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Old 05-12-2017, 06:22 AM   #51
ChloeTzang
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The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S Lowell

I don't remember where I first read about the Mitford Sisters but I've been fascinated by them for years. There were five girls who were supposedly amongst the most beautiful in England back in the 1930's. Nancy Mitford became one of the best-selling novelists of the time, Diana Mitford married the heir to the Guinness Brewery family, divorced him and then married Sir Oswald Mosley, a left wing MP who founded and led the British Union of Fascists. Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire and passed away only very recently, Unity Mitford was a close friend of Hitler and shot herself when Britain declared war on Germany. She was medically evacuated back to Britain via Switzerland at Hitler's direction. The youngest sister, Jessica Mitford, was a Communist and ran away with her boyfriend to Spain to report on the Republican fight in the Spanish Civil War. Reportedly, the British Govt sent a Royal Navy destroyer to Spain to bring her back. She went on to become a best selling author herself and emigrated to the US.

It's a wonderful book about a fascinating family.


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Old 05-13-2017, 08:51 AM   #52
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Finally cracked open the book my sister gave me for Christmas. A special edition of Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions with forwards by Peter Gilmore (Levay's Church of Satan.) Lucien Grieves (founder of the satanic temple) and several other occult figures.

Having read the book itself a few times, the forwards are what I'm enjoying the most. Some great insights.

I'll plug the movie as well, very well done.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:35 PM   #53
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The Cook Up - A Crack Rock Memoir by D Watkins

Crack dealing on the streets of East Baltimore. Not a light read at all.

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Old 05-19-2017, 08:58 AM   #54
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The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp, very funny as a good detective tale.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:16 PM   #55
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Finishing up Sue Grafton's X and starting out on Sharon Kay Penman's Lionheart (which is going to take a while to plow through).
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:02 AM   #56
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Just finished reading Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan. Really entertaining look at a bunch of wealthy chinese. “There’s rich, there’s filthy rich, and then there’s crazy rich. . . ."

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Old 05-20-2017, 01:41 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChloeTzang View Post
The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S Lowell
I agree that was a good book--a fascinating look at the times and how people and political movements intersected.

A similar book from that era, as seen through the eyes of sisters, is Five Sisters: The Langhornes of Virginia, by James Fox. Lady Nancy Astor, raised just of few miles from where I live in Virginia, at Mirador, was "that woman" in the British Parliament during the Churchill era. One of her sisters was the Gibson Girl, the model for the flapper look era.

Another book I've just finished that features intersections of the latter segment of that time, concentrating more on espionage/politics than society/politics is Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures, 1935-1961, by a former colleague of mine, Nicholas Reynolds. It seems that Ernest, a country unto himself, was doing some spying for the U.S., Russia, and Cuba simultaneously. The book made the New York Times best-seller list for one week this spring.
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Old 05-21-2017, 06:09 AM   #58
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THE COLDEST WINTER by David Halberstam.


Its a fat dissection of how we got the Korean War.

Halberstam invented digression. His style is a big bag of tangential points and loose associations that expose the soul of his subject. I learned plenty about William Howard Taft who was dead long before the war.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:34 PM   #59
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Old 05-21-2017, 08:59 PM   #60
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Just finished a surprisingly good fantasy novel - N.M. Howell's Marked by Dragon's Blood


The world building is superb. Howell recently earned her Master's in Architecture and it shows. Her physical descriptions are great. A lot of the book takes place in a university, and it is very well and uniquely developed and described.
Her characters were good beyond occasional stupidity on the part of the main heroine but it didn't drive me nuts.
Another huge plus is an epic battle scene near the end that was seriously Tolkien and Sanderson worthy.

It doesn't hurt that I first found this author as she writes erotica under her first and middle names (Nicole Marie.) her first book had a four way sex scene that was killer.

I will definitely be reading the second book when it comes out.
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Old 05-21-2017, 11:07 PM   #61
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Quote:
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Just finished a surprisingly good fantasy novel - N.M. Howell's Marked by Dragon's Blood
I'm going to have to try that one.

