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Archive for March, 2012

Ok so…all of them aren’t all that new to the apartment. But I haven’t mentioned the purchase or arrival of books in a while.

This first one, The Snow Child IS actually new .. a friend of mine, Cathy, sent it to me..  It is a book that was on my wish list ever since (my adopted son) Chris reviewed it.   I didn’t know she was sending it and so I had to call her and yell at her… then we laughed alot ..which we normally do lol.. (thanks again Cathy) This book moves up the list for OUaT challenge!

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…and then I got a second surprise in the mail!  My sis, Cath (not to be mistaken with Cathy lol) sent me a book!  I know you know how I feel about “writers names being bigger than the book title..) Well this one threw me for a brief moment!  It looked like Wilkie Collins wrote a book titled “Peter Ackroyd”… my mind goes “huh? never heard of this one!”… then on closer look I see it’s a small biography of Wilie by Ackroyd, heh.. which is fine by me I have looked for books about Wilke and found nothing much!  So I am thrilled with this book and probably screamed loud enough for Cath to hear me across the Pond in Devon! lol  I can’t wait to read this !!!

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and this is the second book of Herriot’s trilogy that I did send for after reading the first book. Which leaves yet one more in the trilogy .

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I get so distraught at the fact that I cannot seem to find any Wilkie Collins in  hardback books..even at my used book store where I do manage to find Dickens and Trollope in hardback but not Wilkie! grrrrrrrrrrrr.  Anyway I got fed up and sent for this book which would have some of his novella’s…but when it arrived I discovered the print to be quite small so if I get to read it or not is not certain. :o(

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Speaking of the used book store I did find this book ..and I was shocked that it still had it’s paper cover!.  I liked the movie from 1986 with Sean Connery and a very young Christian Slater… so I hope to get to this one day..

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Then also in the used book store I came across this quite old book with a plain cloth cover.  (below is the title page)

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below is a “painting” of one of Dickens homes (Godsill)

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and below here are 2 examples of “etchings” that are in the book…

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and below those is probably the reason I got this book…. in the back of the book (many pages, maybe 1/4 of the entire book) is a list of ALL of Dickens characters in all the books he wrote!!! (I chose a page with Pip’s name on it just to look at)

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There is probably another book or two around that I have forgotten to mention but this will have to do for now…

I do have to mention a phenomenon that has recently occurred…  I actually have LESS than 142 books in my tbr pile!!!! It is now 135… that includes the above books!  I can’t remember that last time that happened!  I don’t hold out a lot of hope that it will keep dwindling before I make more purchases *sigh*  I would dearly love to get it down to … ohhhhhhhhhh maybe 50 books or so LOL LOL.. see there, … I made myself laugh!!

So, how is your TBR pile doing?

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Since I am posting about books I might as well list the books read in March .

March saw me read only 4 books: (which is about norm for me of late)

mitford3[1] 1. The Sisters (Mitford’s)—–Mary S Lovell / 611 pgs

fearful[1] 2. Her Fearful Symmetry—–Audrey Niffenegger/ 403 pgs

Hoodbk1[1] 3. Hood—————Stephen R Lawhead / 490 pgs

Scarlet1[1] 4. Scarlet———-Stephen R Lawhead / 449 pgs

1953 total pages. (and it was a very good year! ..so I hear *cough*cough)

I enjoyed all four books so it was a good month.

I hope you had a good month of reading too!

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Scarlet

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(book 2 of The Journey..yes that means I have done the Journey twice..so far)

Scarlet by Stephen R Lawhead.

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 10, 2008)
ISBN-10: 159554089X

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Book Description

After losing everything he owns, forester Will Scarlet embarks on a search for none other than King Raven, whose exploits have already become legendary. After fulfilling his quest–and proving himself a skilled and loyal companion–Will joins the heroic archer and his men.

Now, however, Will is in prison for a crime he did not commit. His sentence is death by hanging–unless he delivers King Raven and his band of cohorts.

