RTT Quarterly - October-December 2023 - 1946 - Present

DiscussãoReading Through Time

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

RTT Quarterly - October-December 2023 - 1946 - Present

Set 14, 1:39 pm

Group admin has removed this message.

Set 14, 1:58 pm

>1 majkia: Thanks for all your work on the Quarterly Reads, Jean. I am very happy to announce that Tess_W has volunteered to take over here and I know she will do an excellent job as well!

Set 14, 3:03 pm

Thank you Tess_W

Set 15, 4:34 am

Thanks to you both, Jean and Tess!

Editado: Out 8, 8:52 am

List of possibilites:
The Gardener of Baghdad by Ahmad Ardalan
The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman (Jewish fiction)
The Glassmaker's Daughter by Dianne Hofmeyr
The White Lady by Jacqueline Winspear post WWII GB, operative comes home and tries to normalize HF
Bramton Wick by Elizabeth Fair Cotswolds 1950's
Prelude to Reveille: A Vietnam Awakening by S.D. Sawyer
Nuremberg: The Reckoning by William F. Buckley Nazi trials
The Coroner's Lunch (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery Book 1) 1970's crime fiction Laos
The Sisters of Glass Ferry HF that alternates between 1950's & 1970's, Kentucky murder mystery
A Castle in Brooklyn HF 1944-2010 Holocaust survivors make a new life
The Great Terror by Robert Conquest This is an account of Stalin's purge, first published in 1937. However, since the "thaw", Conquest has re-written with much more info.
Witness by Whittaker Chambers NF Alger Hiss/Spies

Set 16, 10:36 pm

>2 DeltaQueen50:
>3 majkia:
>4 MissWatson:
Thank you. I will do my best!

Set 16, 11:14 pm

I want to add my thanks to Jean and Tess as well!

Editado: Set 17, 12:31 am

I am terribly derelict in reviewing two ERs:

These are the last two I need to review out of the 42 that I've won over the years. Both fit into the 4th Quarter, so I'm going to have to find them around the house (or buy them on Amazon, where the price for both is quite low).

I nearly finished The Mystic Hand some months ago, so I only just have to do the last chapter or so and maybe do a skim over the earlier chapters enough to write a review. And it's the Bacevich book I'm the more interested in anyway. He's a leading foreign policy anti-interventionist, the Chairman of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft (named after John Quincy Adams who, as Monroe's Secretary of State, in a Fourth of July speech once warned against going abroad "in search of monsters to destroy"), and one of my favorite writers on foreign and military policy.

Editado: Set 17, 9:49 am

To start with, I’ll be continuing with the The Years of Lyndon Johnson biographies (by Robert A. Caro) by queuing up Master of the Senate (narrated by Grover Gardner) next. It covers LBJ’s career from 1948-1960.

Set 18, 9:05 pm

>7 atozgrl: TY Irene!

Editado: Set 22, 5:27 pm

mmmm . ill see what I can find. One area I am not that familar with is immediately after the war, esp in Europe, how the refugees and survivers were trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild. any ideas?

Set 22, 6:27 pm

>11 cindydavid4: Lot of history on the Jews, but I don't recall anything else!

Set 23, 1:31 am

>11 cindydavid4: I plan to read The Village by Marghanita Laski (1952), which is about a village in Britain in 1945. I don't know how widely available it is, but it's currently published by Persephone Books. Here's a summary from their website:

I loved Laski's Little Boy Lost, which is also a post-war story, which starts during the war with a couple involved in the French resistance.

Editado: Set 23, 4:24 pm

>13 kac522: rethe village I didn't think you meant M. Shyamalons movie :) found the right one. Looks good thanks :)

Editado: Set 27, 4:37 am

I am early with my read for this theme, but Half of a yellow sun is such a good read that I wanted to record it here. It is set during the Biafran war.

>1 majkia: It seems there is no wiki page yet for this? At least I drew a blank.

Editado: Set 28, 11:14 am

ETA: Sorry! This should be in the Jul-Sep WWII Quarter. I will cross-post there.

