially uncomfortable for me but they stretch me more (emotionally and intellectually).

So, I'm not sure what reading says about me, but if I couldn't read, I would simply shrivel up and die.
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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vivico1
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Re: Reading to gain experience


IBIS wrote:
Vivian, like a lot of people, I read fiction to escape reality. It's fun and entertaining.

But other times, I read because books open windows that allow me to see and learn things I wouldn't ordinarily have a chance to in real life. It's so much easier for me to read Ken Burns' book about the Civil War than it is for me to drive to Logan, catch a plane, rent a car, and drive to Gettysburgh.

I also read books about unpleasant topics that make me squirm (The Rape of Nanking, for example) that are initially uncomfortable for me but they stretch me more (emotionally and intellectually).

So, I'm not sure what reading says about me, but if I couldn't read, I would simply shrivel up and die.


You know I didn't even know about the holocaust at Nanking, until I saw the young woman a long time ago on tv who wrote the book, or researched it. I bought the book and read and thought to myself, where WHERE was this in the history of WWII and before it. The pictures are beyond speakable. That book is a definite, disturbing, eye opener. I read everything from sci fi short stories to biographies of artist, to now a few adventure books and after one book in here, I have become a real Harlan Coben suspense book fan. Read some, well if the movies might be called chick flicks, these must be women's books, can't call them all romance novels because they werent, some were mother/daughter relationship books. Two of the most amazing books to me this year were The Road, the first book that had me actually sobbing at the end and it stayed with me, even more than some of the "real" stories, which may be weird but at the same time, it goes to what it touches in you. The other one was Crashing Through, what an incredible story and man and I loved the way it was written too. I have opened up a lot of what I am reading trying new books with friends in here. But see, if you took a snapshot of me at one particular time, reading one book or the other, because they are so different, and you knew a bit of what was going on with me during that time, you might think one think about me than at another time with one of the other books. I guess I was just saying, other than the fact that we do know the correlation between what Cain is reading and his life, if we hadnt and just knew he was reading Milton, during this time, it could have been because it was just a book he ran across somewhere, or one he found to buy, just because he likes to read and thats what they had, or we might even have thought, this is what Cain's mother loved, this type of book and what she read and taught him, and now that she is gone, he loves to read poems and these kinds of books to feel a bit of his mother still with him, when all else was just getting by.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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kiakar
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Re: Rasselas by Samuel Johnson



vivico1 wrote:
Something just hit me, with all this talk about the fact that Cain reads a lot and what he reads and maybe he is trying to escape reality...we are all avid readers, obviously, here we are anyway lol...so what would someone from the outside say about what each of us read and why? :smileywink:



Viv; I think we all read to escape reality, with fiction anyway. Forgetting your troubles and sorrows for awhile is how I and some people survive in this tough life. I know I do. I think you learn alot from books, even fiction, but the main draw from reading is escaping into another world.
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kiakar
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Re: Reading to gain experience



IBIS wrote:
Vivian, like a lot of people, I read fiction to escape reality. It's fun and entertaining.

But other times, I read because books open windows that allow me to see and learn things I wouldn't ordinarily have a chance to in real life. It's so much easier for me to read Ken Burns' book about the Civil War than it is for me to drive to Logan, catch a plane, rent a car, and drive to Gettysburgh.

I also read books about unpleasant topics that make me squirm (The Rape of Nanking, for example) that are initially uncomfortable for me but they stretch me more (emotionally and intellectually).

So, I'm not sure what reading says about me, but if I couldn't read, I would simply shrivel up and die.




