Makes you want to turn back the time and keep nuclear weapons from developing, and reveal that Cold War will end with communist block crumbling by the...moreMakes you want to turn back the time and keep nuclear weapons from developing, and reveal that Cold War will end with communist block crumbling by themselves, eagerly pursuing capitalism (which has it's own Pandora's box of problems we need to be on guard agains (one being need for stricter consumer protection--see development of which in POISONER'S HANDBOOK by Deborah Blum)
But as AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED states, regret is useless (unless it teaches us to try to improve the future).
Books for future generations--some for young readers--about bombs actually used in Japan are another catagory I could add to my Read library shelf; title of one picture book "for almost any age" is (I think) HIROSHIMA NO PIKA. Plus I remember Japanese American classmates passing along what their relatives in Japan told of their experiences, such as when working outside in fields, being burned on half of body facing bombed city.
Then there's books about Japanese American internees: DEAR MISS BREED (about a librarian who tried to help her former library patrons), SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS, FAREWELL TO MANZANAR, etc. etc.
Another notable picture book is titled something like the Sugihara story, about Japanese diplomat who disobeyed ordered not to give passports to Jews attempting to flee Nazis; he was later awarded honor. (This ramble is to make notes on things for me to look up later, as I don't have pen & paper or electronic device to do so right now). (less)
Not for those with sensitive stomachs (could make someone vegetarian if they weren't already), although passage I'm alluding to happens so quickly tha...moreNot for those with sensitive stomachs (could make someone vegetarian if they weren't already), although passage I'm alluding to happens so quickly that horrific revelation may escape less careful readers (for further hint, see my comments for Eli Weisel's NIGHT. (less)
I've read many books on the Holocaust focusing on children, but may not recall all the titles at the moment. Of course there's BOOK THIEF, BOY IN THE...moreI've read many books on the Holocaust focusing on children, but may not recall all the titles at the moment. Of course there's BOOK THIEF, BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, plus a picture book about a child who brings food to one inside barbed wire (who one day disappears--not sure it that is same where a girl is daughter of camp Komandant) There may be a butterfly in story or title.
One slim book titled CHILDHOOD I kept shelving in adult biography in bookstore (as my theory for independent store with no computer or corporation to dictact where to shelve something, is to put where someone who'd most be interested, would find it).
Somewhere I have a book that I think was mentioned in THE NESBIT TRADITON: The Children's Novel 1945-1970 by noted British librarian Marcus Crouch, alluding to children's book fair held in Germany after WWII where HANSEL & GRETAL was thought to be too close to recent reality, with a person (tho an evil witch) being shoved in an oven. (Memory just surfaced of film "Life is Wonderful"--or is that "Beautiful"?)
Then there's light fantasy (with depths for those who know more about holocaust), WICKED ENCHANTMENT by author who lived in Germany during Nazi Regime and tried to help those persecuted (in my review of WE, I think I point out reference to Earl of Owl Hall in Errol the Owl of Harry Potter series, which of course has it's own allusions to WWII and totalitarianism which arises with new faces (just read alternative world fantasy FLY BY NIGHT by Frances Hardinge, which uses English Civil War as springboard for story championing freedom of speech and thought in any time or place).
Post WW II fiction for children which deal with DP's (displaced persons or refugees) include STRANGER AT GREEN KNOWE, novels by Margot Benary (again, I read long ago, but don't have access to now--or budget to buy), SILVER SWORD retitled ESCAPE FROM WARSAW. I also vaguely recall a different novel about girl who discovers boy also in hiding in bombed city roamed by snipers (Echoes of a favorite Rosemary Sutcliff book DAWN WIND I want to own, so please don't buy cheap copy online until I can get it!)
I'd better wrap up as I still have holiday prep to finish (which brings to mind "refugee" scene in BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, where narrator realizes how Mary & Joseph share something with people she sees on the evening news. Also timely in this season is BREAKFAST AT SALLY'S (I just realized I haven't had breakfast yet myself); organizations like the Salvation Army (Sally of title) are ways to help those in need, improve the world at least a little.