I finished The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix (2018). This YA graphic book tells the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), a German clergyman whose personal faith compelled him to participate in the Nazi resistance. He dedicated his adult life to fighting Hitler and agonized over reconciling his love of country, his Christian beliefs and his urge to remove Hitler from power. Bonhoeffer was eventually arrested, imprisoned and finally was hanged in a concentration camp in April 1945, only two weeks before the camp was liberated.

The book does an excellent job of presenting Bonhoeffer's life, his work and his faith, and then intertwines it with the rise of Hitler and the Second World War. Although marketed to YA audiences, I felt it appeals to adult readers as well. There were enough details of the people and events to make it interesting and informative without being dragged down into minutiae. The illustrations are sharp and jagged, emphasizing the times. My only quibble is that sometimes the print was either too small or on background color that was hard to read. But the book's intended audience was not a Senior Citizen like me with dubious vision, so I shouldn't complain.

Set 28, 2:17 am

>16 kac522: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on "The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler" by John Hendrix. It's evident that this YA graphic novel successfully captures the complex life and inner turmoil of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as he grappled with his faith, love of country, and the moral imperative to resist Hitler. The interweaving of Bonhoeffer's story with the broader historical context of Nazi Germany and World War II adds depth to the narrative. It's also encouraging to hear that the book's appeal extends beyond its intended YA audience and can be enjoyed by adult readers as well. Your feedback about the print size and readability is understandable, considering different readers' preferences and vision capabilities. Overall, it sounds like a compelling and informative read that sheds light on an important figure in history. For further information, click here)

Editado: Set 28, 2:23 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Set 28, 7:10 am

>16 kac522: Sounds lovely and have not heard of it. Will be seeking it out!

Editado: Set 28, 7:13 am

When you depend on the library....you may get books early or late. In this case, I received the book less than 24 hours after I requested it, so this entry is a few days early.

I read The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. Whitehead won a Pulitzer Prize for this book in 2020 and I expected much. I was slightly disappointed. Nickel Boys is the fictional account of a 1960's boys reformatory school in Florida. It is based on a true story, the Dozier School for Boys. I have no qualms with the writing and mechanics, they were all very good. However, the story seemed very generic. I know that I have read something like this before, but I can't put my finger on it. The story was predictable and safe. I was left wanting. The subject matter is worthy, but the characters and their plight were distant. Sadly, I have read better. I wanted this story to jar and shake me, but it didn't. I really did love the protagonist as he tried to live by Dr. King's precepts.

Set 28, 12:48 pm

>1 majkia: This message has been removed as the wiki link was incorrect. The link to the October-December thread is:


Set 29, 6:17 am

>22 DeltaQueen50: Thank you, Judy!

Out 8, 7:08 am

I’ve just finished A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra—an absorbing novel set in Chechnya during the Chechen/Russian wars of the late 20th/early 21st centuries. It was an armchair experience of a terror-filled world, where danger and the pressing need to survive were constants. While I can’t say I enjoyed this book, I’m glad to have read it.

Out 8, 8:50 am

>24 dianelouise100: I'm going to put this one on my WL. Last year I read 57 Hours, which was a survivor's tale of the Moscow hostage event in which the Chechnyans played a big part . Would like to follow that up.

Out 8, 12:15 pm

>24 dianelouise100: excellent book, was disappointed with his last one, but this really packed a punch

Out 8, 4:51 pm

I finished A Feather on the Water by Lindsay Jayne Ashford This was a story that took place in Germany, just 20 miles from Dachau in 1946-1948 at a camp for displaced persons (DP's). This book told the stories of three different women who worked there and the situations in which they found themselves. It seemed to me that it was a romance wanna be novel that took place in grim circumstances. Wished they had dropped the romances and just went more deeply into the stories. 345 pages 3- stars Free book of the month from Kindle July 2022.

