Special Surfer Night

Wahoo, almost time for Special Surfer Night. Third Tuesday, June, July & August. Here’s a piece I did on it for the Huffington Post a couple years ago. Such an amazing program. Thanks Nanci B for all your energy putting it together and the awesome parents who bring their amazing kids!!!  Fingers crossed for good weather!

Delia

Ethan LaCourse

Awesome Ashley!

Want to get in on the fun. Check any of these links out:

Aquaholics Special Surfers

Bookends: June Reading List

Hi!

*This one is going to be BRIEF.

I’m really going to try to do one of these reading lists every month. I love to read and encourage reading.  By the way, I get almost all the books I read either from the Portland Public Library or Longfellow Books in Portland. When I am fortunate enough to have the time to make a trip up the coast to Rockland I always stop in Hello Hello Books and never leave without an armload. It is so important to support our libraries and local bookshops. And the spoken word in general – why I buy the $6 Sunday edition of the NYT every other week or so – well, that and it’s my primary news source.

OK, what I have been reading:

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – dark, disturbing, and none of the fun of Gone Girl.

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson – He is one of my favorite writers today. This is another well-written, well-researched book with as usual an interesting twist – Here’s the summary from Larson’s website:
The saga of how the lives of the inventor of wireless and of Britain’s second most famous murderer (after Jack the Ripper) intersected during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time. The inventor was Guglielmo Marconi, the young Italian genius; the killer was Hawley Harvey Crippen, who murdered his overbearing wife and fled Britain with his mistress, unaware that Scotland Yard was hot on his heels. The book—an instant New York Times bestseller—brings to life a host of forgotten characters, including spirit mediums, ghost-hunting physicists, Scotland Yard inspectors, and one of the great pioneers of forensic science. The climax occurs during a trans-Atlantic chase which, thanks to the miracle of Marconi’s invention, was followed by millions of people around the world—with Crippen and his mistress completely unaware.

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – brief and utterly fantastic.

Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem – This book deserved more time from me than I have right now. It is a story based on Lethem’s own experiences growing up on the streets of Brooklyn during the 1970s. It requires rereading, because it is that smart….that good. What The Paris Review had to say:
It is indeed about the jail, and the place of jails in American life. It is also about superheroes, soul music, science fiction, community empowerment, Spaldeens, graffiti, gentrification, and headlocks. The novel follows two friends, Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude—one white, the son of an experimental filmmaker, the other black, the son of an R&B singer, both motherless, both obsessed with comic books—from the 1970s through the 1990s. Along the way it captures a big swath of what used to be called, reverently, the inner city, and of boyhood and manhood in America.

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery – OK, here is the thing I am finding about so many of the reporters turned writers – it seems like there is this excitement of being able to write more than a few hundred words – they have this huge project and they get to indulge all those cravings for descriptions, etc. that get cut during their day job assignments. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes a reporter who produces Pulitzer Prize worthy news pieces gets lost in the jungle that is a novel. I cannot say I did not enjoy this book by Montgomery (who was nominated for a Pulitzer for his journalism), but it was nowhere near what I felt it should have been. When Montgomery writes about Gatewood’s abusive marriage he is spot on – you are present for all the vital details – but on the trail it is all facts and frankly that’s best left in a hiking guide book. I don’t mean to be overly critical here, I get it – who wouldn’t be panic stricken writing about someone this fantastic – and I mean he got me emotionally – but there was just so much missing along the way.  What is that phrase – “When you can’t see the forest for the trees” – that’s half of this book to me. If you love the outdoors, if you love hiking, if you want to be inspired – read this book and please tell me what you think.

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Selected Novels and Short Stories by Patricia Highsmith – I read “Strangers on a Train” and “The Price of Salt” (the film “Carol” is based on the latter) and loved both. Her dialogue is so entirely believable – she is a master at it. Highly recommend for a summer read.

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle – another brief and excellent read. Welcome Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. **By the way, did you know Doyle based Holmes on Edgar Allan Poe!? So cool!

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The After Party by Anton Disclafani.  New Release. LOVED. You bet your britches I will be purchasing a copy of her first book The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls after reading this one. It’s like the (film) Giant (you know the one – with Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean) meets The Help (the book!).  Ladies, put on your best dress pour yourself a gin and tonic, paint your lips (and fingernails) red and get started….
Description from Random House: Joan Fortier is the epitome of Texas glamour and the center of the 1950s Houston social scene. Tall, blonde, beautiful, and strong, she dominates the room and the gossip columns. Every man who sees her seems to want her; every woman just wants to be her. But this is a highly ordered world of garden clubs and debutante balls. The money may flow as freely as the oil, but the freedom and power all belong to the men. What happens when a woman of indecorous appetites and desires like Joan wants more? What does it do to her best friend?
Devoted to Joan since childhood, Cece Buchanan is either her chaperone or her partner in crime, depending on whom you ask. But as Joan’s radical behavior escalates, Cece’s perspective shifts—forcing one provocative choice to appear the only one there is.
Houston Magazine mini feature here. And pics of the mansions here. And OMG THIS mansion here.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Wow! This was another of those books I picked up and could not put down. I did, but only to sleep, eat, work a bit and then was right back into it as soon as possible. It is beautiful and devastating and a must read after you read Anthony Doerr’s exquisite All The Light You Cannot See. Two weeks later and it is in the forefront of my mind. Reading this book I knew I would need to return to Paris much sooner than expected. (Well, and the Ritz did just reopen – YAY!!!) Description from the author’s page:
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gaetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.

