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review 2018-02-27 17:31
And that is how you do popular history.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration - Isabel Wilkerson,Robin Miles

This is an audiobook where I found myself making complicated French desserts as and excuse to listen to it for just a bit longer. I did the dishes so I could find out what happened to the characters.


I think the thing that impresses me more than the ambition of Wilkerson's project is that she not only completely stuck the landing, but that she made it look effortless. This book was like a figure skater putting in a bit of footwork after a quad, because la-dee-da, it was just no trouble at all. Oh yes, well I did sum up a social movement that lasted sixty years, covered and altered the entire country, and had no clearly defined start or finish, here's some compelling narrative to go with it, would you like a James Baldwin quote with that?


It follows, generally, the movement of blacks from the south to the north, the social conditions in the south, what provoked them to move, what movie was like, what they found when they got to the north, and what the relationship between the people that moved and their new home and their old home was like as time progressed. It includes academic studies, memoirs and newspaper accounts from all points in history, as well as oral histories the author collected herself.


Specifically, it follows the lives of three people who decided to make the move: A cotton picker from Mississippi who left for Chicago in the '30s after a friend was nearly lynched on a false charge, a fruit picker from Florida who left for New York during WWII after he was nearly lynched for labour organising, and a doctor from Louisiana who left for LA after WWII when he realised no hospital in the south would hire him. Each person's life followed a different path, ended up in a different major "receiving station" of the exodus, had happy and sad stories, lived a long time, and was interviewed for hundreds of hours by Wilkerson.


Wilkerson drove the routes they took, went with them to church, social events, community meetings, the South on return trips, and in at least two cases sat with them as they died. (I'm really not kidding about this book being a life's work.) I'm often annoyed at non-fiction writers presuming too much about their subjects' inner lives, but everything in this book felt natural and true. I feel like she really did know these people, and knew what they were feeling.


A major point of the book is to dispel myths about what the Great Migration was, how long it lasted, and what effects it had on the north and south, especially the inner cities of the north. I was new to the topic (more or less), so didn't have many entrenched opinions on any of those points. I therefore found those arguments a bit didactic, in the way that you feel when you walk into a discussion with someone who's defending against something you didn't think in the first place (Okay, sure, I believe you!). However, I'm sure those sections are much more useful to folks in the US, who've been hearing about this their whole lives.


Deeply excellent book, would rec to anyone with the least interest in US history, and to anyone who just wants a good story about people.

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review 2018-02-16 19:23
The Ocean City NJ Boardwalk: Two-And-A-Half Miles of Summer by Dean Davis
The Ocean City Boardwalk: Two and a Half Miles of Summer - Dean Davis

Last year on vacation my husband took me to the Jersey Shore and we picked my Mother In Law up outside of Philly to ride along. We went to Wildwood instead of Ocean City though. This was my first time in New Jersey, so everything was new and exciting to me. We are planning to go back again for the day this year and go to Ocean City's boardwalk. My husband and Mother In Law have been here many times. My husband was raised in Philadelphia. Me I'm a southern girl. I have never walked a boardwalk like the one in Wildwood, and it was freezing and raining when we went the end of May last year. I am hoping for sun and no rain this year.


When I saw this book listed on Netgalley I immediately requested it, and was accepted to receive it. I couldn't get it downloaded fast enough and jumped right into it. The pictures in this book took me back to Wildwood and I am really excited for May to get here this year so I can go see these sites for myself. 


There are pictures both old and new in the book. I mean pictures as it is today and pictures from the past. If you have ever been to the Ocean City Boardwalk this will bring back tons of memories, and if you are like me and have never been, it will make you want to go. 


There are pictures of the beach itself, the wildlife (both human and animal), shops, and other sites along the boardwalk. There are short histories about some of the places and the people who started them. 


I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.

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review 2017-12-31 13:30
Review: Ribbonworld (The Balcom Dynasty Book 1) by Richard Dee
Ribbonworld (The Balcom Dynasty Book 1) - Richard Dee

Published by: 4Star Scifi (3rd July 2017)


ISBN: 978-1781324677


Source: Purchased


Rating: 5*



Miles Goram has a problem. All the down-on-his-luck journalist planned on doing was writing a hotel review and now there’s a body in his bathroom. Far from home on a strange planet, Miles must deal with the fact that somebody wants him dead.


Welcome to Reevis, a planet without days or nights where life is only possible under a vast pressure dome. It is on this airless wasteland that Miles finds himself caught up in a mystery involving a huge interplanetary corporation, a powerful man and his ambitious PA, and a beautiful young heiress who has been missing for years.


Crossing the galaxy in search of answers, Miles begins to uncover a web of deceit that stretches further than anyone could have imagined. With his life becoming at greater and greater risk, he realises that there is no one he can trust. Will he discover the truth and finally come to terms with his past? And, if he does, will it be enough to save his future…?



I found Ribbonworld completely engrossing. This wonderful book so captivated me that I read it in virtually one sitting, only disturbed by a few hours of sleep. The author has such an attentive eye for detail, I was immediately drawn into Miles Goram's world of intrigue and confusion on Reevis. The starkness of the icy side of the planet and the boiling lava of the hot side are so beautifully depicted I felt as though I was viewing them myself. Every journey that Miles took on the surface of the planet, whether in a vehicle or on foot, had me feeling I was driving over those rocks or kicking up that dust myself.


Miles is a well rounded character. He has a somewhat complex background which we learned a few things about. His keen journalistic instinct to sniff out a story is well described, as is his personality. I'm hoping to find out more about him in the next book, Jungle Green. There are a lot of other characters in Ribbonworld, all with distinct personalities and added value to the storyline, which remained clear throughout.


Without giving anything away, I really like the way the book addressed power struggles. Although it's set on a different planet to ours, the events could easily translate to anywhere, at any time. I did guess a couple of things that were revealed later in the book, but that isn't really important. What I value above all else is whether a book can grab my attention and keep hold of it throughout. If a book can transport me to another place (Reevis in this case!) and make me unaware of my surroundings, then it has done what a book is meant to do!

I'm really looking forward to reading all about Miles Goram's next adventures in Jungle Green



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review 2017-11-19 00:00
Gabriel, The Training of an Angel
Gabriel, The Training of an Angel - Dian... Gabriel, The Training of an Angel - Diane Rosier Miles *I received an ecopy from the author for review. This does not affect my review.*

I really enjoyed reading this! The details were so vivid, I could easily picture the characters and settings! I love the idea of the angels getting training here on Earth among the humans. The subject is something I never thought of before, but I love the way Diane Rosier Miles wrote this book, and how she wrote Gabriel as a newborn and handled it in in a respectful manner.
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review 2017-11-18 00:00
The Demon Shroud: Bastards of the Gods Dark Fantasy (Enthraller Book 1)
The Demon Shroud: Bastards of the Gods D... The Demon Shroud: Bastards of the Gods Dark Fantasy (Enthraller Book 1) - T. A. Miles *I received an eARC for review. This does not effect my review.*

I really enjoyed this one! I have been eagerly awating this title since May, and it did not dissapoint! Well written, the plot and characters held my attention and kept me wanting more! I'm excited to read more of this series!
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