I'm definitely fascinated with World War 2, especially with Nazi Germany, so when I was intrigued by this biography of Goebbels when I saw it on netgaI'm definitely fascinated with World War 2, especially with Nazi Germany, so when I was intrigued by this biography of Goebbels when I saw it on netgalley. I know the name and that he was charge of propaganda, but other than that, I didn't know anything, so I definitely wanted to learn more about him.
This biography is definitely daunting and very, very detailed- it's an astounding 900+ pages, and it was definitely a marathon of a book. Nothing really jumped out at me as particularly interesting, other than Goebbels studied philosophy and that he was loyal to Hitler, to the point of murdering his children before taking his own life. I feel like, at the end of the book, I knew as much about him as I did before I started the book.
It's definitely dense (and on the dry side) and I had to fight the urge to skim the book (which I maybe did at certain points throughout the book). I don't know that it's the best book for someone who doesn't know much about Goebbels, and since it leans more to the scholarly end of things, it might be better suited for people who are really into World World 2 and Nazi Germany (especially those close to Hitler).
This biography really goes into depth about Goebbels and why he did the things he did, and what made him tick. It's also a really good look at some of what was going on during that time, because of his journals. It's also why it's a slow read, because it's very meticulous.
Let's Rate It: This biography is definitely not a book for everyone, but still worth checking out for historians and students or for anyone studying the Holocaust or the Nazi's (or World War 2). Goebbels: A Biography gets 2 stars....more
I've been meaning to read The Princes Of The Tower for quite a while, so it's about time I actually read it! I liked it but not as much as I thought II've been meaning to read The Princes Of The Tower for quite a while, so it's about time I actually read it! I liked it but not as much as I thought I would.
As much as I love Weir, it's a book you need to go into with some knowledge of the time period and the people. I've read several books about the Tudors, but I know very little of the events that led to the Tudors taking the throne, so for a few chapters, I felt really confused by all of the names and events.
It definitely felt like Weir set out to prove that Richard III was the one behind the mysterious murders of the two Princes, and it did feel like Weir didn't go into this as objectively as one would think. She does make some good points, and Richard III does seem like the likeliest suspect, but I don't know that he's as evil as Weir would make him out to be.
Still, it's a really good overview of the time, and the events that led to the reign of Henry VII. There is quite a bit of information, and I like that Weir mentions sources from that time period. I did get the sense that there's not a lot we know, and that some of the sources may be sketchy. Still, with some of the things that have come out over the last few years, with the discovery of Richard III's grave, I'd be curious to see a more updated book.
Let's Rate It: The Princes In The Tower was an interesting read, and it's a good overview of the time. It did seem slightly biased against Richard III and it's not the best for people who aren't super familiar with the time period. It still has some interesting things to think about. The Princes In The Tower get 3 stars....more
When I saw this biography on netgalley, I was intrigued because I know the name, but not the person behind the name. Unfortunately, I didn't like MadeWhen I saw this biography on netgalley, I was intrigued because I know the name, but not the person behind the name. Unfortunately, I didn't like Mademoiselle as much as I thought.
It was very interesting to how she got into fashion, and what her early life was like. It did get very repetitive at times- it was tiring to read that Chanel wanted to re-write her own life over and over and over. Mademoiselle was very detailed and had a lot of information- too much information for me. There were times when I skimmed the book (mostly at the end of the book), just because I couldn't take in any more details. For me, there was so much detail that nothing really stood out to me. Sometimes it felt like names and events were thrown at me. And it felt much more like we got all of the different people and events that had an influence on Chanel personally and professionally, and not a lot about Chanel. I know that they all had a big impact on her life, but I wish I walked away with a better sense of Chanel.
I did like that there were photos and quotes from Chanel herself scattered throughout the book. It made Chanel much more real to see her own words throughout the book. It also seemed like a very objective look at Chanel's life, but as a result, it seemed a little dry, and I would have liked the little something extra that seemed missing. I do think anyone who's curious about Chanel and anyone who's into fashion will like this book.
Let's Rate It: Mademoiselle got a little too detailed and was a little too repetitive at times, which made it okay for me. It's still an interesting look at the person who started this huge and iconic company. Mademoiselle gets 2 stars.