Hive Inspection and Split Hive

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J in the Sebago Lake Apiaries bee yard.

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Queen cups with no royal jelly before we destroyed them (to prevent swarming).

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Smoking…. and another shot Sebago Lake Apiaries.

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If you look closely in the center of the pic – on the frame – you can see where the bees propolized (used a resinous substance obtained from plants to cover up) what likely was a sick bee. Sad, but a reality – and not so sad if you think it means the colony is healthy and wants to keep their hive clean.

Special Surfer Nights Announced Need Volunteers

Ethan LaCourse

The third Tuesday of the summer months, Aquaholics (a terrific surf/stand up paddle shop) in Kennebunk, Maine holds a special surfer night for children with Autism, Aspergers, Down syndrome ….

This year’s dates are June 21st, July 19th and August 16th.  Time to arrive TBD depending on position, but generally speaking I am on the beach from 5 – 7ish.

Volunteer needs include:
Individuals with surfing experience to help special surfers in the water.
Individuals with little to no surfing experience to help run interference and redirect special surfers in the water as they approach shore.
Individuals to help check in special surfers and direct them on the beach.

Interested? Please contact:
Nanci Boutet
Aquaholics Special Surfers www.aquaholicsspecialsurfers.org
FB https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aquaholics-Surf-Shop/182323732280
Special Surfers https://www.facebook.com/AquaholicsSpecialSurfers

Bookends: May Reading List PART THREE

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Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain
The essays were supposedly written during a dark period of the author’s life. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was deeply in debt and had lost his wife and one of his daughters.
The work was published posthumously in 1962.
In the opening section, Twain, in the guise of Satan, writes detailed reports to the Archangels Gabriel and Michael.
The essays were initially considered too “controversial” to publish, and were suppressed by Twain’s own family who felt that the writer’s reputation would be harmed if the depth of his dislike for Christianity, and his uncanny ability to see through all the foibles of human belief and the large number of biblical contradictions, became widely known.

The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty
Southern folk tale set in Mississippi by one of the greatest American short story writers and novelists.
The story was inspired by and loosely based on the Grimm fairy tale.

Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods by Christina Byl
The author first encountered the National Parks on vacation. After graduating from college, broke and ready for a new challenge, she joined a Glacier National Park trail crew as a seasonal “traildog” maintaining mountain trails for the millions of visitors Glacier draws every year. Byl quickly goes from thinking of the job as a paycheck, a summer diversion, and welcomes it as a rewarding and very real lifelong endeavor. The years she spent as a “traildog” doing the often underappreciated, backbreaking work of maintaining wilderness trails—first in Montana, and later in Alaska’s Denali National Park is a beautiful and fun story. Recommended for anyone who loves wild places. *Chapter arrangement was a bit awkward, it took a few chapters (they are short) to get with her flow.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
A fascinating and learned read!!!
The author’s words: This is a book for people who care deeply about racial justice, but do not yet appreciate the magnitude of the crisis faced by communities of color as a result of mass incarceration. For all those trapped within America’s latest caste system – whether locked up or out in mainstream society.
Chapter topics include: the structure of mass incarceration, the role of race in the U.S. criminal justice system, exploration of the parallels between mass incarceration and Jim Crow, how the caste system operates once people are released from prison.

Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell
*Number 91 on the Modern Library’s list of best books.
The story is set in a fictionalized version of Caldwell’s home town, …lays bare the story of the Lesters, the poorest, whitest, trashiest, horniest family in rural Georgia. Extreme poverty has reduced them to little more than dogs. They are desperately hungry, and sexually frustrated.
**According to Chicago Tribune article, Caldwell maintained to the end that the characters in his 1932 novel were shaped by his imagination but that their prototypes existed. As a boy he had visited them in their sharecropper shacks on trips in the Georgia countryside with two Wrens doctors and his father, Ira, a minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
Jeeter, the Lester family patriarch in Tobacco Road, is a beaten-down sharecropper who can no longer get credit to buy the supplies he needs to farm. His family survives, in their crumbling shack, on fat-back rinds and corn meal. Ada, his wife, is wasting away from pellagra; Dude, their 16-year-old son, is a half-wit; Ellie May, their voluptuous 18-year-old daughter, has a gruesome hairlip that makes her “look as if her mouth were bleeding profusely.”

Bookends: May Reading List PART TWO

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Muck City: Winning and Losing in Football’s Forgotten Town by Bryan Mealer.
Belle Glade is a town deep in the Florida Everglades where football reigns. It is also a town where there are no fairytales, there is only letting go of dreams.
I heard comparisons of Friday Night Lights (the book, not film or TV show). There are similarities – hometown traditions, team rituals, pressures of big-time high school football, the struggle to get into college, and racism. And then there’s this uniquely sad fact owned by Belle Glade: During the early to mid-1980s, the city had the highest rate of AIDS infection per capita in the United States.
I was most attached, as I would imagine most readers are, to Jessie Hester – the coach and former NFL star.
Interesting facts/stuff:
• Mealer grew up in Odessa (home of the Permian Panthers – you know, whose story inspired Friday Night Lights).
• Mealer is a former war reporter in Africa. I also his book All Things Much Fight to Live about his time in the Congo, but it does not make for general reading so I will not be featuring it specifically in one of my reading lists).
• Here is a link to an interview Mealer did on NPR talking about the season he spent with the Glades Central Raiders.
• And to all the Friday Night Lights film and TV series enthusiasts (it is my second favorite series after Miami Vice) you can get a real glimpse at Odessa football – the book, film… in this fantastic article from The Chicago Tribune.

The White Road: Journey into an Obsession by Edmund De Waal
Epigraph: “What is this whiteness?” Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
De Waal is a British potter and nonfiction writer (I have his family memoir The Hare With Amber Eyes in my reading stack). The White Road is part memoir part travelogue. Beginning in Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of China (porcelain was first made there an estimated 1000 years ago), he journeys into history and across oceans and down rural roads to foreign lands into the “white hills” of Japan, France, Germany, England, and the Appalachian Mountains of South Carolina, where porcelain was invented, or reinvented. Yes, this is a book about porcelain, but it is so much more a book for those of us who want to walk away from technology and touch. De Waal is an excellent researcher (something I admire foremost in my reading) and a true conversationalist.
It definitely reads more like a “history of” when we are given the detailed story of how during the 18th century Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus, a mathematician and an alchemist, and Johann Friedrich Böttger, a young alchemist, were brought together to try and manufacture porcelain. Then there is the macabre story of Allach porcelain pieces made by prisoners of the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau between 1936 and 1945. According to De Waal, the company’s catalog proclaimed that white porcelain was the embodiment of the German soul.
* Edmund de Waal was a pupil of Geoffrey Whiting, who was a student of Bernard Leach, the founding father of British studio pottery. Leach was born in Hong Kong in 1887. He travelled extensively through China and Japan in the early years of the 20th century, and is credited with bringing to the West an understanding of the subtle artistry of eastern (Asian) potters.
If you read this blog you know I go down a lot of rabbit holes. So, it was only natural that I added the following book to my library reserve list:

Hamada Potter by Bernard Leach
Hamada Shoji was a Japanese potter who worked in the arts and crafts tradition, making utilitarian – never figurative or merely decorative – pots. During the 1920s and 30s was a central part of the Japanese folk art movement founded by Yanagi Soetsu.
Hamada and Leach were friends for over 55 years. They really got to know each other when Hamada visited Leach in England between 1920 – 23. It was at this time they founded a pottery in St. Ives in Cornwall, England that became one of the most influential potteries in the world.
Leach and Hamada humanized pottery again – the public had been separating the potter from his clay – wanting colourful, brightly detailed, pretentious looking objects. It took years for Leach and Hamada to find clients who appreciated the rougher pots they were making (and which I greatly prefer!).
Michael Cardew was among the first students. (I strongly recommend reading the book The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew by Tanya Harrod
This video of Hamada in the studio is pretty cool.

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This is not an easy book to put down. I read it in one day after trying to walk away twice. Thanks MW for encouraging me to read it!
The “girl” of Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train is Rachel: divorced, an alcoholic and a commuter into London. Her train makes a regular stop alongside a row of houses, one of which she used to live in with her husband. He still lives there with his second wife, Anna. But Rachel is even more captivated by another house a few doors down. Repeatedly, she catches glimpses of the glamorous young couple who live there. Their mutual tenderness inspires Rachel to make up names and occupations for them and to idealize their relationship — a fantasy that may help compensate for her own lost marriage.
Like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train is a murder mystery with an unreliable narrator. In this case, it’s Rachel Watson, a frequently inebriated divorcee whose blackouts are a near-nightly occurrence. Rachel is a wreck. She is also the primary narrator. Each morning and evening during her commute to and from London, her train slows on a worn section of track just behind the same row of Victorian homes. Two most interest her: one the home of an attractive, perfect-seeming couple who frequently appear on their back terrace; the second is her former address and the current home of her ex-husband, Tom, and his new wife, Anna.
Interested writers might want to check out this NYT interview with Hawkins
Oh, and be sure to check out the trailer for the film starring Emily Blunt.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
***Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
I LOVED this book. So, yes I am dedicating SPACE to it. I wish this book was twice the size. It took me a week to read and folks, I usually get through a book – good or bad – in two days. You want to labor over this one – the sentences are so well constructed, the story so intelligent so well though out, the characters so dear and some so evil. I find anything about Nazi Germany very uncomfortable to read. This is a whole other post, but my rage at what happened stems from my childhood. I am the girl who, when as a teenager visiting Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, couldn’t breathe towards the top and had to go outside and basically sob on the curb. But, all of that’s a whole other post. This is all about the marvelous Anthony Doerr and his exquisite book.
Amanda Vaill, the reviewer for The Washington Post wrote “I’m not sure I will read a better novel this year than Anthony ­Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. Here is a link to her review.
Description from Simon and Schuster:
New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
AND …***NOTE SPOILERS, SO MAYBE READ AFTER READING THE BOOK!!
National Book Foundation interview w Doerr:
CM: In reading through past interviews with you, I’ve been surprised to see All the Light We Cannot See described as a novel that oscillates between the viewpoints of Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a German orphan, because the truth is, although Marie-Laure and Werner are the books’ main protagonists, the novel is peopled with the voices of so many other characters: Etienne, Von Rumpel, Frau Elena, Dr. Hauptman—the evil Volkheimer is given an entire section near the end. To me, the degree to which you let tertiary characters come in to support the narrative felt almost experimental. Did you just follow your instincts as to who got passed the talking stick, or did you have a master plan? Did any other voices end up on the cutting room floor?
AD: Yes, lots of poor souls ended up on the floor. The perfumer, for example, had several more chapters from his point of view in earlier versions, as did Madame Ruelle, the baker’s wife. Did I have a master plan? Not really. Mostly I constructed and then cut lots of variations.
When I teach graduate writing workshops, I often see a severity regarding point of view—students like to point out sudden movements: “You broke POV here, you broke POV there.” Students are right, of course, to highlight moments when a narrator breaks into or out of another character’s thoughts, especially if the writer makes that shift unintentionally.
But when I started to worry that my book was becoming too rigidly adherent to the Marie/Werner/Marie/Werner back-and-forth structure (my editor, Nan Graham, used the adjective “ping-pong-y”) I started looking at POV in books that I admire and found that my favorite moments in those books often involved some level of disruption in point of view. A narrator’s privilege gets established and then, later in the book, it expands or frays. Ishmael assumes Ahab’s thoughts in Moby Dick, or Madame Bovary opens in first person, then promptly becomes a third person novel.
In Gatsby Fitzgerald establishes what appears to be a strict POV rule: “This novel will be narrated by Nick, who will have to guess at Gatsby’s thoughts.” Before long, though, Fitzgerald shatters that rule (“[Gatsby] knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath…”)
That kind of stuff would probably get picked on in workshops. So whenever I found All the Light getting too schematic, too rigidly obsessed with its own symmetry, I tried to remind myself that a novel can be a more organic, digressive, human thing, full of movement and departures and tertiary voices.