Today I was on a reading kick. Finished a chicklit novel, and a memoir ("The Girl's Guide to Homelessness" - the chicklit novel was "Breathe into Me" by Sara Fawkes. Actually quite good and kept me reading right thru to the end. Classic girl with troubled past and problems meets boy and romance flourishes despite all obstacles - an abusive ex-boyfriend, child beating alcoholic Mom, friends who aren't, etc etc - classic "how can I make it worse for the heroine stuff" - and even worse, she drives and old Bronco. I didn't think there were any still on the road, even in novels ... LOL.

Also read "Trailer Park Fae" by Lilith Saintcrow. Not a bad little faery fantasy but the plot was a bit thin and I hate it when a book sets you up to buy the next in the series so darn obviously. Not bad for all that tho. And last but not least, I took Noirtrash's recommendation and got started on James Michener's "Iberia". Quite enjoying his take on Spain, dated as it is to the last days of the great Generalissimo.

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Old 05-22-2017, 10:47 PM   #62
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And for today's light reading... Jennifer Echol's "Such a Rush" - a YA romance and very well written. A young girl who wants to be a pilot and who lives in a trailer park next to an airport. And the heavy reading is William Bernstein's "How Trade Changed the World." starting with Sumer circa 3000BC. I would have liked to see a chapter on earlier trade routes, but he chooses to start with Sumer. I haven't finished it yet but it's a fascinating read. I also have my next non-fiction book lined up - Samuel Kramer's "History Begins at Sumer: Thirty Nine Firsts in Recorded History". I love reading about the Sumerians and the Hittites, it's a really fascinating topic and there's evidence even of Sumerian trade links with China. I find that mind-boggling. I have to read the "Epic of Gilgamesh" sometime.

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Old 05-24-2017, 11:06 AM   #63
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Quote:
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And for today's light reading... Jennifer Echol's "Such a Rush" - a YA romance and very well written. A young girl who wants to be a pilot and who lives in a trailer park next to an airport. And the heavy reading is William Bernstein's "How Trade Changed the World." starting with Sumer circa 3000BC. I would have liked to see a chapter on earlier trade routes, but he chooses to start with Sumer. I haven't finished it yet but it's a fascinating read. I also have my next non-fiction book lined up - Samuel Kramer's "History Begins at Sumer: Thirty Nine Firsts in Recorded History". I love reading about the Sumerians and the Hittites, it's a really fascinating topic and there's evidence even of Sumerian trade links with China. I find that mind-boggling. I have to read the "Epic of Gilgamesh" sometime.

Something similar, I am re-reading A History of the Ancient Near East by Marc Van de Mieroop. Fascinating, but a steady slog. I seem to be taking more in the second time around.

Gilgamesh is fairly short, it's often included with the story of Innana's descent to the underworld which is also a good story which the Greeks later pinched.

I like En-hed-u-anna's hymns too.Translated they seem surprisingly modern, a woman complaining about how the world was treating her. Staggering to think they were written over 4000 years ago.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:52 PM   #64
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I came upon John Ropes in a memoir of our Civil War by Lee's Chief of Artillery, Edward Porter Alexander. Alexander was a genius with military matters, and Lee never lacked bullets or guns with Alexander.

Alexander considered Ropes the ultimate authority of the war. I'd never heard mention of the man by anyone. Amazon has his book about the war. I bought it.

Its 1st chapter is about what our union is, and what diverse groups think it is. Ropes was Russian and had no dog in the fight. Ropes killed the popular constructs about America. Union is the wrong word, secession is the wrong word.

Corporation and abdication are the right words. Our Constitution is a contract. Theses terms make sense of our Reconstruction. For example the Congress expelled several States that opposed the 14th Amendment. Its the time when Andrew Johnson was impeached. He opposed the 14th Amendment, too.

