9 thoughts on “November reading

  1. Reading a book I wouldn’t have thought of as history but it is about a suite of cello pieces written by J. S. Bach and lost for years before Pablo Casals found them when he was 13 and eventually recorded and returned them to the world. The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin – really interesting and I got a copy of the suites played by Casals that I am playing while I am reading. A nice combination.

  2. I ordered The Big Burn by Timothy Egan, which is about fire fighting in Washington State and how this pushed Teddy Roosevelt to create the National Forest Service. I’ve read other books by Egan and like his writing. Another possibility is The Worst Hard Time about Dustbowl survivors. And Egan’s latest book is called Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher about Edward Curtis and his photography of Native Americans.

  3. Still reading the Cello Suites and thoroughly enjoying it but I was at the library for an event last night and in the few minutes before it started, I found a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on the 50 cent shelf of the Friends sale shelves. This is one of my favorite books and I couldn’t resist reading it again. It is just as charming the second – or maybe third – time around and since in the letters between the author and her publisher and friends and people on the isle of Guernsey, it tells the story of what happened there during the German occupation during WWII it fits the history category. In addition it has a lovely Jane Austen love story.

    So back to music.

  4. I’m reading one of Pat Barker’s books about World War I – a trilogy with titles Regeneration, The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road. The first 2 and at least part of the 3rd aren’t set on the battlefield, but take place in England, in London and in a hospital for physically injured and shell-shocked soldiers. One central character is the psychiatrist Dr. William Rivers who treats the men, including the poet Siegfried Sassoon and soldier Billy Prior, who is in all 3 books. I’ve been intending to read one or more of these for years (written 1993-95 and 3rd one won Booker Prize), but I’m not sure I can read them consecutively! They are psychologically intense with little outward action.

  5. Publishers Weekly (kind of the publishers bible magazine) included three history books in its best books of 2012 -
    The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600–1675 Bernard Bailyn (Knopf)
    The culmination of a distinguished career, this is an original study of America’s colonial era and the link between the universal need for stability and the resulting violence that ravaged both settlers and natives.
    AND
    Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel (Holt)
    Though the novel that recently won Mantel her second Man Booker prize is a sequel to the novel that won Mantel her first Man Booker prize, it’s a startlingly different book. Where Wolf Hall was lush and expansive, this is focused and verbose, with Mantel eschewing descriptive prose for dialogue. Thomas Cromwell is older now, with more titles and power, but he nonetheless finds himself again having to wrestle the king out of another heirless marriage, this time to Anne Boleyn.
    AND
    Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945–1956 Anne Applebaum (Doubleday)
    A searing narrative and analysis of a historical watershed—the USSR’s brutal takeover of Eastern Europe during and after WWII.

  6. Just read some good reviews of Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara. It’s a fictionalized account of the flooding of towns in central Mass to create Quabbin Reservoir to provide water for Boston.

  7. I read Egan’s ‘The Worst Hard Time’ a couple years ago and was amazed and humbled by what people went though. As I recall from the book, the east coast got a taste of some of the dust storms too.

  8. Here is the list – and it’s a long one – we had a group of READERS attending. Did the best I could to select the right title (did you know that book titles can’t be copyrighted?).

    If Not Now, When? Primo Levi based on true story – not sure this is the book Peter mentioned but it looks really interesting

    FICTION TITLES
    Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
    Someone Knows My Name Lawrence Hill
    Sarah’s Key Tatiana de Rosnay
    Midwife of Venice Roberta Rich
    The Given Day Dennis Lehane
    Live by Night Dennis Lehane
    Those Who Save Us Jenna Blum
    Wolf Hall Hillary Mantel
    Bring Up the Bodies Hillary Mantel
    Regeneration Pat Barker
    Eye in the Door Pat Barker
    The Ghost Road Pat Barker
    Birdsong Sebastian Faulks
    The Sandcastle Girls Chris Bohjalian
    Skeletons at the Feast Chris Bohjalian
    The Bartender’s Tale Ivan Doig
    The Whistling Season Ivan Doig
    Mafia Summer E. Duke Vincent
    City of Women David R. Gillham
    Winter of the World Ken Follett
    Fall of Giants Ken Follett
    The Pillars of the Earth Ken Follett
    Yellow Birds Kevin Powers
    The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien
    At the Concord of the Rivers Anne Ipsen
    Caleb’s Crossing Geraldine Brooks
    Madame Tussaud Michelle Moran
    The Kitchen House Kathleen Grissom
    Outlander (and others in the series) Diana Gabaldon
    11/22/63 Stephen King
    The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb Melanie Benjamin
    The Wolves of Andover Kathleen Kent
    The Voyagers Margaret Elphinstone
    Easter Island Jennifer Verderbes
    We Shall Not Sleep -5th and final in the series by Anne Perry
    No Graves as Yet Anne Perry
    Shoulder the Sky Anne Perry
    Angels in the Gloom Anne Perry
    At Some disputed Barricade Anne Perry
    The Unlikely Spy Daniel Silva
    A German Requiem (one of the Bernie Gunther Series) Phillip Kerr
    Northwest Passage Kenneth Roberts
    Arundel Kenneth Roberts
    Rabble in Arms Kenneth Roberts
    the Audrey Maturin series Patrick O’Brien
    The Book Thief Markus Zusak
    Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden

    MYSTERY
    Iron Ties Ann Parker

    NON-FICTION
    There was a Country Chinua Achebe
    The Professor and the Madman Simon Winchester
    Periodic Table Primo Levi non-fiction
    Dogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition and the Defeat of the Moors James Reston, Jr.
    Passage to Ararat Michael J. Arlen
    Citizens of London Lynne Olson
    Sasha and Emma Paul and Karen Avrich
    The President and the Assassin Scott Miller
    Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left Martin Duberman
    The Worst Hard Time Timothy Egan
    Here and Nowhere Else Jane Brox
    Five Thousand Days Like This One Jane Brox
    In the Garden of the Beasts Erik Larson
    Destiny of the Republic Candice Millard
    The River of Doubt Candice Millard
    Geisha Liza Dalby
    West with the Night Beryl Markham
    Out of Africa Isak Dinesen
    White Mischief James Fox
    Catherine of Aragon Giles Tremlett - hope this is the one you mentioned Peter
    Bill and Hillary William H. Chafe – think this is the one Sandar was recommending
    King Phillip’s War Eric Schultz and Michael Tougias (note: there is an entire page of listings of books about this war)

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