Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina is the wife of a prominant Russian government official. She leads a correct but confining upper-middle-class existence. She seems content with her life as a proper companion to her dignified, unaffectionate husband and an adoring mother to her young son, until she meets Count Vronsky, a young officer of the guards. He pursues her and she falls madly in love with him. Her husband refuses to divorce her, so she gives up everything, including her beloved son, to be with Vronsky. After a short time, Vronsky becomes bored and unhappy with their life as social outcasts. He abandons her, returns to the military and is immediately accepted back into society. Anna, a fallen woman, shunned by respectable society, throws herself under a train.
What do you think of the book? What did you think about Anna's decision to leave her son behind? What did you think about the way Anna's suicide was treated in the book?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Home Front" by Kristin Hannah

Early in Jolene's homecoming, Mila says: "We all knew how hard it would be have you gone, but no one told us how hard it would be when you came back." What do you think about this comment?  Do we romanticize homecomings and thereby somehow set ourselves up for diappointment?  What could her family have done to make Jolene's return an easier transition?

For further informaiton about the author, check out:

Photographer Lalage Snow's photo series "We Are the Not Dead":

A series of portraits of British soldiers over a period of eight months, before, during and after their operational deployment in Afghanistan. The portraits are captioned with the thoughts and feelings of each individual. They speak of fear, being injured, losing a brother soldier, missing home, excitement, coming home, and what life is like on the frontline

As the body count of British servicemen killed or wounded rose and the political ramifications of the British army’s presence in Afghanistan became increasingly convoluted, more and more soldiers felt like they didn’t have a voice, or at least, weren’t being listened to. ‘We Are The Not Dead’ is an attempt at giving the brave young men and women the chance to speak.

If you are interested in volunteer opportunites to help veterans: