Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Elizabeth Taylor Book Reviews: A List

A Selection of Elizabeth Taylor Books


The editor of Vanity Fair is quoted as saying, "Try to imagine a star who combines the talent of a Meryl Streep with the beauty of a Nicole Kidman, the sensuality of a Penelope Cruz, and the notoriety of a Lindsay Lohan. Magnify that a hundredfold, and you're still only halfway to Elizabeth Taylor." He's absolutely right, of course, and it is no wonder we want to read and learn more about the life and times of Elizabeth Taylor.

Since almost the beginning of her career, there have been a number of books available for those who are curious and want to learn more about Taylor's life and her career as one of the most beautiful and popular actors in the world but, with the passing of this legendary actress in 2011, publishers raced to release a new selection of books and magazines covering her entire life. Some publishers chose simply to update books that had already been published by adding information about the final years of her life. A cheat of sorts but at least it makes books that fall in that category more complete.

On this page, you will find a selection of those books, biographical and otherwise, about the beautiful and talented Elizabeth Taylor. If you are interested in reading more, I know you will find a great choice on this page.

Elizabeth Taylor Eight Remarkable Stories From The Pages of Vanity Fair

Elizabeth Taylor A Loving Tribute

Eight Remarkable Stories From The Pages of Vanity Fair


About Hollywood's most beautiful, most controversial star, this book, which has the full title of The Best of Vanity Fair ELIZABETH TAYLOR: Eight Remarkable Stories About Hollywood’s Most Beautiful, Most Controversial Star, is available only as an ebook.  One way to beat the rush to bring new publications to market is to create an ebook like this one. This book features an introduction by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, stories by Dominick Dunne, George Hamilton and Sam Kashner and two new articles by David Kamp and Gwen Davis. It also contains a series of photographs by Firooz Zahedi, Douglas Kirkland and Helmut Newton, a biographical time line and a filmography of Elizabeth Taylor's films. A great resource for anyone who wants to learn a bit more about Elizabeth Taylor. Find it on Amazon by clicking here.

A Loving Tribute by Cindy De La Hozis


From 1942 until 2011, we were in love with Taylor's beauty, her movies and her lifestyle. Elizabeth Taylor: A Loving Tribute by Cindy De La Hozis, a 128-page book, reminds us WHY we have loved Elizabeth Taylor for more than 75 years. Find it here on Amazon.

People Magazine Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor Her Life In Style by Susan Kelly

People Magazine’s Special Edition Hardcover Book


People Magazine's hardcover memorial book is a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor. "Now that was a star: Eight marriages. Three Oscars. Scandals, drama and diamonds galore, glittering from Hollywood to Rome, Acapulco and the French Riviera." It is full of photographs and stories and shares images and information starting with her appearance at the age of 12 in National Velvet, through her crazy years with Richard Burton to the legend and businesswoman she was in the end. Find it on Amazon here.

Her Life In Style by Susan Kelly


Elizabeth Taylor: Her Life In Style by Susan Kelly is a photographic record, with commentary, about Taylor's fashion style on and off of the movie screen. It includes her Hollywood gowns, her jewelry and her beauty, which really needed no adornment. She was one of the most popular movie stars in the world and the world watched her personal style evolve from starlet all the way through to the activist that she was in her later years. Find it here on Amazon.

Elizabeth Taylor A Passion for Life Joseph Papa

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World: The Obsessions, Passions and Courage of Elizabeth Taylor

A Passion for Life: The Wit and Wisdom of a Legend by Joseph Papa


Elizabeth Taylor, A Passion for Life: The Wit and Wisdom of a Legend by Joseph Papa is an anthology which includes Taylor's own thoughts about her life, including her childhood, career, love, motherhood and so much more. It shares the determined but generous personality of a legendary woman. Find it here on Amazon.

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World: Obsessions, Passions, and Courage by Ellis Amburn


The Most Beautiful Woman in the World: The Obsessions, Passions, and Courage of Elizabeth Taylor by Ellis Amburn is one of the most steamy Hollywood works in recent memory. Amburn put together a page-turning chronicle of Taylor's life based upon the huge number of public interviews, autobiographies and gossip columns that accompanied the actress throughout her very public life. It is a tour of her romantic life slanted to her reputation (as coined by Oscar Levant) as "the other woman of the year." Find it here on Amazon.

The Queen of the Silver Screen: Elizabeth Taylor

Queen of the Silver Screen by Ian Lloyd


Elizabeth Taylor: Queen of the Silver Screen By Ian Lloyd was released on June 9, 2011. Lloyd writes for Hello Magazine and he wrote Carlton's An Invitation to the Royal Wedding and covered Taylor’s visits to Britain. This book follows her life including her beauty and acting skills, her love of jewelry and lifestyle, and her seven husbands. Find it on Amazon by clicking here.

