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review 2020-01-01 20:56
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper - Hallie Rubenhold
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper - Hallie Rubenhold

I'm not finished yet, but this is pretty amazing. Rubenhold has gone to primary and secondary period sources to discover a great deal about the women who have existed merely as "murdered prostitute" all these years. The scholarship is impressive, as is the imagination to start over, virtually from scratch. Given how very much has been written about their murders since 1888 it's kind of amazing how little we ever knew about the victims, when there was so much available.There is a bit much speculation on the mundane presented as fact: there is a great deal that can be inferred with high probability, but the construction "she would have" grates on me. There is also a rather constant refrain of how the women were assumed by the police of the time to be prostitutes in the absence of any positive evidence that they were. But that is a welcome reminder not to accept stereotype as proven fact. Everybody lies, including the police.

Dec 20, 2019

 

***

 

Now that I am finished my opinion certainly hasn't gone down at all. Although I knew generally how constrained the lives of Victorian women were, and how tenuous their survival, I didn't have a lot of specifics. It's kind of staggering how little progress we've made in the past 130 years. Forensics have improved but little else has.

Dec 23, 2019

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review 2019-12-31 19:58
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Vol. 1 - Tove Jansson
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Vol. 1 - Tove Jansson

Embarking on my Moominread.
Some time back I read a book of short bios of kick-ass women, that included Jansson. And then, the moomins are so freaking cute. Plus Jansson lived in Finland which is present in my mind since getting hooked on the ice hockey. so, I decided to do some further exploration before I wrote the books off as not for me.
I like the eccentric family of bohemians and their madcap adventures, sort of. I love that there are all these different-looking creatures and that Moomin seems to accept them as relatives or just as people without question. And the moomins are hella cute.
But the story-lines are predictable, and the dialogue isn't especially funny, and the convention of making every noun Moominnoun wearies me. So while I can recognize the need for cuteness after horror, and for acceptance after exclusion, I'm still not a fan. I have two of the novels in the queue, so we'll see if those work better for me.
If not I suppose I will stick with the coloring book. Or go back to Calvin and Hobbes which I am appreciating more at the moment.

And with that I am caught up with reviewing my holiday reading. Now I'm behind on everyone else's reviews, which makes a nice change.

Library copy

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review 2019-12-23 17:37
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper - Hallie Rubenhold
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper - Hallie Rubenhold

I'm not finished yet, but this is pretty amazing. Rubenhold has gone to primary and secondary period sources to discover a great deal about the women who have existed merely as "murdered prostitute" all these years. The scholarship is impressive, as is the imagination to start over, virtually from scratch. Given how very much has been written about their murders since 1888 it's kind of amazing how little we ever knew about the victims, when there was so much available.
There is a bit much speculation on the mundane presented as fact: there is a great deal that can be inferred with high probability, but the construction "she would have" grates on me. There is also a rather constant refrain of how the women were assumed by the police of the time to be prostitutes in the absence of any positive evidence that they were. But that is a welcome reminder not to accept stereotype as proven fact. Everybody lies, including the police.

Dec 20, 2019

***

Now that I am finished my opinion certainly hasn't gone down at all. Although I knew generally how constrained the lives of Victorian women were, and how tenuous their survival, I didn't have a lot of specifics. It's kind of staggering how little progress we've made in the past 130 years. Forensics have improved but little else has.

Dec 23, 2019

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review 2019-12-16 01:48
Christmas at High Rising - Angela Thirkell
Christmas at High Rising - Angela Thirkell

I was mildly disappointed that it wasn't a book of Christmas stories, but only very mildly. Lots of Laura and Tony, which I find hilarious and poignant. The last story has Laura going to London to shop during wartime. I think I mentioned elsewhere that I didn't like Thirkell so much during wartime: she depresses the hell out of me. So Laura is going to London, and the train is cold and other people smoke in the non-smoking car, and there's this enormous list of things they need and the department store where she has long been a customer doesn't have any of those things...and it was depressing as hell, but I was nearly done with the book, so I finished it. And now I am charmed because most prosaic Christmas miracle ever (it's not specifically set at Christmas, but I am highly susceptible to titles apparently).
I may have to reconsider the earlier decision to avoid the wartime books.

We'll see.

 

And an aside, how beautiful is that cover?

Personal copy.

 

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review 2019-12-15 13:47
Time for Bed, Miyuki - Roxane Marie Galliez, Seng Soun Ratanavanh
Time for Bed, Miyuki - Roxane Marie Galliez,Seng Soun Ratanavanh

Before Miyuki's grandfather can put her to bed there are a number of chores that must be done. There is an element of fantasy to the routine of chores and getting ready for bed that intrigues and charms. The mood is completely different, but it reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are.

The art is exquisite: beautifully patterned and shaped while also calming and serene through clever use of white space.
So lovely. I'm going to need to see all the Miyuki books now. Also, someone needs to make a Miyuki nursery using fabrics based on the patterns and incorporating some of the art into the aesthetic.

Library copy

 

 

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