That, of course, he will never do.

Wales is slowly falling under the control of the invading Normans, and King William the Red has given his ruthless barons control of the land. In desperation, the people turn to King Raven and his men for justice and survival in the face of the ever-growing onslaught.

From deep in the forest they form a daring plan for deliverance, knowing that failure means death for them all.

Scarlet continues Stephen R. Lawhead’s riveting saga that began with the novel Hood, which relocated the legend of Robin Hood to the Welsh countryside and its dark forests. Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Lawhead’s trilogy conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.

Hood was  quite a good book. Easy reading and enjoyable..

Scarlet is even a better book. Easy reading and even more enjoyable!

I couldn’t ask for more from a second book of a trilogy.  The last third of the book, Hood, picked up considerably and made me want to know “what next”.  When I began Scarlet I did not know who Will was nor why he was in jail waiting to be hanged.  Will was yet another one of the “merry men”, but one who was captured and was going to be hanged.  It suddenly became a book I wanted to read!   All the time he was in “prison” Will was “confessing” to Odo who was scribing whatever he said in hopes he would give up Bran and the others, which of course, he does not. The hangman’s knot awaiting him at all times.  But in the interim we begin to know Monk Odo and get to like him as well. Has Scarlet made a friend? (you will have to read it to find out!)

Scarlet (Will) receives a “typical” Robin Hood save, when Bran and others come to try to free him dressed so as no one would recognize him and wants a contest that “might” win Will his freedom from hanging. 

I think this book was more gripping than Hood, and by the time you get to the end of the book you are ready to spit and fight for Bran and his men yourself lol..

I am enjoying this series of books that I began with quite a bit of doubt that I’d even finish book one.  Lawhead (so far) as done a superb job of “reinventing” Robin Hood.  I have a feeling the last book, Tuck, will bring things to a happy conclusion… but not before a rousing adventure to get there!

I am glad I have finally gotten to read this trilogy and sorry I let it set on the bookshelf so long!

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Hood

Hood by Stephen R Lawhead.

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 5, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1595540881

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From Publishers Weekly

Lawhead (Byzantium), known for his historical and fantasy fiction, reimagines the tale of Robin Hood in his latest novel, the first in the King Raven Trilogy. Based on detailed research, Lawhead places the folk hero (whom he names Bran) in Wales in 1093, at a time when the land was under constant assault from the new Norman rulers of England. When Bran’s father, the king, is killed in an ambush along with nearly all his warriors, the land of Elfael is overtaken and its citizens subjected to great oppression. Though Bran should be king, he has lost faith (in both himself and whatever God he once knew) and decides to flee instead. Through agony and adventure, aided by a ragtag group of colorful characters, his sense of justice grows, along with his commitment to leading the people of Elfael and his creative strategies for dealing with the enemy. Lawhead examines questions of faith from both sides of the conflict, so readers see Welsh monks praying for deliverance and Norman rulers asserting their divine right to the land. The story’s tone is uneven—by turns sweet, violent, and funny—and it gets a bit bogged down in the middle, but overall it’s a fun read that will leave readers anxious for the next installment.

I can’t begin to recall just how long ago I bought Hood.  I can say…It’s been a long, long time!  Back then I refused to read book one until I had book two….I always want at least 2 of the 3 books in a trilogy so if I have to wait a year or more for book three at least I’ll have read enough to remember what its about!

Well book two came…followed by book 3 and still they sat on my shelf.

I originally bought them because Errol Flynn was so cute?.. no, I do love his movie but that’s not why I bought them.  Because Richard Greene was so cute? (TV Robin Hood) ..nope not even that.

I love reading books based in England.  Especially when they have history attached to them.  And so I thought, this could be good. Old England, back in the days of Kings (vs. Queens? lol) and Hood and his “merry men”… what’s not to like?

