I have been reading a biography about Ulysses S. Grant and it’s been a tremendous story so far. I’m only about 1/3rd of the way through the American Civil War and Grant is navigating the waters of petty politics and bald-faced liars to further the cause of the Union, often in spite of themselves. The main thing I admire about Grant which I personally see in myself is that despite his disagreements with how the nation was run before it dissolved into war, he felt it was his duty and life’s work above all else to preserve the Union, and found the act of secession or otherwise similar acts to implode the country’s structure as an absolute affront.
There is so very much philosophically and economically that is occurring now that echoes to that era, but the advantage now is America is populated by a largely apathetic electorate who favor creature comforts over all else, and a public beset with information overload, curated to their political leanings, making the very notion of truth and fact stubbornly debatable to a frustrating nodule of the country.
The romantic idea of war is challenged often by many on each side of every debate, many of whom on the right not-so-secretly ache for the opportunity to commit largely-blameless homicide for reasons that are ill-defined and often boil down to “Me Strong; They Weak; Keep Strong, Purge Weak.” OK then.
Back in the mid-19th century, a lot, and I mean a LOT of people were spoiling for a fight, and government heads of the era were all-too happy to accommodate them if it meant keeping their unpaid slave labor funding their soul-barren economy. It was very much a quest to wring a way of life from the hands of those who wouuld only relinquish it quite literally over their dead bodies.
Today we live in a much different, interwoven mess of a country that doesn’t really want a war, couldn’t tolerate or endorse a war, and is far more concerned about having reliable internet access to play games on their phones, binge a Netflix series, and if anything wants things to be infinitely less political. The concept of a war is simple to weigh, as it appetizes the base instinct to club the other primate with the bone, but this feels infinitely more like a whole lotta assholes simply being assholes in various tiers of pedastal.
I dunno. I’m tired.
Anyway, the Grant biography by Ron Chernow is an illuminating read that I strongly recommend. I got it for Kindle at a discount courtesy of BookBub.
Speaking of Kindle and BookBub, I’m going to sing their praises a bit, if you don’t mind.
When e-readers came out I was staunchly against them. I loved the idea of having a book, dog-eared and creased with repeated readings available and presented on a bookshelf. I liked the weight, the paper smell, the familiar feeling of cracking a book open and relishing the text on the page. E-readers felt flimsy, unsatisying, and a bit unwelcome.
Yeah, well, I basically only read my Kindle now. A massive credit of this has to go to my better half, who opened my eyes to the fruits of using such a device, and I’ve read maybe one actual book in the last year. The benefits are several-fold:
- Reading in Bed: I am a religious reader before bedtime, and when waking up at ass-in-the-morning, which I am wont to do, I often will recline in bed with whatever book I’m reading at the time. There’s always a pang of guilt clicking on a light to read, not that my wife would mind, but I would always prefer not to interrupt her rest, and the kindle is a major score in assuaging any potential guilt in that department.
- Bargains: Thanks to BookBub (and other vendors of which there are numerous), I get daily emails listing books from a list of curated genres that are on sale, usually between .99 cents and a couple bucks. VERY rarely are these classics or major titles, but that absolutely appeals to me. When I was a kid trawling the local library for a good book I didn’t give a damn about the author or if it was a prestigious release. I just wanted a good read, and often the BookBub suggestions I do purchase (maybe 2-5 a month) are very enjoyable at best, serviceably entertaining at worst. If they’re not great reads, I’m only out a dollar or so.
- Storage: Should I buy a book that fails to amuse, I’m under no obligation to find a space for it on a shelf or haul it with a pile of others to a donation bin. It can remain undownloaded and forgotten-ish in my Kindle’s library. The Kindle itself is light, unintrusive, and will serve as an absolute godsend in the future when my world is open to traveling again.
- Battery Life: I go weeks, sometimes a few months between charging this thing. I think I’ve charged it once in the past 2 months, and it was done charging after maybe twenty minutes. Considering I’m reading from this thing daily for varying lengths of time, it rarely requires any maintenance or attention beyond serving its purpose.
Anyways, that’s all for now. Bye bye.