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review 2018-01-31 00:00
Beloved Emma - The Illustrated Life Story of Emma Smith
Beloved Emma - The Illustrated Life Stor... Beloved Emma - The Illustrated Life Story of Emma Smith - Lori E. Woodland The art in the book grabbed my attention at the library. You can take bigger chances on library books, and our local library is so small that there is very little selection at all. Being a lover of history, I allowed the art to persuade me.

I read the book in one sitting, and with some skimming, mostly because it's more a Joseph Smith history from Emma's point of view. I don't wish to be too critical because I know there isn't a lot of information out there, and what remains is contradictory or cannot be verified, or historically unreliable. Still, I hoped the book would focus on what details of Emma's life are available and allow her to be seen, rather than eclipsed by her husband's experiences.

Very little attention is given to the subject of polygamy. Chapter 25 is only three pages long and gives very little information. The author chose carefully the quotes and information to include, and remains quite neutral.

The more interesting portion of the book to me were the chapters describing Emma's life after the death of Joseph. I wished for more information; it seems the author is again attempting to remain gently neutral rather than discuss any of the controversial aspects of Emma's involvement with Church leaders in the chaotic years following the assassination.

Pleasantly and kindly written, Emma is presented as a generous and humble woman, courageous and patient. Worth reading.
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review 2018-01-25 02:07
Tired, so this will be short
My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel - Grady Hendrix

I really enjoyed this in the end, much more than I suspected when I started.   It's a little slow, but the setup is worth this ending: it was much more touching that I expected, and yet the horror and humor shined through this story about two girls who are best friends. 


I have a couple things that took off one star, one being that slow ending.   It was worth it in the end, but I'm convinced there didn't need to be that much setup!


Secondly, the enhanced edition had additional material that was on occasion annoyingly hard to read.   

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review 2018-01-21 13:17
In every life a little rain must fall.....
THE RAINBOW (illustrated, complete, and unexpurgated) - DH Lawrence

In essence ‘The Rainbow’ is a family saga, which examines the journey of three generations of the Nottinghamshire-based, Brangwen family. In particular, several of the most interesting characters are strong women of that clan - mothers, partners, daughters.


Published in 1915, this novel assumed some notoriety following a prosecution, by the ‘Public Morality Council’ for obscenity and the first clash between Lawrence and British censorship. However, a century on, the contemporary threshold for public outrage is calibrated more liberally and enables the reader to engage with the much bigger themes present in the book. So, rather than becoming exercised by lewd sexualised behaviour and implied impropriety, of equal interest to the modern reader may be the backdrop of early industrialisation, the rise of capitalism and the attendant social consequences for women and, to use the modern parlance, social mobility.

The chapters are quite long, which seems to be Lawrence’s style and often the description of nature is beautiful though laboured. Yet, it does contrast the starkly grey and grimy towns to which the working class are increasingly tethered to populate mines and factories and satisfy the demands of mechanisation and progress. Indeed, arguably Lawrence has used the Brangwen’s as a metaphor for the urbanization of the midlands and a wider movement from a bucolic existence to a form of industrial serfdom, but transforming also social attitudes and the norms, which had hitherto maintained the status quo. Thus, the apparent loosening influence of traditional institutions (church, marriage, community) is portrayed by Lawrence as having potentially liberating effects, or at least challenging the hypocrisy of conventional moral rectitude.

Still, within the personal lives of the main characters are also the tensions, trials and emotional turmoil that appear ever-present in families, whatever the era and some interesting parallels to twenty first century life. First up, Lydia Lensky is the daughter of a Polish landowner, but a widowed single parent, when she receives a proposal of marriage from farmer Tom Brangwen. The couple go on to have a son, but Tom also raises Lydia’s daughter as his own and fashions a strong and special, though volatile relationship with ‘Anna’, in part to fill a perceived deficit in his marriage.

Anna, in turn, marries William Brangwen ('step cousin') and in some senses replicates the turbulent relationship modelled by her parents, but the couple go on to have a large family and Anna revels in her matriarchal role. The rapid succession of babies though also has implications for their eldest daughter. ‘Ursula’ is called upon to help tend her siblings, but in the frenetic bustle of the household fosters an especially close relationship with her father, to step outside of the care of four babies. Moreover, Ursula’s subsequent education and aspirations show burgeoning feminist tendencies and her resistance to the historical templates available for women – “…why must one inherit this heavy, numbing responsibility of living an undiscovered life?”- mark her out as the most interesting character in this book.

Ursula’s revolutionary leanings are expressed in her pursuit of independence, but Lawrence deliberately touched a nerve, by including the young woman’s developing sexual awareness, as a component of her rebellion. “She knew that she had always her price or ransom – her femaleness……In her femaleness she felt a secret riches, a reserve, she had always the price of freedom.”

The challenge posed by D.H.Lawrence to the sobriety of his time might seem less inflammatory today and yet the aspiration to be “proud and free as a man, yet exquisite as a woman” retains a familiar contemporary echo. The fact that this book precedes its better known sequel ‘Women in Love’, which continues to follow the lives and loves of Ursula and her sister Gudrun Brangwen, may also suggest that Lawrence was ahead of his time in more ways than one and can still speak to the multi-title, 'boxset' generation.

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photo 2018-01-20 18:11
Amazon Review Quote

"This well written fantasy has plenty of intriguing characters and plenty of action, with some doses of peril that will keep you reading and crossing your fingers for a happy ending.  I sure enjoyed it and would love to read more about Blue, his friends, and this magical world."

Source: www.amazon.com/Blue-Unicorns-Journey-Illustrated-Book-ebook/dp/B06X416LGX
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review 2018-01-07 03:14
Vaesen: Spirits and Monsters of Scandanavian Folklore
Vaesen: Spirits and Monsters of Scandinavian Folklore - Johan Egerkrans,Johan Egerkrans,Johan Egerkrans,Cecilia Danneker Engström,Susan Beard


I first caught sight of this book on some facebook ad, and it immediately grabbed my attention. I ordered it and was not disappointed. The book details a small encyclopedia of folklore-ish monsters, all with beautiful illustrations many of them full page, and in beautiful color. Smaller drawings also accompany each entry as well.


The book is filled with  fascinating descriptions of monsters and spirits of a variety, many of which you've probably heard of, such as as gnomes and dragons, and others like vatter and the askefroa which you are likely less familiar with. Thirty-one in all.


Each entry is filled out by a fascinating description of the creature, ranging from a few paragraphs to a couple pages, occasionally more.


The only problem I have with this book is that it feels a little short. I went cover to cover on it in about four hours, but since the focus is obviously on the illustrations it feels like a fair trade.



Easily worth the trouble it took to get it. Its a bit hard to find, only really being available from a single website. If anyone wants to know where to find it please send me a message.


4 stars.

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