Reading carefully (especially about the mysterious "C"), you may see what at least those last two titles have in common--perhaps something timeless that all of the above may be trying to teach us. (less)
It's been a long time since I read this--maybe around time I'd read LAST UNICORN by Peter Beagle (possibly when those were new books). Had been thinki...moreIt's been a long time since I read this--maybe around time I'd read LAST UNICORN by Peter Beagle (possibly when those were new books). Had been thinking of reading again (or at least refreshing my memory by finding some critical commentary). I wonder if has any resemblance to children's classic, RABBIT HILL?
I also have faint memory of a fantasy series I read, lead to by covers done by a Japanese woman artist whose name currently escapes me (she doesn't like to be refered to as a Japanese artist, as she draws more on European artistic traditions), but she did painting in "children's book" which is 100 year tribute to Wizard of Oz books; her Ozma resembles (to me) portraits of blond infanta or Spanish princess (which reminds of I wanted to re-read novel "for children, I, JUAN DE PAREJA-- see how my mind links thought or one book to another? (less)
I read this before I opened Good Reads account, so it's one of many books I've read, but didn't list on GR. Therefore I don't know if anyone's already...moreI read this before I opened Good Reads account, so it's one of many books I've read, but didn't list on GR. Therefore I don't know if anyone's already mentioned (too many reviews now to check) that Flora's world was inspired by legend of Queen Califa, which gave name to state of Califonia. (I didn't check Wikipedia for details before writing this).
I think Califia first appeared in Spanish novel about the time of Don Quixote--I used to go to a library that had old copy of novel (in Spanish), but I never got around to reading it. Maybe there's an online edition available, or maybe a translation (original version might be like reading Shakespeare or older English for a modern reader, so a translation of a translation might be helpful).
Queen ruled over tribe of Amazons (female warriors, not online shopping site), which is why Flora's mother is a soldier. This fantasy includes alternative history (Russians did some colonization in California in our world too).
Another fantasy with inspirations refreshingly outside Anglo-saxon mythology (i.e. decendants as numerous as the sands of Tolkien's works) include "DREAMHUNTER duet" (Dreamhunter and Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox, a New Zealand author perhaps using as imaginative spring board the Australian outback; includes a trace of a European or Jewish legend, but I will let you try and figure that out yourself).
Another unusual, fairly recent Australian fantasy is by wife of author Scott Westerfeld who wrote LEVIATHAN Steampunk alternative World War i series (sorry, I forgot her name & book titles!)
Fantasy inspired by non-European landscapes also includes ERAGON series (author said in interview on audio version of one of his books, that he was thinking of wide open spaces and moutains in his home state of Montana or Colorado--again, I don't have time at the moment to double check).
Flora reminds me of Flavia De Luce (final title in that series is due out next month!) I vaguely remember hearing there was 3rd in Flora series, but somehow forgot to look for it. That's the trouble with reading first book in what turns out to be a trilogy before all are published...
HERLAND, about a land ruled by women (sounds like a Shangri-la written before LOST HORIZON), is by woman author best known for short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" (read by members of UNBEARABLE BOOK CLUB FOR UNSINKABLE GIRLS). HERLAND was followed by HER IN OUR LAND, in which one of the women finds out what male-dominated world is like. (less)
Listened to audio version, which uses four different women performers to distinguish between the 4 women narrators. Wikipedia entry on Masada says som...moreListened to audio version, which uses four different women performers to distinguish between the 4 women narrators. Wikipedia entry on Masada says some doubt whether legend of mass suicide is true, as only 28 bodies were found (during "modern" excavations) buried on site. (On the other hand, might it be possible that remains were removed over centuries, the fact just not recorded in histories?)
