One of my personal reading goals I set when Covid-19 first started turning things upside down was to read more of the books on my own personal shelves, things I'd bought but not read yet. I wasn't counting on my reading mojo plummeting, and truthfully, as far as timing went, I might have chosen a bit more wisely than to read a book that begins with a cataclysmic event that will likely be a human extinction event in time. So while I was fairly certain I would ultimately enjoy Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars, first book in her Lady Astronaut series, it took a bit for me to fully
Red Land Black Land is a historical exploration of ancient Egyptian civilizations that discusses religion, rulers, and artifacts, but also focuses on the daily lives and experiences of ancient Egyptians – peasants and pharaohs alike. Some of the topics I found most interesting centered on the smaller details of life, like how people viewed pets, how clothing was made, what foods were popular, and what people did in their spare time.
Mertz uses a conversational tone for this title, making it feel far from a textbook and much more like an interesting story being told by a friend. It's easy
It Can’t Be Don’t, Nellie Bly is a short, but interesting chapter book about Nellie Bly, a journalist in 1888, when women were not considered journalists.
Inspired by Jules Verne’s book Around the World in 80 Days, Nellie tries to see if one can, in fact, travel around the world in eighty days. And in trying, she wants to beat Verne’s time. Halfway through her journey she finds out there is a journalist from the magazine Cosmopolitan trying to beat her. It Can't Be Done, Nellie Bly takes you on her adventure. Come along and see if she makes it!
It's 1845 Haworth, West Yorkshire, England. This historical depiction shows a very bleak and distressing side to the famous Bronte sisters lives. Back when there were very few opportunities for women, it tells of the hardships Charlotte, Emily and Anne faced. It also includes the downfall of their brother Patrick, who they all called by his middle name Bramwell. His was a tortured soul that could not live up to his own expectations and took it out on his father.
To Walk Invisible created a desire for further research.
The Daylight Gate was a whim I picked up that fit neatly into my October/Halloween/Witch reading theme, and that delighted me more than I expected. I read Winterson years ago for a post-structuralist college class and only remembered her fondly to feel smarter about myself. This time, I picked her up for the shiny cover and, yes, the promise of witches.
The Daylight Gate is a semi-historical novel about one of the earliest seventeenth century English witch-hunts. It's suitably foreboding, and you watch doom circle and dive at every one of the characters. There’s magic and politics
Sara Lapp, known in the Amish community as Spinster Sara and shunned because she studied to be a midwife, thinks she has been summoned to assist her best friend Abby during birth. But when Sara arrives, Abby is dead. Abby’s husband, “mad” Adam Zuckerman, tells Sara she must take the children and leave but she refuses. Obviously, the death of his wife has not changed his usual manner; ill-tempered, cold and totally indifferent to everyone’s feelings including those of his children. Sara can’t help but question why he wants to send his small daughters away, and questions even more the look
Alice is only seven years old when she, her parents, and two brothers sail from London to the new world chasing her father’s dream of a better life. But the crossing is full of misery and death and when the ship finally arrives in Boston, Alice and her father are all that is left of their family. Without a backward glance or proper farewell to Alice, her father sells her into servitude to pay his debts and she becomes indentured until she reaches the age of eighteen. Luckily for Alice, the family to which she is now bound is a loving one. Over the years Mr. and Mrs. Morton as well as their
The Bolter is a scandalous biography of Idina Sackville written by her great-granddaughter who is married to the finance minister of England. It begins in the flapper age and continues until World War II. Idina was a blue-eyed beauty, elegant and smart. She was born into a social class of irresponsible wealth, nightclubs, country clubs and weekends of wife-swapping, which was not unusual behavior for the aristocracy of England in the early twentieth century.
After the First World War, Osborne describes a world with too much money, too much death and too many parties. By 1922 nudity and
Willow Madison is a young woman of faith who knows well that life isn’t always perfect and that sometimes you have to dig deep to find the courage you need to do what must be done. During the war, she and her friends Copper and Audrey repeatedly fought off the Yankees to save their small town of Timber Creek from total destruction. Loss of life and property was great, but now the war is over and with God’s grace it is time to begin again, to try and rebuild. Neither Willow nor any of the others have much left to them, but Willow has always felt a strong responsibility to care for others. When
This novel was found on Michael Crichton’s computer after his death. How convenient! Steven Spielberg has bought the film rights and I understand why. Every conceivable adventure that could happen to a pirate in the 1600’s of the Spanish Main does so- hurricanes, battles at sea, fortress attacks. There is even a “cracken”! Charles Hunter is a Harvard educated (what else?) privateer who preys on the hated Spanish for the crown in the Caribbean of 1665. Once the treasure ship is captured, the long knives of betrayal come out and the fun begins! Crichton does his usual thorough research on pirate
1942 couldn’t have been better and couldn’t have been worse for Kate Goodfellow. As a war correspondent for World magazine, Kate takes on the world both personally and professionally, capturing once in a lifetime moments in pictures. Never mind that it’s a world ruled by the likes of Otis Bennett, owner of World magazine, who would have her sidelined where it’s “safer for women”. Kate’s got an exclusive and she’s on her way to North Africa, following the story, following the troops, whether she has Bennett’s approval or not. Territorial rights of correspondents could be sorted out later once
The story takes place in Berlin in 1945 when an accomplished, well educated and sophisticated journalist and editor found herself trapped in the Russian occupied sector for a period of eight weeks during the end of World War II. She kept a record of the events of her life and also daily events of the people in her apartment. The diary centered around two people in her apartment and the different Russian soldiers she is forced into contact with.With Berlin in ruins and mostly occupied by women and children, conventional morality did not exist. The Russians were in control of food, water and