Fresh library offerings take readers to Myanmar, Korea, Afghanistan and beyond

By Chris Wright

In addition to all the books you hear about because their authors are appearing on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “Charlie Rose,” “The Colbert Report,” etc., there are plenty of newer books at the Dana Point Library that might just be for you. Here are some recent ones you might not have heard about and one you can’t stop hearing enough about (at least the movie version):

Nightmare Range: The Collected Sueño and Bascom Short Stories by Martin Limón—Set in the Republic of Korea during the 1970s, we get a realistic picture of two young, brash sergeants named Sueño and Bascom, who are agents in the Criminal Investigation Division. Limón blends the military culture of the U.S. Army and Korean culture into some startling, sad and funny stories about bar girls, GIs, black marketers, North Korean spies and always the brass. This collection of short stories was published in September 2013 and follows eight separate novels of the duo. Sueño and Bascom are all about following orders when it suits them and they can be relied upon to get into trouble routinely, but usually it’s because they are doing the right thing.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Phillip SendkerIt’s weird, charming and a beautiful love story that reminds one of Tennyson’s Enoch Arden. The story is set in Burma and involves a father and wealthy New York lawyer who flees his family and disappears. We have two parallel stories being told: the daughter seeking her father in Burma and the story of the father growing up in rural Burma. I’m surprised Oprah hasn’t touted this book. With all the hoopla over tourism to Myanmar or Burma these days, this is one book to get you into the mood for the trip.

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick RobinsonCommercials for the Lone Survivor film have inundated the air waves. But, you must read the book first. It’s a classic morality tale of good and evil. There is a lot of emotion in the book and rants by the author. That aside the story is told in a compelling manner. It’s just unbelievable that Marcus survived to tell the story. It’s a tale of courage, not only of the Navy SEALs but the Afghan villagers who protected him from the Taliban. You get a real appreciation for the training they received and how it prepared them so well. This story is a case study in military ethics and hopefully the movie does the book justice.

Chris Wright is not sure if he lives to read or if he reads to live. He has been a public librarian with the OC Public Libraries since 2006.

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comments (1)

  • Interesting that the first and third selections both have as an important subtext the difficulty of deciding upon and doing the right thing. I believe that one of the primary points of literature and drama is to help us evolve ethically — once we are past the eye-for-an-eye primitive level of morality, we can find ourselves “getting into trouble for doing the right thing.” Living vicariously, experiencing the emotional lives of others as they navigate this difficult terrain, helps us to rehearse how we should behave in difficult times.
    -Martha in Michigan

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