While I think that if event were true, it's more likely beseiged people shared same beliefs, background, and behaviour (which readers might have found boring). Understandable why Hoffman made her characters so different, i.e. woman who disguises herself as male to become Warrior, a Witch in line of female practitioners of pagan magic & medicine, a middle-age Widow raising two grandsons after her daughter died (raped & tortured graphically by Roman soldiers, if that is something you'd prefer not to read about, tho is important reason why people would choose to die by their own hand before capture), a girl hated by her assassin father for "causing" her mother's death at birth of the girl, who later comits adultery with married man (final comment of Jane Austen's NORTHANGER ABBEY might apply to her; don't want to be more explicit, as many might read to end of DOVEKEEPERS to find out which--if any-of characters survive the siege).
Characters often say something is forbidden--but then do it anyway--so Hoffman's story is a new look or interpretation of legend typically used as patriotic propaganda that pre-dates Patrick Henry's statement "Give me liberty, or give me death". Among other books with similarites to DOVEKEEPERS that I've read: THE RED TENT, THE SANDCASTLE GIRLS, and non-fiction by Bruce Feiler: WALKING THE BIBLE (also DVD tie-in), and ABRAHAM, so far; may also read WHERE GOD WAS BORN.
Some other books I recently read, which while on the surface seem very dissimilar in matter of time, location & male viewpoint, also share a common theme--exploring how abandoning your values may be the real "fate worse than death": FENCING MASTER and CAPTAIN ALATRISTE by Arturo Perez Reverte (his QUEEN OF THE SOUTH, loosely inspired by COUNT OF MONET CRISTO by Dumas, features an unusual "heroine").
Memoir WAITING FOR SNOW IN HAVANA by Carlos Eire, about life just before and after Fidel Castro regime's take-over of Cuba, uses metaphor of sexual abuse of others to reflect how a totalitarian regime may dupe or coerce a country's people; seems to me author may feels that when between consenting adults (as with his uncle and the circus acrobat the latter lived with ), homosexual behavior may be an acceptable choice in a free society. BTW, Eire--son of a judge in Cuba--describes working as an underage refugee dishwasher after fleeing to the United States as a child without his parents in "Operation Peter Pan"--eventually became Professor of Religious Studies and History at Yale.
Theme of women's struggle for survival during times of culture clashes or war is also present in SHANGHAI SISTERS and DREAMS OF JOY by Lisa See, and A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaled Hosseini, which I've also read . Another novel about importance of freedom of belief which I just listened to on audio is FLY BY NIGHT by Frances Hardinge--which while catagorized as a childrens book, seems to me much more likely to appeal to adults interested in the questions of intellectual and religious liberties.
I haven't yet read NOTHING TO ENVY (non-fiction recommended to me about life in North Korea), but I may already know something about how that divided country is similar to bleak East Germany before fall of Berlin Wall, having watched a lot of TV made in South Korea, sub-titled in English, including historical drama SEOUL: 1945, which like DOVEKEEPERS, follows four very different characters who knew each other as children, then grew up to become political (and romantic) rivals, from before WW II to after Korean War. ("Our Hero" by the way, gets as present for passing exams a biography of Abraham Lincoln, with whom it turns out, he has some things in common, including an early death, tho more accidental than intended; "our heroine" sort of doing the Titanic "my heart will go on" ever-lasting love as between Rose & Jack (Titanic mania truly took place in a very different country as described in THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS--"it's a small world after all", as stressed in YA novel GOING BOVINE (inspired by Don Quixote), which has a quirky "happy ending", i.e. death isn't the end--tho I better end my game of associations ( "that book reminds me of...") to get my chores and holiday prep done! (less)
Page 246: That's what Fidel must have been thinking when he barred us from seeing the Nautilus (Disney's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea") He h...morePage 246: That's what Fidel must have been thinking when he barred us from seeing the Nautilus (Disney's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea") He hated gays with a passion, and still does. Fidel didn't want to perform the usual head trnsplant on gays. No, he despiesed gays so much, he would have much preferred to see the all drowned in the turquoise sea.
