Familyhistorian's 2019 Reading Adventure part 9
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My latest posts are articles about a variety of topics related to history and genealogy. You can see the posts at: A Genealogist's Path to History
Reading Through Time
January-March 2019 - 20th Century: World War I (1914-1918) - A Question of Honor by Charles Todd - DONE
April-June 2019 - 20th Century: Between Wars (1919-1938) - So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernieres - DONE
July-September 2019 - 20th Century: WW2 (1939-1945) - Scholars of Mayhem by Daniel C. Guiet and Timothy K. Smith - DONE
October-December 2019 - Modern History (1946-present day) - Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe - DONE
January: "I Will Survive" - Krakatoa by Simon Winchester - DONE
February: "Be My Valentine" - The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty DONE
March: "Downtown" - The Blitz Detective: Fifth Column by Mike Hollow - DONE
April: "The Wonderful Emptiness" - The Great Central Plains of America - Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath by John Philip Colletta DONE
June: "Cryptography & Code Breaking" - Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shatterly DONE
July: "Travel" - The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason - DONE - Road Through Time: The Story of Humanity on the Move by Mary Soderstrom - DONE
August: "Philosophy and Religion" - The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy by Micheal F. Patton and Kevin Cannon DONE
September: “Women Pioneers” - Sisters in the Wilderness: The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Trail by Charlotte Gray - DONE
October: “Something Lost” - Bright Young Things: A Modern Guide to the Roaring Twenties by Alison Maloney - DONE
November: “Marginalized People” - The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain by Damian Le Bas - DONE
December: “Let’s Go Retro”
2019 Nonfiction Challenge
January: Prizewinning books, and runners up. - The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray - DONE
February: Science and Technology: Innovations and Innovators. - The Epigenetics Revolution by Nessa Carrey - DONE
March: True Crime, Misdemeanors and Justice, Past and Present Day - A Treasury of Victorian Murder: Compendium Vol. 1 by Rick Geary - DONE - Murder by Milkshake by Eve Lazarus - DONE
April: Comfort Reads - Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath by John Philip Colletta - DONE Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings by Jean Manco - DONE
May: History. In this case, my cutoff date is 1950. Viking Britain: A History by Thomas Williams DONE
June: The Pictures Have It! - Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge - DONE - Two of The Talented Thomsons by John A. Libby Fine Art - DONE - An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisely - DONE
July: Biography & First Person Yarns - Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love by Dani Shapiro - DONE - The Road Through Time: The Story of Humanity on the Move by Mary Soderstrom - DONE
August: Raw Materials: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral - A Brief History of Tea: The Extraordinary Story of the World's Favourite Drink by Roy Moxham - DONE
September: Books by Journalists - Blood, Sweat and Fear by Eve Lazarus - DONE
October: Other Worlds: From Spiritual to Fantastical
November: Creators and Creativity - Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep - DONE
December: I’ve Always Been Curious About…
The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
All True Not a Lie In It by Alix Hawley
A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel
Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass
No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen
Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Kissed a Sad Goodbye by Deborah Crombie
Ravished by Amanda Quick
Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae
The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray
Murder on Millionaires Row by Erin Lindsay
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
A Killer in King's Cove by Iona Whishaw
Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston
Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze by Svend Brinkmann
The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century by Deborah Blum
Things I Don't Want to Know: A Living Autobiography by Deborah Levy
A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 by Simon Winchester
A Midsummer Night's Scream by Jill Churchill
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson
Anne of Green Gables: a graphic novel by Mariah Marsden
Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross
Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson
Evil Under the Sun adapted by Didier Quella-Guyot
The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam
The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty
Last Friends by Jane Gardam
The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Blacklands by Belinda Bauer
The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es
Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth
The Epigenetics Revolution by Nassa Carey
Exiles of Erin: Irish Migrants in Victorian London by Lynn Hollen Lees
One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
The Body in the Wardrobe by Katherine Hall Page
King Arthur: The Making of the Legend by Nicholas J. Higham