Street Corner Society by William Foote Whyte
Whyte was a sociologist and pioneer in participant observation. Street Corner is an ethnographic study of urban sociology. He lived for four years in an Italian community in Boston’s North End researching social relations of street gangs in Boston’s North End. *In the book Boston is referred to only as an “Eastern City,” Italian immigrants had displaced the Irish population and a corner-gang structure had arisen out of habitual association of the members of a long period of time. At the time of Whyte’s study, Italians were looked upon by upper-class as among the least desirable of the immigrant peoples. This attitude was accentuated by World War II(Mussolini).
In preparing to launch his study, Whyte read a lot of social anthropological literature – e.g. studies of primitive tribes even though he was in the middle of a great city district.
He realized he would be a stranger to the community if he did not live there and so he learned some Italian and lived with a family in the neighborhood for at least a year of his study.
He went easy on the who, what, when, where, and why questions and learned the answers in the long run without even having to ask the questions.
*I was inspired to read this after reading On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman.

Hard Times by Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, oral historian, and radio broadcaster famous for interviewing everyday people from all walks of life.
This book is an oral history of the Great Depression, featuring interviews with among others – a lower class Southern white mother and daughter living in Chicago, an upper middle class psychiatrist who studied with Freud, a former president of the Montgomery (Alabama) branch of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a coal miner from southwestern Indiana, a wealthy young industrialist’s wife in Chicago, a cook in western Texas, politicians, a poet, and a social worker.
Terkel wrote of the book “This being a book about time as well as a time; for some the bell has tolled. Heroes and dragons of a long-gone day were old men, some vigorous, some weary when I last saw them. Some have died.”
Terkel was an extraordinarily skilled interviewer who captured the feelings of the time. If you are interested in American history I strongly recommend this or any of Mr. Terkel’s other books.

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Carl Akeley’s Africa by Mary L. Jobe Akeley
Best known for the Hall of African Mammals that bears his name at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Carl Akeley was an American naturalist and explorer who developed the taxidermic method for mounting museum displays to show animals in their natural surroundings. He died in 1926 while on an expedition in Albert National Park in Belgian Congo (now the DRC). He was among the first to accurately document mountain gorillas as intelligent and social animals.
His wife of two years, Mary, was also an adventurer. After her husband died she continued with his field work that helped result in the iconic Hall at the AMNH.
I happened across this book while perusing the shelves of main branch of the Portland Public Library, one of my favorite places in Portland. The book left me wanting to know more about Akeley – maybe from a little bit of distance, so this summer I plan to read the account of him in Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man’s Quest to Preserve the World’s Great Animals by Jay Kirk.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Eric Larson
Just about everyone has heard of the Titanic, but fewer know the story of the last doomed voyage of the great Cunard luxury passenger liner the Lusitania.
As with The Devil in the White City, Larson proves himself an exceptional researcher. This non-fiction reads more like a page-turner from John le Carre. Utterly fascinating, and it all happened and you really feel like you are in the middle of it.
Description from author’s website: On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

Bookends: May Reading List PART ONE

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I did not get to read all the books in the above picture YET. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (rereading), Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder will have to wait till my June Read List. OR, July at the rate I keep adding books to my pile (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery, Thunderstruck by Eric Larson, and Wilson by Scott Berg). Among many others.

In the present climate of dumbing-down, I am inspired by those great writers who turn out well crafted and incredibly well researched stories and to those who support the tradition of reading. I encourage you to turn off the television for an extra hour and pick up a book.

PART ONE

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson – NEW RELEASE
Delightful, charming, absolutely lovely. The perfect book heading into vacation season.