They didn't necessarily plant bombs, but they definitely didn't conform to his image of what a genuine Cuban should be. They insisted on exercising their own will, and being different, and following their own impulses.
Which is the last thing one is supposed to do in Fedel's eternal Revolution.
(See also quote in review by LibraryBookGroup)(less)
The author did it! P.D. James made so many changes to the characters, story-telling style, mood and presentation of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE,...moreThe author did it! P.D. James made so many changes to the characters, story-telling style, mood and presentation of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, that the "likeness" to the original seems to me mostly a marketing ploy to attract people who may have never read Austen, only knowing of her books through film or TV versions which also may take many liberties with what these are "based" on.
For example, two relatives of one of character are killed off by James before her novel starts, so that he comes into a title--and therefore becomes better candidate as suitor for Darcy's no-longer-shy younger sister Georgiana.
Georgette Heyer's mysteries (including RELUCTANT WIDOW and TALISMAN RING) which were also set in Jane Austen's world share much more of the latter's charm and appeal, although written around a century later. (Might be due in part to Heyer's immersion in history and literature of the time, which I think she studied at Oxford University.)
Compare typical fanfiction with recent novel by Julie Schumacher: THE UNBEARABLE BOOK CLUB FOR UNSINKABLE GIRLS takes place in different milieu, exploring how characters who share traits with some of Austen's heroines might react in another time and country.(less)
Odd. Will have to read more to see if Maisie's "special gifts" she uses as investigator are more physical (mimicking of body language of persons being...moreOdd. Will have to read more to see if Maisie's "special gifts" she uses as investigator are more physical (mimicking of body language of persons being investigated, in attempt to recreate their feelings, moods, etc) or psychic (her seeming to get flashes of otherworldly insights). Seemed like late 20th century New Age beliefs moved to 1930's on basis of this first title in series. Not really looking forward to being surrounded by suffering of First World War participants or survivors, after just finishing SANDCASTLE GIRLS, so maybe will try again later.
In my comments on "Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard", I mentioned that (I think) it was written as escapism for a young soldier. Don't recall at moment where I had recently read of books that British soldiers used as escapism in the trenches (not necessarily "light" fiction, but anything removed from their immediate surroundings or involving deep thought (like philosophy, ancient classical literature, history).
I just read Kipling's short story "The Janeites" mentioned in JANE'S FAME: HOW JANE AUSTEN CONQUERED THE WORLD by Claire Harman (wouldn't recommend latter to all, as includes more than I ever want to know about abuse of Austen quotes toward end of 20th century debate on censorship of violence in "entertainment". More enlightening and appealing was A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGE: 33 GREAT WRITERS ON WHY WE READ JANE AUSTEN.
I'm not sure whether the above is really straying off topic--maybe my mind can make unusual connections "leading to revelations" like Maisie Dobbs does in a somewhat different way!
P.S. Fans of Maisie Dobbs might like new "Maggie Hope" series set in WWII that I want to try; 1st title MR CHURCHILL'S SECRETARY, 2nd PRINCESS ELIZABETH'S SPY. That title reminds me that late Queen Mother, Mary's favorite author (I probably read in London Times in 1980's) was P.G. Wodehouse--in whose witty works many other Britons very likely found much needed laughter & escapist entertainment.
BTW (one thing leads to another, especially on the Web), Wikipedia entry on Plum (nickname of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse) gave link to 2012 interview with J.K. Rowling discussing favorite reading; if she could take only three books to a desert island, they'd be collected works of Shakespeare, Wodehouse, and Colette.
I've wondered if Maisie is partly inspired by 1930's mysteries by Gladys Mitchell about eccentric elderly psychoanalyst Mrs. Bradley--and also if Rowling's mad villaness Bellatrix LeStrange (in Harry Potter series) is reference to character's full name, Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley. I haven't been able to get hold of copies, but some Bradley mysteries apparently include supernatural, psychic or witchcraft elements, such as herbal lore (again see Wikipedia). (less)
Somehow this book reminds me a little of book "Time at the Top" and Disney movie "Lady and the Tramp".
