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review 2020-12-11 05:17
A Woman of No Importance
A Woman of No Importance - Sonia Purnell

An outstanding story from start to finish.  I listened to the audio and the narrator did an outstanding job, making an already riveting story one that I wanted to just sit and listen to, rather than serving as just a diversion while in traffic.

 

Virginia Hall, by any standard measure of time, accomplishment, daring, intelligence or bravery, was a heroine.  Her gender makes no difference in this distinction, nor does her disability, but both render her accomplishments during WWII even more astounding.  

Sonia Purnell does an excellent job chronicling the life of Hall, in spite of what she admits upfront was a daunting process of historical research in the face of archive fires, classified intelligence in multiple countries, and Hall's own ingrained reticence to discuss her work or accept accolades for her contributions to ending the war.  Her speculations as to what might have happened during gaps in primary sources seem few, and the writing makes those speculations clear.  She also doesn't just rely solely on chronicling Virginia's life, but covers quite a bit of the story of the French Resistance, especially in Lyon, during the Vichy government, and the Nazi take-over leading up to the invasion of Normandy.

 

The history is at times romantic in true Bond style, terrifying, and heartbreaking.  The details of Vichy and Nazi interrogating techniques is NOT for the feint of heart, and the post-war years for Virginia were a mixture of recognition of her talents and accomplishments, and a disgusting record of 50's misogyny.  I appreciated that the author made the effort to be accurate, not falling into the easy route of railing against all the discrimination and not giving time to those men in the intelligence and government sectors that stood up and gladly gave her the credit she earned and deserved.  Purnell tries to be balanced, and I think she succeeds brilliantly, pointing out the CIA's mistakes and their own efforts to take responsibility for them.

 

I'm thankful I found this book, and I'm thankful Purnell wrote it, giving men and women around the world another authentic role model and hero to look to.  I can't help but wonder, though, how Hall herself would view this fine work.  I hope, in spite of her life-long secrecy and desire to remain unknown, she'd appreciate her life's achievements as the valuable legacy they are to future generations.

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review 2020-11-09 11:10
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
The Midnight Library - Matt Haig

Beautifully written and a lovely, innovative concept.

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review 2020-10-25 03:52
The Library of the Unwritten (Hell's Library, #1)
The Library of the Unwritten - A.J. Hackwith

A great tale for anyone who loves books, but especially for those who fancy themselves future authors, struggling authors, or really, anyone who'd embrace the title of author in any form.

 

Myself, I've never found the title of author appealing.  My love of books is strictly that of the receiver of stories, and as such, some of the rhapsodic odes to unwritten stories was lost on me, though I connected with the idea of potentiality.

 

Regardless, once I got into the story, which admittedly took awhile, I was invested.  I thoroughly appreciated the author's take on Christian theology and judgement, but had a hard time buying into the creative license she took with heaven on several different levels.  There's a serious feminist vibe running throughout the narrative, which is fine, but for the record:  God is no more a 'she' than God is a 'he'; God is Omni; God is all, and while it makes no material difference which gender pronoun one uses, the overt use of "she' has always felt  petty to me. It was a small blip, but whenever it happened it yanked me out of the story, even if just for a second.

 

The author's grasp of the mythology of the underworld felt less formed, but only if you really stop to consider; the logic of the plotting cracks a bit around the edges if you stop to consider how she's got the bureaucracy of Hell set up.  Don't think about it too much though and it works well enough.

 

The characters are well written, though Leto's story is obviously the one that is the most fully developed.  This is the character the author thought most deeply about, or had enough life experience that bled through into his creation.  Which is both unfortunate and haunting, though the result is a character the reader can care about and cheer for.  To use Hackworth's logic, Leto is the character most likely to leave his book.

 

Overall, an engaging story, an adventure.  There's a second book out next month that I'll happily read, and I hope this time around we'll spend more time in the library itself.

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text 2020-09-12 00:29
WordPress Media Library organization with Folders

WordPress Media Library organization with Folders

 

WP Media Folder, go further than anyone with the WordPress media library

From beginners to advanced users the easiest way to manage media.

Supercharge your WordPress media library with hundreds of features.

More info: https://www.joomunited.com/wordpress-products/wp-media-folder

#wordpress media gallery

- Galleries from folders

- Advanced searching and filtering

- Replace a file in all articles

- Automatic watermarks

- Sync files from the folder

- Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3 full integration

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review 2020-07-31 04:34
Lifeboat 12
Lifeboat 12 - Susan Hood

Audience: Grades 4 & up

Format: Audiobook/Library

 

I shouldn't do it.

- first line

This book is based on a true story of kids that were travelling on the SS City of Benares to Canada to escape the Nazi bombing of London. When the ship is torpedoed, Ken (13) and other survivors are left on Lifeboat 12 in the middle of the ocean. It's the little details in this book that make it so impactful. Ken was supposed to be on a different lifeboat, the young woman who makes up stories for the boys, the one sailor who acts crazy to make everyone laugh.
The story is told in verse, so I recommend reading a written copy more than the audio (or maybe both together). The audio is very well done and I could hear the emphasis and lyricism in the narrator's voice. The story is compelling and shows the importance of believing in yourself and each other and joining together to survive. Highly recommended. A 6-8 Sunshine State nominated book for 2020-21.

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