Bloomsbury Publishing’s description – East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha’s husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent sabre rattling over the Balkans won’t come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.
When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more free thinking – and attractive – than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.
But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape, and the colourful characters that populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha’s reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war
Doubts? Google images of “Rye in East Sussex” and read The Washington Post’s review (though I warn you it gives away much of the story)….

Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka – NEW RELEASE
Moving, gothic….between reality and fiction. A youngish woman whose marriage has broken-up at one point travels from city to city volunteering in soup kitchens looking for purpose. There is a sense of great loveliness and frailty in Majka’s stories. Most are set in Maine, some in NYC.
“Majka brings the reader to startling places. . . . From certain angles, it’s a kind of New England gothic, where the lost children and dead women and doppelgängers serve to add atmosphere and meaning to the narrator’s past peregrinations, her dalliances and uncertainties. It turns out in the end that this is in fact a book about an arty person with a complicated personal life. But it’s a lovely one, written in a moving and uncanny register.”—The New York Times Book Review

Ripley Under Water by Patricia Highsmith
This is the final book of the “Ripliad” series starring Patricia Highsmith’s iconic protagonist Tom Ripley, the bisexual psychopath and forger who first appeared in The Talented Mr. Ripley. *Note I have not read Ripley Under Ground, Ripley’s Game, or The Boy Who Followed Ripley. Nor am I inclined to. He is too polished for me. Highsmith is not. She wrote her first novel at age 29 – Strangers on a Train, which Alfred Hitchcock adapted for the screen in 1951. Lived and died in Switzerland (she was American born), and supposedly had pet snails. She was known for saying what was on her mind and some of it was rather odd.
**I found out about this book while sitting at the bar at Tandem Coffee eating one of their deliciously ambitious sandwiches and drinking cup after cup of their perfect coffee. A stylish woman came in, sat down near me, sat down with her latte and Nutella tart (making me wish I could find room for one of those) and pulled out a hardbound book copy of Patricia Highsmith’s Selected Novels and Short Stories from her bag. We talked about books and were practically giddy to share our love of the library and just finding someone else who reads – loves books. Tandem’s barista went about suggesting one of his favorite recent reads – Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem. That book is on my dining room table. I LOVE talking about books with people. It’s what makes places like Longfellow Books so freaking awesome. ☺ You know what else is? That the copy I requested of Highsmith’s book just came into the library.
**I purchase probably 1/3 of the books I read locally, the rest I get from the library. Some are so obscure and some I just don’t think I need to live with.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
As my friend accurately described this book as “forgettable.”
The subject matter is RICH – young Ernest Hemingway before he became famous, the Paris years, the roaring twenties, the years he wrote about in his book A Moveable Feast. But he is not the subject of this book, and sadly neither is Paris (how could it be when the author had never been there while writing the book!!!). No, it is his unfashionable, hardy wife Hadley Richardson who is. A woman who sadly, but truthfully The NYT points out would not be the heroine in Ms. McLain’s story or in any novel, had she not been married to the famous novelist.
For the record, she is the first of four wives and while one may be sympathetic to her cause, you keep shouting run lady run.
So, this is no great romance, but then that’s Hemingway, that’s history.
But what I have the biggest problem with – after the fact that she wrote the book from a coffee shop in I think Cleveland – is that as the NYT writes – she borrows and repurposes voices. I read her book Circling the Sun about Beryl Markham and she did the same thing there – used other people’s descriptions.
It’s a quick beach read. A conversation piece if only for the who’s who that assembles in the book and the fact that most anyone and anything associated with Hemingway is always fun.
Want to know about the real Hadley Richardson, check out this terrific article from The Chicago Tribune.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Maybe read this book instead of The Paris Wife!! Definitely read it!!
The book covers the same ground as The Paris Wife – Hemingway’s years in Paris from 1921 to 1926 as a young writer married to Richardson. What became apparently clear to me while rereading the book is how truly cruel, insecure, and disloyal he was. He turned against everyone who had helped for and cared for him, with few exceptions – including Sylvia Beach, the generous proprietor of the famous Left Bank bookshop Shakespeare and Company.
He was also on the mark and his writing, his descriptions of people and place are the best I have ever read. Having spent a good deal of time in Paris I appreciate how he took notice of the light there – he did not write specifically of the colors, but the red hues – I have not seem that sky anywhere else.
Of F. Scott Fitzgerald he wrote “His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust of a butterfly’s wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.
Another favorite quote from the book:
The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils and the pencil sharpener (a pocket knife was too wasteful), the marble-topped tables, the smell of early mornings, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were all you needed.
The memoir was published posthumously.

Olives: The Life of a Noble Fruit by Mort Rosenblum
In 1986, journalist Mort Rosenblum purchased a small overgrown farm in Provence. With it, he discovered, were 150 neglected olive trees that were “old when the sun king ruled France.” Inspired to learn more about olives he travels to several Mediterranean countries to learn about the olive’s history and cultivation. The book is chocked full of rich characters, recipes (I got so hungry reading the book I went out and bought olives), the international politics, and the mafia’s involvement (note the recent 60 Minutes piece). His writing made me feel like I was deep in an olive grove with the pickers. I can only dream of having had a seat at the table when he was served an elaborate chicken dish in a Palestinian home – Jaz Musakhan from the book The Land of Figs and Olives by Habeeb Salloum and James Peters (yes, that cookbook is on my wish list). I found the book intelligent, thoughtful, incredibly well researched, and alive – Rosenblum is such a talented writer and this book was full of passion for the growers. Read his book and get to “know” people like Paco and Andres Nunez de Prado who make olive oil in Andalusia, where they have one-thousand acres where a picker might have come as a young woman and returns every year and one year her teenage son will help. Beautiful.
Review from Smithsonian Magazine.
*I would also recommend the following:
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle came out in 1989. His book A Good Year came out in 2004 (the 2006 film with Russell Crowe is adorable).
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes came out in 1996 (the 2003 film by the same name starring Diane Lane is one of my favorites).