From book jacket flap of 1966 edition:
"In twelve...moreSomehow this book reminds me a little of book "Time at the Top" and Disney movie "Lady and the Tramp".
From book jacket flap of 1966 edition:
"In twelve-year-old Jane's well-ordered, unimaginative life, "nothing ever happens." She goes to a private school on New York's upper East Side, and though she is "in" with pamel'as club, she has no best friend and no ideas of her own. Jane just does what's expected of her by Pamela, by her teachrs, and by her parents.
When Kallie, a serious girl who lives in greenwich Village and can never belong to the club, joins Jane's seventh grade class, Jane slowly begins to learn about a new, unconventional way of life.
An octoagonal Victorian doolhouse, a down-and-out puppeteer, a Halloween party, and a countess all lead to an unusual Christmas celebration at Kallie's corner, where Jane takes her first step into the adult world, and makes things happen.
With insight and affection, Alice Low tells this story of the not-quite-teen and her struggle to become a creative and more independent young lady. David stone Martin's picturesque drawings bring New York City--from downtown up--to sparkling life." (less)
One of my favorite childhood books (hardcover of 1966 "Young America Book Club" edition is titled TOMAS TAKES CHARGE). I too re-read this countless ti...moreOne of my favorite childhood books (hardcover of 1966 "Young America Book Club" edition is titled TOMAS TAKES CHARGE). I too re-read this countless times as both young and old(er) reader.
Tho I never really made the connection with where Tomas's family came from (I think he was born after they moved) and myself, I first read it while living in Puerto Rico (where my ancestors also are from), maybe because we "don't look" Hispanic (other Europeans settled on La Isla Del Encanto as well as Spaniards during eras of exploration by boat!)
This book's appeal for me includes author's skill in bringing even minor characters to life, picturesque old neighborhoods (another main character is young woman book illustrator who strayed from artsy Greenwich area) and charm of Robinson Crusoe lifestyle. Like Crusoe, Tomas finds a lot of items to make a home, in city equivalent of beachcombing.
Fans of this book might also try 1966 KALLIE'S CORNER by Alice Low, and 1956 SENORITA OKAY by Nancy Hartwell. (less)
Maybe interest in this novel will encourage publication of non-fiction on the topic. (I had heard of the Armenian genocide before, as it happens.)
I'd...moreMaybe interest in this novel will encourage publication of non-fiction on the topic. (I had heard of the Armenian genocide before, as it happens.)
I'd seen this on display at Barnes & Noble, and it's also (I think) included in recent www.readinggroupchoices.com (or someplace similar), so decided to read before deciding whether to recommend.
At end of audio edition, there's interview with author in which he explains why he used several viewpoints to tell story, partly to avoid unrelenting grimness which some readers commented about his novel "Skeletons at the Feast", which is understandable.
However, I found it hard to believe in the character of Elizabeth Endicott, which almost made me abandon the book early on. Maybe author was trying to show that she wasn't all that different from her grand-daughter in the swinging 1970's.
After reading depictions of educated young American women from well to do families, written in the times in which Endicott goes to college and then overseas, I find it hard to believe that she would have behaved that way--or if she did have habit of throwing herself at men (got to look up exact phrase used), her proper father would have allowed her to join him in a distant country where it would be even more difficult for her to be properly chaperoned.
Compare to novels based on lives of author Maud Hart Lovelace and her friends in what are known as "the Betsy-Tacy" series; description of life at Vassar's women's college are in CARNEY'S HOUSE PARTY in which title character (like EE, a banker's daughter) and other students humourously repeat admonition to remember that they "represent Vassar on every occasion". (I read SANDCASTLE GIRLS to see if it might give background to Christian Syrian immigrants who are major characters in Lovelace's EMILY OF DEEP VALLEY.)
