Really Long Old Book Titles, #6

A LIST OF PERSONS

CONCERNED IN

THE REBELLION

Transmitted to the Commissioners of Excise

by the Several Supervisors in Scotland

in Obedience to a General Letter of

the 7th May 1746

AND A SUPPLEMENTARY LIST WITH

EVIDENCES TO PROVE THE SAME

With a Preface by

THE EARL OF ROSEBERY

and Annotations by the

REV. WALTER MACLEOD

Source: archive.org

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Really Long Old Book Titles, #5

A

REVIVING CORDIAL

FOR

A SIN-SICK DESPAIRING SOUL,

IN THE TIME OF

TEMPTATION,

BEING

AN ACCOUNT OF THE MIRACULOUS PRESERVATION OF

THE AUTHOR’S BODILY LIFE FROM MANY IMMINENT

DANGERS;AND OF THE WAY IN WHICH THE

SPIRIT OF GOD EFFECTED THE DELIVER-

ANCE OF HIS SOUL FROM THE STATE

OF NATURE TO THE STATE OF GRACE.

To which is subjoined,

THE

ONLY REFUGE OF A TROUBLED SOUL,

IN THE TIME OF

TRIBULATION AND AFFLICTION;

OR, THE MYSTERY OF

THE APPLE-TREE,

EXPLAINED AND LAID OPEN, IN TWO DISCOURSES FROM

Cant. ii. 3.

BY THE REV. JAMES BARRY,

MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL.

Come and hear, all ye that fear God,and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. PSALM lxvi. 16.

Come, trembling sinner, hasten, taste, and see,

What fruit grows on the Spouse’s Apple-tree.

(Photo credit Orkney Library; @OrkneyLibrary on Twitter)

Really Long Old Book Titles, #4

A LARGE NEW

CATALOGUE

OF THE

BISHOPS of the several SEES

Within the KINGDOM of SCOTLAND,

Down to the YEAR 1688.

Instructed by proper and authentic VOUCHERS:

TOGETHER WITH

Some other THINGS necessary to the better KNOWLEDGE of the Ecclesiastical State of this KINGDOM in former Times:

AS ALSO,

A brief PREFACE concerning the first planting of CHRISTIANITY in Scotland, and the State of that CHURCH in the earlier AGES.

(Photo credit Orkney Library; @OrkneyLibrary on Twitter)

Eva Reads About WWI, Installment #3

Welcome to post number three about World War One Books Eva Has Read!!!!!!! We’ll do three today, two adult fiction and one non-fiction.

(For installment #1, go here, and for #2, go here.)

Note on my star rating system:

5 stars=Amazing, have read more than once or definitely will read again, highly recommend.

4 stars=Excellent, may not ever re-read but the quality was superb and highly recommend.

3 stars=Good, a solid read.

2 stars= Just okay, not that impressed, but also not horrible, and probably I will forget all about it soon.

1 star=The only reason I finished reading this was so I could rant/snark/complain about it 100% fairly

 

Wake

(Anna Hope) ★★

This dealt more with the post-war period (the emotional distress of a mother who lost a son, a soldier with shell-shock, etc) than the war itself, and I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t love it. It was just middling.

The Return of the Soldier

(Rebecca West) ★★★ 

I understand that this was the first book on WWI to be published (in 1918). Like Wake, it deals more with the effects of war than the war itself – in this case, a soldier with shell shock manifesting as amnesia. I loved the writing style, but I found the ending a little rushed and confusing.

The Zimmermann Telegram

(Barbara W Tuchman) ★★★★

I went into this one just over a year ago not knowing what exactly the Zimmermann Telegram was. (Boy, have I come a long way since then.) I really enjoyed it, though. World War One really gets glossed over in history books (at least in my experience!) My mom was a big WWII buff, and I definitely remember learning more about WWII in school than WWI.

 

-Eva

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Eva Reads About WWI, Installment #2

Welcome to post number two about World War One Books Eva Has Read!!!!!!! We’ll do three today.

(For installment #1, go here.)

Note on my star rating system:

5 stars=Amazing, have read more than once or definitely will read again, highly recommend.

4 stars=Excellent, may not ever re-read but the quality was superb and highly recommend.

3 stars=Good, a solid read.

2 stars= Just okay, not that impressed, but also not horrible, and probably I will forget all about it soon.

1 star=The only reason I finished reading this was so I could rant/snark/complain about it 100% fairly

 

The War That Ended Peace

(Margaret MacMillan) ★★★

This audiobook is 32 hours long and I had to check it out 3 times to get it finished. It was SO MUCH INFORMATION. But it was really well-presented and enjoyable. It covers the years from roughly 1900 through 1914, detailing the complex threads of political and cultural issues that eventually led to WWI.