Out 18, 7:31 am

I read The Gardener of Baghdad by Ahmad Ardalan. It is billed as a historical romance. I was hoping to get more "historical" and less romance, but twas not the case The story takes place in Baghdad in the 1950's, a time of the assassination of the royal family as well as the end of British "occupation." About the content: this was the best part of the book, the stories of the daily life, gardens, political situations, etc. About the writing: left much to be desired. The sentences were short and stilted. This may be due to translation. I listened to this on audio and the reader was very monotone. This was a short novel of 226 pages, so it was a quick read. (5 hours 21 mins) 3 stars (Takes place in the 1950's

Out 22, 8:59 am

reading Kairos for here , and RTT theme between WWII to present . Loving it!

Out 22, 9:43 am

>29 cindydavid4: many many books by that title. Who is the author? Your link goes to a book written in Portuguese?

Out 22, 11:29 am

that was the link Mark posted. Kairos here is the correct one

Editado: Out 22, 11:42 am

The audio for Master of the Senate (by Robert A. Caro; narrated by Grover Gardner) has been divided into three parts on Audible. I finished listening to Part I. It starts off with a history of the Senate up to 1949 and covers the years 1949-1953 of Lyndon Johnson’s political career. In those few years, LBJ took office as a US Senator (TX), destroyed the career of Leland Olds (a public official who got in the way of those gas & oil interests who wanted deregulation of their industry) and, chaired a Senate Subcommittee at the onset of the Korean War— the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee which conducted investigations of defense costs and efficiency. LBJ used the committee primarily to grab headlines…

Now onto Part II which starts off with a history of the Speaker of the House position.

Out 23, 10:17 pm

>32 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I've been following your review on this. I think this is something I should read, but can not get motivated for it right now. I read vicariously through you!

Editado: Out 25, 10:44 am

I've just read Call for the Dead, John le Carré's first published novel and the first book of his famous George Smiley series. Although the story is about spies and espionage, it's essentially a murder mystery. It's a good first novel, I think, though nowhere near the quality of le Carré's (and Smiley's) subsequent novels, though already the writing style, I thought, was quite enjoyable. Foreign Office employee Samuel Fennan, whom Smiley has recently interviewed about a letter the office has received questioning Fennan's loyalty. And although Smiley assures Fennan at the end of the interview that he hasn't anything to worry about, Fennan commits suicide the next day. And when Smiley goes to Fennan's house the next day to talk to his widow, he feels that things are not adding up. Well, they wouldn't, would they? I thought it was good fun and a nice brisk read. I'm now interested in continuing on in the series. This is the first chapter in Le Carre's fictional dive into the world of Cold War espionage.

I post this here under the assumption that this theme is for any book that takes place in the post-WW2 era. Do I have that right?

Editado: Out 24, 1:25 am

>34 rocketjk: I've been thinking of doing a sooner-or-later complete read/reread of most everything by Le Carre and can start now for Q4. I've got everything in the Smiley series, either as a single or a multi-volume, from Call for the Dead (1) through A Legacy of Spies (9); and I've read all of them through the years with the exception of the last. (I have a special liking for The Secret Pilgrim, because it's very cleverly a take-off ofThe Canterbury Tales – Ned as the bumbling pilgrim and Smiley as the wise old innkeeper, with Ned's discovery at the end absolutely not being the relics of any "holy blisful martir for to seke, That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke."Quite clever!) I could do with a straight-through Smiley reread, and there are of course a number of non-Smileys that I've never read.

Some others I've been thinking of include David Halberstam's The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War (a war I'm a bit weak on); Gary Bass's The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide; Kissinger's own On China; and Walter Isaacson's Kissinger: A Biography.

I've also got Frances FitzGerald's Fire in the Lake on a rather long-time TBR (if only I can find wherever I've got it around the house). As far as FitzGerald's concerned, she's one of the three journalists covered in Elizabeth Becker's You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War, to which I gave 5***** and which some readers here might find quite interesting.

For a starter, though, I'm planning to get to Dick Russell's The Real RFK Jr. I'd also like to get around to Daniel Ellsburg's The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.

