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review 2018-07-19 09:18
The Change Chronicles- Paula Friedman

      This book is dripping with realism, with historic realities, stuffed full of the issues of the then still young baby-boomer generation. We are immersed, near drowning, in the real issues of a student body that feared the bomb: but feared man’s inhumanity to man far more. We are with the issues of the post-war generation that had to make stark individual choices between defying the generally respected government apparatus of their parents and grandparents, by radically opposing neo-colonial war, or joining the ranks of those that might have to kill as soldiers, or certainly by proxy, those fighting for their homes and their innocent children in distant lands.

      As the body-bags and damaged young men, returned from the war in ever greater numbers a social divide split Berkeley, this read’s setting, then West-Coast America, and eventually the ‘free world’. Additionally, the boomer generation were deep in the already progressing struggle against racism and, as the ‘60s progressed, the drive towards sexual equality was gaining a long-dormant momentum. A tsunami of social consciousness grew out of the student Free Speech Movement, the roots of the 60s Counterculture, and swelled out so far and so deep that even today we feel its dissipated pull. Culture has seen fundamental change, despite recent pressures to reset the clocks of history from many right of centre and ‘religious’ groups.

      Nora is at the centre of the social struggle, a child of the ‘50s, a daughter of parent’s born in the ‘20s and ‘30s. The older generation that had suffered the deprivations and often the full horrors of world war and who now struggled to understand the anti-establishmentarianism of so many of their kids. In 1966, the parental generation was as psychologically distant from the lives of their children as any times have seen. But quite naturally, establishment structure and deeply ingrained cultural expectations, hung heavy shadows over even the most progressive. No generation can reject all the expectations of their upbringing. Nora, like those around her, was struggling with her personal place in the world as much as with grand designs. This is so vividly drawn in this story as the young unmarried mother feels little choice but to give up her new-born child. This is a chronicle of change for one women in a social fabric that was constantly melting and reforming around her.

      Friedman’s brilliant writing lets us see how the new sexual permissiveness of late ‘60s youth is overshadowed by old moralities. For example, we see how many men were all-too-ready to enjoy new sexual freedoms but without accepting the fullness of accrued responsibility. We see the young women, who are equally driven by new social permissiveness, but are so often left abandoned to face single parenthood, still then illegal abortion, or cruel adoption. The pill, though a birth control reality from 1960 onwards, was still years away from available to all but a few women; or in many territories and especially among their many religious and cultural groups, any women whatsoever. The 1960s were more about changed expectations than the progress that decade unleashed, just as previous history had paved the groundwork for racial equality, and the ‘70s would soon for the rainbow of sexuality.

      Friedman draws us through every significant thought and fear, not just of the principle character, Nora, but her whole generation of educated, informed, and variably enlightened young activists. She represents a post-war generation that was desperate to change society, rather than just their own fortunes. As always, change brought mixed and shifting actions and conflicting opinions even between those that held aloft the very same flags. This is a book that in an equal universe should find a place as the ‘lighter’ but equally socially enlightening read, complementing iconic works from Weinberg, Ginsberg and so many well-recognised others. This book should be on the shelves, available to all those that seek insight into the social tapestry behind songs of Dylan, Baez and Lennon and so many more. This book is so much part of the essential history of those in my wide generation that fought with the banner, the guitar and the pen, and with the desperate but sadly naive conviction that the world could be made better for all, not just those blessed by God to have the most money and the most destructive guns. Of course, as in all generations the baby-boomers fill all areas of the political spectrum, though for a time there was promise of us really being something different; a truly progressive generation. So incidentally, it’s feels so sadly poignant that our now senior, empowered generation, is making such a mess of its responsibilities to humanity and this planet. But despite abject failings those that marched can at least find some relief in the social earthquake that is still shaking out new and profound chronicles of hopefully sustainable change, across so much of the Earth. Despite everything, the wind of change that blew from Berkeley in the ‘60s has left an indelible footprint on social history, and Friedman’s book gives us a glimpse into the countercultural foundations of our changing social fabric. I feel so fortified when reading Friedman’s deeply woven commentary on the early determined stands of so many of our post-war generation. This goes some small way towards alleviating the sense of shame brought on so many of us by the actions of the aging boomer leadership, which conspires to reverse so very much of what Friedman and her contemporaries achieved. Sad though many aspects of this book are the overall feel is one of positivity, a banner flown for the progressive spirit.

      This is quality writing that lets one breath in the winds of change that may have lost its acute direction, but whose influence is felt in so many aspects of the world today, including currently in hashtag metoo, in the wider struggles for social justice, human rights and for our basic freedom of speech. We have hopefully passed onto our children enough social conscience to bring down the new savage capitalism and currently growing fascist tendencies. This is a book about some of the ordinary voices in an extraordinary movement, in the chronicles of change. This read is an intimate look behind the placards and politics of a generation that once dared to march, not for themselves, but for a better world.

AMAZON LINK

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review 2018-07-19 05:40
The Lion and the Lamb - Charles Causey
 

THE LION AND THE LAMB

Charles Causey

paperback, 288 pages

Published November 17th 2016 by WestBow Press

ISBN: 1512761095 (ISBN13: 9781512761092)

also available in Hardcover and Kindle

 

 

 

I had read Corrie Ten Boom's a while ago, so seeing her story side by side one of Hitler's top aides, was an interesting choice. Causey writes this as a novel, but his research on the historical detail is amazing. He alternates chapters between Ten Boom and Albert Speer. Both deal with betrayal, both starting off as innocent or naive. Who is the lamb? Who is the lion? Something for each reader to discern on their own. It took me a while to read this novel. Not because I didn't like it. I did like it. The subject matter, and seeing part of WWll Germany from Speer's side, was difficult at times.

