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review 2016-12-12 10:01
Spit & Polish
Spit and Polish - Lucy Lethbridge

A sweet little book that talks about "Old Fashioned Ways to Banish Dirt, Dust & Decay".  

 

The illustrations from old advertisements and vintage photographs add a lot to the overall layout and appeal, and there are a few really good tips, but most of what is here is what I already knew or what I already use.  The stuff I would like to try I'd have liked more details about (how does one stew fig leaves?).

 

A great little find in a recent sale; I might have been more disappointed had I paid full price for it though.  Great concept - I'd have just liked it expanded on a bit.

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text 2016-12-08 06:55
Book Haul - and something to share with BrokenTune
Bookshops - Peter Bush,Jorge Carrión
The Haunted Grange Of Goresthorpe - Arthur Conan Doyle
Spit and Polish - Lucy Lethbridge
Darjeeling: A History of the World's Greatest Tea - Jeff Koehler
The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman
Lady Cop Makes Trouble - Amy Stewart
The White Cottage Mystery - Margery Allingham
What A Plant Knows: a field guide to the senses - Daniel Chamovitz
Turbo Twenty-Three - Janet Evanovich
Better Late Than Never - Jenn McKinlay

Buying other people books as Christmas presents is just dangerous.  Especially when local publishers have 45% off sales.  Apparently a book reading slump does not translate into a book buying slump.

 

So these all arrived in the mail this week.  I'm particularly excited about The Haunted Grange Of Goresthorpe by Arthur Conan Doyle  and Bookshops by Jorge Carrión; translated by Peter Bush.  Oh, and Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart!

 

I also bought one more book - it's not up on top because it's a book I already have, and a small splurge, but I think at least BrokenTune, if nobody else, will understand why.  I bought an uncorrected bound proof of The Eyre Affair.  Not because of the book itself, but because of what came with it:

 

 

It's a black and white photo that Jasper Fforde did in a giveaway at some point, 105 of them in total given away.  (http://www.jasperfforde.com/giveaway/tea002.html if anyone is curious).  The book was less than a new paperback edition and I couldn't resist - I love Pickwick!

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review 2016-07-01 23:53
Review of The Polish Officer by Alan Furst
The Polish Officer - Alan Furst

I enjoyed this installment of the Night Soldiers series by Alan Furst.  Each book in this series takes on a different person from the World War II era. The stories focus on the war within the war - this story looked at a member of the Polish resistance from just before the invasion through the end of the war.  The story covered many different parts of Europe and really puts the reader in the time period and the hopelessness of the war years.  Recommended.

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review 2016-04-14 06:40
Lilac Girls
Lilac Girls - Martha Hall Kelly

By: Martha Hall Kelly

ISBN: 9781101883075

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 4/5/2016

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

Martha Hall Kelly has created a spellbinding journey, both haunting and compelling. LILAC GIRLS—infused eloquently, a blending of fact and fiction— an emotional, and moving historical debut, "bringing to life" three women whose paths, and destinies converge—Unforgettable!

Inspired by true events, the author was influenced by a spark which turned into a burning obsession (when it is meant to be, nothing stands in the way) —a need, a strong desire to tell a story. With this kind of inspiration, you know “the end result” will be spectacular!

As sweet, and as haunting as the fragrance of the sweet lilac flower--where it all began. Wise careful pruning is necessary with lilacs, as the creation of a good story. A tale of courage and grace, triumph and tragedy; injustice and resilient women—a tale, deserving to be told.

The author uses factual research to write a fictionalized account of events of Ravensbrück, taking readers on a journey, to the places where the women, “rabbits” traveled. With keen insights, she breathes new life into a story which had fallen from public view. Shaped by the 74 Polish women, whose spirit and courage have not been forgotten.

Meet the three women:

Caroline Ferriday: (Character is factual with a few liberties taken with fictional twists). I think she would be proud. As the book opens we meet Caroline, from a wealthy family of prestige and power. A New York socialite, former debutante and Broadway actress. By the time Hitler had risen to power and the Nazis had attacked countless countries across Europe, she had left the theater behind and was working as a volunteer in the French Consulate in New York.

She is currently having a delicious affair at the beginning of the book with Paul a French actor. She later became a “Godmother” to Ravensbrück Survivors. She disliked the term ‘heiress’ thinking it was synonymous with pleasure, and instead became a champion for victims of the Holocaust. A heroine and champion for the victims of WWII.

Kasia Kuzmerick: (Character is fictional, based on true accounts). A Polish teenager who works for the resistance movement as Germany begins its invasion. She winds up in Ravensbrück as a Rabbit—a haunting and torturous experience. She joins the underground group, after Nazis occupy her hometown of Lublin, Poland. Arrested, along with her mother and sister. The most profound character. The stories of Kasia are heartbreaking.

Herta Oberheuser: (Character is factual). A German cruel female doctor in a man’s world, accepts a position at Ravensbrück, which includes carrying out the brutal medical experiments. She loyal to the powerful German and Nazi, carrying out unspeakable acts. The least favorite character wondering how she can be human?