My Love Affair with Jewelry by Elizabeth Taylor

My Love Affair with Jewelry by Elizabeth Taylor


This is a lovely, large book packed full of illustrations of Taylor's jewelry and written by the celebrity herself in her own very readable words. It is a beautiful coffee table book, one that I thoroughly enjoyed and can HIGHLY RECOMMEND. You can read more about this book in my complete review by clicking right here or find it on Amazon by clicking here.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo By Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo By Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fictionalized story not really about Elizabeth Taylor but certainly with similarities. If you are looking for a novel packed with Hollywood goings on, you might like to check out this book. You can read my complete review of this book here.

Autographed Elizabeth Taylor Books


For a fan, I cannot imagine anything better than the opportunity to own a book that was autographed by Elizabeth Taylor and the only way that I have of tracking down an autographed copy of one of her books is via eBay. You can see the signed book options currently available on eBay by clicking right here.

Are YOU a Taylor fan? Do you enjoy Elizabeth Taylor's movies? Have you read any of these books? Any others about the actress that you would recommend?

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

More Reading:


The Best Elizabeth Taylor Movies
Elizabeth Taylor was definitely an icon. Living from 1932 to 2011, she only recently left us but, because of her amazing beauty, talent and incredibly long career, she left us with some very memorable movies. This page is dedicated to the BEST...

Meet Elizabeth (Liz) Taylor: A Brief Biography
How would YOU summarize the life of someone as amazing as Elizabeth Taylor? Would you use words like beautiful and talented? If so, you would just be scratching the surface of what made Liz Taylor special. I just stumbled across a lovely video...






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Home for Unwanted Girls Book Review

Joanna Goodman's The Home for Unwanted Girls is a fictionalized account of a true story. Set in 1950s French Canada, it tells the tale of a young woman who is forced by her family to give up her daughter for adoption and in lesser part, the tale of the daughter in the Canadian system. It also shares the history of the times in Quebec including the divide between the French and the English.

Most of us are aware of the situation a girl of the age of 15 would have been in in 1950s society if she found herself pregnant. I believe, however, that most of us are unaware of what happened to the large number of the children who were given up for adoption in Quebec at that time but who were never actually adopted.

Those 'unwanted' children were placed in orphanages where they were misused as servants and abused by nuns and staff. Later, when those orphanages became psychiatric hospitals, the children were simply reclassified as mentally ill and assimilated into that population where they continued to be used as servants and abused but were also treated as mentally ill.

As someone who did not know of this story before she picked up the book, I found it simply unbelievable that this was allowed. They were children and while naive to the ways of normal living because of living in orphanages, they were not mentally ill.

How could a switch from orphanage to mental asylum even be allowed? Well, it turns out that it happened because patients in mental asylums received more funding than children in orphanages. The province of Quebec received $1.25 per orphan or $2.75 per psychiatric patient so orphanages became hospitals. Of course, it was only later that the physical, psychological and sexual abuse was discovered. The author, in her interview with the Toronto Star, says that restitution has been offered by the government to the victims but no formal apology has been made by the church.

The author also shares that this book was drawn from her own mother's life in the 1950s. That is, of a French-Canadian woman married to an English seed merchant. However, the author struggled with how to present the story until she read a French memoir written by a survivor that shared one woman's thoughts as she actually lived through the situation.

This book reveals a very sad time in Quebec history. It delves into the issues of language, class and religion. It is also a story of family and of romantic love. Yes, there is a lot of heartache but the book is well written and comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me if you enjoy historical fiction and want an eye opening look at a little known piece of Canadian history. Be warned that the subject matter it is disturbing and it did happen. However, I raced through The Home for Unwanted Girls needing to know what happened next. What the outcome would be was never far from my mind.

You can buy your copy from Amazon by clicking right here. If you do read this book, be sure to come back and let us know what you think.

See you at
the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy your copy of The Home for Unwanted Girls on Amazon.
Secret Child Book Review: 1950s Ireland.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Series Review: 1950s New York City.
The Remains of the Day Book Review: 1950s England.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Book Review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Book ReviewThe book The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is the story of an elderly movie star named Evelyn Hugo who has decided to allow an author to write the story of her life. A tell all, no holds barred. For reasons known only to herself, Hugo picks an relatively unknown, inexperienced young magazine reporter named Monique Grant. In doing so, she astounds both the publishing house and the young woman.

Monique is at a low point in her life. She is newly divorced and frustrated with her unsuccessful career so she accepts this writing job without knowing why she has been chosen. She hopes that she will find success through the sought after story of a reclusive actress.

Immediately after announcing that she wants to have this book written and picking Monique, Hugo puts her to work and the two spend long days in her New York apartment discussing her life story. Hugo arrived in Los Angeles in the 1950s and had a very successful acting career until she finally left acting in the 1980s. As is obvious from the cover, she has seven husbands during that time frame. She has been ruthless in her choices and efforts to get what she wants and along the way found a few great friends and one forbidden love. Of course, it turns out that there is a connection between Monique and Evelyn.