War Horse

(Michael Morpurgo) ★★★

In true books-about-animals form, this story is abominably, unrelentingly sad with some sprinklings of joy. I liked it all right, but… seriously, authors, could we make an effort to write HAPPY animal stories? I’m looking at you, Rawlings, Sewell, Salten, and Knight, all of whom had devastating effects on my childhood (and adulthood) emotional well-being. I mean, War Horse (along with the abovementioned works of Rawlings, Sewell, Salten, and Knight) is well written, but but but but BUT

The Fledglings

(Howard E Adkins) ★

This was like reading bad fanfiction. If I had a dollar for every time a dude character made comments “in his nasal tone” or how many times the American MC was referred to as “the sandy-haired youth” instead of Luke, I could buy enough chocolate to self-medicate back to sanity. There was basically no real plot thread or point to this story. It was rambling, with lots of internal agonies from the three MCs (one British, one American, one Austrian, all young fighter pilots). The American agonises over his responsibility for the “blackened bloated corpses” (another phrase that gets used a million times) of the Germans he kills. The British dude agonises over whether he is gay. The Austrian, I honestly don’t know why he was even in the story at all, but I seem to recall he agonised a lot about flying. The romantic encounters of the young men with various females were all just awkward beyond words. The reader of the audiobook was also pretty terrible.

-Eva

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Eva Reads About WWI, Installment #1

I am currently writing a WWI novel, because it has bothered me for years how little quality fiction is out there set during WWI. In my quest for knowledge of the era – politically, socially, and so forth – I’ve been binge-reading whatever I can get my hands on that covers that time in history. Rather than bombard you with a Gigantically Comprehensive List All At Once, I will take this project in installments and talk about a few at a time. Let’s do four today!

Note on my star rating system:

5 stars=Amazing, have read more than once or definitely will read again, highly recommend.

4 stars=Excellent, may not ever re-read but the quality was superb and highly recommend.

3 stars=Good, a solid read.

2 stars= Just okay, not that impressed, but also not horrible, and probably I will forget all about it soon.

1 star=The only reason I finished reading this was so I could rant/snark/complain about it 100% fairly

 

All Quiet on the Western Front

(Erich Maria Remarque) ★★★★★

This one kind of goes without saying. It’s just about the only serious, well-known literary work out there that deals with WWI – or, at least, it’s the only one I had ever heard of before actively searching out others. I was super moved and impressed by it as a teenager (or early 20s, I honestly don’t remember when I first read it). The translation by Wheen is my preferred one.

Dead Wake

(Erik Larson) ★★★★

I had really known nothing about the Lusitania or its sinking’s impact on the world, aside from a vague “it happened and the US got mad or something”. Really engaging. I love Larson’s writing, and Scott Brick (the narrator of the audiobook) is a favourite reader of mine. There is a lot fascinating insight into U-Boats and what it was like to be on them. (I would not want to be on a U-Boat.)

 

In Flanders Fields

(Linda Granfield, illustrated by Janet Wilson) ★★★★

This was a beautifully illustrated version of the iconic poem, with historical information about the man who wrote the poem and the war itself. I got this one from my library, but one of these days I want to buy a copy for myself.

Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I

(John Ellis) ★★★

This is full of fantastic, practical-life information about life in the trenches. Among other things, it answers such questions as: How long did it take to get mail? (The mail system was very efficient.) What kinds of food did the men get? (Tinned beef and plum-apple jam and super hard biscuit were staples.) Did anyone ever wake up with rats sitting on them? (Yes.) The many pictures are not very well-reproduced, a bit like bad photocopies at times, but fun to look at all the same, and invaluable to my research for my own novel.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Alternatively, recommend me a WWI book you enjoy!

-Eva

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Summer of My German Soldier/Morning Is a Long Time Coming

For the last two years, my friend and I have been somewhat obsessively reading books to one another over the phone. It’s been a great way to share books with each other that the other person doesn’t have access to. So far we are up to 34 books, not counting reading through the Bible to each other (we’re almost through Jeremiah), or short stories, or our re-reading of A Childhood in Scotland.

The latest two she has read to me have been Bette Greene’s Summer of My German Soldier and Morning Is a Long Time Coming. There will be some spoilers in what I have to say, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now.

 

My mom had a copy of Summer of My German Soldier, and I know she liked it (although I never saw her reading it). It was up on the shelf with other books that I kind of understood to be off-limits to me. Whether it actually was or not is another story, but whatever. Anyway, my friend has told me multiple times that she wanted to read it to me, and we finally got to it a few weeks ago. BOY what a story. I loved it. It was so beautiful while also being so painfully sad. Such a dysfunctional family, I tell you. I adored the diversity and liveliness of the characters, if not the characters themselves (PATTY’S PARENTS ARRRRGGGHHHH). I was super touched by the way Anton Reiker was so kind to Patty and helped her feel worthwhile.

