t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


Not So Peaceful Reading

What have I been reading lately...

War and Peace by Tolstoy

This book was quite the behemoth but certainly worth the effort.  Tolstoy has an uncanny gift of bringing war to life.  War, not only physical and literal but spiritual and emotional as well.  Tolstoy found a sympathetic patron in me.  I certainly find no winners in war.  It is provocative to feel a part of the defeat of Napoleon.  The paradoxical retreat of the Russians, the destruction of their own Moscow.  Their unwillingness to bargain.  From Tolstoy, I left the book feeling without the Russians, Napoleon would have conquered the world.  This said, there was nothing glorious.  No glamour.  Fear and humanity on so many levels.    Right now, I wish I could hear Natasha sing, or watch her nurse her own babies.  I wish Prince Andrei alive, and I am grateful Pierre developed temperance and honor.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Another war, smaller in scale, but arguably of no less import.  Most intriguing to me in this book was the portrait of the South from the perspective of the slave-owning gentry.  The book is painfully offensive in its portrayal of blacks.  My stomach felt sick as Mitchell continually used animals like monkeys, children, old dogs etc to personify blacks.  But strikingly, the tone is never malicious, only loving.  In fact, the North comes off as far more inflammatory and prejudice.  The Ku Klux Klan is a brotherhood of loving fathers and husbands, protecting their victimized women.  I had never even thought to conceptualized a place like the South as painted by Mitchell.  My nature screamed against Scarlett for 1200 pages.  I kept waiting for her to embrace those pivotal moments she continuously came upon, to redirect her course.  She never did.  I could love Melanie, Rhett had moments, but mostly this was a book which allowed me to experience mistake after mistake, vowing internally never to act thus.

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