When I first began the book I was a little taken back.  I found my mind wondering if this is something I really want to read?  After all it’s a book based on Robin Hood, without being Robin Hood.  And of all things… it doesn’t take place in Sherwood Forest!  This “Hood” is in Wales! 

I kept reading.

Somewhere along the line of the first 50 pages, which is what I give a book to capture me, it got interesting.    So, now I read further to see how Bran survives after the onslaught of his kingly father and their warriors.

As I read on, we find out how Little John gets his name. (ah I name I recognize!!)  And sure enough, we even meet a Friar who has such a long name he is given the name of Tuck… things were looking up!

The books writing was also double spaced…which makes for much easier and faster reading.  All in all, I did find myself picking it up to “read just one more chapter” each time I sat down.

It’s not a wow, this book is so fabulous I hated for it to end type of book…but I did enjoy it more than I thought I would, and I will begin Book 2, Scarlet, sometime later today!

I am glad, since I  have all 3 books in hardback (bargain priced all of them)  that at least I am enjoying them so far.  I hope I can say the same for books 2 and 3!  Oh, and by the way… I didn’t notice it get “bogged down in the middle” like the Amazon review says.  I will admit it only really sped up the last 1/3 of the book, but Lawhead kept it interesting as he laid down the history and set up for the other books to follow.  I like Brad.  Oh! and I think Marien (yes odd spelling) does too… (she doth protest too much).

All in all.. an enjoyable read and I look forward to more of the same in book 2.

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I got up early (as usual actually) and my friend Dottie picked me up and we went to the Farmers Market in Ft Pierce

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My girlfriend and I both have a weakness for breads..

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Foods aren’t all they have there.

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The Farmers Market is surrounded by Royal Palms (above).. and a few other types of trees.

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Then we walked over to where my son Tom and other artists have space to do their paintings.. below are a few of my sons .

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…and that was my Saturday.  What did you do over the weekend?

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yiiiihawwwww!  Once Upon a Time is back!!!

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Carl always does my favorite 2 challenges.  Once Upon a Time and RIP.  Although truth be told there was a time that RIP was not one of my favorite book challenges! (gasp!) But thanks to Carl introducing me to Gothic Mysteries it is now on my favorite list!

So.. Spring has Sprung and Carl is once again hosting Once Upon a Time (I always want to finish that by saying… Once Upon a Time in the West…heh, old movie folks)

His challenge rules are as always: Have Fun!

“Once upon a time…”

Perhaps you too have heard that voice whispering on the spring wind, or perhaps Old Man Winter continues to drown out the sound; either way that time has come: Once Upon a Time is here!

Wednesday, March 21st begins the sixth annual Once Upon a Time Challenge. This is a reading and viewing event that encompasses four broad categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. The challenge continues through Tuesday, June 19th and allows for very minor (1 book only) participation as well as more immersion depending on your reading/viewing whims.

I always have a hard time committing to things and so I choose The Journey which is to read one book .(I always read much more but the pressure to fulfill the commitment is gone after the first book)

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I am thinking that this year I will try to read a trilogy that I have had on my shelves for sometime. (sigh).. I won’t guarantee I will do this but it is my hope to read Stephen R Lawhead’s “Hood” trilogy…..

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But we all know how good intentions are… sometimes it works, sometimes not.

So.. on the off chance that these books don’t interest me as much as I hope they do, I have a few backup books to choose from: (just a few mind you!..)

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In this group we find:

1…A trilogy by Margaret Weis: Amber & Ashes/ Amber & Iron/ Amber& Blood.

2…A Trilogy by Terry Brooks: Jarka Ruus/ Tranquel/ Straken.

3…A trilogy by Anne Bishop: Daughter of the Blood/ Heir to the Shadows/ Queen of Darkness.

4…A trilogy by Naomi Novik: His Majesty’s Dragon/Throne of Jade/ Black Power War

5…Watership Down by Richard Adams.

