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Showing posts from March, 2020

Can you interpret the lockdown?

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When they tell you we're in lockdown, what's your first thought?

Now we'll be safeDon't tell me what to doWhat exactly does it meanHow can I work around it and live normallyHow can I benefit from this...? Or maybeWe've never lived in such a time! But the truth is, we've lived - as a nation, as a world - through far worse times, as A.J. Sidransky's The Interpreter most evocatively and powerfully reminds us. Feeling separate from family? How separate must those Jewish children have felt, evacuated to protect them from Hitler's rolling tide?Nervous about buying food? What about those who had no food?Not sure who to trust? Pretending to be someone you're not so you won't get stopped...Angry at those who don't treat it seriously? Angry at collaborators?Despairing? A greater despair when the more you learn the more you learn you've lost...Betrayed? And oh how we betrayed people back thenAfraid it will change you? But war changes you moreApart fr…

Is there light in the dark?

Crime in the Civil War, WWII, in the 60s, in the present day... crime, it seems, is always with us, and the people who deal with it continue to cope with its effect on themselves in different ways. Meanwhile authors write about them. I've enjoyed a number of books with backgrounds in crime recently--an escape perhaps to a more dangerous world, where good people remind me my comfort doesn't only rest on the world being good. Not that all these books had terribly positive endings, but you can join me in a read and a coffee if you choose.

First on my review list is Money and Good Things by Yael Politis. Fifth in the Olivia series, and due to be released later this month, it's a fast-moving, exciting tale of love in a time of approaching Civil War, and of the various machinations needed to protect a good man from evil. Watch out for it coming soon, and enjoy with some elegant complex four-star coffee.

Transcription by Kate Atkinson starts in England on the road to WWII. It'…

Who ignited the women's rights movement?

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Today I get to introduce author Douglas A. Burton and his heroic sage of the Byzantine Empress Theodora, described as "a courageous girl who challenged the Roman-Byzantine aristocracy and ignited the women’s rights movement." Having read the novel, I can quite agree with the description, and I'm longing for more! I highly recommend this book, and here's my review:

Far Away Bird by Douglas Burton Douglas Burton’s evocative novel of 6th Century Constantinople brings to life the pomp and misery of a changing world. The Roman Empire and the Christian church are split into opposing factions, while emperors cling to power, popes cling to dogma, and streets fall to chaos. Young Theodora’s happy childhood is abruptly halted by the death of her father, and Far Away Bird tells the story of her growth into powerful womanhood. Readers will know she’s destined to be an Empress, but how does a helpless girl sold to the highest bidder reach such heights?
Vivid depictions of a city …

Christmas in March? Hollywood in hearts?

Christmas brought lots of gift books, cheap books, ebooks and books, books, books. I ended up reading Christmas stories in February sunshine and March hail, but December's snow and sweet romances were maybe just what I needed. A touch of Christmas cheer as winter drags on... So here are some reviews of books you might want to read next Christmas, or you might choose now instead. And some romances. And maybe one quite seriously enjoyable memoir with just the right touch of romantic reality.

First is Sincerely Dina Lamont by Christopher McPherson, a book I really intended to read before Christmas. The name felt vaguely familiar--Dina Lamont. But the story is so much more than anything familiar; a real girl whose house floats away; a real mother whose husband doesn't understand; a real star who fights to be seen for who she is; and a real historical background of Hollywood and beyond. Names aren't "dropped" in this book. They belong, as all the characters do, to a w…

Dystopia on your mind?

Sometimes it feels like we're living in a scifi world. A friend showed me how an author had "predicted" the corona virus, but the mathematician in me looked at the number of books the author had written that have not come true and concluded prediction might be more like good imagination. I guess the same thing happened after 9/11, where those with good imaginations were often credited with predictive skills. But science fiction authors don't predict. They use the present to imagine the future, and sometimes maybe even hope their readers might prevent that future from arising. I wish the corona virus wasn't here (after all, I'm still planning to fly to visit family!). But I'll keep reading scifi (and social-fi, and historical-fi and more). And here are some book reviews to help you choose your next "fi." (And your next cup of coffee!)

Walkaway by Cory Doctorow is a futuristic epic that imagines a near-future of ecological and social disaster. Huma…