Academics hate books like this one.
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:43 PM   #65
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"Leviathan Wakes", the first "The Expanse" novel. How did I miss this five frickin' years ago? It's like Babylon 5 and cyberpunk rolled into one gleefully messy taco.
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:11 PM   #66
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Quote:
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Gilgamesh is fairly short, it's often included with the story of Innana's descent to the underworld which is also a good story which the Greeks later pinched.

I like En-hed-u-anna's hymns too.Translated they seem surprisingly modern, a woman complaining about how the world was treating her. Staggering to think they were written over 4000 years ago.
Well, we do have some similar interests. I have these three lined up to read next in between my romance and YA novels (the light reading....I always have a pile of them stacked up to relax with - as well as children's novels and odd bits and pieces).

In the non-fiction stack, "The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh" and a beaten up old copy of "Poems of Heaven and Hell from Ancient Mesopotamia" along with "Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia".

In the odd bits and pieces stack, Rosemary Sutcliff's "Sword at Sunset" about King Arthur. Haven't read any of them yet, I'm heads down working my way thru half a dozen YA romances from the library, but their time will come very soon....


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Chloe supports our Veterans by drinking Black Rifle Coffee
Aaaaand... Chloe's first actual published short story ("Blood Sacrifice") now available on Amazon as part of the Sex and Sorcery 4 anthology
And Chloe's first novel, "Mistaken Identity", is also now available (on that website that sells books)

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Old 05-27-2017, 05:26 AM   #67
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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN by Thomas Fleming. 655 pages


I f Franklin had a best friend my 5th great grandfather was the person. They were neighbors, they created several American institutions together, Franklin found a wife for my ancestor, and my ancestor was Frankins doctor. Oddly, my ancestors home is a national historic site, and Franklins home is gone. You've never heard of my ancestor but know what he accomplished. I may learn something from this book.
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Old 05-27-2017, 05:32 AM   #68
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Old 05-27-2017, 08:26 AM   #69
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Old 05-27-2017, 08:43 AM   #70
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My parents recently found a box of paperbacks that belonged to my sister and I.

I'm reading "The Umpire Strikes Back" by former MLB umpire Ron Luciano. Some hilarious stories from baseball in the seventies before they were making millions a year and actually playing for the love of the game.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:46 PM   #71
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What am I trying to read? I've got about that much left. The one I passed is called "All Around The Town". It didn't feel right.
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Old 06-04-2017, 10:15 PM   #72
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Well, now I'm\ve just started working my way thru these two...

Shanghai Baby, by Wei Hui. The risque contents of this breakthrough novel by "hip new author" Wei Hui so alarmed Beijing authorities that thousands of copies have been confiscated and burned. Set in the centuries-old port city of Shanghai, the novel follows the days, and nights, of the irrepressibly carnal Coco, who waits tables in a café when she meets her first lover, a sensitive Chinese artist. Defying her parents, Coco moves in with her boyfriend and enters a frenzied, orgasmic world of drugs and hedonism. But, helpless to stop her gentle lover's descent into addiction, Coco becomes attracted to a boisterous Westerner, a rich German businessman with a penchant for S/M and seduction. Now, with an entourage of friends ranging from a streetwise madame to a rebellious filmmaker, Coco's forays into in the territory of love and lust cross the borders between two cultures -- awakening her guilt and fears of discovery, yet stimulating her emerging sexual self.

And "Peony in Love" by Lisa See.I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret." For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own. Peony's mother is against her daughter's attending the production: "Unmarried girls should not be seen in public." But Peony's father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave-and is immediately overcome with emotion. So begins Peony's unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow-as Lisa See's haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.

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Old 06-05-2017, 12:14 AM   #73
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Still working on Sharon Kay Pennman's Lionheart and have started Michael Pearce's The Donkey-Vous.
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:40 AM   #74
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:24 AM   #75
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I bought a dozen books this weekend, then deleted half of them as crap.

The remainder are Civil War memoirs and one novel of Jim Thompson's.

I stay amazed at how bad books by good writers are. All do it.
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