What an unhappy story. By some twist of fate Juanita Carberry is born among notables from a certain period of Kenyan history, but they sound like awfuWhat an unhappy story. By some twist of fate Juanita Carberry is born among notables from a certain period of Kenyan history, but they sound like awful people. It's hard not to notice the irony of the "Happy" Valley when the main character is treated like garbage. Her father stuffs her in his plane with the baggage and forces her to swim in shark-infested waters, among other savory anecdotes. I love the descriptions of the flora and fauna in Africa, but I wouldn't wish her childhood on anyone. ...more
This book arrived at my office for preview and I picked it up. I wasn't expecting much, but instead thoroughly enjoyed reading about the history of prThis book arrived at my office for preview and I picked it up. I wasn't expecting much, but instead thoroughly enjoyed reading about the history of pre-revolutionary France and a women who was incredibly modern for her time. She elaborated on Newton's theories and Voltaire had a hell of a time trying to keep up.
Voltaire was also pretty amazing, not only was he a renegage poet and playwright but he was also a savvy business men who bought and sold in order to fund his writing habit.
I also really liked Galileo's Daughter, which was similar thematically. ...more
From Amazon: In 1966, 29-year-old Margot Harrington heads off to Florence, intent on doing her bit to protecAnother get away and dream of Italy book.
From Amazon: In 1966, 29-year-old Margot Harrington heads off to Florence, intent on doing her bit to protect its precious books from the great floods--and equally intent on adventure. Serendipity, in the shape of the man she'll fall in love with, leads her to an abbey run by the most knowing of abbesses and work on its library begins. One day a nun comes upon a shockingly pornographic volume, bound with a prayer book. It turns out to be Aretino's lost erotic sonnets, accompanied by some rather anatomical engravings. Since the pope had ordered all copies of the Sixteen Pleasures burned, it could be worth a fortune and keep the convent autonomous. The abbess asks Margot to take care of the book and check into its worth: "We have to be cunning as serpents and innocent as doves," she warns. Soon our heroine finds her identity increasingly "tangled up" with the volume and with Dottor Postiglione, a man with an instinct for happiness--but also one for self-preservation. Margot enjoys the secrecy and the craft (the chapters in which she rebinds the folios are among the book's finest). Much of the book's pleasure stems from Robert Hellenga's easy knowledge, which extends to Italian complexities. Where else would you learn that, in cases of impotence, legal depositions are insufficient: "Modern couples often take the precaution of sending postcards to each other from the time of their engagement, leaving the message space blank so that it can be filled in later if the couple wishes to establish grounds for an annulment." Luckily, however, there are also shops that sell old postcards, "along with the appropriate writing instruments and inks."