Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summer Reading List (Almost) Wrap-Up

Hypatia's Heritage by Margaret Alic
  This was a very good read, slightly (okay, a lot) over my head as far as some of the information presented goes, but a book that focuses on brilliant women in science and mathematics in history? Outstanding. his is the kind of book I would pass on to my daughter if she enjoyed books as much as I do. Parents, or anyone with a special young lady in your life, especially one interested in the sciences, pass this book along to her.

Farm to Factory: Women's Letters, 1830 to 1860 by Thomas Dublin
   I love reading collections of letters and old diaries and journals; the authentic view of another place and time is fascinating to me, especially when it pertains to the time period that interests me most, i.e, the nineteenth century. The women that wrote these letters were educated as well as their time allowed, yet none of them come across as ignorant or uninformed. They are vibrant, lively, sparking with life and breath. Is the subject matter so interesting? Perhaps not to some, but if you want an authentic look into the working lives of women in the 1800's, read this one.

The Shape of a Year by Jean Hersey
   This book wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be.It was very descriptive, giving beautiful views of field and garden, but too old-fashioned for my taste. (This from someone who lives to reread Jane Eyre over and over). Hersey's comments about caring for her husband and meeting his needs (he was not ill, nor disabled) was too 50's housewife for me, I guess.

The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston
   This seemed more romance than fantasy to me, and I am not a fan of romances. If you like a little magic in your romance stories, check out Paula Brackston's work.

She-Wolves by Helen Castor
   This one was amazing: all of the women to rule England prior to Elizabeth I, some figureheads, some submitting to their husbands' ambition, others victims of deceit, and still others who surged ahead, taking their rightful places as the Lady of England, and directing power from beside (or behind) their husbands.

Sisters of Fortune by Jehanne Wake
   This book was an American version of Stella Tillyard's Aristocrats: a close-knit group of sisters whose brains, fortune, beauty, and determination made them legends in their own country and abroad. American history at its finest.

Aristocrats by Stella Tillyard
   I had watched the PBS presentation of this family some years ago, and it never occurred to me to read the book until now. The Lennox sisters were a force to be reckoned with: intelligent, educated, politically savvy, and so very close to each other, their lives read almost like a faerie tale. And real-life faerie tales are the best ones to read.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
   Who doesn't love Wonder Woman? Who doesn't think she is just about the most amazing female super hero in the history of the world, apart from the Power Puff Girls? Who ever would have believed that she was the creation of a bigamist who had four children with two women, that all three lived together as a happily delusioned family, and that the creator's entire academic career was built on half-truths and exaggerations? Wild.

Red: A History of the Redhead by Jacky Colliss Harvey
   I have always wanted red hair. The only way I get red hair is with a box of dye, but for those rare individuals blessed with titian strands, this book holds all kinds of information: which genes need to be present to bless someone with ravishing red raiment, just how rare it actually is, strange and amazing facts that go hand in hand with having red hair, and several famous redheads, just to give you a (vague) idea of what's inside this little book.

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
   This almost ties in with She-Wolves, and in fact some of the queens in that book get an honorable mention in this one; however, there are many more I have never heard of, and I don't think quite all of them deserve to be in this book, as some were victims of circumstance rather than their own naughtiness, but it was still a very fun read.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
   This was a very well-written, down-to-earth, truly honest memoir, and I enjoyed it, I really did, but I have to admit, the whole time I was reading it, I was asking myself over and over, 'How the hell did she survive?' No, not formidable odds that would have brought seasoned explorers to their knees, but pure stupidity. I almost suggest reading it to learn what not to do if you decide to go for a months-long wilderness hike.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Chapman
   Good girl with good background and good education makes really stupid decisions. Good girl goes to minimum security prison, and tells her story. Good story.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
   Magick, mystery, love, deception, betrayal, and a circus that only opens at night. Read this. It's fabulous.

Shadow and Bone (book 1) and Siege and Storm (book 2) by Leigh Bardugo (The third book is Ruin and Rising, and I CANNOT WAIT TO READ IT!!!)
  If you do not plan to read more than one fantasy series this summer, be sure this is the one you choose. And that is all I'm going to say, except that I read the first book cover to cover in a day, I could not put it down, and the only reason I stopped reading the second book today is because I can't read while I'm at work. As soon as I got home, I began to read. And I have just finished. And I want book 3. Here. Now.

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