Greetings right before Memorial Day, guys! The library will be closed that day, so I wanted to recommend something before then. Sometimes I go and find a book I've read before and tell you about it. I call these Blasts From the Past and I've got a good one today. It's Heart of a Shepherd by Roseanne Parry, which I read way back in 2009 and it has stuck with me all these years. (you could read my original review here) This is a remarkable story, all about what a 12-year-old boy goes through when his dad is deployed to Iraq (that war was in full swing when this was written), his older brothers go off to college or the army and he has to run the family ranch with his grandparents. This is realistic fiction, which means there are no swordsmen or magicians, no powerful families running worldwide conspiracies and no spaceships outrunning Imperial cruisers. But it is all about real-world real problems faced by a real-world boy. The library has plenty of copies, so be sure to get one, read it and think this weekend about all the brave men and women who have fought and died to protect our right to, among many other things, read freely what we like.
(BTW, you could read an interview with the author here)
One more thing--I'm uploading a video that fits the spirit of this weekend. This is a scene from Henry V by Shakespeare. Now don't freak out on me, guys!! Shakespeare is very cool and this is a great scene. Henry and his English troops are about to fight the French at Agincourt. The English troops are badly outnumbered and Henry's cousin, Westmoreland, comments on it. Henry says, basically, "That's good. I wouldn't want one man more! Those who live through this fight will have enough glory to last until the end of time. Those who don't have the stomach for this fight can go home now and I'll give them the money to get back. But those who live through the day will celebrate this day (St. Crispin's day) the rest of their lives, even when they're old. They'll show their scars and tell what the story of what happened. Any man who stays with me is my brother, no matter how poor you are."
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers..."
And I'm using the old version from 1944. The British government asked that terrific actor Lawrence Olivier to make this movie because England, once again, found themselves badly outnumbered--except this time by the Nazis. England badly needed some inspiration. Listen to this and see if your heart doesn't swell:
(If you want a full modern-day rendition of this speech go to the No Sweat Shakespeare site here, read through the speech and then get it in today's language)
This really sums up the spirit of Memorial Day--remembering the bravery of those who fought in the past and, as in Heart of a Shepherd, more recent years.
And guess what--England won at Agincourt! And World War II.