Sebago Lake Apiaries – Spring Hive Inspections

Another season of beekeeping…I became a beekeeper in May 2012. Check out these two cute hives I started with – how tiny they begin! Like an accordion, my apiary has expanded and collapsed. I have grown from two to four hives and lost four along the way – one to mites, one to starvation (weather), one to beekeeper error, and one I inherited was already so stressed out there was minimal chance of survival when I took care of it. I have tried keeping hives in town, but that didn’t work out well for me or the bees. This season all the hives are at my home and with any luck from nature in a couple months I will have six healthy hives – having split two to make more.

one

In early April.

j

J, my bee mentor and friend, a master beekeeper (think Yoda of bee knight)

mouse nest

Three mice outsmarted a mouse guard that had worked fine the past two winters and created one nest each in a hive. Thankfully, the hive survived albeit a bit cramped. Err mice. With J’s direction boxes were moved around to give each hive more room (mice or no mice). And I’ll be heading to The Honey Exchange in the fall for more sound mouse guards!

red boots

bees

In a couple weeks I will need to check for queen cells (sure sign about to swarm). Essentially, that involves me lifting up each box of each hive and checking for these peanut looking formations that hang from the bottom – if they have royal jelly in them or are closed I know to prepare for a splitting of the hive soon. *No harm is done to the hive (if done correctly) and this produces two hives. In my case I don’t want an apiary larger than six hives so I will give J extra queens.

For next month or so going to feed each hive 1:1 sugar/water syrup to help them along till there are more sources of pollen.

Next update probably in six weeks. ox

Bookends: My Spring Reading List PART TWO

books

Read:

*Economics is the study of how people choose to use resources.

The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by William Easterly. Published 2014.
Easterly is Professor of Economics at New York University and Co- director of the NYU Development Research Institute.
The book argues that the cause of poverty is the absence of political and economic rights, the absence of a free political and economic system that would find the technical solutions to the poor’s problem. He believes the answer lies in the well-being of nations versus individuals. In essence, we must not let caring about material suffering of the poor change the subject from caring about the rights of the poor.
Certainly, he brings up some very good points, but I believe after reading Jeffrey Sachs and William Easterly (two opposite ends of the spectrum), I believe I like with Collier (see next).
At some point I intend to read Easterly’s 2006 book The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Harm and So Little Good.
Check out The Washington Post’s review here.

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier
Collier is Co-Director, of the Center for the Study of African Economics (an economic research center within the Department of Economics at Oxford U.) and a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government.
He was a student at Oxford in the 1960s, a time when many of his fellow students had family connections to Africa (fathers, male relatives had been colonial administrators…). A father of one of his friends had been governor of Nyasaland – renamed Malawi – the poorest country at the time on the continent. The man said it was easier to rename the country than change it. *Note when Zaire became the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The book is about the Malawis and Ethiopias of the world, the minority of developing countries that are now at the bottom of the global economic system – and are distinctive not just in being the poorest, but also in having failed to grow.
He developed the notion of “traps” based on conflict, natural resources (lack of..), geography (bad neighbors…), and bad governance and how countries could be gradually pulled out of these traps.
I enjoyed this book immensely, because frankly it was easy to read. Collier was not talking down to anyone – he used his great intelligence and humor to explain complex matters that really are not so complex when you break them down and he is straightforward. No BS and a realist. Yes, force is necessary here and there.
This books is for everyone, not just academics.
For those held prisoner by the images of starving children, Collier smashes some of those images with statistical evidence.
Bravo Professor Collier!
*Note, the book was published in 2007 and still the U.S. government, foreign governments, NGOs, the World Bank… and so on continue to intentionally ignore the facts the reality – why? Well, folks greed and intentional ignorance and bureaucracy (aka politics) – but that’s a whole other post.

Angels of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry edited by Charles Henry Rowell, the founder and editor of the literary quarterly Callaloo. See more here.

Ray Lum’s Tales of Horses, Mules and Men by William Ferris. See more here.

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and The Maine Woods, both by Henry David Thoreau. The former is based on a boat trip Thoreau took with his brother in 1839 from Concord, MA, to Concord, NH. It was written in 1849 after his brother’s death. The latter describes trips Thoreau took over an eleven-year period into the north woods. I especially appreciated the lists of Indian words and what to take on an excursion into the backwoods of Maine.

*I also picked up The Wildest Country: Exploring Thoreau’s Maine by J. Parker Huber. It follows Thoreau’s sojourns in Maine and offers modern commentary on how the route has changed. I learned Thoreau had difficulty with distances and topography. His estimates were, according to Huber, consistently exaggerated.

