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review 2018-08-20 21:19
Etta James could sing this book
Jazz Age Josephine - Jonah Winter,Marjorie Priceman

This book is about Josephine Baker pre-WWII, so the bit about her helping the French Resistance isn't here.  Her cheetah is, however.  

 

Told in lyrics that read like jazz, the story of Baker's young life and start in stardom is related without fanfare, yet the racism that she faced is presented quite clearly.  The art matches the setting.

 

It is quite wonderful.

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review 2018-03-08 21:56
A fun and delicious book for readers with a sense of adventure who admire creativity
Murder at the Bijou: Three Ingredients I - Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I am a big fan of Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, as an author, a blogger, and I was lucky to discover her blog a few years back, and although I missed some of her early serials at the time of their initial conception, I have managed to catch up with them over time. I have also read her novel, Atonement, Tennessee (you can check my review here) and know that apart from an imagination that knows no bounds, and a love of period research and attention to detail, she has a way with words and can create magical characters that readers get to care for and make them live through situations that never fail to surprise us and keep us on tenterhooks.

As she explains in her description, she has been running a number of serials on her blog, pantser style. She asks her readers for things and/or ingredients, and she makes up a story that keeps developing as her imagination, and the things and ingredients, dictate. I am in awe at her creativity and I must recommend her blog (Teagan’s Books), as I know she is working on her next serial (and her process of creation is totally interactive).

Many of her readers (I included) kept telling her we would like to have the option of having her serials in book format, and eventually, she relented. I have reviewed her first serial in book format, Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story (you can read my review here) and many of the things I said about the previous book can be applied to this one. This is another light, fun, and fast book, with the same protagonist, Pip, a young woman, a flapper (as she keeps reminding herself and us, because being modern at the time was not an easy task), who, on this occasion, is sent to stay with her grandmother, Granny Phanny (she is a fabulous character, and although she would hate to be called a flapper, she is an utterly modern woman) in Savannah so she can learn how to cook. That helps introduce the ingredients part of the story, and the culinary theme adds a layer of interest to the story, although I would advise not to read the book when you’re very hungry, because although sometimes the ingredients don’t end up in a dish, they often do, and they all sound delicious.

Pip, who narrates the story in the first person, is recovering from a heartache and meets a cast of wonderful characters, from a family of Chinese restaurateurs, to a vet and his doctor wife, G-men, police officers, mobsters, and there is even a paranormal element in the story. Oh, and let’s not forget a collection of pets that will warm your hearts and make you laugh.

Pip’s language remains as peculiar as usual, and the author seamlessly includes the popular and fashionable expressions of the era in her book. I challenge readers not to end up using some of them, especially some of Pip’s favourites.  

I recommended readers of the previous serial to play a game and try and imagine in which direction they would send the story, or how they would use the three things at the beginning of each chapter. You can do the same here, and if you’re fond of cooking, I’m sure you will have fun exploring possible ways of using the ingredients, both to cook and to advance the story. And by the end of the book, you’ll be amazed at how the author has managed to create a cohesive story from such diverse elements.

I recommend this book to readers with a sense of fun and play who enjoy a fast and light mystery (cozy style. No explicit violence, although there is violence, no sex scenes) set in the Jazz Age (oh, don’t forget to follow the author’s blog if you enjoy that historical period as she shares a post on the subject every Wednesday), with charming characters and great food. And even if you don’t have a lot of time to read for long stretches at a time, as the serial was created to be read a chapter per week, it is very easy to follow the story and not get lost. So, there is no excuse!

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text 2018-02-10 02:43
Reading progress update: I've read 136 out of 229 pages.
Jazz - Toni Morrison

Spring has sprung in the City; months gone by since, that Violet, Violent, at the funeral. author still takes us backwards while we go forwards, sometimes--a bit of Joe Trace's history, some of it downright scary, some of it with the kind of gaps you don't want to have. 

 

terrific book...I shall finish it tomorrow.

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text 2018-02-10 00:54
Reading progress update: I've read 88 out of 229 pages.
Jazz - Toni Morrison

I love it. I was hoping I would...and I do. we have that whole "poetry in the prose" thing going on, which I love, when I'm in the mood, and the author is good at it...which she is. we've got the "bits and pieces of plot scattered about, with hidden care" approach flowing right along, which is great, when I want that, and when the author does an amazing job...which she does. wish it was longer...glad she has more books.

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text 2018-02-09 14:44
Reading progress update: I've read 2 out of 229 pages.
Jazz - Toni Morrison

so, as of now, every second book--not counting graphic novels--will be a way of celebrating Black History Month, either because I am experiencing a Black author's words, or reading something like Darktown, which fits in with my goal too. naturally, the main focus is on Black authors. Jazz seems like a good place to start, because I love Jazz music, almost as much as Blues, and I love reading about the 1920s, and I have never read Toni Morrison. I read the Foreward already, and loved the way that was written, so I'm anticipating a great time with this book. I've got an Ethel Payne (journalist) biography handy--bought it just as I was about to start Tong Wars as my Nonfiction pick of the month, and debated putting Tong Wars aside at the time, but that's fine, I'll do two Nonfiction books this month--and Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower is waiting on my shelves too. if I need something else to keep to the plan, late in the month, I'll visit the bookstore. meanwhile...Jazz!

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