This story is a trip through the Hollywood of times gone by, in both the good and the bad aspects, and it is also a voyage of discovery in which both women find out what it costs to face the truth. It deals with sexuality including LGBTQ, with race and with strong women in the 1940s and 1950s and in the current day.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Book Review by Taylor Jenkins ReidIs The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo recommended by me? Yes, I enjoyed the book. It was an easy read but be warned that Grant is a not-very-nice woman who will go to any means to get what she wants and that the book includes many of the vices we associate with Hollywood. If you are interested in the history of Hollywood, I believe you will enjoy this story as I did.

The Historical Novel Society says, "Evelyn, her husbands, and others may be composites, but the story is fresh, and the end reveal is worth the wait." I agree.

I spent the entirety of the book wondering if it was linked in any way to the actress Elizabeth Taylor and her seven husbands and eight marriages and a bit of research cleared up the mystery. I do wish there had been a tagline like "based on the lives of real Hollywood actresses."

Anyway, when interviewed by Pop Sugar, author Taylor Jenkins Reid said she was inspired by true stories like those found in Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversation and Scandals of Classic Hollywood. Ava Gardner had herself hired a ghost writer to write her story and shared so many secrets with the writer that the book was eventually cancelled and not published until both Gardner and the writer had passed away. Jenkins Reid drew on many stories from real life and yes, that included the lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Rita Hayworth.

In the Pop Sugar story, Jenkins Reid said that she hopes we learn from this story and that "Hugo can teach us a lot about how to get what we want out of this world." Jenkin Reid goes on to say that she believes "It is time for women to get ours (but that) we've got to go out there and take it. (That) it is going to be uncomfortable, but that she thinks the rewards will be there for us. We need to find the confidence in ourselves to say, Pay me what I'm worth. Promote me when I deserve it. Don't take advantage of me. Don't underestimate me."

Have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo? Will you be adding it to your reading list? Are you interested in the history of Hollywood or could you care less?

See you
at the library!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo on Amazon.
The best Elizabeth Taylor movies.







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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Review of Daniel Boone Home Site in Defiance Missouri

Daniel Boone Home
On a recent April morning a group from our photography club visited Boonesfield Village on the grounds of the Daniel Boone Home in Defiance Missouri.  This area includes the area where Daniel Boone lived his final days and a village of shops, a church, schoolhouse and homes all built in the 1800's in mid- Missouri and moved to the Daniel Boone site.  The buildings are set up to give us a peek into what frontier life was like in 19th century Missouri.


A Bit of History

Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1734, into a family who made their living from hunting.  When things became too crowded in the northeast, they moved to North Carolina and then to Kentucky.  In Kentucky Daniel Boone made his reputation as a great hunter and explorer.  He also held several government jobs and he flourished living in Kentucky.  By 1799 Kentucky was becoming too crowded so Daniel Boone and his family moved to Missouri.  Daniel Boone was 65 when he moved to Missouri.  He lived their until his death in 1820.

Peace Chapel

Peace Chapel

The Old Peace Chapel was built in the 1800's as a dance hall and general store in New Melle, Missouri.  At the turn of the century a German Evangelical church purchased the building and remodeled it into a church in 1983 it was moved to the Daniel Boone site.  Today it is a focal point in the village of 1800's buildings.  It is often used for weddings and renewing of vows.
Here are a few photos I took inside the chapel.

One Room Schoolhouse

I found the one room schoolhouse to be very interesting.  My father attended school in a one room school house in rural mid Missouri and I imagine it was much like this one.  

Inside there is a chalkboard that goes across the front of the classroom.  Across the back of the room is a wood burning fireplace, which is the only heat for the building.

Can you imagine going to school in this tiny schoolhouse where all grades were educated in one room?

Sites around the Village

Here are photos of several of the other buildings in the village.  An old covered bridge is on the property.

Here is one of the barns.



How would you like to use this washing machine on laundry day?
This is the Newton Howell Home


Beautiful Spring Flowers

I loved all the spring flowers that brightened up the village.  The vase of wildflowers in the last photo was sitting in the window in the general store.



For more information on the Daniel Boone Historic site and directions to the property go to The-Historic-Daniel-Boone-Home

Zazzle Card

Here is a notecard made from my photos.




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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ancestry DNA Kit Reviewed

Genealogy Made Easy 

ancestry image
Someone's ancestor painted this
Have you considered getting an ancestry DNA kit to find out what your heritage is? It is something that I have wanted to do ever since I found out that it was a possibility. At first the cost seemed rather expensive to me and I would think that perhaps it was something that I could ask for as a gift. Then I would feel guilty thinking that it was rather an expensive thing to ask for. 

This year, the various companies that offer this service have placed their ancestry kits on sale. Suffice it to say, they got my attention. I also saw a report a few weeks back comparing the top three selling kits. This report used a set of identical triplets to send the samples to. All three were accurate and came up with the same results. That was really about all I needed to hear to make me take the plunge. 