Stitches: A Memoir by David Small
Death on the Family Tree by Patricia Sprinkle
A Question of Honor by Charles Todd
Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
A Treasury of Victorian Murder: Compendium Vol. 1 by Rick Geary
How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
Murder by Milkshake by Eve Lazarus
Killing the SS by Bill O'Reilly
Murder at the Manor by Lesley Cookman
The Chess Men by Peter May
Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
Fifth Column by Mike Hollow
Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger by Rebecca Traister
Dreaming in Code: Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer by Emily Arnold McCully
The Stylist by Rosie Nixon
Burden of Memory by Vicki Delany
Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan
This is What Happened by Mick Herron
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Tightening the Threads by Lea Wait
The Canadian Receipt Book
Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick
Hidden Heart by Nora Roberts
Elyza by Clare Darcy
The Escape by Mary Balogh
A Nose for Death by Glynis Whiting
Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings by Jean Manco
Dark in Death by J. D. Robb
Courting Mr Emerson by Melody Carson
Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and its Aftermath by John Philip Colletta
Death Comes Silently by Carolyn Hart
These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lapore
Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley
The Hangman's Row Enquiry by Ann Purser
Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
Out of Bounds by Val McDermid
The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh
Murder in the Merchant City by Angus McAllister
So Much Life Left Over Louis De Bernieres
Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge
Braking for Bodies by Duffy Brown
Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais
Death in a Darkening Mist by Iona Whishaw
Not Fade Away: How to Thrive in Retirement by Celia Dodd
Two of the Talented Thomsons by John A. Libby Fine Art
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt
The Earl’s Mistress by Liz Carlyle
Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet by Will Hunt
An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisely
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
Dangerous to Know by Renee Patrick
Instructions for a Funeral by David Means
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro
Heat Wave by Maureen Jennings
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Vox by Christina Dalcher
Black Sheep by Georgetta Heyer
The List by Mick Herron
Over my Dead Body by Rex Stout
The Armada Boy by Kate Ellis
The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain
The Darwin Affair: A Novel by Tim Mason
Report for Murder by Val McDermid
Road Through Time: The Story of Humanity on the Move by Mary Soderstrom
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
Mad Blood Stirring by Simon Mayo
Arrowood by Mick Finlay
The Unquiet Heart by Kaite Welsh
The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
Gin and Panic by Maia Chance
The Foundling by Georgette Heyer
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham
Scholars of Mayhem by Daniel C. Guiet and Timothy K. Smith
Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America by François Weil
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout
The World According to Fannie Davis by Bridgett M. Davis
An Old, Cold Grave by Iona Whishaw
The Corpse with the Diamond Hand by Cathy Ace
Every Secret Thing by Susanna Kearsley
A Brief History of Tea: The Extraordinary Story of the World’s Favourite Drink by Roy Moxham
Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
love in lowercase by Frances Miralles
The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy by Micheal F. Patton and Kevin Cannon
‘Til Death Us Do Part by Amanda Quick
Fat Mutton and Liberty of Conscience: Society in Rhode Island, 1636-1690 by Carl Bridenbaugh
Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Souvenir Guidebook by Victoria Ingles
Witch Hunt by Shirley Damsgaard
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Hadden
Mesmerized by Candace Camp
Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
The Union Street Bakery by Mary Ellen Taylor
Sully: My Search for What Really Matters by Chesley B Sully Sullenberger III with Jeffrey Zaslow
IQ by Joe Ide
Crime Scene by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman
Blood, Sweat and Fear: The Story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver's First Forensic Investigator by Eve Lazarus
Calamity in Kent by John Rowland
The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
Sisters in the Wilderness: The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill by Charlotte Gray
Somebody Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon
The Gendered Brain: The new neuroscience that shatters the myth of the female brain by Gina Rippon
A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder by Victoria Hamilton
Malice in the Palace by Rhys Bowen
The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
A Willing Murder by Jude Deveraux
Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink by Antony McCarten
Bright Young Things: A Modern Guide to the Roaring Twenties by Alison Maloney
The Howard Hughes Affair by Stuart Kaminsky
Death of a Ghost by Margery Allingham
Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes
The Light Over London by Julia Kelly
Full Disclosure by Beverley McLachlin
A Necessary Murder by J.J. Tjia
The American Boy by Andrew Taylor
Pastels by Leslie B. DeMille
Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton
Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox
Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount
Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moodie
The Women's Land Army by Vita Sackville-West
The Second Coming of the KKK by Linda Gordon
Flight of the Highlanders: The Making of Canada by Ken McGoogan
Books acquired in October
Sensational Victoria: Bright Lights, Red Lights, Murders, Ghosts & Gardens by Eve Lazarus
Cold Day in July by Stella Cameron
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen
A Short History of the Railroad by Christian Wolmar
The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden
Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and the Law by Beverly McLachlin
Cut You Down by Sam Wiebe
Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise by Charlotte Gray
Investing in Murder by E J Lister
The Corpse with the Golden Nose by Cathy Ace
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maas
Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern
Singapore Sapphire by A. M. Stuart
How the Scots Created Canada by Paul Cowan
Britain Yesterday & Today by Janice Anderson & Edmund Swinglehurst
Agnes, Murderess by Sarah Leavitt
Direct Action Gets the Goods: A Graphic History of the Strike in Canada by the Graphic History Collective
Lovely hotel lobby display up there - Utah?
We saw the Darkest Hour film, which the author of the book also wrote, I'm pretty sure. I haven't read the book, but the film was excellent. It caused to visit Churchill's underground war rooms, which was quite an experience.
I was impressed by the book of the Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink. I didn't realize there was a film. I'll have to hunt that out and plan a trip to the underground war rooms - sounds interesting.
Always fascinated to read more about her and her role in the early years of Computer Programming
There weren’t very many books for sale at the Salt Lake City airport when I picked up Still Me. I didn’t look that closely or I would have noticed that it was the middle book in a trilogy. But that probably wouldn’t have stopped me from buying it. As I said, there weren’t very many books for sale.
The main character in the book was Louisa Clark who was coming to New York from England to take up a position in a household on Park Avenue. She got to experience the life of the super rich from afar but things went wrong, with both her long-distance relationship with the man she left behind in England and with her new job. How she dealt with her new circumstances and made a life for herself in New York was the main part of the story, one that was able to stand on its own with out the first or last book in the trilogy.
Have a great weekend!
>40 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara, the books have been going down easy this year. Fast reads of all the library holds have also helped.
>41 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen, I don't know where that other thread came from. It just sort of cloned itself - weird.
>42 drneutron: Ha Jim, I thought you were maybe rehearsing for January early.
Michelle Obama’s story was at once interesting and readable. It was such a great reminder of a civilized and forward-thinking time in the White House. My knowledge of the US electoral process is limited so I found the parts about working the campaign trail enlightening. The parts about Michelle’s early life were as fascinating as the inside look at the family in the White House.
She also humanized the many White House staffers, a group who I had never really thought about. I wonder how they are fairing under the present administration?
The story begins with a short passage about an unnamed body in a wooded spot. Was it the main character in the future of someone else? With this in mind the story begins. Some of the events in The Body Lies you can see coming like what happens to the main character’s marriage but others rachet up the tension as it is hard to see how they will end. The story was a thriller with a literary edge and a very believable heroine. It was also a scarily true depiction of how women are seen in the world and how they are damned for following their own instincts.
Have a great Sunday, Meg.
I almost bought The Bookshop of Yesterdays twice, the cover with all of its books signaled that it would be a book for me. It really was. It was about a bookshop so it ticked that box but it also included a family’s history and a mystery so definitely ticked those boxes too.
Miranda Brooks had her future all planned out with a job as a teacher and a live-in boyfriend soon to be husband but her life was thrown off kilter when her estranged uncle left her a failing bookshop. Why had he done that? She had to go and find out what it was all about and discovered there was a family mystery behind everything. The bookshop and the mystery were just the thing to change all her carefully laid plans.
Weird. And yeah, books about books, especially with cover pictures of books, will get me every time! :-)
The Ra’ad family brought their traditional ways of life with them when they immigrated to Brooklyn. When the parents were looking for a bride for their oldest son, they found him a good biddable wife in Palestine, Isra.