ETA: Oh, and how could I forget! Just about anything by Andrew Bacevich, who also wrote an introduction to the 50th Anniversary edition of William Appleman Williams's The Tragedy of American Diplomacy.

And I think I have, somewhere around the house, the Library of America's Reinhold Niebuhr: Major Works on Religion and Politics. If I can't find it right off, I could just get hold of the Kindle edition of The Irony of American History, which I believe has an introduction by Bacevich; and I definitely do have paper copies of Love and Justice: Selections from the Shorter Writings of Reinhold Niebuhr and The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War by his daughter Elizabeth Sifton.

Editado: Out 24, 1:55 am

I have a pile of books I'm thinking about, of which I will probably read two or three:

Historical fiction:
The Book of Daniel, E. L. Doctorow; novel loosely based on the Rosenbergs trial in 1950s-1960s NYC
A Gathering of Old Men, Ernest J. Gaines; set in 1970s Louisiana
Welcome Strangers, Mary Hocking; the last in her Fairley family trilogy set post-WWII
The Village, Marghanita Laski; set in 1946 in a rural English village
Small Island, Andrea Levy; historical fiction of Jamaican immigrants in 1948 England

Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt; her report and reflections on the Eichmann trial in 1961
The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, Lucette Lagnado; memoir of her Jewish family in post WWII Cairo

Death and the King's Horseman, a play by Wole Soyinka; set in 1946 colonial Nigeria

Besides reading the last book of Mary Hocking's trilogy, I'm undecided on the rest--appreciate any recommendations.

Out 24, 8:31 am

I read Prophet Song by Paul Lynch, a brilliantly written and terribly stressful book. May well be this year’s winner of the Booker Prize. (Review on my CR thread and on the work page—apologies for my ignorance about links)

I’m currently listening to and enjoying Western Lane, another on the Booker Shortlist.

Out 24, 8:40 am

>35 CurrerBell: I believe I first read Fire in the Lake in serialized form in the New Yorker (how long ago?), then bought a paperback copy to keep, which I now can’t find either. I remember FL as one of the books that rearranged my mind on its topic. I think I will take a look at Becker’s book, thanks for the mention.

Out 24, 9:48 am

>32 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I read Master of the Senate many years ago and I’m shocked at how little I remember from that first time! I do recommend The Years of Lyndon Johnson but it is demanding more of my read/listening energy than I had anticipated. MOTS May end up being my only entry for this prompt!

>34 rocketjk: I’ve taken the prompt to mean anything from 1946 to the present. I don’t recall any limits being discussed as to a subset of years.
I personally have been focusing on the years 1946-1964 (Post-War, Mid-Century, Baby Boomer Generation); but I think you can make it as broad or as narrowed down as you like 😉

>35 CurrerBell: I’m also very weak in regard to the Korean War and am still hoping to get to at least two books read for this quarter’s prompt: The Korean War (by Max Hastings (non-fiction)) and The Frozen Hours (by Jeff Shaara (historical fiction)).

>34 rocketjk: >35 CurrerBell: A few years ago, I remember reading an interview wherein the author James McBride was asked about his favorite books and he replied “Smiley is the man!” 🙂

I’ve been making my way through LeCarré’s works in order of publication in a rather desultory fashion over the years and the next one on deck is The Tailor of Panama. So far, my favorite book outside of the Karla Trilogy, is The Honorable Schoolboy—though I am at a loss to explain why. I do know that while I was reading it, it felt “true” in a way that makes me recall it more like a memory than a novel.

>37 dianelouise100: I’ve had Prophet Song on my wishlist since it was longlisted as a Booker and I’ve been waiting for it to be published in the US. I need to go check if my local bookstore is carrying it yet (Thanks for reminding me!)

Out 24, 10:10 am

>39 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I ordered my copy from Amazon; it will be available in U.S. around time of publication, Dec. 12, according to my local bookstore, not so far away now.

Out 24, 11:21 am

>39 Tanya-dogearedcopy:

The Honorable Schoolboy is part of the Karla Trilogy, isn't it?
  1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  2. The Honorable Schoolboy
  3. Smiley's People
But it's easy to get confused, considering the enormity of the Le Carre canon!