*I received Mademoiselle from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review...more
Maya Angelou really is quite the woman! After hearing that she passed away, I knew I had to read her autobiographies. I read I Know Why The Caged BirdMaya Angelou really is quite the woman! After hearing that she passed away, I knew I had to read her autobiographies. I read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings years ago, but it never occurred to me to pick up her other ones. I really am sad that I didn't read them earlier.
I'm actually glad I went with her collected autobiographies, because she did so much, and I felt like her life story flowed a lot better being able to read all of her autobiographies as a collective whole.
I loved seeing her life up to when she started writing I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and she had such an eventful life! It did get a little tedious at times, especially with All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes and A Song Flung Up To Heaven. All together, it was a definitely a marathon, and I think by the time I got to her last two books, I kind of wanted to be done with her autobiographies. They were interesting, and I don't want to take away from that at all, but I also wish I had taken a little more time with them.
It's so easy to see how she became the person that she was- she is definitely a survivor, and always landed on her own two feet, no matter what happened to her. I was quite surprised by some of things I read- like running a brothel, and traveling all over the world (and even making an effort to learn the language of every country she visited) and working for both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr...she is truly an inspiration, and I feel like we're so lucky that she shared her story with us.
She really does have a way with words, and there were times when I forgot I was reading an autobiography. There's something very poetic about the way she writes, and she has a way of feeling like she's telling you a story.
Let's Rate It: I feel so honored to have read Maya Angelou's story. I feel like I understand her world so much better after reading her autobiographies, and I really regret taking so long to read them! Reading them as one collective work was daunting, especially with her last couple autobiographies, but I also liked seeing her life as a whole, instead of in shorter stories. Her Collected Autobiographies get 4 stars....more
When I saw Empty Mansions on netgalley, I knew I had to request it! While it sounded interested, it was far more interesting than I ever could have imWhen I saw Empty Mansions on netgalley, I knew I had to request it! While it sounded interested, it was far more interesting than I ever could have imagined.
Huguette was such an interesting and eccentric woman, and she really came to life in Empty Mansions. The book does jump around in terms of time and place, but I didn't mind it, because it gave a really good picture of who Huguette was as a person, and why maintaining mansions that she never visited or hadn't visited in decades was something she did.
Her love of painting and her interest in art was one of the most interesting things about her. And the fact that her relatives hadn't seen her since the 1950's and 1960's was also super-interesting. I can't imagine only communicating with someone by mail or over the phone...and not knowing that she was living in a hospital room for something like 20 years or that she had cancer.
Like, she just randomly gave away millions of dollars. She was very giving- if someone mentioned a child or grandchild going to grad school or needing work done at home, she'd write a check with no hesitation. She lived a very long life, and given she lived to be over a hundred, she seemed to be in pretty good health and pretty alert. And she didn't write out a will until really late in life. I found myself really irritated with the hospital she lived at, because part of the book talks about their plan for donations from Huguette. I understand wanting/needing donations, and targeting a very wealthy patient. Some of the doctors and at least one of her nurses accepted monetary gifts from Huguette and it seems like they did what they could to hide Huguette from inspectors, which kind of makes them suspect. And I'm not sure if it's coincidence or what, but her room got moved when they learned they weren't getting a large sum from her in her will.
Also: her family challenging her will. I get their concern (especially in regards to her accountant) but it's interesting that they'd challenge her will, given they hadn't seen her in decades, and tried to get messages to Huguette, even though she didn't seem interested in communicating with them. As of now, things still are not resolved.
Final Thoughts: Empty Mansions is such an interesting and complex look at Huguette Clark, her life and her homes. I definitely recommend the book! Empty Mansions gets 4 stars.
*Empty Mansions is an e-ARC from netgalley.com, which has not influenced my review in any way...more
Agorafabulous! was a delightful read. Sara's very relatable, and it was fun to read her take on what it's like to be agoraphobic and her struggles witAgorafabulous! was a delightful read. Sara's very relatable, and it was fun to read her take on what it's like to be agoraphobic and her struggles with anxiety and depression. There were times when I couldn't stop laughing, and it was great to see her (mostly) humorous look at what she's been through. It was pretty light-hearted, which I really liked, because it's a nice change from a serious look at your past-type of memoir.