6…and Spellwright by Blake Charlton.

and there are others I just got lazy on photographing them . But whatever I read it will be with Once Upon a Time in mind.

Then of course…

…there is always..

(..towanda!)…. just the best book ever written!

..however, I have been called impartial when it comes to Anne McCaffrey’s                       The Dragonriders of Pern… although I can’t imagine why!

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And just in case something good comes on tv or (gasp!) I get to go to a movie I will also post any movie related things I see. ( I do hope to go see Mirror at the end of March)

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It’s Official

So… this is the final afghan until next winter!… without a doubt.. the final!

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…and it’s official…

..it’s spring at the pond!!…

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Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

Paperback: 406 pages
Publisher: Scribner;(June 29, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1439169012

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Her Fearful Symmetry, a haunting tale about the complications of love, identity, and sibling rivalry. The novel opens with the death of Elspeth Noblin, who bequeaths her London flat and its contents to the twin daughters of her estranged twin sister back in Chicago. These 20-year-old dilettantes, Julie and Valentina, move to London, eager to try on a new experience like one of their obsessively matched outfits. Historic Highgate Cemetery, which borders Elspeth’s home, serves as an inspired setting as the twins become entwined in the lives of their neighbors: Elspeth’s former lover, Robert; Martin, an agoraphobic crossword-puzzle creator; and the ethereal Elspeth herself, struggling to adjust to the afterlife. Niffenegger brings these quirky, troubled characters to marvelous life, but readers may need their own supernatural suspension of disbelief as the story winds to its twisty conclusion.

“Elspeth died while Robert was standing in front of a vending machine watching tea shoot into a small plastic cup.  Later he would remember walking down the hospital corridor with the cup of horrible tea in his hand, alone under the fluorescent lights, retracing his steps to the room where Elspeth lay surrounded by machines.  She had tuned her head towards the door and her eyes were open; at first Robert thought she was conscious.

In the seconds before she died, Elspeth remembered a day last spring when she and Robert had walked along a muddy path by the Thames in Kew Gardens. There was a smell of rotted leaved; it had been raining. Robert said, “We should have had kids,” and Elspeth replied, “Don’t be silly, sweet.” She said it out loud in the hospital room, but Robert wasn’t there to hear.

Elspeth turned her face towards the door. She wanted to call out, Robert, but her throat was suddenly full.  She felt as though her soul were attempting to climb out by way of her esophagus. She tried to cough, to let it out, but she only gurgled.  I drowning. Drowning in a bed…She felt intense pressure, and then she was floating/ the pain was gone and she was looking down from the ceiling at her small wrecked body.”

End of page one… I was hooked.

Wow… from not being able to read her most popular book The Time Travelers Wife, to not being able to let this book sit for any great length of time!  Amazing when I try to think of it.

I will say though… it wasn’t (totally) what I first expected. (not that I know what I expected mind you)  after the first few chapters.  The use of  “mirror twins” instead of  “identical” was of interest ..especially when it was said that one even had their heart of the reverse side.  I wondered if that could be real… so I googled and came up with this:

The major characteristics of mirror imaged twins is opposite features things such as hair whirls, dominant hands and other features (you can have things like dominant ears, eyes, legs and feet) Mirror twins can have the same eye conditions in opposite eyes and frequently get teeth opposite from each other. Some mirror image twins cross their legs opposite each other.

In extreme cases twins can even have reversed organs.

wow!

I do know the first page grabbed me and right away I had questions. Why did Elspeth and her identical twin not see each other or talk to each other for some 20 years?  It was a question that would last most of the book before it all became clear.

Then there are the mirror twins who come to London to take Elspeths gift of an apartment and money from her will.  They were to spend a year in the apartment and then if they wanted to sell it they could.  Their parents (Elspeths twin) and her husband would not be allowed to step foot in the apartment.