I decided to go with the one from Ancestry.com (not an affiliate link) because they have the largest database to look into. To be honest, at first I decided to give a kit to my father for his Christmas present this year. Once I had put it into my cart, I decided to treat myself to one too.

Both kits arrived at my door very quickly. So, I decided to go ahead and send my sample in. Dad won't get his until Christmas morning. It is all pretty easy. They send you a vial to spit in (ewww!) and then you send it to the lab. There is a number on the vial that you have to register so that they can identify whose kit it is. They send you an email to let you know that it has been registered and I just got an email telling me that it has arrived at the lab and is waiting to be tested. The drawback is that it will take 6 to 8 weeks for them to test it and send me the results. I am hoping that by the end of February I will get the report telling me where my ancestors came from.

While I am waiting, I decided to get a membership on the site to begin the process of finding the names of some of my ancestors. That is not a requirement to get the results of the DNA testing, by the way. You get matches with the test but you are limited in what you can search for without a membership.

On my maternal side, I had a pretty good feel for what my heritage is from that branch of my family tree. A few of my uncles were curious about our genealogy back in the days when they had to go look for records in courthouses and such. Plus, my mother's family was very good with oral history. For as long as I can remember my maternal family has been proud to have come from Scotland and Ireland. As I work through building a family tree on the site, that information is holding true. Many of my ancestors did immigrate from Scotland, Ireland and England.

What has been interesting is working on my paternal branch of the family tree. I found a few ancestors who crossed the ocean from England, a few more from Ireland and Scotland but the surprise was the number who came from Germany. My grandfather's people hailed from Germany for the most part. Perhaps I should consider getting a pair of lederhosen! So far, I have been able to trace ancestors as far back to 1550 in Germany on the Rumler side of the tree. That is incredible!

Oddly, I am having difficulty finding my paternal grandmother's people. Well, not so odd if the truth be told. Our family lore on her side was always a little guarded. Legend on this side has always been that my great-grandfather was Native American and ran away from a reservation. This may turn out to be factual. Oddly, the only records that I can find for him are of his marriage to my great-grandmother and the children they had together. Beyond the marriage certificate issued in 1896 there are no records of him. Other family members have stated that he was born about 1873 but they do not indicate exactly where he was born. Even odder is that I can't find birth records of his wife, either. She was supposed to be Caucasian so why can I not find records of her birth and her parent's names? Did they disown her when she married an Indian?  Well, it would be one thing to say she is disowned but it would be another to destroy records of her birth, wouldn't it? Quite the mystery! She did seem to suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. The marriage certificate names her as Leanna. Later census reports sometime name her as Lena while others name her as Anna.

I can hardly wait to get the results of the ancestry DNA testing kit! From the research that I have done already it should show a strong presence of German, Scottish, and Irish genes. Will it show a presence of Native American DNA? Time will tell.

How about you? Do you know your own genealogy? Have you considered getting the kit or have you already done so? Have you considered giving one as a gift this holiday season? 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale Book Review

A friend told me that Kristin Hannah’s novel The Nightingale was an excellent book and it was. Though I know this book is a work of fiction, it does deal with real situations that happened during the time period that France was occupied by Germany in World War II.

I know things that happen in this book happened to real people in France. I have always read books set in this time period. However, what happened in that war is still hard to believe. Truly unbelievable. Despite knowing that people were treated in this manner, I still managed to come away in disbelief saying to my husband things like, "How could anyone treat people the way they did?" and "How did the French people manage to survive in those conditions?" We are not talking about one or two crazy people here, right? We are talking about an 'army' of people mistreating people.

Anyway, in my opinion, Kristin Hannah has crafted a wrenching story with a family and with characters that you will come to love. Yes, you are likely going to shed some tears. Yes, you will be upset by the violence and the cruelty and the sexual situations in this book though I must say that it is far from the worst book that I have read in those matters though perhaps more disturbing because it feels so real.

The Nightingale deals with the contributions made to World War II by women. Unfortunately, those important contributions like the women depicted in this book who joined the French Resistance or who managed despite incredible odds to feed their families, have not been as widely acknowledged or recognised as those of men.

In particular, this book deals with two quite different sisters: One who wants to keep her family safe; the other who is not willing to accept the things that are happening to them. It is a story of courage and survival parts of which were inspired by real women like 19-year old Belgian, Andrée De Jongh, who took considerable risks helping people escape from France.

Here is the book trailer. I do not know if it is official or not but it does give a good idea of the things that happen in this story:



This book is well done and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me and by many others. If you love a book that shares a great story about women’s lives and that is historically based you will enjoy The Nightingale. It is riveting. You will not even notice that it the hardcover book is 440 pages or that the paperback is 600, particularly if you read it as an ebook.