A Woman is No Man was told from the point of view of the women in the story, Isra, her mother in law, Fareeda and Isra’s oldest daughter, Deya and it bounces between the 1990s and 2008 to 2009. Isra had disappeared by the later dates and Fareeda was bringing up her four granddaughters, still trying to follow the tradition of marrying them off before they finished high school.
It was Deya’s resistance and search for what happened to her mother that provided the energy behind the story. What had really happened and could the family find a new way of living in America?
A very belated happy new thread.
>45 Familyhistorian: As always, an interesting blog post and a good reminder that more than soldiers serve and sacrifice in all wars.
>46 Familyhistorian: I checked The Body Lies out from the library but alas! returned it unread last month. I’ll keep an eye out for a copy of my own so I can pick it up when the right energy is there.
>61 Familyhistorian: Sounds wonderful, just added The Bookshop of Yesterdays to my wish list.
The story was told from various points of view so we got to know the bumbling crooks, the family of victims as well as the cops. There were plenty of drama and family ties to go round and it was hard to tell if the victims were innocent or bent as well. Then again, you might have second thoughts about the female cop who was attempting to investigate the crime.
Today is predicted to be our last day of no rain for a while so the plan is to take a trek to the library and pick up the holds that are waiting. There are 5 now on top of the ones that I have at home. I just hope there are some thin ones in there so I can fit them all in my bag.
Last night was the monthly BCGS meeting and, of course, it had a military theme. Lots of people brought in info on their military ancestors. One member's father had been in the prisoner of war camp where the great escape was pulled off. She brought in her father's book which had cartoons and paintings done by the prisoners. Some really good stuff in there. It was similar to the autograph book that my father had from his time in the RAF when he was stationed in Burma. I don't have custody of the book but I have access to digital scans of the pages. I really should do some research on them.
There was also a speaker last night. His talk was about military research and, of course, mainly concentrated on Canadian records but he was able to find out more about one of our member's uncles who was mentioned in dispatches - which was a commendation. The speaker was able to find out more about why the uncle received the mention. Now I need to see if I can find out similar info about my father's actions as he also received a mention in dispatches. Looks like I will be busy!
The story in Time After Time centered around Grand Central Station in New York. Joe worked there as a leverman, working the rails that guided the trains. He met Nora there and they became a couple. The only problem was that Nora died in a subway accident at Grand Central Station in 1925.
This was a poignant story of a couple whose love was restricted by Nora’s inability to leave the station and Joe’s ties to family which were strong in the years surrounding WWII. But the couple had dreams beyond their stolen moments. As the years passed and Joe aged while Nora didn’t it was plain that there would be no happily ever after for the couple. It was a sad but lovely tale.
As we were sitting around the table the conversation naturally turned to working out and healthy diets. A couple of the guys have gout (go figure). One of the women talked about a gym where she had her husband had signed up for a 6 week free trial. It sounded more like a total commitment thing were you gradually changed your habits like adding all veggie days and stuff like that but eventually you were supposed to committee to no sugar and no alcohol. That was were she quit (her husband hadn't lasted that long). That would have been my no go point too, if I had made it that far. Image no more chocolate or wine - just no.
P.S. Agreed on no chocolate or wine = just no, and I'm not even a big chocolate fan. The best idea is exercise and moderation, as far as I'm concerned.
I'm with you on the chocolate and wine. I'm a big fan of both.
I might have picked up a BB or two from your thread which is why I read A Woman is No Man, I think.
>92 EBT1002: No chocolate or wine would take some fun out of life, wouldn't it?
Hanna grew up on the West Coast of Ireland and couldn’t wait to get away. But she retreated from London after her marriage partner turned out to be a self-serving cheater. She walked out of the marriage with her daughter, a chip on her shoulder and no support from her well-to-do ex. Living with her mum was taking its own toll and she made plans to move into a run-down house her aunt left her. The renos would be doable on her library salary. But the community planning committee put that under threat. The projected plans would also further isolate seniors and threaten the livelihood of all but a few businesses. Unlikely circumstances bring the underdogs together to fight the local government resulting in a heartwarming tale.