Endicott is supposed to be recent grad of Mt. Holyoke women's college (from which many missionaries often chose wives); it's highly unlikely that a male professor would have sex with femaile students--let alone continue his career there if that was suspected, as EE's suitor and father seem to do. Betsy (based on author Lovelace) famously refuses to hold hands in the dark with young man she is dating! (P.S. On timeline for Mt Holyoke, first male professors were only hired in 1899: one for botany, another for music. Most likely students could not be with them alone like EE seemed to with widowed English prof).
Remember how James' character Daisy Miller (seemingly based on real American young female tourists) was apparently too innocent to realize that her spending time alone with men while seeing the sights was taken as proof of improper behavior (I recall in novel--I think one about EMILY OF NEW MOON--by L. M. Mongomery, best known for Anne of Green Gables series, how deeply shocked character's spinster aunt is that girl's childhood friend--who happens to be male--unthinkingly comes in the house one night to continue chat akward to do leaning out the window. Grace Livingston Hill's early novels (such as DAILY RATE) can give look at life of young women around that time.
TV series tie-in book THE CHRONICLES OF DOWNTON ABBEY quotes from book published in early 1920's on marital sex that stresses that society looked down on women who had "experience" (again, plan to look up exact quote).
Women of "good families" who had money and connections--expecially male relatives who could avenge any "dishonor"--would unlikely be approached by men trying to seduce them (again, see examples in Jane Austen. Remember, before reliable birth control, for most women sex very often meant pregnancy and even danger). I'd also recently read studies of JANE EYRE's refusal to become mistress of man she loved, or marry missionary she admired but didn't love.
This may seem like a tempest in a teapot compared to "outrages" suffered by the Armenian women, but it's part of that same world--one reason why women refugees were separated from their male relatives who would defend them. Just after SANDCASTLE GIRLS, reading LOST CITY OF Z and the attempts at genocide of Amazonian natives leads one to hope that improvements in communication (camera phones, internet) to break through secrecy that fosters belief by agressors that they could get away with mass murder. Partnered with knowledge,sympathy and respect for other cultures, may horrific historical events like these one day only be distant nightmares never to be repeated in the future of humankind.
Tho this novel has Sylvia Hardy(known as "the Maine Giantess") work for P.T. Barnum BEFORE Lavinia Warren did, according to what I read online, Warren...moreTho this novel has Sylvia Hardy(known as "the Maine Giantess") work for P.T. Barnum BEFORE Lavinia Warren did, according to what I read online, Warren (who had relatives in town where Hardy lived) was the one who persuaded her friend to join her as employees of Barnum.
I didn't actually read the complete novel, but skipped part about her sister's death and the hotel fire (which I read about in Wikipedia entry). Audio version includes interview with author Melanie Benjamin who mentions "Vinnie's" unfinished memoir which was mostly listing of places she'd been.
The later might be book with similar name to novel, edited by A. H. Saxon, who wrote biography "P.T. Barnum: the Legend and the Man". Not sure if I will ever read that, as I mainly tried this novel because someone I know read it, and wondered wheither to recommend to others I know.
I'm trying to recall women writer's (outside canon of literary classics) who've lifetimes overlaped with Lavinia Warren Bump's to get idea of women's narrative styles of those eras. Maybe I will compare with novels meant for adults by Frances Hodgeson Burnett (best known for children's books SECRET GARDEN, LITTLE PRINCESS, etc., early novels by Grace Livingston Hill and her aunt/writing mentor Isabella Alden (who wrote widely under pen name "Pansy"--from French word "pensee" which means "thoughts", and Louisa May Alcott (been meaning to read her lesser known OLD FASHIONED GIRL, about a working woman).
P.S. I also read online that Vinnie and her sister Minnie inherited pituitary disorder caused by closely intermarried families; their father and mother were first cousins, I think.
I don't know if narrative "voice" (somewhat formal and stilted) is accurate reflection of the real Lavinia Warren's writing style, or just the modern novelist's idea of American schoolmarm during the time. But recent re-reading of Jane Austen's lively letters made title characters of this novel seem rather remote to me. (less)