Last night we finished the sequel, Morning Is a Long Time Coming, and we have mixed feelings about it. It takes up the story six years after the first book and chronicles Patty Bergen’s Quest for Closure (or something?), which involves going to Europe, Göttingen particularly, to find Anton’s mother, whom she daydreams near the close of Book 1 as becoming a mother to her, Patty, as well.

There’s a lot going on in MIaLTC, and a lot of it is great.

It’s realistic in its portrayal of an 18 year old girl setting out on her own and dealing with how messed up she is from her childhood and her parents’ treatment of her: she’s confused, she’s irrational, sometimes kind of dumb, but it all was believable to me. One of the themes (which I think carries over from SoMGS) is her longing for a mother, and it deals (somewhat unsatisfactorily) with the fact that Ruth was, for all practical purposes, Patty’s mother, but for some reason or other Patty can’t seem to come to grips with this. Is it because Ruth is black, and she can’t quite get over her prejudice? It’s obvious Patty loves Ruth with all her heart, and she wants to tell her this, but doesn’t have a way. I hope that at some post-canonical point Patty was able to convey her feelings to Ruth, to let her know how much she meant to her.

I was a little thrown by the friendships Patty forges with people on her ocean crossing. One is a potential love interest, who is temperamental and rude (like her father); the other is a girl who seems to want to remain friends after arriving in Paris. But both of these characters vapourise from view afterwards, despite having been developed enough that it felt weird that they just no longer existed after that.

Then there’s Patty’s relationship with Roger Auberon, which starts basically the moment she arrives in Paris. It happened overnight (quite literally) and he’s a good guy, if a bit impractical. Patty has a hard time reconciling that it’s okay for a man to not treat her like trash.

Where the book started to fall apart for me was the last few chapters, when Patty, fresh out of hospital from treatment for severe ulcers, goes to Göttingen against Roger’s wishes (they have a fight about it) and doctor’s orders, to follow her obsession with Anton’s family to whatever end it comes.

So we spend several chapters in Göttingen with a Sense of Impending Doom, and after a lot of waffling about and being terrified of the telephone, Patty learns that Anton’s mother is dead, and she leaves the city without telling Anton’s father or sister (whom she meets) any of the things she had planned to say to Mrs Reiker. It felt like a lot of wasted time somehow, although that section did have one of the best lines in the book:

I submitted my body to the telephone with the same sense of impending oblivion that a condemned man must experience at the moment of submission to the electric chair.

Oh, Patty. SO DRAMATIC. I love you.

Anyway, the book does have a hopeful ending despite the abovementioned Sense of Impending Doom.

I think I would have enjoyed the story more if it had dealt less with the Anton Reiker Incident, and more with just Patty’s growth as a person. It could have been a super strong standalone book; it felt a little strained trying to connect the two plots. Still, I was glad to read it and I think that, as sequels go, it was very good.

But perhaps my most burning question is WHAT HAPPENED TO ANTON’S RING BECAUSE THE SEQUEL NEVER SAYS SHE STILL WORE IT AND THIS TROUBLES ME A GREAT DEAL.

If you’ve read these, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!

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The Monarch of the Glen

This book is absolutely **ridiculous**.

It came to my attention courtesy of Elizabeth Wein, who saw a stage production involving a hot shirtless dude* somersaulting onto stage in a a kilt, so I acquired a used copy and read it over the phone with my reading-books-over-the-phone bestie.

(click on the pic to go to the full article)

Anyway, I laughed many times at this farce of a book while simultaneously wanting to chuck it out the window. (Basically the same feelings I have about the majority of 1930s screwball comedies.) MacKenzie has a way with descriptors that is wonderful. Sometimes I found the sentence structure confusing. These are a few of the lines I loved best.

(okay, I admit it, I just liked “edible fungus club” and may have spontaneously burst into singing FORTY-TWO POUNDS OF EDIBLE FUNGUS whilst reading)

“I’m not English,” said the red and yellow kilt hotly.

(The entire first scene where the two Scottish Nationalists spend a lot of time bickering about tartans is rather priceless, but I am going to make you read the book yourself if you want to giggle over it too.)

Good English milk gone sour, that’s what Americans are.

Massive figures in kilts and vests whose muscles stood out like bumps in the mattresses of remote Highland inns were tossing the caber and throwing the hammer.

In the fashionably unemotional voice of a barrister reading a love-letter in a breach of promise suit Kilwhillie read.

(THIS DID NOT MAKE ME THINK OF THE PEARL THIEF **AT ALL**.)

Seventeen hikers and twelve hikeresses were expected to join the party.

You’re not going to marry my kilt. You’re going to marry what’s inside the kilt.

____

*James Rottger, @JamesRottger on Twitter. Behold the dishiness:

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