It was great to see that she made it through something that was so crippling for her, and it is inspiring to see her go from a student who's scared to go to the bathroom to someone who leads a successful life and is able to manage any anxiety that comes up.
You get a look at why she didn't leave her home- for her, staying home was the sensible decision because if she left, she'd die. And honestly? Her thought process makes perfect sense to me, and it really does show how horrible and debilitating anxiety can be.
I liked that you (briefly) saw what life was like before her crippling anxiety and life after. It's pretty focused on a specific time period time. I liked that because you don't get a long story about everything leading up to her college years and how getting treated for it was this life-changing event. But a little more context would have been nice too.
Agorafabulous! was a fun read but also a little inspiring. It gets a 4 out of 5....more
Tudor England is one of my favorite periods in history, so when I saw this book, I knew I had to get it.
It definitely wasn't what I was expecting. TheTudor England is one of my favorite periods in history, so when I saw this book, I knew I had to get it.
It definitely wasn't what I was expecting. The thing with Mary is that very little is known about her, so it was of Weir trying to dispel all the myths surrounding her. It was more along the lines of what we know and think we know about her and why they're correct (or not correct). We learn a lot about her family and how she didn't seem to have a huge impact in a time that had a lot going on. It really was more about what we don't know than what we do know.
Mary, as a person, was pretty unremarkable, especially with how little information there is about her, but Weir did the best she could. Learning more about her 2 husbands was really interesting, but she spent a little too much time on possible birth dates for both Anne and Mary. It really seemed like their ages were going to be important- only for it to not be as important as I expected.
I did like this book, but it was just too much of a stretch. There just isn't enough to fill pages upon pages. I found myself getting slightly frustrated with how pop culture gets history wrong. It has to be frustrating to see t.v. shows and movies take liberties with history, but at the same time, it was frustrating to see her take it so seriously. She is very readable, and she has an eye for detail, but I really felt like she lost something with this one.
I think the part about how she wasn't this great and infamous whore was the most interesting part of the book. Weir goes into quite a bit of detail, and the idea that if she had such a reputation, there would probably be more in terms of records.
Final thoughts: I liked it, but it was more speculation and debunking of myths than anything else. I think it would have worked slightly better as a biography of the Boleyn family as a whole. It gets 3 stars....more
This was such a wonderful book! And add it to the very short list of books that have made me cry.
This is the 2nd book I've read that was written by sThis was such a wonderful book! And add it to the very short list of books that have made me cry.
This is the 2nd book I've read that was written by someone who attended Little Rock Central High- the other one was Warriors Don't Cry.
Her reason for going to Central High was because she wanted to go to one of the top high schools in the country, and not because of the history it would make. It was clear throughout the whole book that education was important to her and her family. Some of the events of the book were very familiar because of Warriors Don't Cry, but it was very interesting to see a different perspective of what it was like.
I can't even begin to imagine what it was really like for her. All the comments, insults, and other things that happened...I can read about it all I want, but it's just so hard to believe that she made it through to her graduation. If that isn't courage, perseverance, and willingness to complete her education, I don't what is. It's hard to believe that, like, 55 years ago, integrating schools was a huge thing. I know it happened and all, but it's not something I think about very often...if at all.
Most of all, this book is a good reminder of the past, that not too long ago, things were different but that things can change.
There were 2 things that really stuck out. One, she could have gone to college after her junior year in high school, and even got accepted to a university. But she made the decision to go back to Central High, because she had gone through so much just to graduate from there. And two, the fact that she did her best to put that time of her life behind her. I don't blame her at all, and remembering her high school years must have been hard. But it seems like she's made peace with it, and wants to make sure that people don't forget that things were once different.
This was interesting. I've heard of the Lost Boys, but other than hearing the name, I didn't know anything about them.
I liked seeing what things wereThis was interesting. I've heard of the Lost Boys, but other than hearing the name, I didn't know anything about them.
I liked seeing what things were like for him, and how his life was changed because of what he's been through. I can't even begin to imagine what things were like for him...betrayal, being forced to fight, and starvation don't seem to cover half of what being a child soldier entailed. It was inspiring to see him go from child soldier to being a successful singer.
