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text 2016-03-24 21:26
Because They Were on Sale (My Excuse, As Usual)
The Lancashire Witches: Histories and Stories - Robert Poole,Robert Poole
Triangle: The Fire That Changed America - David von Drehle
Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair ... Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment, Featuring the Scientist Emilie du Chatelet, the Poet Voltaire, Sword Fights, Book Burnings, Assorted Kings, Seditious Verse, and the Birth of the Modern World - David Bodanis
Devil at My Heels - Louis Zamperini,David Rensin
A People's History of Quebec - Jacques Lacoursiere,Robin Philpot
Neither here nor there: Travels in Europe - Bill Bryson
The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery - Rick Beyer,Elizabeth Sayles
Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary - Anita Anand
Death and the Maidens: Fanny Wollstonecraft and the Shelley circle - Janet Todd
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation - Blake J. Harris

Sale on Amazon US of course - sorry anyone who doesn't get those prices due to border annoyances. And since these are from the past three weeks, some might no longer be on sale - the Lancashire Witches isn't, sorry, I would add that first!


Usually I'd copy/paste the names into the text area but I am feeling SO lazy (not to mention currently having little free time, sigh) that I'm just gonna whap them into the "add book" area.


Also I totally realize I was only recently grumbling about having to remove unread books to free up ereader space so yes, here we go, I again add to my problem. Heh, such fun that no one can actually see how many TBR are on my virtual shelf! Er, unless I share them in here of course.


Hmm, only just now realized that I bought two military themed books and military history usually isn't my thing. Both were recommended to me by others though, so there's that.

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review 2015-12-08 21:14
Forgotten Victory. The First World War: Myths and Reality - Gary Sheffield

I think this is a poor choice when travelling on a noisy and disruptive public transport system. But then that is mostly the time I have during a day to read so I didn't particularly have a choice and many non-fiction books have managed to hold my concentration a lot better in noisy atmospheres.


I would really enjoy ten or twenty pages and then read another 5 and just totally zone out and have to go back to try and re read what I had missed. I found myself daydreaming at times. Then I'd snap out of it and realize I'd not taken in anything from a chapter. Believe me I was tempted multiple times to give up, but I persevered and I did increase my knowledge of the First World War.


The whole premise of the book is essentially the argument that the general public think WW1 was a waste of time because they've seen things like Blackadder/read war poetry. When really it argues that the war saw the BEF become a tuned fighting force that won a series of battles towards the end of the war sending the German forces reeling. It counters the idea that Haig was totally inept as a commander and looks to dispel the opinion that commanders sacrificed the lives of young working people carelessly for little strategic gain.


I agreed with a lot of Sheffield's assessments and I think people in the UK should make more of an effort to learn about events that were huge for the country and base their opinions on strong, objective historical texts rather than on emotive films and television series.

I'd pick this up if you are really keen on WW1.

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text 2015-12-01 22:27
Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 280 pages.
Forgotten Victory. The First World War: Myths and Reality - Gary Sheffield

One hundred pages in and sadly I've not learnt much new. Lots that I already know about WW1. Thought this was going to bring forward some new compelling argument and so far it has just been a narrative of what happened in the war. 


Keeps saying that Britain started to concede its power to the US because of WW1. This to my knowledge is still a point of debate among historians, some argue Britain and its empire grew stronger out of the First World War and then the balance of power moved after the Second World War. But then this book is 14 years old. 


Still 180 pages to go, fingers crossed. Been a great couple of weeks and I'm in the mood to read lots, can't wait to get stuck into the brothers karamazov when I get that over the Christmas period.


Have a great day/evening/week.

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text 2015-10-21 15:11
World War I: History in 100 Stories (week 2)
World War One: A History in 100 Stories - Bruce Scates

The second week of this free FutureLearn class featured the stories of women involved in the war effort. Not able to enlist with their fathers, sweethearts, and sons, women found creative ways to do their part as nurses, Red Cross workers, or those at home sending packages of hand knitted socks to the front. Again, snippets of individual women's stories were taken from the book that guides this course.