With this in hand the story unfolds.  But not before Niffenegger takes a great lesson from Charles Dickens and comes up with some very strange (uncommon) and very defined characters of her own! (wow, what great characters!!!)  And she just doesn’t give you their names and rarely use them… she lets you get to “really know them” and uses them extensively through the book.  So much so that by the end of the book she lets you know how they all wind up and not just how the twins wind up.

This is a great London ghost story complete with a great cemetery that is visited frequently… I have to admit, this would have been a perfect book for RIP… although I can’t say that it’s a scary sort of story so much as a different sort of ghost story.

If you haven’t read this one.. I can say that I think you’d enjoy it should you choose to read it.

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Lately I can’t seem to focus on one thing…  even when I read when I close the book, if someone asked what I just read I couldn’t tell them.  It’s quite scary!

so here’s more “odds and ends”.. (not sure I did it right but possibly you can click on the photos for the larger size)

This pair of Coots are inseparable.. adorable too.

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“hey, outta the way I’m lookin’ our over da pond!”

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…then there are the “other” black birds….

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Happily I am still doing my morning (in the dark) mile walk .. me and the Village People.  Let me tell you sumpin’… they are no slouches when it comes to a tempo to walk to!  I do an 18 minute 1 mile walk!   However… I am not going to the YMCA, I am not a MACHO MAN and I am not going to be IN THE NAVY anytime soon!

Oh and btw… as happy as everyone else is that spring has sprung early, (the cherry blossoms are blooming and people are rowing boats in Central Park )..down here the humidity is rising along with the temperatures!  yuck!  I think all of the “snowbirds” that came down here this winter “to get out of the cold” wasted their money! 

What else is new? oh… that Epidural I had has had some decent results! Good thing too, because after those Electric shocks down the inside of my leg while he was giving me the shots, …I wasn’t about to jump on the table again for another try!   I don’t know how long it lasts but I’ll take whatever relief I can.  

My son needs his nails cut!… I am not happy about paying 12.00 a month to have it done but he won’t let me do it!

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One never knows what one will do when bored. This time change to “spring” just does havoc to my physical and mental system…and trust me when I say… it doesn’t need help!

so.. surprise, surprise, I took some pictures around the apartment. (don’t look so shocked!)  Below is the new Snake Plant I’ve added to the apartment.. (De and Carolyn like it!)  On the lower shelf is a ceramic my brother painted and one of the rocking horses I’ve gotten from thrift shops. 

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Then there is the Flapper-girl (also a thrift shop purchase) enjoying an artificial plant.

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Unfortunately, the fairy house is still for rent!!  I guess they just don’t know a good deal when they see one!..or.. I just don’t see them?  Is that possible?

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Here are two more ceramics my brother painted.  They hang on opposite walls of my bathroom..

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And just for Cath who says “she’s nosey” and the end table speaks many words… here’s the end table yesterday (this photo kills any thoughts of a clean and neat apartment! lol)

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(and for those of you who are “of an age” (young) that thing with a curly cord is a telephone!)

I think this will be my last afghan..I spent more than usual this year on yarn! and it’s getting too hot to have it on my lap as I crochet anyway.

And lastly.. I am very happy that I gave Audrey Niffenegger a second chance (I am one of the few who put aside Timetravelers Wife..just could not get into it)  But with the opening paragraph of this book… I knew I was hooked!  I have read 100 pgs or so and am looking forward to the whole book!

So..  How is your month going so far?

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The Sisters

The Sisters(The Saga of the Mitford Family) by Mary S Lovell.