****This book was received from the author, Charles Causey, through a Goodreads giveaway. ****

 

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text 2018-07-18 09:25
Four more books to add to your summer reading list

 

 

Share your Summer book picks! We're looking for new reading inspirations!

 

We've asked this question on our Facebook page and revived four great reading recommendations. And what are you recommending? 

 

For romance fans:

Dear Mrs Bird - AJ Pearce 

Buy it ->

Debut.

London, 1941. Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance – but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine.

Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. But as Emmy reads the desperate pleas from women who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong man, or can't bear to let their children be evacuated, she decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back . . .

Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce is a love letter to the enduring power of friendship, the kindness of strangers and the courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

 

For YA fans:

Heartless - Marissa Meyer 

Buy it ->

Long before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship...

 

Book review by YA Fanatic

I really enjoyed Marissa Myers new book. It's not as fast paced as the Lunar Chronicles was but its a great retelling of Alice In Wonderland and her fans are bound to love it... continue reading

 

For historical fiction fans:

The Other Einstein: A Novel - Marie Benedict 

 

Buy it ->

 

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.

 

Book review by Lora's Rants and Reviews

I found the author's voice very engaging and soon got caught up in her tale, even looking up a few mentions of Mileva's life on Wikipedia. The story is mostly fiction based on bare bones scaffolding of known facts, yet it felt very plausible all the way through... continue reading

 

For mystery fans:

Origin - Dan Brown 

Buy it ->

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement--the unveiling of a discovery that "will change the face of science forever." The evening's host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon's first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence...

 

Book review by Tina (HDB)

Part of the charm of Dan Brown's stories are that they all take place in real places, and this is no exception. Focused in Spain our hero, Robert Langdon once again finds himself caught in the middle of an ordeal, this time focused on a former student of his... continue reading

 

 

 

AND WHAT ARE YOU READING?

 

 

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review 2018-07-18 02:58
So much hidden meaning
The Intuitionist - Colson Whitehead

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead is included in the list of 100 titles chosen by American citizens for The Great American Read hosted by PBS. (More info on the books on the list and how you can vote for America's favorite novel can be found here.) In an effort to read more diversely (and to have the ability to recommend books for the adults in my branch) I started with this book as I had never heard of it despite it being listed as a 'classic'. The story follows Lila Mae Watson who is the first female person of color to be an Elevator Inspector. In the world created by Whitehead elevators are the height (ha!) of technology and the majority of the population see them as somewhat mystical and beyond the realm of ordinary comprehension. (There are even guilds which seek to elevate the status of Elevator Inspectors in society to those in political office.) Even more confusing to discern are the two distinct sects of theory as to the maintenance and future of these machines. One school of thought is firmly rooted in the reality of the technology while the other views them as metaphysical creations that can be 'sensed'. Lila Mae belongs to the second school of thought which further compounds the problems that she faces among her coworkers and the public that she encounters on her daily rotations. This sci-fi novel is rooted in the reality of race. What drives the story are the veiled discussions of race but it is told through the lens of technology innovations. It is ultimately a story of hope for a better world where we are 'elevated' from the weaknesses and barbarisms of our current reality. Whitehead challenges our perceptions of our accepted reality as he argues that established views are not solely based on what we see with our eyes. This is a book with a seemingly simple premise about elevator manufacture and maintenance in a world so very similar (and familiar) to our own but instead what we get is a complex discussion of race and how we can (hopefully) rise above. 9/10

 

What's Up Next: The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease

 

What I'm Currently Reading: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-07-17 14:00
Hunting Prince Dracula
Hunting Prince Dracula - Kerri Maniscalco

“Bone white, blood red. Along this path you'll soon be dead.”

 

I really enjoyed the setting of this book and the creepy old Romanian Bran Castle, with its hidden rooms and secret passageways, dark spider filled corridors leading to hidden rooms and bloodless corpses. Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell are now attending the academy of forensic medicine, which takes place in Bran Castle. Just as they arrive a series of murders happen, all pointing to the old legends leading people to fear Vlad the Impaler has risen from the dead.

 

After the events of Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose is still attempting to come to terms with everything they endured. I was a fan of the first book, but I believe I liked this one even more. Despite her anxieties and fears Audrey becomes a stronger character. She pushes past her insecurities and tries her hardest to focus, to solve the mystery and move on with her life. She is the only female student in the academy and has to work twice as hard to prove that she is worthy of being there.

 

Cresswell remains as charming and flirtatious as ever. His humor is ever present, breaking the tension even in the most suspenseful of scenes. There is a slew of new characters, including fellow students, odd and intimidating professors, we even meet Cresswell's sister.

 

This time around I did not figure out who the killer was as I did with Stalking Jack the Ripper. Maniscalco kept me guessing and I loved it! Her writing seems to get better and better. The next book in the series is called Escaping from Houdini and the cover art is beautiful. I can't wait to add it to its predecessors currently decorating my bookshelf!

 

 

 

-Shey

 

 

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