My first CBR 10 Bingo entry: Not my wheelhouse! I don’t read much history and I don’t read many biographies; an historical biography might be an actual first for me. I confess, I was swept away by the Hamilton Mania triggered by Lin-Manual Miranda’s fabulous musical about the founding father who grew up an orphan, immigrated to America, fought in the American Revolution, started the First Bank of the United States, and died as a result of a gunshot wound administered by Aaron Burr. Let’s face it, prior to Hamilton, the only reason most Americans had even heard about the […]
Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory is a remarkable and taut exploration of prejudice, history, and of course, memory. The book’s narrator and namesake, Memory, is an albino woman on death row in a Zimbabwean prison who is encouraged by her new lawyer to write her story for an American journalist who may be able to help win her freedom. Memory writes of the stark everyday life in prison and of the circumstances that have brought her there. But to fully explain, she must begin with what she remembers of her own history, centered around one pivotal, traumatic event: her […]
I hate Americans. I hate the way they think they are (or ought to be) the greatest country in the world. I hate that they define Trump as the leader of the free world and I hate their self-righteousness as liberators of oppressed countries. Which is why I hate The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. We start off with the blandest of bland protagonist, cookie-cutter pretty girl with a scar and a shameful past. She’s also a baker, because she wants to bake all night to hide herself away from the world (never mind that most bakers starts at four in […]
I have always enjoyed a good historical fiction book. Regardless of the age. Sometimes, the younger books will leave out detail for the sake of the story; to not bog it down; yet, it never really takes away from the story. I was hoping Dust for Dinner would be like that. And for the most part, it is. However, there is little action. They have a happy life. They get the storms. They must sell the farm. They head towards California. There are events that are told and not shown. The narration by the son is accurate to the voice […]
Perhaps you have heard of Ruby Bridges, the little girl shown at right. She was the first African American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in 1960. But have you heard of Lucile Bluford or Ada Lois Sipuel? What about Marguerite Carr, Karla Galarza, Barbara Johns, Betta Bowman and Elaine Chustz? In Rachel Devlin’s A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women who Desegregated America’s Schools, we have an outstanding history of the unsung heroes of the American Civil Rights movement — the young women and girls who sued school districts and volunteered to be the “firsts” […]
I honest to the heavens thought I’d reviewed this one. The short version is: True crime fans/Murderinos will probably enjoy this one. I’m not sure anyone else will; the subject matter is pretty grim and the person in question warped like HH Holmes. Lizzie Borden may have killed her father and stepmother with an axe, but Belle Gunness killed a hell of a lot more, including her own children.
I know it is a terrible cliche, but every chapter inevitably had me thinking “this sounds familiar, I feel like we read this every day, the more things change…” While I did not grow up watching the television series, I was a voracious reader as a child, and repeatedly read The Little House of the Prairie series. I am also very interested in biographies of writers I enjoy, particularly when my perception of them isn’t particularly well matched by the reality (see also L. M. Montgomery). I saw this sitting in the new releases section of my library, with the […]
I really enjoy these kinds of “historical short story” non-fiction books. This book is in the same vein as Jennifer Wright’s books and I was all over those so this is right up my alley. Tori Telfer goes back through the ages, and around various parts of the world to pretty much debunk the myth presented by FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood in 1998; namely that there are “no women serial killers.” She has any number of women here in this book that handily fit the bill. Some of these women, like Elizabeth Bathory, I had heard of, and many others […]