U.S.War novelist Tom Clancy died this week. I read two of his novels in college: Red Storm Rising, about World War 3 breaking out between Russia, Chechnya and the USA after an attack on an oil plant, and Without Remorse, featuring a Navy Seal juggling two missions- seeking revenge on his murdered girlfriend whilst rescuing Vietnam war prisoners.
The books were heavy, detailed war novels- technically informative and very believable- but you have to be able to stomach that level of military detail. You'll be subjected to pages of information about EXACTLY how a submarine does an about-turn to face the enemy vessels that are on its tail.
When you're 16-17 and reading novels of this weight and depth, your understanding can be impaired by a number of things. One is your own vocabulary, and whether you can get a gist of what a writer is telling you from the context. Another is your knowledge of the world and its politics. I read both of these before 11th September 2001, at a time when I just wasn't interested in the news. It'd be a further 2 years until the World Trade Centre attack, the point at which I started regularly watching the news and learning about how- with its religions and warfare and ethics- the world works.
Also, when you're in your late teens and you haven't read that many adult novels, you don't have a great deal of previously read books to compare to, and your gauge of literary merit isn't as finely honed as it might be once you're in your twenties or thirties, and you've read a pile of good and not-so-good books. Unless you've got a big problem with a book, you might finish it and think, yeah, pretty good. Even when it perhaps wasn't. Note that Red Storm Rising wasn't optioned for a movie adaptation.
If you're prepared for an 800-page epic war story, pick a Clancy novel. The pace and the twists are good, and the military knowledge laced into the stories is comprehensive.
Moving on. I went to London this week to see relatives. I'm going to detail this in another post I think, as we packed a TON of stuff in- sightseeing touristy things I'd definitely recommend.
I got back into the swing of things at the gym, although Ibiza beat the living crap out of me and I found my fitness had hit a slump. Gym classes are hard when you've been abusing your body for a week prior. No records.