I think it's safe to say that if you're looking at this book, it's because you're a fan of the musical, in which case this is a very safe bet. You'llI think it's safe to say that if you're looking at this book, it's because you're a fan of the musical, in which case this is a very safe bet. You'll like it.
The pictures are gorgeous, the anecdotes and profiles are enlightening, the footnotes are witty, and the physical book itself has a very satisfying heft to it. Exactly what you'd expect from Lin Manuel Miranda. (Except for the heft thing I guess. Not that there's anything wrong with his heft, mind you.)
And worth noting: even reading about Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story is enough to make me tear up. It's that good. ...more
Interesting, but since it lacked any sort of narrative, it could get a bit plodding. Good for a quick 10 minutes here or there, but not a page turner.Interesting, but since it lacked any sort of narrative, it could get a bit plodding. Good for a quick 10 minutes here or there, but not a page turner. I'd be interested in a similar topic with a short chapter devoted to each event, instead of just a paragraph or three. That said, there was no false advertising on this one - it's right there in the title. ...more
Larson is always worth a read - this time he provides a very human look at an event that frequently gets glossed over.
Personally, this cemented for meLarson is always worth a read - this time he provides a very human look at an event that frequently gets glossed over.
Personally, this cemented for me that shipwrecks just aren't my bag. The hosts of The Stuff You Missed in History podcast (which I love!) frequently talk about how popular their shipwreck episodes are, and how often they get requests for more. And I consistently find myself zoning out during those episodes - they just don't hold my attention. So as well written and well researched as this one was, I can't say I have much need to dig deeper on the subject.
I'd recommend this to anyone who does have an interest in shipwrecks or marital history - or anyone who wants to brush up on their WWI knowledge. ...more
What do our scandals du jour say about our society?
I enjoyed this one - salacious gossip once the salaciousness has worn off and in a scholar's tone.What do our scandals du jour say about our society?
I enjoyed this one - salacious gossip once the salaciousness has worn off and in a scholar's tone. While it is gossip, certainly, the book is more about WHY this particular celebrities and those particular scandals grabbed the attention of the world - and why they still interest us today.
Individual chapters stand alone, making this almost a short story collection, easy to read in bits and pieces. No narrative thread to keep track of, just a bit of pop culture history. ...more
I was never assigned The Diary of A Young Girl in school - I either picked it up myself or a teacher suggested it to me, right around fifth grade. AndI was never assigned The Diary of A Young Girl in school - I either picked it up myself or a teacher suggested it to me, right around fifth grade. And my fascination with Anne and her circumstances, with the differences between her tiny world and the world-changing events surrounding her story, and with the lessons we can take away from her words, has stuck with me ever since.
Perhaps it's because I read her diary outside of an academic setting, but I've never thought about it as a literary classic. I've always thought of it as non-fiction, as fact, so it never occurred to me to consider the writing, the tone, the level of story telling. Which I suppose is why Francine Prose is an award winner writer, a literary critic, and an English professor, and I am not.
I've never seen either the play or the movie based on the diary, and I can't say the story of adapting and creating them has made me any more interested. The poor characterization and over dramatization sound uninteresting - and the choice of tone sounds unsettling. The story of Anne Frank, and the larger story of the Holocaust, the story that she has come to represent for so many people, is not a comedy.
I particularly enjoyed Prose's look at the different messages people take away from their encounters with the diary. Is Anne a symbol of hope, as her famous quote about believing in the good in people would have us think? Or is she a reminder of the horrors that human beings can perpetuate, as she herself pointed out? Can she be both? Does minimizing her to one or the other - to any single message at all - diminish her, ignore her humanity, allow us to ignore the terrible times she lived through?
I don't know. But it's worth thinking about. ...more
Elizabeth and Mary are fascinating subjects, but I do no like Dunn's "semi-chronological" style. If she had stopped repeating thPage 311 and I'm done.
Elizabeth and Mary are fascinating subjects, but I do no like Dunn's "semi-chronological" style. If she had stopped repeating things (sometimes in borderline cut and paste phrases), she could have knocked 50 pages off the book and I would have pushed through. But the back and forth, mentioning and then retuning to later, and even flat out not elaborating (an offhand mention to the "casket letters" Mary allegedly wrote to her second-husband's-murderer/third husband were mentioned and then we moved right past them) made this book not worth the frustration of finishing.
I will now make sure to read the bio of Elizabeth I that I know I have lying around somewhere, and there's a Mary bio by Antonia Fraser that has been highly recommended. They lived sub fascinating lives, it's a shame to skip out before the end because of unfocused plotting. ...more