Yes IBIS; you are experiencing life at its fullest formation ever. I feel I do this by reading books after books.
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MichaelCWhite
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Re: Reading to gain experience

Some great thoughts on Cain and his reading. Not only Milton but later, reading about the wandering Rasselas. Both books, in some fashion, mirror Cain's life, his romantic side, his hidden moral side, his wanting to "escape." As has been mentioned, Cain, like most of us, likes to escape the harsh and limited world we find ourselves in. Cain's world in particular is hellish and brutal--he is after all capturing innocent human beings and bringing them back to slavery. So his reading is intended to lead him away from the savagery of his actual life. And yet, ironically, what he reads forces him back upon that very real life. What this says for Cain and his reading applies equally to our own reading--or at to least mine. If I were to spend a good part of my time looking at the terrible conditions that much of the world lives in--by reading the paper, watching TV, or reading non-fiction books about reality--I would quickly become depressed. But the great thing about art--painting, music, literature--is that it both takes us away from the meanness and messiness of life and yet clarifies that messiness through the lens of art. So that I can read about great tragedies and yet be somehow uplifted because of the beauty of art and because of the clarity that art brings. For example, COLD MOUNTAIN, was a terribly sad novel, but I loved it because of the beauty of its prose, the aspirations of the human heart (Inman's and Ada's), and because of truth that it presented about human striving, even when it ends in defeat. It carried me away, but also made me look closely into my own heart. For me a great book both saddens and makes me feel far more human and in love with life than I was before I'd read it.

Michael


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IBIS
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Re: Reading to gain experience

Wonderful posts about reading.

We are all readers, but not all of us are writers. Borges, in his poem "The Reader", says that he's not as proud of the books he has written as he is of the books he has read. I'm sure writers like you, Michael, have always been successful readers, and that's probably just as important to you as writing.

Someone wiser than I will ever be once told me that reading is not a passive activity. Readers assume a certain amount of necessary responsibility. We supply the theater, the stage on which the action appears. He called it a performance. Just as musicians “perform” and interpret the musical works of composers, so do readers “perform” and interpret the books of writers.

As a violinist, I’ve found some composers easy to perform. But there are postmodernists with whom I struggle constantly. Just as there are writers who are amazingly easy to read, there are the stream-of-consciousness authors, like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, who I just can’t, can’t, can’t, can’t finish.

I was immersed in the story of SOUL CATCHER from the get go. I am planning to get all your other books as well.

IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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MichaelCWhite
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Re: Reading to gain experience

Ibis,

Yes, reading--good, close reading anyway--is a very active pursuit. Not passive at all like watching TV. A reader has to enter the world of the story with all of his or her passion, curiosity, moral values, and excitement. We are "led" by the author, but in many ways we carry the story too, the stories that are in all of us.

Surprisingly, I was NOT a very good or interested reader when young. It is one of my most profound regrets (the other is not ever having learned to play an instrument, as you do). When I was growing up, I wanted to be a baseball player and spent all of my time and energy and passion pursuing that. It was only when I got to college that I was suddenly turned on to the classics, and began thirty years of catch up reading all that I could. So I guess the moral of this tale is it's never to late to find a passion. (Although I think I will never learn to play Chopin!)

Michael


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ENG267
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Re: Reading to gain experience

IBIS,

To you and everyone else here, I can honestly say Michael's previous works are experiences well worth your time. Though, to me, none is on par with SOUL CATCHER, I've found them a fascinating way to glimpse his growth as a writer. It's too bad we can't discuss those, too....
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IBIS
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Re: Reading to gain experience

ENG, have you read Michael White's other books?

It would be great if you could share your thoughts about them?

I'm planning to read them, although I'll going to go backwards in time. But seeing a writer's skill develop over the years is an interesting prospect.

It's like watching a videotape of my violin performance over the years. Heaven help us!
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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ENG267
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Re: Reading to gain experience

Hi again, IBIS:


Yes, I've nearly finished reading the rest of Michael's books, and, as you're planning to do, I read them in reverse order; thus, I could see his growth as a writer. You'll no doubt see it, as well. I don't want to be too specific, but I can say they're engrossing, compelling, believable, and oftentimes moving. For me, though, while I've been absorbed by each of his four previous novels, my reading of them felt just that way--like I was reading them. SOUL CATCHER, however, is an experience. I journeyed with those characters: I slept on the ground and smelled the cooking fires, my face felt wet when it was raining, and my lips tingled when Cain kissed Rosetta. I was disappointed when there were no more pages left to read. Few literary works have ever affected me this way.

