Sit down, everyone, because I’m about to tell you about a book I think you’ll love. If you’re like me and enjoy historical fiction, Victorian England, long musings on the nature of war, family, coming of age, and other universal and important themes, then The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt will be your new favorite book, if you have about three weeks to spare.
I believe in book magic. When I was younger I used to go to Barnes & Noble or other bookstores with nothing in mind, and see what jumped out at me. I firmly believe this is one of the best ways to buy books, and it almost never fails to bring me some gems that end up becoming some of my all-time favorite books. The Book of Speculation is one of those books.
Aaahhh, a good historical fiction book is like nothing else. Crossing the Horizon by Laurie Notaro is a new release I’ve been hearing about for a long time, and I was overjoyed to get my hands on it. Crossing the Horizon made me laugh and cry, and it taught me dozens and dozens of things I never knew. I would highly recommend this new release for anyone interested in an excellent story, 1920s history, and the little-told story of the aviatrixes who competed with Amelia Earhart for the title of first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
Crossing the Horizon has three main characters: the Honorable Elsie Mackay, the self-styled “Queen of Diamonds” Mabel Boll, and the beauty pageant star turned aviatrix Ruth Elder. All three of these women fought bitterly for the honor of becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic; as history knows, none of them were completely successful. But that doesn’t mean their stories should be lost to history. This incredible novel combines their stories in novel form, delivering an exhilarating portrait of their lives, loves, histories, and courageous endeavors to cross the stormy Atlantic in their tiny planes.
The action truly begins in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh, aka “Lucky Lindy” becomes the first person to cross the Atlantic by air. He was an immediate celebrity and set the world on fire with his achievements, and it was only a matter of time before people tried to emulate his feat. First, there’s Elsie Mackay, the daughter of an English earl and an impressive pilot. Her family is dead set against her plans to cross the Atlantic, for very good reasons: dozens have died attempting the crossing. Still, the meticulous, talented, and courageous Elsie is determined to be successful.
Alice in Wonderland is one of those books everyone has read, and a story that everyone knows. The story has been changed and reinterpreted so many times and that’s lovely, but it’s also the absolute best to return to the original book and get lost in its zany wisdom. I’ve always been in love with Alice in Wonderland quotes and their brand of ironic truths and hidden meanings in the ridiculous, and these quotes are no different.
“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”
The Girls, by Emma Cline, is one of those books you can’t help but hear about everywhere. From a new author, this book has been extremely hyped up the last few months. Finally, after trying in vain to score an ARC, I went out and spent actual money on a hardcover copy of this book because I simply had to read it. And my initial reaction to it? Meh.
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The Woman on the Orient Express is set in 1928, during Agatha Christie’s impromptu visit to Mesopotamia, i.e. Iraq. She travels on the Orient Express to escape her failed marriage to Archibald Christie (who is set to marry his mistress in a few days’ time) and the embarrassment of her “disappearance” and scandal that occurred two years earlier (her very own “Gone Girl” moment!). While on the Orient Express traveling to Iraq, she meets two women: Katharine Woolley and Nancy Nelson. All three women are harboring huge, life-defining secrets that haunt them, but all three eventually forge deep bonds of sisterhood and learn about themselves during the journey.
Halfway through the novel, Christie and her three-dimensional companions do reach Baghdad, and thus the second half of the novel is a glittering and realistic portrait of life in the Middle East during the late 20s. We visit a Bedouin camp, a Yazidi temple, open-air markets, and learn about the customs, lifestyles, and traditions of the Iraqi people during this time. The main portion of the novel is set on an archaeological dig at Ur, where Agatha Christie eventually met her second husband, Max Mallowan. And it is also the place where Christie absorbed enough material for half a dozen (or more) of her novels set in or inspired by Mesopotamia and the dig at Ur.Read More »
Hey all! A book recommendation today for anyone who loves character-driven novels with romance and history! So, that’s definitely me. I stumbled across this book called The Girl at the Lion D’Or a couple years ago at my favorite bookstore, Westsider Books. I like thrifting at secondhand bookstores because you find books that have been forgotten or lost, and you can find some true gems.
“I wish I could find words—serious, beautiful words—to describe it in the afternoon sunlight; the more I strive for them, the more they utterly elude me.”
I’ve been having a lovely summer so far, with friends and warm nights. The quote above is from one of my favorite books I Capture the Castle, a book my sister made me read when I was a young teenager. It’s still one of her—and my—favorite books. Summer and spring always make me happier and feel more alive and more at peace, and this year, I’m looking forward to new beginnings, new challenges, new adventures, and putting into motion some big things so I can get some goals met. It’s scary, but I’m really looking forward to it.
I’ve been filled with anxiety this year because of a job, so finding some days and moments to do what I love and be with people I love means the world to me. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.
To continue in the theme of Pride and Prejudice, I have a lit quote today from that book, the greatest of all books, that distinguishes between pride and vanity. The quote is spoken by Lizzy’s little sister Mary, the pedant who thinks she knows everything and is better than everyone, making this quote kinda ironic.
It’s ironic because Mary is verrrryyy proud, and Lizzy is both proud and vain! I love Pride and Prejudice for a very many reasons, but one of them is because the two main characters are proud and flawed, and each has to come to terms with their own pride/vanity/what-have-you before they can get together. Title makes sense now, don’t it? 😉
It also reminds me that even though Elizabeth Bennet is one of the best characters in literature ever, she’s still so far from perfect. There’s a lot to learn from a character like that.