Out 24, 1:23 pm

>40 dianelouise100: Ah! I might as well put it on my Christmas wishlist! :-)

>41 CurrerBell: Yes! You are right! I always remember Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy & Smiley's People as part of The Karla Trilogy; but for some reason always mix up The Honourable Schoolboy & The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, the latter of which also features George Smiley; but is not part of the George Smiley/Circus list.

Out 24, 10:18 pm

I have finished Western Lane; very much enjoyed the audio version.

Editado: Out 24, 10:26 pm

>39 Tanya-dogearedcopy:

I’ve taken the prompt to mean anything from 1946 to the present. I don’t recall any limits being discussed as to a subset of years.

But don't you realize that within a mere 23 years "1946 to the present" will equal an entire century? Boo-hoo-hoo, if that doesn't make this here 72yo feel OLD! {heh heh}

Out 25, 3:18 am

>44 CurrerBell: I don't think I wanted to be reminded of that. Gee, now I feel old (at 65).

Editado: Out 25, 10:16 am

>45 MissWatson:

{hee hee}

Out 25, 11:01 am

>39 Tanya-dogearedcopy: "I’ve taken the prompt to mean anything from 1946 to the present. I don’t recall any limits being discussed as to a subset of years."

I was speaking more in terms of genre (as in, is it OK to include thrillers, etc.), but I think I've had that question answered. :)

Re: le Carre, I was speaking a couple of days ago to a very well read friend since junior high days (around 53 years, in other words). When I mentioned having just finished Call for the Dead, he said that le Carre was one of his favorite writers, and that he finds A Perfect Spy (not a Smiley book) to be pretty much a perfect novel. This fellow doesn't read much genre fiction. His favorite book, which he told he's now read five or six times, is Moby Dick.

Anyway, other books I've read during 2023 that would fit this category (and which I recommend to a greater or lesser degree) are, in no particular order other than separated by into fiction and non-fiction lists (ER = Especially Recommended):

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (ER)
A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin (ER)
Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (ER)
Hunting Badger by Tony Hillerman
Enigmas of Spring by João Almino
Ghost Season by Fatin Abbas (ER)

Walk With Me: A Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer by Kate Clifford Larson (ER)
An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America by Andrew Young (ER)
Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything in Between by Laila M. El-Haddad (ER)
Heroes and Villains: The True Story of the Beach Boys by Steven Gaines

Out 25, 7:11 pm

I read The Coroner's Lunch (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery Book 1) a 1970's crime fiction that takes place in Laos. Dr. Siri was the new communist installed National Medical Examiner. This mystery involved an official's wife and the bodies of tortured Vietnamese soldiers. Although the mystery was passable, I found a lack of anything cultural or historical--it did not evoke time or place for me. This same mystery could have been any mystery anywhere there is a body of water. This is book one in the series. I'm not inclined to read further.

Out 26, 9:16 am

>47 rocketjk: Your mention of Gaza Mom makes me think you might be interested in Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa. She lives in the Philadelphia area and is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine.

Out 26, 4:32 pm

>49 CurrerBell: The TBR stack is massive, but, yes, that's a book I might very well find interesting. Thanks for the recommendation.

Editado: Out 26, 6:39 pm

I completed A Castle in Brooklyn by Shirley Russak Wachtel What a slog this book was! I was ready to DNF half way through, but since it was only 255 pages, I bored myself silly with the last half. Lots of potential here, but never realized. The main characters were not likable and very distant. Other characters appeared for a chapter, didn't advance the plot, and were never seen again. The story began in Poland in 1944 where our protagonists escaped a Nazi firing squad and eventually ended up in New York City. The story ended, thankfully, in the 1970's. 2.5 Stars I got this free from Kindle in January 2023.