I find your skill as a violinist enviable. My grandfather was a fine violinist, but he died when I was an infant, so I have no memories of his playing. And this was before home recording equipment, so no record of his music exists. I've always wanted to learn to play the violin; alas, I can't even read music!
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IBIS
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Re: Reading to gain experience

Eng, your grandfather must have passed some of his musical gifts into the gene pool.

Growing up, my daughter was mortified that I didn't have the long, enameled, manicured fingernails of her friends' mothers. I had "spoon fingers" ... flattening them practicing on the violin strings for hours every day.

I believe we are all gifted in so many different ways. Your gifts may not be in reading music(!) but you know, it's NEVER too late to learn to play an instrument!! NEVER.
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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IBIS
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Re: Historical Information: Civil War Casualties

[ Edited ]
In a previous post, Michael White quoted the amazing fact that the Civil War casualties, for both Union and Confederate forces was around 620,000. These casualties exceed the nation's loss in all its other wars, from the American Revolution through Vietnam.

That fact blew me away. I did some more research, and wanted to share some more details:

The Union casualties losses, by the best estimates:
Battle deaths: 110,070
Disease, etc.: 250,152
Total 360,222

The Confederate estimated losses were:
Battle deaths: 94,000
Disease, etc.: 164,000
Total 258,000

Disease alone (primarily infection and cholera) accounted for more than 60% of the total mortality rates. Mortality was great because of inferior medical service. For example, Surgeons never washed their hands after an operation, because all blood was assumed to be the same, nor did they wash their instruments.

So the casualties of more modern warfare was lower primarily because medical service improved with the times.

IBIS

Message Edited by IBIS on 11-17-2007 08:25 PM
IBIS

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Fozzie
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Re: Historical Information: Civil War Casualties

IBIS,

Our local newspaper, in honor of Veteran's Day, listed the local men who fought in the Civil War, their unit, and their fate. I, too, was surprised at just how many more men died of disease or illness rather than war injuries.

There was a man on my husband's side of the family, a northerner sent to fight in the south in the Civil War. The local paper of the day documents that he returned home with heat related illness. I bet he wasn't the only one.
Laura

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IBIS
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Re: Historical Information: Civil War Casualties

Laura

I was reading an article about the very same thing... heat stroke on the Civil War battlefields in the South.

I don't know if you've seen the movie GLORY about the first black Massachusetts Union regiment sent to fight in the South. Apparently, some of the soldiers suffered from heat exhaustion and sun stroke. Its not shown in the film, but in the article, the Union military leadership didn't figure in the debilitating effects of humidity and rising temperatures on men who are used to the cooler Northern climates.

It's like going to fight in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, and not bringing sunblock (!)

IBIS
IBIS

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vivico1
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Re: Historical Information: Civil War Casualties

These letters that I am working on, I am following this one family now into the Spanish_American war, as I mentioned about one of the letters. All three of the Shields boys made it home safe, it was a relatively short war and they really didn't see any fighting. But as the stats show that you guys mention about disease, one of the boys died after he got home from yellow fever that he got evidently in the one big camps of men he was in, waiting to get a post. There were outbreaks of it everywhere and they thought he was one of the lucky ones because he didn't get to go with the other brothers who got sent off to possibly fight. These letters are really getting sad. The mother, i have read letters now from her since she was a teenager in a girls school, till now as a grandmother and she loses soooo many people in her life! And I read their own words and laugh and worry like they are almost family,then the next one i read is a letter of condolence about their death! :smileysad: . The woman I am working for said one of these days she is going to sit down and make a graph of all the men she lost to death in her life.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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