The women's stories felt more personal than the stories from the first week. I think this is because we were told about the women directly, whereas in the first week we learned about the families of men who had gone to war. Women are the unsung heroes of war, often enduring many of the same hardships as the men but without the recognition. In no stories was this more clear than in those of the brave volunteer nurses.


Again focusing on Australian individuals, the stories demonstrated the strain on WWI nurses, an emotional toil that some would never recover from. Leaving their homeland for the fighting thousands of miles away, women believed, much like their male counterparts, that they were not only doing their duty but would find adventure and explore the world. Some, like Tev Davies, were able to focus on the beauty they witnessed alongside the disease, injuries, and violence.


'Life is tiring but full of interest and we get plenty of air, and the glorious sunsets would alone compensate for everything, mum.'


Davies emitted from her letter that air was easy to get in her ramshackle 'hospital' made up of tents scattered on a stony beach at Lemnos. Lack of supplies left the nurses tearing at their own clothes to make bandages, and wounded men were left lying in the sun swarmed by insects. Even the nurses suffered from dysentery from bad food and lice infestations. Yet Davies maintained her optimism until the end of the war when she wrote:


'So many beautiful lives being lost and so little to show for it.'


Another nurse, Rachel Pratt, worked tirelessly throughout the war, serving in Turkey, Egypt, England, and France after claiming to be younger than her 40+ years in order to sign up. When German bombing devastated the casualty clearing station she was working in, Pratt continued working. She was seriously wounded, yet only quit serving her patients when she collapsed. The shrapnel lodged in her lung would cause chronic bronchitis for the rest of her life, but that was not her most serious injury.


Pratt was unable to adjust to life after war. At a time before PTSD was recognized, she was shuffled between mental hospitals and treated for depression with drugs that caused seizures and narcosis. She died in 1954, still institutionalized.


'The war is awful and I simply cannot discuss it. There is no prospect of it ending.'


Several other stories revealed the thoughts and emotions of women who worked for the Red Cross sending supplies to POWs, provided care to soldiers ravaged by STDs that the ANZAC officials wished to deny were a problem, and sacrificed themselves to treat men sent home with the Spanish flu. Their names are not found on soldiers' monuments, but some of these women truly gave all.

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review 2015-07-18 20:10
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan #1)
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld,Keith Thompson

Maybe this was how you stayed sane in wartime: a handful of noble deeds amid the chaos.

When I first got the entire Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, I expected to completely devour this up. I wasn’t expecting to be so busy I barely had time to read. I feel like knowing I had so many things to do I just became overwhelmed that I already had an entire trilogy to read. Unfortunately that meant I wasn't able to give in as much time into Leviathan as I wanted to.


I was already pretty much in love with the premise of this book! So, I was glad, although I wasn’t in love with this book, and at some points I thought it was annoyingly slow, the characters really grew on me after towards the end.


Deryn—or in this case, “Dylan”—Sharp is a pretty nice and laid-back character to read about. Although I kind of thought things were too convenient for Deryn at first—like, sneaking into the British Air Force just like that?!—I eventually really came to enjoy her character!

“And a special thanks for not burning up the whole ship. Including yourself, you daft bum-rag.”

I knew there was something I liked about that girl . . .


Anyways, moving on to His Majesty Alek. I didn’t like Alek’s point of view at first. There wasn’t anything that interesting about him (in my opinion) so I was surprised with how responsible he became towards the end of the book! Really great character development there! Of course, there is room for more, but at least now he’s accepted that he’s not in the palace anymore and his parents are dead.


My favorite parts of the story were: (1) Whenever they would show Deryn operating the part of the ship in some way! (2) When Alek and Deryn just met! It’s so funny because he’s so proper and she’s so loud and swears every two words! (3) When Alek said that he wanted to be a boy like “Dylan” XD . . . be careful what you wish for, buddy. And (4) Dr. Barlow. I LOVE her, best character in the story!


Overall, Leviathan was a fun read towards the second half of the book, and it seems to have taken a light tone for a first book. I like our two main characters, they make quite the interesting pair! I’m hoping for some more on the involvement with these Clanker and Darwinist machinery fighting and how events of WWI are shown!


Thanks for reading my review everyone! Hope you’re having a great day and until the next one! :D

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