On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman.
Goffman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. The book began while she was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania and continued as fieldwork for her PhD dissertation at Princeton.
Goffman spent six years living in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Philadelphia observing a cast of young African American men who are caught up in the web of high-tech surveillance, warrants, arrest quotas…She also give an account of daily life, including observing girlfriends and family members. This book is a an on-the-ground account of a forgotten neighborhood and the very real human cost of America’s failed response – the blighting of entire neighborhoods and the needless sacrifice of whole generations.
Goffman is the daughter of sociologist Erving Goffman.
There was a lot of controversy around her popular book. **You will need to read the book and the back and forth between sociologists, law professors, and journalists – but my take – she did not fabricate any part of the story and it is as important a work as William Foote Whyte’s ethnography Street Corner Society. Like Whyte, she wanted to go beyond being a fly on the wall and be a participant observer.
For what it’s worth both her thesis advisor at Princeton and her publisher have stood by her book.
The New York Times named the book one of the 100 notable books of 2014.
Here is a link to her TED talk.

Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adiche.
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
I recommend reading this book, but while I feel Adiche is an excellent writer I find the fact that her protagonist is someone who ranges from annoying to deplorable – well questionable. I want to read more of her work and sit with this for a while. I am sure just about everyone else you will ask who has read this book will tell you they loved it and that I’m crazy. Well, maybe but it just didn’t sit right with me. You read it and tell me what you think.

Arcadia by Lauren Groff. I just couldn’t get into this and believe me I tried. Again, the writing is beautiful I just couldn’t get into the story.
In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday. Arcadia’s inhabitants include Handy, the charismatic leader; his wife, Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah’s only child, Bit. While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. He falls in love with Helle, Handy’s lovely, troubled daughter. And eventually he must face the world beyond Arcadia.

Bookends: My Spring Reading List PART ONE

books

Woohoo, the first day of spring and what –we’re expecting a snowstorm? Whatever, I’m proceeding as if only blooms are on the way.

Read:
Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry. Published in 1947, the book is about the last hours of an alcoholic ex-diplomat in Mexico. The once great and utterly shattered British consul Geoffrey Firmin’s last days are told against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. An insane person finding beauty in the madhouse. He stands admiring the bottles, the beautiful bottles. The book’s title comes from the two volcanoes that overshadow Quauhnahuac.

Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death in Africa by (longtime contributing editor to Vanity Fair) Mark Seal.
The book is a story about British wildlife filmmaker and African conservationist, Joan Root, who was murdered in 2006. Root was devoted to saving the ecological system of Lake Naivasha, which she lived on the edge of, and which was invaded by the cut-flower industry. In addition to drying out the lake (sucking up water), the large flower farms put pesticides in the lake, and brought in migrant workers who brought crime to the area. In addition to trying to protect her beloved lake, she also waged a war against the poachers (attracted to work on the flower farms) who began to encroach on her land.
Her story is a remarkable one for many reasons, and quite sad. The book is wonderful in many ways, but lags where the author neglected to research the early colonizers of Kenya and instead chose choice information to include as it fit his story.
I encourage you to learn more about this wonderful woman and to not purchase carnations or roses in the future. Note to Whole Foods, really want to piss me off – keep advertising African roses!

Idina

The Bolter by Frances Osborne (the great-granddaughter of the book’s subject). This is the story of the wild, beautiful, fearless Idina Sackville, descendant of one of England’s oldest families, who went off to Kenya in search of adventure and became known as the high priestess of the scandalous “Happy Valley Set.” The gin flowed through her five marriages and Osborne shares much from her lengthy research. Here you get a glimpse I have not seen in non-fiction books about the time and place before including how the well-heeled went on safari, the decorating of the great Happy Valley houses, mention of Elspeth Huxley (one of my favorite Kenyan writers), race week in Nairobi, and the divine Denys Finch Hatton – otherwise known as the man Robert Redford played in the film OUT OF AFRICA. I may take issue with the way Ms. Sackville lived some of her life (abandoning her children), but I love her passion for books – she was called among other things the “Kenyan queen of books.” Well, then she can’t be all bad? A highlight of the book for me is Osborne’s insight into the importance of books – “they could be posted, carried, lent, and exchanged, forming a cultural currency.” One also learns a lot about the affairs and exploits of big-game hunter Bror von Blixen-Finecke, a Swedish baron best known to many today as the husband of Karen Dinesen (author of OUT OF AFRICA).

Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock’s Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear) by Jon Fine. Now executive editor at Inc. magazine, Fine was a member of the band Bitch Magnet among others. With his memoir he offers readers an insider’s look at thirty years of the American independent rock underground. I enjoyed the first half of the book, but felt the last half dragged. If you are really into music maybe you’ll enjoy it a whole lot more than me.

My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine by Kate Betts. OK. I love Paris and I was so excited to read this book, and maybe my anticipation got the best of me, but aside from making me wish I was in Paris I did not feel much. I certainly did not feel for her and her Upper East Side upbringing, prep schools, and certainly did not think her so brave to go to Paris when her godmother lives there and gets her an internship. I certainly did not feel sorry for her when her mother visits a few months after she has been there and buys her a fur coat. She doesn’t seem to realize how lame it is that she – and she writes about this for several chapters – is after 3 ½ years in the great city still trying to mimic Parisians. OK, I remember ardently trying to be more sophisticated when I lived/studied in Strasbourg and every time I go to Paris I pay attention to what the gorgeous stylish women are wearing – but at some point your protagonist needs CONFIDENCE.
When not lamenting her fashion choices, she writes about her love affair with a surfer named Herve and her job at Fairchild Fashion Media.
Note, you might be familiar with her name, she was the youngest editor of Harper’s Bazaar for about a minute and a half – during which she became known as brisk and arrogant, and ultimately was fired for declining readership.