Editado: Out 27, 11:11 pm

I read And the mountains echoed by Khaled Hosseini for my RL book club, and I just realized that it fits this topic. It starts in Afghanistan in 1952, when a poor farmer sells his daughter to a wealthy, childless couple in Kabul. The story really jumps around, giving us multiple points of view from different people in different places and times, although their stories are interrelated. Some of the stories are more intertwined with the main story, and others less so. It begins in Afghanistan, but some of the stories are set in Europe and America, though the protagonists all have ties to Afghanistan. The time-span covered is also broad, looking back in time to some things that occurred before the first chapter and extending into this century. In most of the stories, the relationships between the children and their parents was strained. Only in the last couple of stories told in the book was there something more positive in the parent-child relationships. I was glad that the book ended with the more positive relationships.

Overall, I'm still not sure how I feel about the book. I found all the stories interesting, and the writing was captivating. But most of the stories were also hard and the characters very complex, as they are in real life. Many of them were difficult to relate to. I just have a very mixed reaction to the book, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. At the moment, I'm giving it 3.75 stars, because I think it was better than just "good", but I didn't like it as well as the books I've given 4 stars.

Out 28, 2:52 am

>52 atozgrl: I really liked his first two books, but couldnt get through this one., cant remember now tho .

>36 kac522: loved Small Island

Editado: Out 30, 10:39 pm

I finished Part 2 (out of 3 parts) of Robert A. Caro’s Master of the Senate (The Years of Lyndon Johnson; narrated by Grover Gardner). This section marks LBJ’s political career from Senate Minority Whip to Senate Majority Whip- roughly 1951-1957. Johnson had a history of taking low-level positions within an organization and imbuing those positions with power which he then leveraged into a greater position. Such was the case in the Senate where by brown-nosing and manipulation, he quickly rose through the ranks. Not exactly a man of principle, unless you count political expediency, his actions and silences were all intentional and a means to an end. Caro points out, rather than “power corrupts, power reveals” and what Caro’s research reveals is actually quite stunning as to what Johnson got away with.

Some key events covered in this section:
1951 - MacArthur Hearings
1954 - McCarthy Hearings
1955 - Heart Attack
1956 - Housing Act of 1956

Editado: Nov 2, 4:42 am

Sturmflut tells us about the Great North Sea flood of 1953 and two sisters. One part of the novel follows the elder sister on that fatal night and how she is lost to the sea, the other how the younger sister copes with this (or not) in the following years until the present.


Nov 1, 12:31 pm

I finished Proud Beggars by Albert Cossery (translated from the French by Thomas W. Cushing). The pocket biography of Cossery on the front page of my NYRB edition of Proud Beggars tells us, "Albert Cossery (1913-2008) was a Cairo-born French writer of Lebanese and Greek Orthodox Syrian descent who settled in Paris at the end of the Second World War and lived there for the rest of his life." Proud Beggars, first published in 1955, brings us the tale of three men living in a poor section of Cairo. The narrative revolves around three friends who have more or less chosen their impoverished status, their sarcastic views of the "bastards and thieves" who control societies power structure and the joy they find in the small details of humanity and urban life. When a young prostitute is murdered in nearby brothel in what appears to be a motiveless crime, into the picture comes police inspector Nour El Dine who feels in the solving of such crimes and punishment of their perpetrators not any compassion for the victims but instead a maintenance of order, a defense of the status quo. Our three heroes take him on gleefully as a worthy if not particularly threatening adversary. And Nour El Dine has his own dissatisfactions and doubts. Among many other elements, this novel presents an entertaining if stylized picture of post-WW2 Cairo.

Nov 2, 6:45 am

>56 rocketjk: Definitely intrigues me. On my WL is goes!

Nov 5, 12:26 am

My October "Traditions" read, Ancestral Shadows: An Anthology of Ghostly Tales by Russell Kirk, also fits this Q4 time period, considering Kirk's importance in the history of post-WW2 American conservatism (regarding which see posts 25 through 30 on the October thread).

Now on to a read/reread of John Le Carre. I'm hoping to do a complete read/reread (primarily reread) of all the Smiley novels, nine in total, but of course I won't get around to all of his other works. I'll have to see what I can do.

