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review 2019-03-18 19:16
Remarkable Creatures / Tracy Chevalier
Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier

From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear Mary Anning is different. Though poor and uneducated, she learns on the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast that she has a unique gift: "the eye" to spot fossils no one else can see. When she uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious community on edge, the townspeople to gossip - and the scientific world alight with both admiration and controversy. Prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster and also a fossil hunter, becomes Mary Anning's unlikely champion and friend, and together they forge a path to some of the most important discoveries of the 19th century.

 

I’ve just recently read a non-fiction book about Mary Anning (The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World by Shelley Emling) and I was anxious to read this fictional account of Anning’s life before the details had faded too much in my mind. Chevalier sticks to the big, important details, but takes the liberty that those who write fiction often do, to write in drama and make a better story.

It’s always a tricky business, writing fiction about real historical figures. I appreciated Chevalier’s depiction of the friendship between impoverished, working class Mary Anning and genteel spinster Elizabeth Philpot. It was a real friendship, made across class boundaries and well documented in the written records of the time. What either woman was actually like personally is an unknown quantity (to me at least), but well filled in by Chevalier.

The official record doesn’t offer much drama beyond Mary and her family being on the edge of going to the poor-house most given days. Very suspenseful if you are experiencing it, but not the most riveting plot for the reader. So I completely understand why Chevalier creates the rivalry between the two women for the attention of one un-noteworthy man. Still, it disappoints me. One the main ribbons running through this book is the changing role of women during this time period—getting recognition for their minds, not just their appearances, and loosening some of the conventions that bound them to child-rearing and household roles. Both of the main characters and all of the marine reptiles are indeed remarkable creatures.

Some details are extremely fictional—there’s no indication that Mary’s mother, Molly, ever set foot on the beach or ever searched for a fossil. She was only reluctantly won over to fossil selling as a way of earning cold, hard cash. I know Mary’s dog, Tray, was killed in a landslide, but I don’t think that Mary herself was caught in it (although it made good, dramatic sense in this version). I also wish that Chevalier had captured more clearly the intellectual achievements of Mary and the expertise that she drew on to educate many of the fossil-hunting men who came to her for assistance. There was definitely an auction by Lieutenant-Colonel Birch to fund the Anning family, but no indications that it was Elizabeth who shamed him into it or that he was romantically involved with either woman.

In short, this was an enjoyable, dramatic telling of a famous woman’s life, but don’t take every detail as gospel. As they say of movies, “Based on a true story.”

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text 2019-03-17 20:22
Reading progress update: I've read 88 out of 912 pages.
The Fires of Heaven - Robert Jordan

 

 

It always takes a little while to get re-oriented in Jordan's world--he follows so many characters in such detail!

 

But so far, I have always found my footing quickly and get re-invested in the plot nicely.

 

 

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review 2019-03-15 10:29
Ripped from the Pages
Ripped From the Pages - Kate Carlisle

Brooklyn and Derek are staying Dharma, near their parents, housesitting for a neighbor/friend, while their place is being modified. While they are there, a cave is opened to be used as a wine bar, but in the process, a body is found. Also, found, treasures - art, furniture, jewels. When Brooklyn and Derek start looking into the treasures and the murdered man, they learn of the plan made by Guru Bob's family to help save the treasures of countrymen in France, during WWII. While all this happens, reporters descend on Dharma and then people start being murdered and attacked. They have to move quickly to find the answers. 

 

The story moved along nicely and it was a fun listen/read (I listened while driving and read when I was sitting still). 

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text 2019-03-14 19:42
TBR Thursday Library Reads: March 14, 2019

I had a ton of NetGalley books to get through which is why I didn't move the needle much on my library books. 

-Blue

 

Borrowed: (10)

[More detail about this title is available]Cover image for Shelter in Place[More detail about this title is available]Cover image for The Time Traveler's Wife

[More detail about this title is available]Cover image for Beach House MemoriesCover image for Wicked Prey[More detail about this title is available]

Cover image for The Waste LandsFingersmith - ebook

 

  

Hold: (15)

Cover image for CIRCE[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available]Maid - ebookThe Night Tiger - ebook[More detail about this title is available]

Cover image for An Anonymous Girl[More detail about this title is available]Cover image for Lisey's StoryCover image for A Question of HolmesCover image for Where the Crawdads SingCover image for I'm Thinking of Ending ThingsCover image for Dark of the Moon

 

Read: (1)

 [More detail about this title is available]

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review 2019-03-13 21:57
Review ~ Great read
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century - Timothy Snyder

Book source ~ Library

 

I don’t normally read non-fiction, but I found this on someone else’s book list/post/blog (sorry I can’t remember which or who) and felt it extremely relevant in these dangerous times. Because they are dangerous. It’s unreal to me that Hitler isn’t that far back in our history, a mere blip in the entirety of Earth’s history, and yet it seems as if we are making the same exact mistakes that Germany and others did back in the 30s & 40s. Totally unreal. I’m not sure if having the internet and access to social media is good or bad, but I’m leaning towards good so that those fighting for democracy can reach more people. But the vast amount of disinformation out there being shared with and by people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about, not to mention those who do not have the best interests of the many in mind, is needless to say, alarming.

 

Our government is corrupt. It’s been corrupt for decades now and the only good thing to come out of Trump’s presidency is that more and more people have finally woken up to the fact we’re getting royally screwed by the people who are supposed to be working for us. US. The citizens of the United States of America. Because, I’m just going to say it, Americans have gotten lazy as fuck. Me included. Combined with loss of funding for essentials such as education we’re also raising Americans who are dumb as fuck. Yes, I said it. Lazy and dumb. Just what our government wants us to be so they can keep lining their and their buddies pockets with more money than they could ever spend in 3 lifetimes.

 

I’m going to put this out there, it may sound crazy, but I don’t care. I think Russia wants to be the new Roman Empire, taking over the majority of the world. They seem to be playing the long game and sustaining themselves by eating the elephant one bite at a time. And we’re stupid enough to let it happen. Shame on us. But it hasn’t happened yet and we really need to make sure the lessons from the past follow us into the future. Short memories will get us killed. I recommend this book to everyone.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2019/03/on-tyranny.html
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