 


Caroline’s French connection led to her pivotal role in helping the post-War recovery of the Ravensbrück Lapins (Rabbits) and survivors of the Ravensbrück concentration camp and its program of forced Nazi medical experiments.

Concentration camps in Nazi Germany were originally set up in 1933 to terrorize Hitler’s political enemies. An all-female camp at Ravensbrück, set up in 1938, soon afforded the prison doctors a steady supply of women — the ‘rabbits’, as these prisoners became known — for medical experiments.

Their stories cross continents —readers go inside Ravensbrück, which sometimes is quite difficult to read; however, important to be aware of the tragedies and horrors subjected upon these women. If you have read previously of the inmates, the intense brutality – the Nazis could smell their fear. From starvation diets, forced abortions, the murders of newborns, drugs, grisly medical experiments, sterilizations, routine shootings, disease, corruption, humiliation, lethal injections and poisonings, as well as gassing that took the lives of between 5,000-6,000 prisoners.

Treated like lab animals with their experiments, crippling healthy women. From broken legs, ones extracted, to nerves and muscles. They even caused infections by deliberate actions of bacteria, and other unsanitary measures.

By 1941 Ferriday had become one of the early American members of France Forever, the Fighting French Committee in America. A few years later Caroline affiliated herself with the ADIR, or National Association of Deportees and Internees of the Resistance, founded in 1945 by female members of the French resistance who had survived their internment in the German camps.

After WWII, Ferriday Pursued Aid for the Ravensbrück Survivors. In 1958, 13 years after the end of World War II, Ferriday was among the first to awaken the American public to the horrors of Ravensbrück.

Told with passion and sensitivity, Martha Hall Kelly has created a masterpiece! I can always tell when an author has a background in marketing, design, publishing, advertising, or copywriting. It shows in the precise planning, interviews, meticulous research, attractive presentation, packaging, cover, marketing, graphics . . . and the maps, music, website, and writing--she delivers the "complete package!". As a media professional, I appreciate the care, effort, and attention to detail with such an intense project. It shows, "Highly impressive"!

In order to further appreciate this breathtaking story, I urge readers to immediately go to Martha Hall Kelly’s website.Read about the inspiration for the book—the tidbits, letters, places, events, and photos which inspired the story. Loved the maps—hats off to the Calligrapher & Illustrator, Holly Hollon- Grit & Wit.

Thank you Martha Hall Kelly, for creating a memorable experience for readers--your passion is reflected throughout each page of the book and website.

 

Watch Book Trailer  

 



A powerful debut, and an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets—hidden away, for decades. An ideal choice for book clubs or further discussions. Fans ofKristin Hannah’s The Nightingale will enjoy the journey.

I also read “Ravensbrück: Life and Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women,” by Sarah Helm, a British journalist, a biography of the camp and interviews with numerous survivors, transcripts of postwar trials of camp officials and guards, opened after the fall of Communism. Kelly recommends other readings and references, as well.

What made LILAC GIRL an even more engrossing, experience for me; I listened to the audiobook, with one of my favorite narrators, Cassandra Campbell (outstanding- a perfect Caroline),along with Kathleen Gati, Kathrin Kana for the other two voices of Kasia and Herta; and the final chapter, a wonderful commentary narrated by the author Martha Hall Kelly’s own voice--her journey and the creation of the novel. Recommend purchasing the book as well, for reference

First Class Highly Recommend! A heartbreaking beautiful novel, celebrating the resilience of the human spirit, and the courage of some extraordinary women.

On a personal note:
I guess I need to move back to Atlanta, GA where I spent my entire career until a few years ago—to be surrounded by all my favorite authors, to attend all the lectures, book tours, and appearances. (the good stuff). I definitely would be making Kelly's April 28 Margaret Mitchell House Lecture appearance. To all my Atlanta friends, do not miss.

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Lilac-Girls/cmoa/570422580cf2efb3747cd598
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text 2015-10-05 21:35
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 208 pages.
Polka Heartland: Why the Midwest Loves to Polka - Rick March,Dick Blau

I requested this, and it came in my mail box today. When I was a child I spent every Sunday with my grandma. And every Sunday we listened to polka music while cooking old family recipes. From my mother's side of the family we are loud group of a mixed Polish and Slovakian. My grandmother's maiden name was Wiesniewski. Once a month we would visit my great-grandmother in Cleveland where, at the age of 85, she owned and ran a Polish Bar. There was always had polka music playing in the backround. Every so often my grandmother and her sisters would meet up and dance to. I bet you can't guess what kind of music they danced to. Everytime I was picked up from school by my grandmother, polka music. At Christmas we listened to it. I never saw a live band that wasn't playing polka music until I was fifteen. We would go to festivals and sit with other polish families who too listened to polka music. It feels like half of my childhood was spent with polka music in the backround. Now, I will study the history of... POLKA MUSIC. I may even bust out some of granny's records and 8-traxks and embarassed the kids while I dance on the front porch! They need some memories like I had.

 

I am so going to rock the dance floor at the family reunion this weekend. Oh, I got my books packed and ready to go. If I finish this in time I will probably wrap it up and give it to Christy. That poor woman had to deal with even more polka than I did as a kid.

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