By way of further recommendation, you might take the fact that, according to The New York Times in 2016, this book had sold more than two million copies. This book has drawn both men and women as well as young and old readers. As one who has always been captivated by World War II novels it comes as no surprise to me when the Times stated that people are drawn to them. However, I was interested to learn that this book has drawn a younger generation of readers who perhaps relate to this novel because of how young people were drawn to the French Resistance.

If you are interested in reading The Nightingale, you can find it in all formats including eBook, audiobook and traditional paper book, on Amazon by clicking right here.  I’ve just noticed on the cover that this movie is to become a major motion picture. There is not much information available as I write this other than a rumoured movie release date of 2017, which means that once you have read the book you have a movie to look forward to.

If you like historical fiction, you might also enjoy these reviews on Review This:

Secret Healer by Ellin Carsta, which is set in 14th Century Germany.

The movie The Bridge of Spies, which is set in the cold war.

The One Man by Andrew Gross, which is set in Poland in 1944.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

Quick Link:

Order your copy of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale from Amazon.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ken Follett’s The Century Trilogy Books Reviewed

Ken Follett’s The Century Trilogy Books Reviewed
I am thoroughly enjoying Ken Follett’s the Century Trilogy and totally unable to put it down.

The three books are based on what happened in world history between the years of 1911 and 2008. Those story lines include the Russian Revolution, the suffrage movement, the rise of Nazi Germany, World War II, the atomic age, the Cold War, civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements, Vietnam, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution, rock and roll and of course both good and bad from all of those time periods.

To tell this story, Follett skillfully weaved together generations of five families from America, Russia, Germany, England and Wales.

I picked up the first book, FALL OF GIANTS, as a good long read for our recent Panama Canal cruise and I have been steadily working my way through the series for a couple of months. I am often pulled away kicking and screaming from books in order to turn my attention to an “assigned” book club book. Leaving the second book, WINTER OF THE WORLD, for a grumpy old geezer in A MAN CALLED OVE was downright difficult although worthwhile in the end.

Currently, I have had to put the third book, EDGE OF ETERNITY, down to read LEAN IN, a book about women, work, and the will to lead, which is not compulsive reading for me and definitely not middle-of-the-night when-you-cannot-sleep reading.

Ken Follett FALL OF GIANTS Century Trilogy 1

Ken Follett Winter of the World Century Trilogy 2

Ken Follett Edge of Eternity Century Trilogy 3

Anyway, in case you cannot tell from my enthusiasm, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Ken Follett’s Century trilogy. I caution that as a world history book it definitely has violence and it also has sexual content. However, I believe that most of the violence and some of the sexual content was required to tell this realistic story.

The three-book series contains 2,991 pages and each book is encyclopedic in length so for ease of reading I highly recommend purchasing it as an eBook or if not an eBook, then as a paperback book. We own the hardcover version and each I just weighed them and discovered that each one weighs an average of just over 3 pounds. They are heavy. Ordinarily, I prefer to read physical books because I spend much of my working life using a computer but in this case because of the sheer weight of these books I really, truly preferred to read them on my cellphone.

You can find the Century Trilogy in hardcover, paperback and electronic versions on Amazon by clicking right here. I looked for and with some difficulty eventually found a boxed set both in paperback and hardcover editions. You can find the gift sets here. I believe that this series would make an absolutely brilliant gift idea for anyone male or female who likes a good historical novel. Of course, gifting the first volume alone would be a good idea, too.

Is there a movie? No, there is not and Follett himself says in this Washington Post interview, that if they were to make a mini-series that it would be the longest mini-series ever made, that it would be very expensive to make at least partly because he would not allow it to be done cheaply and that a mini-series was therefore, not likely to happen.

Have you read Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy? Are there any other Follett books that you have read, thoroughly loved and would recommend to us?

See you at the bookstore!

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Link:

Buy Ken Follett's Century Trilogy books on Amazon.












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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon Reviewed

When Life For The Osage Should Have Become Easier

Perhaps The Flower Moon (image courtesy of Pixabay.com)
It isn't often that I read a non-fiction book but this was an exception so, today I will be reviewing the book Killers Of The Flower Moon by David Grann. It would be difficult to say that I enjoyed this book because the subject matter is more than just a little disturbing; however, I will say instead that I found it fascinating and heartbreaking. 

This book tells about the Osage Indians and the disturbing events that occurred on their reservation in Oklahoma during the 1920s. One might think that by this time the atrocities toward the Indians of North America would have been over. One might be mistaken. Yes, it was after the Indian Wars. Yes, it was after the tribes had been herded off to reservations like a bunch of cattle. Unfortunately, even in the 20th century many white men were not finished with their inhumanity towards the native peoples of the North American continent, in this case the Osage Indians. 

Mr. Grann does a remarkable job of detailing these horrible acts against the tribe. There were greedy people taking unfair advantage and there were murders of the Osage people for one reason: money. You see, it just so happened that the reservation that was created for the Osage tribe turned out to be more than just a rocky barren place for them to eek a living on. There was oil under those rocks! Lots of oil! 