Hardcover: 611 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; (January 2002)
ISBN-10: 0393010430

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From Publishers Weekly

In her history of England’s Mitford sisters, who were major figures in the international political, literary and social scenes for much of the 20th century, Lovell (The Sound of Wings: The Biography of Amelia Earhart; etc.) rises with aplomb to the challenges of a group biography, deftly weaving together the narrative threads of six at times radically disparate lives to create a fascinating account of a fascinating family. Born into the ranks of the minor aristocracy and educated at home by eccentric and perennially cash-strapped parents, Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica and Deborah Mitford hardly seemed the types whose exploits would generate endless fodder for the sensationalist press. But when Diana left her wealthy young husband to take up with and eventually marry Sir Oswald Mosley, infamous leader of British fascism; when Unity became close friends with Adolf Hitler and a proponent of Nazism; when Jessica, a vocal Communist, eloped with a notorious cousin who was also a nephew of Winston Churchill; when Deborah married the Duke of Devonshire; and when both Nancy (Love in a Cold Climate) and Jessica (The American Way of Death) became acclaimed, bestselling authors, the world responded with avid, insatiable and at times alarmingly intrusive curiosity. But whether adored or reviled by their public, all the Mitford sisters were engaged with (and at times embodiments of) the major social and political issues of their time. Lovell’s account of the sisters’ upbringing and their often tumultuous adult lives is as lively and engrossing as Nancy’s heavily autobiographical fiction; the group biography also does a commendable job of separating the myths that fiction created from the sometimes more mundane realities of the Mitfords’ activities and relationships.

Until I began this book, I had no idea who any of the Mitford’s were.

I had seen more than one book about the Mitford sisters, in fact I have another called “The Mitfords” which is basically letters between the sisters over the years.  I have to admit that my first view of “The Mitfords” was at a book store and the cover drew me to it and the fact that I had just read a book which consisted mostly of “letters” I thought it might be interesting. But that was a number of years ago and I did not get the book at the time.

Not all that long ago I saw it again at very reduced price and picked it up deciding “one day I will get to it”.   Then my friend Cath  got all interested in The Mitfords and I remembered I had the book. But then when I was in the used book store I found The Sisters in excellent condition.. one dollar. Hmmm, ok I got it.  Then decided this book should probably be read first, telling me about all these ladies (and one brother) and then the letters would make much more sense to me.  So.. I read The Sisters.

To have so much notoriety all in one family (without them being a “family business” of some sort) is pretty amazing.  Probably the largest amount of notoriety came from the sister named Unity who became fascinated with Hitler and wanted nothing more than to be close to him.. eventually, she got her wish.  A large part of the book talks of Hitler and Unity and, if possible, you find that there may have been a small amount of humanity in the man.  But not enough to change anyone’s opinion of him .

(below: Unity.. Unity and Hitler)

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I was never a big history buff when I was younger.  I think it was because most was to memorize “places and dates”… dates, dates, dates! Ugh!   But now I enjoy books with history in them, maybe just because it matters not if I memorize the incidents or not!  Well, this book has plenty of history  or historical backgrounds to keep one interested.

The Mitford girls were not given a formal education and so it becomes a huge surprise that most of them wound up writing “best sellers” in their lifetime.

But beneath all the notoriety this was still a book about a rather large family.  Their marriages (and to whom), their successes, their children, their family quarrels (which were rather on the large side) and Unity with Hitler.    Of course there was much talk of Nazis, communism, and fascists. 

I can honestly say that nothing in this book sounds anything like something I would read.. and that would be the truth.  But I did read it.  I did not set it aside , and I did find it very interesting.  Enough so that I can say I most probably will read the other chunkster of a book I have about them … just not at this moment in time.

There is so much in this book that my head is muddled to be able to pull out just certain things to tell you about.  I can say that if you like history, and want to read how one family survives the ravages of time and war..this would be a good choice of books.

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This is such a large book and I can’t begin to do it justice.. so I did some searching and found a good review. (I could not find who wrote it though so I cannot give credit)  But I hope that if you are even slightly interested in reading of this family that the review helps!

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Families fascinate me. They can be nurturing or dysfunctional, comforting or traumatic. Whatever they are, families are undoubtedly influential in forming who we are as people. I happen to be very lucky in that all the members of my immediate family get along and genuinely enjoy each other’s company (unless they’ve been lying to me all these years). Perhaps that’s why I find family sagas where things all come apart incredibly compelling whether they are fictional or reality.

