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text 2018-01-24 02:25
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 192 pages.
The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History - Brian and Wendy Froud,Caseen Gaines,Cheryl Henson

I completed my entire January TBR pile! Thanks, in part, to an audiobook of Little & Lion. So now I'm going to read a few fun books. 

 

I spiked a fever of 103.9 today. Got the flu, thanks to my son. He went to urgent care yesterday. I went today. We are both on Tamiflu. Just call me Easy Bake. Because damn, you could cook eggs on me. But hey, they gave me codeine. Woo. Drugs.

 

 

But, hey, I was discharged from physical therapy. So....there's that. 

 

:dies:

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review 2018-01-23 22:29
Richard Burton: Prince of Players (Munn)
Richard Burton: Prince of Players - Michael Munn

This biography of Richard Burton is, I would guess, highly unreliable as to details. Although Michael Munn, the author, was indeed in the entertainment business in minor capacities, I very much doubt he had the kind of access to Burton himself (or to his circle) that would allow him to quote, apparently verbatim, whole stretches of actual conversation so very focused and illuminating about Burton's life. My suspicion that in fact Munn was paraphrasing cribbed versions of secondary sources was confirmed when I compared his account of an incident involving John Gielgud with Sheridan Morley's Gielgud biography, and discovered word-for word-borrowings but written as if told to the author directly by Burton (the tip-off was the idiosyncratic phrase "idiot boards"). That said, Munn does seem to have had some access to Burton (though not perhaps in the chummy way he claims), as well as to some of the more notorious gossips in Hollywood like Roddy McDowall. He also actually gives us a bibliography of sorts, though only a "selected" one; so I suspect he did his reading.

 

This, then, was a quick read with a hefty dose of salt, reliable for at least the bare outlines of Burton's career, and likely also a pretty good reflection of the gossip about Burton over the years. It's not a very happy tale. Indeed, given whatever illness of the mind (or brain) he was suffering from, as well as his lifelong alcoholism, what strikes me about Burton is not the brevity of his working life but the fact that he managed to get as much good work done as he did.

 

I was relieved to read that despite his reputation of having slept with every leading lady he had, Julie Andrews (who shared the stage with him in "Camelot") was notoriously proof against his boozy charms.

 

There's got to be at least one better biography out there, and I remember hearing that Burton's own diaries have been published, so I may come back to him at some point. I'm really far more interested in Peter O'Toole (upon the subject of whom this particular book was pretty light, though apparently they were quite good friends), but reading this book has at least revived in me the desire to go back and watch "Becket" again.

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text 2018-01-23 21:14
The War that Ended Peace - Reading updates
The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 - Margaret MacMillan

I meant to read this book in 2014, but may have gotten side-tracked with other books about WWI in that year...

 

I'll keep a running post for reading updates for this book as it will encompass too much information to deal with in one post and I would like to keep notes while reading - and I would like to keep the notes in one place.

 

 

Chapters 2 & 3 - "Great Britain and Splendid Isolation" & "Woe to the Country that has a Child for a King! - Wilhelm II and Germany":

 

We get an introduction to the biography of British PM Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, and Wilhelm II, but interestingly to me we also get some background to Bernhard von Buelow, the German diplomat who would succeed Bismarck after his falling out with Wilhelm.

 

The description of W. II does indeed portray him as somewhat juvenile in both thoughts and deeds, apparently always seeking to defy someone. Anyone.

"In 1890 the Chancellor lost control of the Reichstag and did his best to stir up a political crisis so that he would have an excuse to destroy it and tear up the constitution. Wilhelm I might have gone along with such a plan but his grandson was not prepared to do so. The new Kaiser was increasingly alarmed by Bismarck’s intransigence and was not in any case prepared to submit to his guidance (or to that of any one else for that matter)."

MacMillan also portrays him as incompetent and impetuous and paranoid - who was not easily managed and could not be controlled by the Reichstag, because the Reichstag was not empowered to do so.

W.II's rhetoric - not all of which he may have meant on a political level - allowed for individuals to attain commissions in government that opposed the political views of the Reichstag, but the only power the Reichstag had was to cut W.II's budget to build more naval vessels.

 

Von Buelow was one such person with an agenda of his own. It makes one wish it had been a different member of the von Buelow family.

 

Previous updates are below the page break.

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review 2018-01-23 18:45
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, narrated by Rob McQuay
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail - Deutschland Random House Audio,Mike McQuay,Bill Bryson

A WALK IN THE WOODS was okay.

 

The author and his friend did not get to hike the entire trail as they had originally intended, which was not only disappointing for them but for me as well.

 

I learned about the history of the trail and how the whole thing works. I previously had no idea that the trail sometimes crosses roads and rivers and whatnot-I had this picture of a pristine wilderness in my head and while some parts are just that, others are not at all.

 

I thought there would be a bit more humor than there actually was and on top of that, there were no actual bears, (see that one on the cover there?), unless you count the night something was heard just outside of their tent.

 

Overall this was fun and I learned some things, so 3 stars it is.

 

Thanks to my local library for the loan of this audiobook. Libraries RULE!

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url 2018-01-23 16:24
What Role Did World War I Play in Women Gaining the Right to Vote?

My fifth Arguing History podcast is up! In it, I host historians Lynn Dumenil and Christopher Capozzola in a discussion of the question, "What Role Did World War I Play in Women Gaining the Right to Vote?" Enjoy!

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