Typically in the history of the US if there was something of value that was found on an Indian Reservation our government would find a way to take it away from them. An instance would be the gold that was found in the Black Hills. At the time of that discovery the Black Hills was a part of the Sioux reservations. In order to get that precious land back, the government came up with an allotment system which forced the Indians to become land owners but there was a twist. In the guise of being fair, there would be a few parcels of land that would be alloted to non-indians (whites). Should we be surprised that the plots of land that had the gold on them would be the ones that were allotted to non-indians?

The allotment system had been dismissed by the government for quite a long time in the early 20th century. There was a push to get the "heathens" to better assimilate into the white culture and it finally became the Osage Indians turn to get serious about leaving their old ways. What the government did not know but the Osage did was that there was oil on their land. In a rather clever set of negotiations between the government and the tribe, a deal was struck. The Osage would agree to the allotment system but (and this is a huge BUT) they wanted the sole rights to the minerals on the land. And that my friends is where the Osage pulled one over on the men who thought they were pulling one over on them. After the agreement was signed, the Osage announced the discovery of oil. It would appear that the Osage had won!

Suddenly, the Osage people were rich, filthy rich! They built mansions, they drove brand new automobiles, they dressed in fine clothing and they hired servants. In the eyes of many white men this was absolutely unacceptable! So, it was declared that the Indians were not smart enough to handle their own money. The whites couldn't take the oil rich land away but they could control the money and keep a lot of it for themselves. It gets worse!

Mr. Grann walks us through the events of a time known as The Reign of Terror by the Osage. He tells of the deceit and wicked ways that many followed to get that money from the Osage people. Some married an Osage in order to get their grimy hands on the oil money. Some, even systematically ended the lives of the Osage so that the division of the monies grew as there were less to receive it.

This is not a pretty story. It is a factual one and a heartbreaking one but it is not pretty. If you like to read about real history, this might be a book that you will find fascinating. It is often times difficult to read about the dark side of humanity; however, it can also be enlightening. 



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Thursday, March 30, 2017

The One Man Book Review

Set in Poland in 1944, Andrew Gross’ The One Man tells the story of a man and his family rounded up and sent to a Nazi concentration camp after a failed escape attempt. Alfred Mendl carries with him his important research but that work is promptly burned on his arrival at the camp.

You have likely guessed that Mendl is not just another prisoner. It turns out that his knowledge in the realm of physics is information that only two people in the world know. The other man with this knowledge currently works for the Nazis and the Americans are desperate to gain Mendl’s knowledge so that they can win this war.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Nathan Blum works steadily away at decoding messages from occupied Poland. Previously, he had escaped the Krakow ghetto. Because his entire family was executed after his departure from home, Blum wants to reap revenge for his family and eventually agrees to go back to Poland to break INTO the concentration camp with the end goal of helping Mendl escape and bring back his physics research. Of course, breaking into a concentration camp is unheard of but getting out is really the difficult part.

This book is part historical fiction and part thriller and it is definitely a page turner. It is emotional and it will take you on a horrifying journey. I don’t think it is a spoiler if I say that I finished reading this book with tears running down my face, which is pretty unusual for me. Yes, The One Man comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me for anyone who enjoys World War II fiction and a gripping story.

Author Steve Berry says, “Haunting and thrilling…A masterful blend of family and duty laced with heroism and characters that are intriguing and richly drawn...You must read it!"  You can read more about The One Man on Amazon here.

Do you enjoy historical fiction? Will you be checking out The One Man?

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Book Reviews:

Steve Berry's Amber Room
John Sandford's Extreme Prey
Tarashea Nesbit's The Wives of Los Alamos 




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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Killing Lincoln Book Review

When A Country Loses Their Leader

Abraham Lincoln 
I do not typically read non-fiction which is odd seeing as how I am a bit of a history nerd. Killing Lincoln was suggested for my reading list by my husband who rarely reads fiction. He was so enthused by this book that I finally followed his urging and read the book.

I have to tell you that I was not disappointed and am actually glad that I did read this historical account of the tragedy that our nation suffered when Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford's theater by John Wilkes Booth.

I thought I knew quite a lot about that fateful and tragic day in April of 1865 but this book proved how much I did not know. As Bill O'Reilly so eloquently states, "It is important for us to know our nation's history. To understand the lives of our heroes and to also understand the villains of our history."

I am very impressed with the research that Mr. O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (the co-author) put into this book. I also was impressed to learn that Bill O'Reilly was a history teacher before he entered the world of political commentary and hosting television shows.

Typically, I find non-fiction books rather difficult to read. I usually find them a little on the droll side and have a difficult time keeping my mind from wandering. Not so, with this book. At times it almost reads like a fictional story but the difference is the facts are accurate.


