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text 2018-02-28 12:00
February 2018 Reading Wrap Up
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land - Monica Hesse
AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service -- and How It Hurts Our Country - Kathy Roth-Douquet,Frank Schaeffer
The Great Silence - Juliet Nicolson
Dark in Death - J.D. Robb

Challenges

BL/GR: 17/52 (32%)

PS Reading Challenge: 11/50 (22%)

COYER Winter Switch, Phase 3: 4 books

 

Read and Reviewed

1. American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse - 4 stars

2. AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service - and How It Hurts Our Country by Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer - 3.5 stars

3. The Great Silence 1918-1920: Living in the Shadow of the Great War by Juliet Nicolson - 4 stars

4. Dark in Death (In Death #46) by JD Robb - 4 stars

 

DNFs

5. Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson

 

Set Aside for a Future Reading

6. Gambled Away anthology by Various Authors

7. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

 

Currently Reading

8. Women Heroes of the World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics by Kathryn J. Atwood

9. Forgotten Voices from the Great War by Max Arthur

 

Hours Volunteered at the Library

January: 13 hours, 5 minutes

February: 12 hours, 55 minutes

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review 2018-02-25 16:57
The Great Silence 1918-1920: Living in the Shadow of the Great War by Juliet Nicolson
The Great Silence - Juliet Nicolson

My Great War reading list got off to a decent start with this book. Nicolson is the grand-daughter of Harold Nicolson, a British representative at the Treaty of Versailles negotiations. She has written about the Edwardian period before, so she is well versed in this era of British history. She takes the decidedly social history angle to the war, in particular how the British (and to some extent the French and Americans) dealt with the massive numbers of the dead and injured and the grief that just wouldn't go away.

 

The book is broken down into three sections, with each section starting with the Armistice of 1918 or its two anniversaries. Although the author is from the upper classes of British society, she took great pains to bring people into the history of this grieving period from all the socio-economic classes (although not from any racial or religious minority groups). All people mentioned had a connection with the war in some way, from the young Pam Parrish at 3 years old and now fatherless to King George. The social and economic unrest and how the joyous pictures of Armistice Day we have in our heads often have a ugly, hollow underbelly. With the end of the war, the emotional labor had to really begin and I really liked Nicolson's writing and the concepts she talked about. I didn't know much about King George and in this book I was able to get a much better picture of him as both a person and monarch (his son Prince David also got quite the profile in this book as a "other side of the coin" to his father - and this was all pre-Wallace Simpson).

 

However, there was one chapter that didn't need to be written or put into this book; it was titled "Hope" and was about the extramarital affairs of bored upper crust ladies who didn't get enough attention from their husbands - no one or idea had any connection to the war or its aftermath, so it didn't need to be in here. If you read the book, skip this chapter completely.  

 

One striking piece of historical trivia that I should have known but never figured on was the feelings King George had toward his cousins during and after the war (yep, it never dawned on me that WWI was one big old family feud, as the Kaiser, King George, and Tsar Nicholas all had the same grandma - Queen Victoria). George grieved over his Russian cousin's death at the hands of the Bolsheviks and he hated the Kaiser, especially when the Kaiser abdicated the throne after the war. He blamed the Kaiser for the war and for taking Nicholas' focus off domestic unrest that resulted in the Russian Revolution.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed the book that takes a long look at the aftermath of war, death, and grief on both an individual and country level. Recommend (just skip that one chapter)!

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text 2018-02-23 16:25
Friday Reads - February 23, 2018
The Great Silence - Juliet Nicolson
Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality - Arnold Theodore Olson,David Boies
Dark in Death - J.D. Robb
Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics - Kathryn J. Atwood

My kids are now 7 (son) and 5 (daughter). Their birthdays went well and their toy boxes are now stuffed to the brim with new toys. Son also started Boy Scouts this week, so there is another hour that I get to read while he is entertained and learning new stuff (I also read during the kids' ju-jistu class on Mondays).

 

We also took a family overnight trip to York to see the Jorvik Viking Festival. It was a lot of fun, but a long drive up there and back, plus the birthday party the following day. It was a long weekend.

 

I finished The Great Silence and moved on to the library borrow Redeeming the Dream (about 20% in). Dark in Death came in via inter-library loan this week, so my first order of business is to knock it out. After that back to Redeeming; I am hoping to finish both by the end of February. Then I am starting Women Heroes of World War I, which I borrowed from OverDrive, which will probably be my first book of March. I have almost all the books I've read in February needing reviews, so I need to get that done (on GR, since I can't rely on BL to be functioning) this weekend as well.

 

Happy reading everyone!

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text 2018-02-22 16:12
Tea's TBR Thursday - February 22, 2018
The Great Silence - Juliet Nicolson
Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality - Arnold Theodore Olson,David Boies
Dark in Death - J.D. Robb
Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics - Kathryn J. Atwood

*bookish meme created by Moonlight Reader

 

Books Read:

1. The Great Silence 1918-1920: Living in the Shadow of the Great War by Juliet Nicolson (personal collection)

 

Books on hold at library: None

 

Books borrowed from library:

1. Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson (20% read)

2. Dark in Death (...In Death #46) by J.D. Robb (27%)

 

Books borrowed from OverDrive:

1. Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics by Kathryn J. Atwood

 

 

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review 2018-02-21 21:36
The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicholson
The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm - Juliet Nicolson

This is book 3 in my 2018 NF project, so I'm good to go until the end of April. I have also started A World Undone, and have more than two full months to finish it before worrying about May. That's just housekeeping, though, and has little do with The Perfect Summer.

 

Overall, this one wasn't as engaging as either of the other two books which I previously read, mostly because of the content. The other books contained much more human drama. This one was interesting for what it was, which is a slightly deeper than superficial look at the social conditions as they existed in England during the summer of 1911. Nicholson addresses both the upper class Brits, who are doing their usual thing, which is nothing of substance, and some of the service/working class individuals. 

 

She mentions a butler, specifically, who seems (according to the book) to have kept a diary. We got none of the entries from the diary, which is a bit of a pity, as it might have been interesting to get the straight scoop direct from the horse's mouth. She also addresses some of the strikes, and talks, briefly, about the upheaval that is occurring as a result of young people leaving service and looking for factory style jobs.

 

It would be difficult for any author to provide much analytical depth given the book's scattershot framework. Overall, I was left with more questions than answers. My raised-eyebrow in the direction of the utter pointlessness of the British upper crust remains unabated. What did they do all day? Eat, gossip, sleep with husbands/wives not one's own, and change clothes with the assistance of servants seems to be the answer.

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