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family is the ultimate crazy family story. Mary S. Lovell’s book follows the intriguing, eccentric Mitfords — an English aristocratic family that raised four of the most interesting women in the 20th century. The story of the seven siblings is one that forces you to examine not only your thoughts about how children are raised and the relationships between siblings but also your values and the choices you make when it comes to love, politics and family.

A little background, the Mitfords are famous for several reasons. The first, and probably most easily recognizable to enthusiastic readers, is that Nancy Mitford is one of these seven siblings whose story Lovell sets about writing. Nancy is the author of many caustically funny, eccentric books the most famous being The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. Yet she is far from the only prominent Mitford (and actually not the focus of most of the book’s attention). Diana Mitford married the leader of the English fascist movement, Sir Oswald Mosley. Unity Mitford became obsessed with Adolf Hitler during the run up to World War II and became one of his most outspoken English supporters. Jessica “Decca” Mitford ran away from her family and became a prominent muckraking journalist in the United States as well as a strong supporter of the civil rights and women’s movements. Each woman’s life individually would be interesting. Together they weave a complex story that touches all aspects of society, social movement, politics and literature in the first half of the 20th century.

The Sisters works because of Lovell’s strong command on her material. The book is carefully researched with interviews, diaries and letters. The wealth of information about the family is incredible. However, it isn’t the research that makes the book shine. It is the sisters themselves. Lovell chose her subject well. The Mitford’s story is alternatively laugh out loud funny and solemn. Parts of the book almost write themselves.

The family’s eccentricity is legendary. There is the father David who use to let his hounds track and hunt his children across fields when foxes were scare. He is known for hating most people outside of the family. When tired of guests at a dinner party he “was liable to call down the table to [his wife], ‘Have these people no homes of their own?’” And one can’t forget the children. The youngest girls in the family created their own language — and became fluent enough to tell dirty jokes in front of adults. A distinctly Mitford way of speaking forms in the family. ”Sewers,” “hons,” and “counter hons” are all part of the Mitford vocabulary. Nancy draws on the Mitford language in her novels which are highly autobiographical (and therefore the cause of much controversy among the family).

The girls’ failures and successes at love are a prominent part of the book. Some of these stories are preposterous. During the 20s Nancy “announced that she was unofficially engaged to arch-sewer Hamish St Clair Erskine…thoroughly unsuitable in various ways, not least of which that he was an obvious (though unadmitted) homosexual.” Other stories are truly sad. There can be little doubt that Unity Mitford was profoundly disturbed. She fell obsessively for Hitler and torn between Germany and England on the eve of World War II tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide. Diana Mitford gives up her marriage to Bryan Guinness to marry Sir Oswald Mosley. She lives as two times the social outcast being both a divorced woman and the wife of the most hated man in Britain during the war. Both Diana and Unity’s choices cause rifts in the family, and they are far from the only offenders.

Much of the book is given over to the gleeful, frantic 20s and the somber, disturbing 30s through the war. It is horrifying and fascinating to watch Unity and Diana’s relationship with Hitler develop knowing what we do now. It’s clear that it wasn’t just clashing personalities that tore the family apart. Politics played a strong role in the great schisms that divided sisters, mother and father, some of which are tragically never resolved.

The Sisters manages to be both incredibly fun and profoundly tragic at the same time. The book gives a strong sense of what life was like in the English aristocracy as events unfold. These women touched and were touched by so many of the most influential events during the 20th century that it really is a study in living history.

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Miscellaneous

Still reading the chunkster book  The Sisters so no book to report yet.  Meanwhile:  I did finish another afghan:

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And my morning walk had wonderful moonlight to walk in: really clear and bright!

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Yesterday I snapped a photo of the air plant in the Oak Tree..

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…and then by the pond I spotted a Dove…. there are lots of them around here but I never seem to find where any of them nest.

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