I'm glad I read it, because you see that while it's possible to move on, one can never truly recover from something so horrific.
I liked it, but it's more about what his own experience was like. You don't get an overview of what happened or anything, but I would like to learn more about what lead to the civil wars in Sudan. While it's a linear story, it felt a little disjointed. It was linear, but it didn't feel linear- if that makes any sense.
I give it a 3 out of 5. It's interesting, but I felt a little disconnected from the story. ...more
I finally read The Diary Of Anne Frank! I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would.
I liked seeing her experiences of what it was like living inI finally read The Diary Of Anne Frank! I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would.
I liked seeing her experiences of what it was like living in the Secret Annex, and the one thing I was struck by was how things don't really change. I mean, I could totally relate to how she felt and the relationships between her and her family. Some things really are universal.
I'm glad I read it. But I think I really built it up as this totally amazing book. Don't get me wrong, I think it's an important, must-read. But it didn't really do anything for me either.
It's great as diary, and seeing her own thoughts and life in hiding. There were times when I was bored out of my mind reading it, but when you're in hiding and have to be careful about how much noise you make and that sort of thing, it is to be expected. I think it's really more of a coming-of-age story than anything else.
I liked this book, and I really liked reading about Mary. It was a nice change from reading about Henry VIII's wives and about Elizabeth I.
I really lI liked this book, and I really liked reading about Mary. It was a nice change from reading about Henry VIII's wives and about Elizabeth I.
I really liked that it didn't focus too much on her childhood, her dislike of Anne Boleyn and her relationship with her sister. It is a very good overview of Mary's life and what was going on during her lifetime. There were plenty of details about Mary without getting bogged down in them.
The one thing I noticed is that Porter sees Mary in a very positive light. Porter is not completely objective in this biography, but I can appreciate that she is portraying Mary in a different way than what we're used to. I don't see Mary any differently after reading this book, but you get a very good sense of who Mary is and the different people and events that influenced her.
It gets a 3 out of 5. I liked it, and while it isn't too detailed, it is a really good introduction to Mary Tudor. ...more
I thought Matilda was most interesting, and Isabella was pretty interesting too. Margaret's section was the most familiar to me, so I ended up glossinI thought Matilda was most interesting, and Isabella was pretty interesting too. Margaret's section was the most familiar to me, so I ended up glossing over it. Eleanor was also interesting, and while I knew of her, and probably learned about her at some point, I was a bit fuzzy on her life's story.
It was dry, and pretty dense. It was hard to get through, and the only reason I managed to do it in one sitting was because I had nothing else to do. She managed to connect Matilda, Eleanor, Isabella and Margaret to both Elizabeth I and her sister Mary (a queen in her own right) rather well, and it was at that point that her interest seemed to shine through.
It is a very good overview of 4 women, and she does a good job at condensing the information, especially in the Margaret of Anjou/Wars Of The Roses section. If you've read about any of them, then you might be bored. But if you want an overview, this is the book for you.
I give it a 2 out of 5. It was just okay for me, but has some good information in it. ...more
I really liked it. Fraser was relatively unbiased, and it was a very impartial look at each of his wives. Henry is rarely mentioned, and it's a greatI really liked it. Fraser was relatively unbiased, and it was a very impartial look at each of his wives. Henry is rarely mentioned, and it's a great look at each of his wives, with their own identity and personality. It gives you a good overview of their lives and who they were as people. I really appreciate the fact that it was more about the women as individuals as opposed to the men surrounding them.
But in all honesty, I had some trouble sitting down and reading it. It's nothing against the book or Antonia Fraser, but this is the 3rd different book I've read about Henry's wives, so at times, it was pretty repetitive. However, it is the most readable of the 3 I've read, so I'm not sure if I could pick between Fraser's book and Alison Weir's book.
Fraser attempted to break down the stereotypes and myths of each woman, which I thought was an interesting take on them. It worked okay, and for the most part, her telling seemed to be pretty standard.
The narrative itself flowed pretty well, and it was also organized fairly well. Some of the chapter divides were somewhat strange, and things included in one chapter (or section in some cases) were better suited being in the previous one.
Overall, it gets a 4 out of 5. It's well-researched and pretty unbiased. ...more