Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring Book Haul #2

As I said yesterday, our family is making a move this summer so I've got to get stuff packed up. Here's part two of my Spring Book Haul! Half will go into storage and half will stay with me for summer reading.

A sweet friend gave me this amazing copy of Jane Eyre as a gift to celebrate my first book signing last month. This 1943 version has a companion copy, Wuthering Heights. I'll have to see if I can find it. 

It's full of gorgeous wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg. I can't wait to go through it!

The World Since 1914 by Walter Consuelo Langsam, PH.D. of Union College. 

This 1945 copy features several neat maps.

The Mabinogion (Maa-bee-nog-yawn...sorta..) is a compilation of Welsh myth, history, and folklore, composed orally over the span of several centuries. These eleven stories were compiled in written form during the 12th-13th centuries. I heard about this on a British documentary a few weeks ago and ordered a copy from paperbackswap.com.

Jane Austen and Her Times by G.E. Mitton. This is another book my friend gave me at my book signing. Though the cover description falsely claims Austen wrote for Victorians, (her stories were published 20+ years before the beginning of the Victorian age and were written several years before that) the book was originally published in 1905---so I'm holding out hope that the author was more knowledgeable than the dingbats at Barnes and Noble.

The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith, 1870. Mrs. Smith was a Quaker and later member of the Holiness movement. This book might be encouraging, it might be weird, it might make me laugh...I have no idea! What's for sure, a quick study of Mrs. Smith makes for some very interesting imagining. She lived quite the life! I found this at my church on the free book rack.

Well folks, I've got one more post to show off a couple of antique finds and then I'll be packing things up. I'm looking forward to some book hunting in Oregon this summer---stay tuned!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring Book Haul #1

Hey everyone! The kids and I are headed to Oregon for the summer to hang out with mom so I've got some packing to do! I figured I'd better show off my spring book hauls first so they don't get lost in the move. I'm looking forward to perusing some of my favorite Eastern Oregon shops for some great summer reading---and I'll be taking a few of these along, too.

Martin Luther: The Lion-Hearted Reformer by J.A. Morrison. This 1924 edition is dedicated, "To the Youth of the Land." I found this at Helping Hands thrift shop in Bentonville, Arkansas last month.

Another find from Helping Hands: My Mother's Wedding Dress: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes by Justine Picardie, 2005. I don't know...it sounded interesting.

Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity by David J. Kent, 2013. This is the companion to the book on Thomas Edison that I bought awhile back

I found it at Barnes and Noble and like the Edison book, it's got a great Steampunk feel. I'm looking forward to reading it!

The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America by Ernest Freeberg, 2013. I'm pretty much obsessed with Gilded Age America and, while I'm not described as the sciency type, stuff like this fascinates me. Totally excited about this book.

Using Wayside Plants by Nelson Coon, 1960. I actually purchased this at Helping Hands to resell in my Etsy shop, but as I was thumbing through it I became intrigued and decided to keep it for myself.

...and this lovely Georgette Heyer. I love this 1972 copy of Lady of Quality because it features a drawing of Bath---one of my favorite spots ever! I believe the idea is that she's standing within one of the crescents---I'm going to say she's on the corner of a street in the Royal Crescent and that I know exactly where she's standing! Ha! Her spencer reminds me of a cape my friend Frances made last year for the costumed promenade in Bath. I love it!

What are you reading? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue -- Book Review


Sometimes we read things and think, "Hmm...that wasn't really for me." Other times we read things and look around the room for something to beat ourselves with as penance for wasting our own time.

Book Description: "In the latest by Emma Donoghue, Lib, an English nurse is brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle---a girl said to have survived without food for months. Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib has her doubts and is bent on proving the whole thing a hoax."

I actually really love "fasting girl" stories. It was a big thing in Victorian times and, while common sense tells us these lengthy and complete fasts were hoaxes, it's fascinating to read about the public's naive reactions in each case. This is a great idea for a storyline, but I didn't at all like the way this one was executed.

Main Thing: Slow and Dull. There is absolutely no rise and fall in this story, whatsoever. We just have the same routine on repeat, chapter after chapter. No side story, no other mystery, no character development, no other interesting anything. It was a major yawner---and that's saying a lot because I read it while laid up in bed after surgery. I had absolutely nothing else to do and I was still overwhelmingly bored with this story.

Second Thing: Inconsistent Protagonist. Lib is a real idiot sometimes. The Dorothy prayer? Please. She doesn't recognize the words of a simple prayer but she can quickly find scriptures to suit her arguments? I have a hard time believing someone educated in medicine can be this ignorant about geography, religion, language, culture, and more. England and Ireland are VERY similar in many of these things---would have been even more so then. I could see some of her ignorances coming out if she would have been working in Asia or something but I guarantee you the English know a thing or two about a bog. It's not just an Ireland thing.

Redeeming Bit: The End. The end is a good one. It's not really expected and it's actually believable. I could totally see this happening and I'm glad it did. I still wanted to chuck the book against the wall when I was through with it, but the three stars it's getting here are a nod to a decent ending.

For a really interesting nonfiction read about the Victorian fasting phenomenon, check out The Fasting Girl: A True Victorian Medical Mystery by Michelle Stacey.