The style of Reproduction was so different that I almost put it down after the first few chapters but I persevered. The reward was a different narrative of the random way people can get together to reproduce and form families - or not.
The focus moves from character to character and we are privy to their inner thoughts in all their messiness and repetitiveness as well as some of their weird and reprehensible habits. It really shows how unconnected people are so that it is amazing and often accidental that they get together to reproduce at all.
Happy reading, Meg.
Part true crime novel and part autobiography, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee told the tale of Reverend Willie Maxwell, a firm believer in the pursuit of mammon in the form life insurance policies. He held a lot of policies on relatives who kept on turning up dead. Everything looked to be going his way until he was shot in front of a church load of witnesses attending the funeral of his adopted daughter.
The subsequent trial seemed to be the perfect vehicle for a true crime book. Harper Lee was anxious to find the facts behind this crime and the life of the Reverend Maxwell to write about this story and finally write a second book. Harper Lee’s book was never written and that fact was used as the springboard for a look at the life of the famous author.
It was well done but I found the true crime part and the career of Reverend Maxwell more interesting than the story of Harper Lee. Perhaps that is because To Kill a Mockingbird was a shadowy presence throughout much of Lee’s story and I have never read the book. Maybe I should remedy that.
Going back are:
Time After Time
Still to be read at home are:
The Man Who Saw Everything
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
The Stopping Places
Superior: The Return of Race Science
A Woman of No Importance
I'm not sure which ones I will pick up but waiting are:
The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books
Stony the Road
>105 Familyhistorian: I'd say do read it, but with a healthy dose of "oh, really?" ever at your 21st-centurian's elbow.
I generally carry a healthy dose of "oh, really?" with me at all times, Richard. Might be because of the decades of being an insurance adjuster.
There is an interesting interview with Gates on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SDHE6290Bc about reconstruction and suppression and the parallels with what is happening today.
I am starting to wonder if I can keep up with all of my library holds. The main problem is that most of them are nonfiction so no real fast reads among the bunch.
All the LT warbling about Good Talk got me interested so I had to read it. It was a very personal and perceptive work about being considered “other” in America today. There were so many events and episodes that Jacob lived through like 911 and the aftermath and the recent US elections that she was experiencing as not just an American citizen but also through another layer of identity being a visible member of a minority. Trying to explain the meaning of things to her son really underlined how convoluted and scary their experience in America has been and will continue to be.
Have a great weekend and I'll be interested to see if you can make it to 200 books this year.
It said it was a mystery and was set back in history, both the ‘20s and ‘60s. It sounded perfect for me but, somewhere along the way, I got lost in the two narratives unfolding in The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House and put it down. I eventually picked it up again and finished the tale which revolved around Castaway House and related people who were affected by things that happened in both eras. All was not as it seemed which had tragic consequences.
>105 Familyhistorian: I think you should definitely read To Kill A Mockingbird. I just read Furious Hours recently and really liked it, but as you noted above, TKaM is a shadowy presence. Lee’s early success really stunted her and this ultimately fruitless pursuit of another book is fascinating in terms of TKaM.
In The Man Who Saw Everything, Saul Adler’s life was a continuous repeating loop between England and Germany, his studies, his lovers and the consequences of his actions. He lived through some interesting times in recent history but his life had a narrow focus, his own gratification. He may have been the man who saw everything but he didn’t understand or truly empathize with others so his connections were tentative at best. It was a strange but interesting exploration of memory.
The Castaway House book would probably have been a better one for me if I had read it straight through rather than reading a bunch of other books at the same time. So a guarded recommendation, I would say.
Happy new week, Meg!
All my library holds have resulted in some outstanding non-fiction reads. One of these was The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain which recounts the author’s quest to find the old stopping places that the gypsies used to frequent. He is one of the Roma, although he is sensitive about the fact that he doesn’t look it. This probably adds to his ability to be a good guide to the history and lore of his people. It was a very interesting read.