The Liars’ Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr. Here is the NYT review  from 1995 and this bit by Lena Dunham for The Paris Review. Karr has all the words and the memories. At time I didn’t know whether to be more stunned by her words, the intrinsic details of what was happening, or just the mere fact that she remembered every single one of those details about her childhood. Read this if you have not already.

Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader (publisher’s description – Before his untimely death in 1982, Lester Bangs was inarguably the most influential critic of rock and roll. Writing in hyper-intelligent Benzedrine prose that calls to mind Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, he eschewed all conventional thinking as he discussed everything from Black Sabbath being the first truly Catholic band to Anne Murray’s smoldering sexuality.) I found out about Lester Bangs when I saw Philip Seymour Hoffman portray him in Almost Famous. Man, I get choked up just thinking about it – when I saw that film, what was going on in my life (some of the best years) and how much I MISS PSH. I didn’t know him, but I really could have watched him act forever and ever. I digress. Back to the real life Lester Bangs and his book.
The book reprints some of Bangs’s reviews for Cream, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and others. He put Patti Smith’s up there with Miles Davis, thought the Rolling Stones were the greatest rock and roll band in the world (but that could be “lazy, sniveling, winded motherfuckers”), that Stevie Nicks was a narcissist, and that the Dead Boys were pretending to be something they were not. A great read for anyone who appreciates the music of the 1970s and/or truly great rock criticism.

By Blood We Live by Glen Duncan (author of The Last Werewolf, which I loved, and Talulla Rising, which I didn’t). Jake, the main character of The Last Werewolf, is sophisticated, intelligent, and has a big heart. Duncan is an excellent writer, but a not so great storyteller. I made it through 45 of the 312 pages of By Blood and put the book down. I highly recommend The Last Werewolf.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I tried, I really did with this one. He is absolutely an incredible writer and man what an imagination and storyteller, but the book is so long and I just don’t have the time right now to dedicate to it. I plan to try reading it again when I do.
In case you are interested:
NYT review
DFW obituary

Humboldt

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf. I LOVED this book. Not only is Wulf an exceptional researcher, she is a truly gifted writer. The New York Times listed this book in their top 10 Best Books of 2015. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the great Alexander von Humboldt, a man who approached botany like no other before him, who developed the idea of human-induced climate change, and who inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin, Jules Verne….the list of his accomplishments and those inspired by him goes on and on. He was the greatest scientist of his age and an intrepid explorer – nature was his teacher. I truly cannot say enough about how beautiful and educational this book is, and how much I think anyone interested in science, history, adventure, poetry, and nature will enjoy this.

Off to the Side by Jim Harrison. An enjoyable memoir by the man who wrote Legends of the Fall and the screenplay for WOLF. The first few chapters about his youth in Michigan are fantastic. His tales from Hollywood and hanging out with Jack Nicholson and his gang, well those are fun. I greatly appreciate the man for quotes such as this one “If books aren’t treated as beloved objects like the sports page or the television why would a child wish to read?”

Joyland by Stephen King. It was great until it wasn’t. King tells a great story until it isn’t and his dialogue is terrible. I recommend for a beach read. **I also read Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. A fine read. I learned much about King I did not know, about writing, and the publishing world.

Jack and Jill by James Patterson. Awful. Terrible. I could not make it past the first 50 pages.

M Train by Patti Smith. I just didn’t love this one the way I LOVED Just Kids. Maybe you will?

TTTC

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. WOW. The Washington Times pretty much nails the quality of this book and O’Brien’s writing “Many people think this is the best work of fiction ever written about Vietnam. Some even think it is the best work of fiction ever written about war. Both are right, and they were right 20 years ago when this book came out for the first time.” The book is a sequence of stories about a platoon of young soldiers caught up in the madness of the Vietnam War. It is a privilege to even read a book such as this.

Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert. This is an excellent book about the story of the rise and fall of the European-dominated empire of cotton. It is also the story of the making and remaking of global capitalism and with it of the modern world. The book follows cotton from fields to boats, from merchant houses to factories, from pickers to spinners to weavers to consumers.
Chances are you are wearing something woven from cotton. Do yourself a favor and read this book and learn about the world’s most significant manufacturing industry.

Reading:
Dirt Work by Christine Byl, The White Road by Edmund de Waal, and Olives by Mort Rosenblum.

On my nightstand:
Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

Books coming out this summer, that I look forward to reading and sharing with you in my summer and fall lists: The Georgia Peach by William Okie, The Ottoman Scramble for Africa: Empire and Diplomacy in the Sahara and the Hijaz by Mostafa Minawi, The Shaykh of Shaykhs: Mithqal al-Fayiz and Tribal Leadership in Modern Jordan by Yoav Alon, and Rights After Wrongs: Local Knowledge and Human Rights in Zimbabwe by Shannon Morreira.

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about this blog

About Me Sharon Kitchens and Delicious Musings. Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. I write about all the things I enjoy - Culture, Food, Photography &Travel. Read more on my about page.

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