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text 2020-05-25 02:55
Fear of Flying - pg 0/480
Fear of Flying - Erica Jong

LOL book genie what are you trying to do to me? I somehow got my hands on this when I was still in elementary school and had NO IDEA what I was reading. Let's see what I make of it now...

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review 2020-04-28 14:12
Wings of a Flying Tiger
Wings of a Flying Tiger - Iris Yang
Jasmine Bai has been sent to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins in Chungking during World War II.  Her parents are still in Nanking teaching at a college.  As the Japanese close in and the danger intensifies, Jasmine decides to travel to Nanking and convince her parents to leave.  Jasmine arrives in Nanking just as the Japanese decide to massacre everyone in their path.  Jasmine miraculously survives Nanking after witnessing unspeakable atrocities and reunites with aunt, uncle and cousin in time for the threat of danger to reach Chungking.  Jasmine and her cousin, Daisy are sent to a remote country village in western China.  Here, Jasmine and Daisy rescue a downed Flying Tiger, Danny.  Danny is injured and sick with malaria, with the help of the village doctor, Jasmine and Daisy help care for him.  However, the Japanese have heard that the Flying Tiger has been hiding in the Village of Peach Blossoms and will stop at nothing to capture Danny.  Jasmine, Daisy and the villagers risk everything to keep Danny safe so he can continue fighting for them.  
 
 
Wings of a Flying Tiger captured me in the opening scene with Danny's bravery, passion for the cause and immense emotion.  I didn't really know about The Flying Tigers and were amazed to learn about these real heroes,  a group of American volunteers under of the Chinese Air Force.  After that first scene, the perspective is switched to Jasmine for a while.  Jasmine is an intelligent young woman who knows what she wants and does it, which is rare for a young woman in China at the time.  While I was aware of the Nanking Massacre, the writing of the violence was intense and graphic, however; I'm sure it only conveyed a fraction of the true terror of harrowing reality of those six weeks. I was amazed at the resilience and fortitude of the people who managed to survive.  When Danny and Jasmine's stories collide, the danger intensifies but the element of romance is added.  They both have an immense amount of respect for each other and the situation that they are in.  I was astonished at the collective protection of the town towards Danny and their willingness to do anything to keep him safe for the greater good.  The ending is gut wrenching and heartbreaking, showing the true courage of people fighting for their freedom.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.  
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text 2020-04-27 16:33
Reading progress update: I've read 71 out of 237 pages.
The Royal Flying Corps in France: From Mons to the Somme - Ralph Barker

This is a re-read for me, and my memory of the impression it made on me is that it was a good popular history of the subject but not an especially rigorous one. Reading it again is improving my opinion of it, as I'm impressed by Barker's inclusion of observation, which so many histories of the First World War in the air leave out.

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review 2020-02-27 15:21
The Closest Thing To Flying - Gill Lewis

This is an absolute gem of a book and I am so glad I borrowed it from my library on a whim. Samira, a refugee in an abusive household, buys a hat in a hat box one day and finds a diary hidden inside. Opening the pages, she meets Henrietta, a girl from 1891, who is also trapped by the expectations of her parents.

Believing that her and her mother, who does not speak English, will be deported if they run away from their living situation, Samira is at the mercy of Robel, a man who controls every aspect of their lives. She often goes to school hungry and struggles to keep her secrets hidden.

The only problem this book suffered from was a few too many elements - the diary, Samira's missing father, her life as a refugee, household abuse, the suffragette movement, feminism, animal rights, famous people, the list goes on. Some elements seemed to be sacrificed later to focus on Samira, which was a wise choice.

This is told very well for younger readers, despite the tougher subjects they were written carefully, in a way that readers could fully empathise but wouldn't leave the story feeling traumatised (like I did after reading The Turnaway Girls!). This would be an amazing introduction to feminism and the suffrage movement too.

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text 2020-02-12 22:37
The aces over the Western Front
Flying Aces of World War I - Gene Gurney
Gene Gurney’s Flying Aces of World War I was one of the first history books I read growing up. As a boy, I was gripped by the stories of pilots in rickety planes dueling to death over the trenches of the Western Front, and the memory of their exploits stayed with me. Reading it again brought back fond recollections of pouring over its pages on my elementary school’s playground, but its limits also stood out in a way that they had not to me as a child. The book is narrower than its title suggests, offering potted biographies of eight pilots who served on the Western Front. Two of the pilots are Americans and a third is a Franco-American pilot; while this isn't surprising given its intended audience it does mean that the portrayal of the air war is a little skewed. Nevertheless, Gurney succeeds in writing an entertaining work that captures the excitement of air combat at that time, one that is a good starting point for young readers seeking to learn about the war and the men who waged it.
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