It was World War II and the war was not going well for England. After France was overrun, they desperately needed intelligence to conduct the war against Germany. They also needed a way to organize the resistance forces in France. That’s when they dreamed up the Special Operations Executive or SOE with no idea, really of how to train operatives.
Virginia Hall, an American woman with a prosthetic leg, finagled her way into the SOE and was one of the first agents to be sent to France. They were extremely lucky to have someone like her who could run any number of operations, not that most of those men had any faith in her abilities, she was a woman after all.
The book told the story of Virginia’s war, both with the enemy and with the men who employed her both in England and in the US. It was a well researched account of what she was able to do despite all the forces against her.
Several times a day he would go out to 72nd street in Manhattan where Broadway and Columbus avenue cross, and use a big long heavy iron bar ( a lever?) to switch the trolley cars to go up Broadway or go up Columbus.
It was a good job in the time of the depression and he lived nearby .
Another voice urging you to read to Kill a Mockingbird or come back to New York and see the play currently running on Broadway
And now for something a bit lighter, The Flatshare was an unputdownable novel. The premise was that Leon worked nights and he was looking for someone to share his flat during the hours he wasn’t there. Hey, this was London so people would go for that given the tight and pricey housing market. Tiffy was trying to find a place of her own to get away from a relationship that was no longer working. So, Leon and Tiffy ended up sharing his apartment but the idea was that they would never meet. (Leaon would spend weekends at his girlfriend’s).
But we all have an idea of how this would go, right? Added to the mix were Leon’s younger brother who was desperate to get out of prison with his brother’s help, and Tiffy’s friends and manipulative ex. It was a page turner of a story which took some twisty turns.
It was actually fun seeing all the people bustling around. That is except for the man who came up to berate the cashier I was at for not having salespeople on hand to help him when he was looking for stuff. I am not sure what he felt gave him the right to come back up to the till while I was standing there having waited for my turn in line. Maybe arrogance and a sense of entitlement? Sometimes I wish I was a more imposing figure so people would think twice about yelling over my head or bossing me around.
Glad you liked The Flatshare - I'm looking forward to reading that one.
My own hopes of reaching goals have been dashed by a disastrous November where I only managed 1 book and that on the cusp of the new month.
I will now concentrate on reading somethings that catch my fancy and some poetry to get over the 75 line.
Have a lovely weekend.
I hope you enjoy The Stopping Places. It was interesting to see a way of life that I was not aware of but was probably happening right under my nose at some points in time.
I am not sure whose thread I saw the book Say Nothing on but I knew I had to read it. I remember seeing news clips about the ongoing troubles in Northern Ireland without knowing much about the history of the fight or really who was fighting who. That may be because the history of Ireland and its conflicts goes far back in history with strange moves by both the British and the Irish that led to an ongoing war of sorts, a conflict with no end in sight.
The book brought a lot of the people in the more recent past into light, the fighters and the victims, the deluded and the underhanded. No one come out looking good in this account, not the Provisional IRA, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Loyalists or the British Army who were supposed to be neutral police but turned out to be anything but neutral.
It was good to find out the history and to have context for parts of the Black Cab Tour that I took when I was in Belfast.
Sending best wishes, Meg.
My latest read was Superior: The Return of Race Science. In it, Angela Saini shines the spotlight on how science is used and perverted to show up the difference between “races” so that certain ones come out looking superior to others. Her research was extensive as she covers subjects like biodiversity, origin stories and castes. It was an eyeopener in many ways but unlike in her book Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, I didn’t have any of those ah ha moments remembering how something similar had happened to me because of my gender. I was not I the same receiving position for this book. I would not have been classified as being on the receiving end of negative effects because of my race.
Perhaps that was why it was harder for me to agree wholeheartedly with what she said. She did raise a lot of relevant points, however. But it was her characterization of DNA ancestry tests as bad because they further the aims of racists looking for proof of how “white” they are that really gave me pause. DNA tests, like many other things, can be subverted to support racial claims but they can also show how interrelated we are. Having said that, it was still an interesting and well researched book which sounds a note of caution about the way that science is being perverted.