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review 2018-09-22 15:12
Deservedly regarded as a classic
The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871 - Michael Eliot Howard

Michael Howard's history of the Franco-Prussian War has long been regarded as a classic of military history, and after reading it it's easy to see why. His book is a incisive recounting of the combatants and the operations they undertook over the course of the ten-month-long conflict. In the process he identifies the elements that defined the conflict, showing how just ill-prepared the French were for the war they faced, how poorly suited the French generals were for the type of war they were in, and how precarious Prussia's victory was after their ostensibly decisive victory in the battle of Sedan. While Geoffrey Wawro's history of the war serves as a better introduction to the subject thanks to its broader coverage of the context of events, nobody interested in understanding the course of the fighting can afford to skip Howard's perceptive and enduring examination of it.

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text 2018-09-12 14:24
Reading progress update: I've read 224 out of 512 pages.
The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871 - Michael Eliot Howard

I'm going to skim the rest of this book. It's an excellent military history, but I'm just not up for its detailed descriptions of battlefield maneuverings right now, especially after having read Wawro's book on the subject just a few months ago.

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review 2018-07-27 04:46
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Middlemarch - George Eliot

'Middlemarch' is the daunting 5th novel from George Eliot. It primarily concerns the lives of the gentry and middle class, but showcases Eliot's dazzling ability to create worlds. The English novel typically had large supporting casts of characters and depended upon depicting shades of rural life, but Eliot was a master of crowd-work. Her four major plots are punctuated by extended sequences of social calls, gossip, and plain conversation that reverberate through the main text and give it life. I hesitate to call many of the characters minor not merely because of the their place in the plot, but in because how deftly they're drawn. These characters have layers. No matter how small their role is in the plot, like Miss Horner, or even a barely mentioned Mr. Clintup, have history and lives going on behind the scenes. They also have subtle social relationships with each other.

I read this novel at breakneck speed, perhaps 12 hours altogether over two evenings and a morning, and that allowed me to really experience the close relationships between many of the characters. Eliot provides vast insight into the inner lives of her characters, but also in their differing outer relationships with each other including all of the misunderstandings that create the two 'main' marriages of the plot, and, more cunning, the relationships which possess understanding. Dorothea and Casaubon; Lydgate and Rosamund; as fraught as their whole situation is, it was the relationship between Camden Farebrother and his family, Mr. and Mrs. Garth's mutual recalculation of their lives in the wake of Fred's note coming due (without Mrs. Garth knowing beforehand!), and even Trumbull, the auctioneer, being bequeathed a gold-headed cane seemed to be punctuation to a long-told joke.

Maybe I'm still worn out from all of that not sleeping so I could read 'Middlemarch' in time for the book club, but everything in this meandering novel is significant. It is not significant with the everything is an allegory way either. Eliot raised the bar again with her research, giving 'Middlemarch' an impeccable timeline and even mined 40-year-old medical journals for Lydgate's benefit. I loved this.

This novel merits the reams of words that have been written about it. She is rapidly becoming my favorite author. I was disappointed by 'Silas Marner' and my appreciation for 'Romola' is (mostly) academic. I had a bad time of it in college when I had to read this for the most boring man ever to scrape a chalkboard, but I'm so glad that I gave it another chance. Many serial novels suffer from how they were written, even with polish and editing, there's usually something disconnected. I'm including Thackeray and Dickens in that criticism, among others. Eliot was a planner and the end-notes of my edition repeatedly referenced her process. Read it in a glorious rush the way I did, or in your own serene time, but this one is worth it.

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review 2018-04-09 18:30
Too Good to be True
Too Good to be True - Buddy & Eliot Daniel Kaye

I love Ann Cleeves´ stories, especially the Shetland Island series. This Quick Reads book is a short book with most simplistic writing like a chapter book meant for kids. I liked the story but missed the writing I´m used to in the regular novels by Ann Cleeves. I do think older Elementary kids would like this book. The book mentions a murder but there are no gruesome details or any mention of sex. 

Perez receives a call from his ex-wife Sarah. She said a young school teacher had died of an apparent suicide but the rumors of the small village are ruining their lives. Her husband is a doctor and the villagers are saying he and the school teacher were lovers. He is losing patients over it and Sarah wants Perez to look into the matter but she doesn´t want her husband to know about it. Perez agrees but says he will only stay for 2 days. It doesn´t take long before he begins to doubt that the death was a suicide.

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url 2018-04-01 20:20
April Amazon First Reads, Editor's Picks (formerly Kindle Firsts)
When Never Comes - Barbara Davis
It Ends With Her - Brianna Labuskes
Bandwidth - Eliot Peper
An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew - Annejet van der Zijl, ‎Michele Hutchison
The Air Raid Killer - Steve Anderson,Frank Goldammer
Monsoon Mansion - Cinelle Barnes

I like that they now say Editor's Picks because the program for years now has been just Amazon's own publishing imprints.

 

If unfamiliar with the program, it's a selection of ARCs available for Amazon prime members (who get to choose one free to keep a month ahead of publication date).

 

I am noticing that some have not been new books as have been previously self-published.

 

Durn if I can get any of these added to this post. (I have carefully added the editions to booklikes but it will not find it searching; even shelved to search on my shelves to no avail.) I'll try to edit and add later in case some cache lag with recently added works.

 

UPDATE: some now searchable in booklikes; some not but can now search on my shelves to add to post.  All added to post now.

Source: www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/firstreads
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