I also have a couple of Early Review books that I'm terribly delinquent on and that fit into this time period. Not sure where they are around the house, so I may have to get hold of Kindle editions because I really do want to get them reviewed.

Nov 7, 2:15 pm

At first, I wasn't going to post this here, because it's not really historic in the sense that I usually prefer. However, the more I thought about it, the more it fit. I read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi It is the autobiography of the author, a neurosurgeon, who is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at age 36. I admire both him and his wife for the courageous, yet calm, fight and then acceptance of the inevitable. The book is based on the question, "what makes life worth living?" This book goes into detail what the treatment for his type of cancer was in 2012, so I would guess by now that is historical with the daily advancements in the treatment of cancer(s). Also, a lot of detail of med school in the 1990's. 276 pages

Nov 7, 2:35 pm

I finished The Good Fight, Shirley Chisholm's campaign memoir about her run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972. It was fascinating and well written, indeed, though it doesn't provide much personal information about Chisholm, the person. Chisholm the politician and activist is quite interesting enough and the book tells of a pivotal time in American history. You can find a longer review on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

Editado: Nov 7, 7:07 pm

I've started listening to Part 3 of Master and the Senate (The Years of Lyndon Johnson #3; by Robert A. Caro; narrated by Grover Gardner). This section starts off with the Civil Rights Movements which started in the mid-fifties and with Johnson's paradoxical views on civil rights for Black- and Mexican-Americans. While history tends to paint LBJ as nearly a saint when it comes to his stance in this area, the reality was actually a bit more politically nuanced. This is not to say that he was a hypocrite-- only that he understood that as a Southern Senator, you had to armor yourself with political capital on the floor of the Dirksen Senate Office Building before you could fight effectively for the freedoms & liberties that were supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution; but were denied to the non-white populations. Money, politics and media were inextricably intertwined even then!

Nov 7, 9:23 pm

I just finished Le Carre's Call for the Dead, his first novel and the first of the nine Smiley novels; but I'm reading the five-in-one omnibus The Spy Who Came in from the Cold / Call for the Dead / A Murder of Quality / The Looking-Glass War / A Small Town in Germany (the first four Smiley novels plus the non-Smiley A Small Town in Germany), which also qualifies for a Big Fat Book, and I'll post to the Wiki when I've finished the entire volume.

Nov 8, 4:59 pm

Finally finished kairos and I can see how this would be appropriat for both theme, being a new book , and taking place after WWII in East Germany. At the start,I saw these two characters as lovers, Hal a married man of 40, Katherina a young girl of 18. Their courtship goes on for quite a while, exploring music, cafes, themselve Until Katherine goes to take an internship in Frankfut, and ends up having an affair with a colleague. Hans finds out and oh did the mood of this story change Suddelly she is a she devil, she never loved him, there are tapes he sends telling her how she must change and what she must do. I was shocked how he changed her, and how she was too young to see what he was doing. Of course these relationships happen now, but I wasnt expectingit here. the plot continues till we reach the day the wall came down. I remember watching the huge celebrations and festivities (think I still have a peice of it I bought somewhere) remember the files of that Stasis finally opened . It I assumed the two sides would want to be one country but I didnt see at what a cost - i didn't realize they had to abolish their side, and suddenly thre was much excess. thousand of people lost there jobs because they were no longer east, The cash was worthless, As Katherina takes all this in, she realizes how homesick she is. I have notes that I want to include but I cant tell how to pull them up. More later. in the meantime, I am giving this a 5*. Very well written, kept my attention through the read and taught me about East
germany, also enjoyed listening to the music that the couple listens too.
highly recommended

Nov 11, 12:27 pm

>63 cindydavid4: Kairos definitely went on my WL!

Nov 12, 7:27 am

I have finished Das Reispflanzerlied which is set in a Chinese village shortly after the Communist land reform which didn't do much to improve the peasants' lot.