While reading this book, we do not just find out about our 16th President, we also find out about the days leading up to his assassination. We learn about the last few battles of the war and the people involved in those days. We learn quite a bit about General Grant and General Lee and how their lives had intertwined before the civil war. We are given the background of many of the central figures in Lincoln's life during his Presidency and that helps to understand what was really going on in our nation at the time.

The book reveals much about the villain of the story, John Wilkes Booth. We find that he was considered quite handsome at the time and was quite the playboy. We also learn about what drove him to his actions at the Ford Theater in April 1865. We also find out that he did not act alone and had not for quite some time.

I found myself stopping every once in a while and shaking my head, uttering, "Wow, just wow!" My husband and I would sit at the dinner table and discuss my progress through the book. We both found it fascinating, interesting and thought provoking.

I am really glad that I took my husband's suggestion and read the book. Admittedly, I was reluctant because I knew the ending, our President was fatally shot. There was so much more to the event that I did not know and did not understand. If you are a bit of a history nerd like me or prefer non-fiction over fiction; I truly believe that you will love this book. It would also be a wonderful gift for someone who you know loves to learn about history. The wonderful thing is that it comes in so many formats: hardcover, paperback, digital and audio cd.


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Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Remains of the Day (1990) Book Review

The Remains of the Day is set in the 1950s and deals with the changing world of a man who had totally dedicated himself to being the best English butler he can be. Yes, picture that upright, serious, effective, totally dedicated, courteous, loyal gentlemen butler that we are used to seeing in period drama movies. The mini-series Downton Abbey hinted at the changing world for people who worked in service but never quite made it to the time when a butler would no longer be needed at all, which is what is happening in this book.

With the permission of his new American employer, butler Stevens sets out on a road trip to meet with a former female colleague whom we believe he loved although he may not know that fact. The road trip gives Stevens (and us) plenty of time to reflect back on his choices over the years and to ponder whether or not he made the right ones. Author Kazuo Ishiguro meant the book to be a metaphor, representing most of us who labour through life in one way or another and do not really know what the outcome of our efforts will be.

Would I Recommend This Book?


A few members of my book club really enjoyed reading The Remains of the Day. However, it was not a page turner and I was slow to warm up to it but in the end I did enjoy it. It was interesting and thought provoking and I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys period drama movies and historical fiction but not because of how those books flow but because of their subject matter.

By way of further recommendation, you should know that Remains of the Day won the Man Booker Prize in 1989 and that it is a very highly regarded post-war British story that sits at number 146 on Stanford University’s list of the best twentieth-century English novels.

Author Kazuo Ishiguro says that ''What he is interested in is not the actual fact that his characters have done things they later regret...but how they come to terms with that fact.”

I came away thinking that one should live for today and not let life pass you by. Stevens gave up too much in his pursuit of excellence and in the end wound up with nothing.

I will be watching the 1993 movie version of The Remains of the Day, which was more familiar to me than the book before it was added to our book club reading list. The movie stars Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson and was nominated for eight Academy Awards and sounds like a worthy follow up to this novel.

How about you? Will you be reading or watching The Remains of the Day? Or perhaps you have already done so? If you have not yet read the book and are interested, you can find your copy on Amazon by clicking right here.


Happy reading!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Order your copy of The Remains of the Day from Amazon.




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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Wives of Los Alamos by Tarashea Nesbit

The women wives in this book arrived from around the world. They came from different lifestyles, backgrounds and situations. Their average age was 25. Their educational backgrounds varied from those with doctorate degrees to stay at home moms to dancers. Most did not know exactly where they were going or what awaited them when they arrived in Los Alamos, New Mexico. These women were forced to come together to create a life for their families in New Mexico.

TaraShea Nesbit's The Wives of Los Alamos is the story of the women who supported the men who worked on one of the biggest research projects in World War II. Unknowingly, these families would be tied to a huge development that changed the course of history.

Their lives during the time they spent in Los Alamos were tough but they had even bigger challenges ahead when their experience was over and they had to weigh their contribution to the creation of a hugely destructive development of the 1940s known as the Manhattan Project.

Is The Wives of Los Alamos a True Story?

Here a 9 minute video in which Nesbit shares a bit of the real story which she writes about in the book:



Would I Recommend This Book?


The story is told by all of the women together in one voice. That is, the book is written in the first person plural a method that I personally did not care for. Here's an example from the beginning:

"We were European women born in Southampton and Hamburg, Western women born in California and Montana, East Coast women born in Connecticut and New York, Midwestern women born in Nebraska and Ohio, or Southern women from Mississippi or Texas, and no matter who we were we wanted nothing to do with starting all over again, and so we paused, we exhaled, and we asked, What part of the Southwest?"

That voice was okay for the first while but eventually I would rather have had the story told by a single individual. I can, however, see how this voice allowed many viewpoints to be expressed in each situation but there are many who could not get past the author's style. Others, however, really enjoyed this book and the style it was written in.

