Sunday, September 20th, 2020
Online • Live • 4:00pm PT/7:00pm ET
In conversation with Don George
I was so delighted to have had a chance to share with the Book Passage family a few thoughts on the unraveling of the American dream and all the new hopes for Colombia. Many thanks to everyone for supporting Book Passage and all the private bookstores that so value the lives of writers, but more importantly the hopes and yearnings, the curiosity and whimsy of readers, which include all of us.
I wish I could say that the books I've been reading lately were uplifting, but I've become a bit obsessed with Germany in the 1930s, and have revisited William Shirer's astonishing two volume memoir, most especially The Nightmare Years.
Colombia is always my passion and only last week I read for a third time, Oblivion, Hector Abad's excruciatingly haunting and beautiful account of his father's assassination, one of a handful of killings that shook the entire war weary country.
Somehow this led me back to Vera Brittain, author of Testament of Youth, perhaps the best book ever written on the agony of war. Vera, a nurse, served on the Western Front, even as she lost her fiancée, Roland, her two best friends from Oxford, and finally her beloved brother Edward. By 1918, she wrote, there was no one left to dance with. The war, wrote Roland in a letter to Vera, “distilled all youth and joy and life into a fetid heap of hideous putrescence.” Testament of Youth traces a journey from innocence through horror, agony to revelation. It is to my mind the most poignant and heartrending memoire to emerge from the Great War.
In these uncertain times, I find solace in history, which tells us that no matter how bad things may appear to be in the moment, they have often been far worse, and every time of despair only serves to unveil new horizons of hope.
All best wishes,
Below, please find links to purchase their books, as well as Wade's recommended titles.