Nov 15, 11:34 pm

I finished listening to Part 3 of Master and the Senate (The Years of Lyndon Johnson #3; by Robert A. Caro; narrated by Grover Gardner) earlier this week. Caro trie to convince us that LBJ really had a soft spot for those who were disenfranchised (i.e., Blacks & Mexicans); but after all the ink spilled over Johnson's political expediency prior to and during his Senate career (1948-1960), it's a weak argument. Nonetheless, I love this book as an exposé of how political power works in the Senate.

I then listened to Casino Royale (James Bond series #1; by Ian Fleming; narrated by Dan Stevens). James Bond ("007") is sent down by MI6 to a French casino in order to bankrupt a Soviet agent. It's been at least ten years since I read/listened to this book (The prior audiobook was narrated by Simon Vance) and I had either not recognized or forgotten how nuanced the character of Bond actually is. This is not the Hollywood version of Bond (though the movie adaptation of this particular novel hews surprisingly close to the book's plot) with the artifices of sophisticated gadgetry and sexy people; but rather a protagonist who is not immune to the vicissitudes of his trade. Though not as sophisticated as John LeCarré's Circus books, it deserves a seat at the table of post-war/Cold War works. Also, Dan Stevens did a really nice job of narrating, smoothing over the edges of Fleming's/Bond's misogyny, reading the textual queues and, not going over-the-top with his character choices.

I'm about to start the fourth and last book in The Years of Lyndon Johnson series now available, The Passage to Power (Caro/Gardner). It covers the years 1960-1964-- the years of LBJ's vice-presidency. Supposedly, Caro is working on another book covering LBJ and the Vietnam war-- but Caro is old and his longtime editor, Robert Gottlieb has passed away--- so I'm not holding my breath. Maybe by the time this prompt rolls around again in four years?

Nov 18, 7:38 pm

Not certain about reviewing "The Keeper of Happy Endings" by Barbara Davis here, though probably about two thirds of the story is set in 1985. The story is built upon the theme of love and loss and second chances, ultimately bringing together three women who reawaken to their on strength and potential.

Nov 21, 8:35 am

I’ve begun Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible, which is set in 1960 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, soon after its liberation from Belgium. I’m only 50 pages in, but enjoying it very much.

Nov 21, 9:30 am

>68 dianelouise100: Always wanted to read this, but the reviews I've read said it was really bad! I look forward to read your review.

Nov 21, 11:08 am

Now I’m even more curious.

Nov 21, 5:18 pm

>68 dianelouise100:, >69 Tess_W: I read The Poisonwood Bible a year or two after it came out. There were a lot of things I liked about the book, especially the writing, but there were some things that I disliked. I think that's why it gets mixed reviews. I won't go farther than that so you can make up your own mind.

Nov 22, 11:36 am

I finished the fun pulp thriller, Intrigue in Paris by Sterling Noel, which takes place in France in either the late 40s or early 50s. (All we know for sure is that it's post-WW2 and that the novel itself dates to 1955.) American merchant marine Wright Hughey is sitting in an outdoor cafe in Marseilles, waiting out a tugboat strike, when he is mistaken for a local criminal by some other criminals. Adventure ensues!

Ontem, 10:57 pm

I’ve finished The Poisonwood Bible and am trying to puzzle out a way to review it, but I can say that I liked it very much indeed. It was a book that captured my attention and held it from the beginning, and I learned a great deal about the situation in the Congo in the 1960’s. I have reservations about it as well, which I’ll be thinking about for awhile, but in my opinion, it’s a book well worth reading.

Hoje, 4:23 am

I've finished Le Carre's first four novels now – they're also the first four Smiley installments – and I'll be getting on next to A Small Town in Germany, his fifth novel and a non-Smiley. It's actually a reread for me on all of these, but it's been so many, many years that it's a bit like a first reading.

I have these first five in a five-fer volume >62 CurrerBell: so I'll be posting to the Wiki when I'm done the entire volume (and also be claiming it for the Big Fat Book challenge). Then it will be on to the chef-d'œuvre, Smiley and Karla, which I have in a three-fer volume and hope to get finished on a reread by the end of the year (along with a reread of The Secret Pilgrim and a first read of A Legacy of Spies, the only Smiley I've never read).