At the end of the book, I was left with a lot of thinking to do. How did those individuals cope with knowing they had made such a horrific contribution to the war effort? How would you cope? How would I?

Yes, I would recommend this book because it is a novel about a very significant scientific development in world history that takes place in the United States. You might want to read it for that fact alone and you never know, you might enjoy the style, too.

You can buy your copy from Amazon by clicking right here. If you do read it, be sure to come back and let us know what you think about the style and the story.

Happy Reading!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Link:

Buy your copy of The Wives of Los Alamos on Amazon.









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Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson - Canadian Artist

Path Behind Mowat Lodge Canvas Print by Tom Thomson
Path Behind Mowat Lodge Canvas Print
Available Via Amazon
The Life, Death and Art of Famous Canadian Artist Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson is one of Canada's most famous Artists who died mysteriously, and whose death is still talked about today.
I can't quite put my finger on why I find the lives of famous artists so intriguing. However, I do think it has something to do with an artist's plight to fulfil their calling while their lives are plastered with difficultly. Added to the fact that, in many cases, their work isn't valued or appreciated until after they die - Upsetting and incredibly unfair.
Tom Thomson was absolutely one of those artists. He only lived to the age of 39 and died under mysterious circumstances. To this day the suspicious speculations of his death are still labelled inconclusive.
Northern Light
Tom Thomson:
Born: August 5, 1877, in Claremont, Ontario, Canada
Died: July 8, 1917 (aged 39), Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada

NORTHERN LIGHT - The enduring mystery of Tom Thomson and the woman who loved him - This is VERY Interesting!

The details of Tom Thomson's life story, Authored by Roy MacGregor in "Northern Light", are very intriguing. He speaks about Thomson's life as well as his untimely death and the mystery surrounding it.
If you appreciate the journey of artists you will enjoy listening to this.


Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven
Tom Thomson, The Early Years

At 22 years old he was an Apprentice at an Iron Foundry and was fired because he was always late. He then attempted to join the armed services that same year, but due to a medical condition was denied entry.

In 1901 he was accepted into Business College in Chatham, Ontario but dropped out after eight months to go to the business college his brother operated in Seattle, Washington. While in Seattle, he had a brief romance with Alice Lambert.

He returned to Canada in 1904 and in 1907 he joined a Toronto design firm named Grip Ltd where many of the future "Group of Seven" also worked.

The Group of Seven

The Group of Seven were a famous group of Canadian Landscape Painters in the 1920's. Tom Thomson was never an official member of the Group of Seven, however he is recognized as having greatly influenced them.
The members of the Group of Seven were, Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley.

Heffel's record $2,749,500.00 sale of Tom Thomson ~ Early Spring, Canoe Lake



Tom Thomson's Major Source of Inspiration & Art Career

Tom Thomson was inspired by Ontario's wilderness. His first visit to Algonquin Park was in 1912. That year he began working along side members of the Group of Seven at Rous and Mann Press, but he left later in the year to become his own full time artist.

His first exhibit was with the Ontario Society of Artists in 1913 and he later become a member in 1914. That same year the National Gallery of Canada purchased one of his paintings. His exhibits continued with the Ontario Society of Artists until his mysterious death in 1917.

He eventually moved to Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. He worked as a fire fighter, ranger, and guide in Algonquin Park, but gave that up as he found it didn't give him enough time to paint. From 1914 to 1917 before he died, is when he created his most famous work; The Jack Pine, The West Wind and The Northern River.

Tom Thomson's Art & Artistic Talent

The Death of Tom Thomson
Tom Thomson was another one of those "mostly self taught" artists. He was very young when he began drawing and painting, but didn't pursue it as a career until he was in his thirties. Of course, his untimely death at the age of 39 would cut short the number of paintings he would become famous for.
He did produce hundreds of sketches between 1912 and 1917 (the year he died). Today these sketches are considered part of his portfolio of works and are featured in the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
He transformed from Graphic Designer to Professional Painter, with the help of Dr. James MacCallum between 1914 and 1917.
Many of his famous paintings began as sketches and later evolved into large oil paintings at his "Studio". His studio was an old shack, with a wood stove on the grounds of Studio Building.
With his use of broad brush strokes and his liberal use of paint to capture color, his art resembles post-impressionists, Vincent Van Gogh & Paul Cezanne.
Thomson was provided the same level of respect and prominence as Renoir, Picasso and The Group of Seven in 2002 when the National Gallery of Canada staged a major exhibition of his art.

The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson

On July 8th, 1917 at the age of 39, Tom Thomson disappeared on a canoeing trip on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. His body wasn't discovered until eight days later. Although there were reports that he had his fishing line wrapped around his feet seventeen times, and signs of a head injury, the official cause of death was deemed accidental.
The speculation on the cause of his death continues today. Numerous scenarios have been put forth, including murder and suicide. 



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