A Very British Romance #TVReview #BriFri
1 hour ago
|Donna and Bonnie, 2015|
Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history — culpable regardless of her intentions. The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.” Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman’s tragic life and epic in its scope and power, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath. Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.
Over the course of ten Mitford novels, fans have kept a special place in their hearts for Dooley Kavanagh, first seen in At Home in Mitford as a barefoot, freckle-faced boy in filthy overalls. Now, Father Tim Kavanagh’s adopted son has graduated from vet school and opened his own animal clinic. Since money will be tight for a while, maybe he and Lace Harper, his once and future soul mate, should keep their wedding simple. By the way, it’s a pretty casual affair, so come as you are and remember to bring a tissue or two. After all, what’s a good wedding without a good cry?Books, that's what to give a "bookie" for her birthday, right? These are my birthday books this year.
The Great War ~ by David Almond, John Boyne, Tracy Chevalier, Ursula Dubosarsky, and Timothée de Fombelle ― a collection of WWI-related short stories by top authors.
A Study in Charlotte ~ by Brittany Cavallaro ― a YA novel about the teen descendants of Holmes and Watson solving a mystery.
An 18-year-old girl is picked up by her married 45-year-old driving instructor for her very first lesson. He takes her to an isolated road, pulls her out of the car, wrestles her out of one leg of her jeans, and forcefully rapes her. Threatened with death if she tells anyone, he makes her drive the car home. Later that night she tells her parents, and they help and support her to press charges. The perpetrator is arrested and prosecuted. He is convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.Let's join in making a social statement. I'll be wearing denim jeans tomorrow. Will you join me in this protest? Read more about the movement and get involved.
He appeals the sentence. The case makes it all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. Within a matter of days the case against the driving instructor is overturned, dismissed, and the perpetrator released. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans, it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”
The harrowing true story of one man’s life in — and subsequent escape from — North Korea, one of the world’s most brutal totalitarian regimes. Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by promises of abundant work, education for his children, and a higher station in society. But the reality of their new life was far from utopian. In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life. This book is not only a shocking portrait of life inside the country but a testament to the dignity — and indomitable nature — of the human spirit.
For his whole life, the boy has lived underground, in a basement with his parents, grandmother, sister, and brother. Before he was born, his family was disfigured by a fire. His sister wears a white mask to cover her burns. He spends his hours with his cactus, reading his book on insects, or touching the one ray of sunlight that filters in through a crack in the ceiling. Ever since his sister had a baby, everyone’s been acting very strangely. The boy begins to wonder why they never say who the father is, about what happened before his own birth, about why they’re shut away. A few days ago, some fireflies arrived in the basement. His grandma said, "There’s no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light." That light makes the boy want to escape, to know the outside world. The problem is, all the doors are locked. And he doesn’t know how to get out.
This is an astounding tale of how what others understand as liabilities can be leveraged into strengths. Bound to wheelchairs and dependent on prosthetic limbs, the physically disabled students living in the House are overlooked by the Outsides. Not that it matters to anyone living in the House, a hulking old structure that its residents know is alive. From the corridors and crawl spaces to the classrooms and dorms, the House is full of tribes, tinctures, scared teachers, and laws—all seen and understood through a prismatic array of teenagers’ eyes. But student deaths and mounting pressure from the Outsides put the time-defying order of the House in danger. As the tribe leaders struggle to maintain power, they defer to the awesome power of the House, attempting to make it through days and nights that pass in ways that clocks and watches cannot record.These three books are among nine offered free for Kindle for another four or five days.
For nine Chilean women, life couldn’t be more different. There is the teenage computer whiz confronting her sexual identity. A middle-aged recluse who prefers the company of her dog over that of most humans. A housekeeper. A celebrity television personality. A woman confronting the loneliness of old age. Of disparate ages and races, these women represent the variety of cultural and social groups that Chile comprises. On the surface, they seem to have nothing in common, except for their beloved therapist, who brings them together. Yet as different as they all are, each woman has a story to share. As the women tell their stories, unlikely common threads are discovered, bonds are formed, and lives are transformed. Their stories form an intricate tale of triumph, heartache, and healing that will resonate with women from all walks of life.
On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore. Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident — until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast. But this time it is Berggren’s cousin, whom Thomas interviewed in Stockholm just days before. As the island’s residents reel from the news, Thomas turns to his childhood friend, local lawyer Nora Linde. Together, they attempt to unravel the riddles left behind by these two mysterious outsiders — while trying to make sense of the difficult twists their own lives have taken since the shared summer days of their youth.
As the daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas, Selva could win the heart of any man in Ankara. Yet the spirited young beauty only has eyes for Rafael Alfandari, the handsome Jewish son of an esteemed court physician. In defiance of their families, they marry, fleeing to Paris to build a new life. But when the Nazis invade France and begin rounding up Jews, the exiled lovers will learn that nothing — not war, not politics, not even religion — can break the bonds of family. For after they learn that Selva is but one of their fellow citizens trapped in France, a handful of brave Turkish diplomats hatch a plan to spirit the Alfandaris and hundreds of innocents, many of whom are Jewish, to safety. Together, they must traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in a desperate bid for freedom, from Ankara to Paris, Cairo, and Berlin.These three books are among nine offered free for Kindle for another five days.
Theodora knows she can’t keep her five beautiful daughters at home forever — they’re too curious, too free spirited, too like their late father. And so, before each girl leaves the small house on the riverside at the foot of Mount Olympus, Theodora makes sure they know they are always welcome to return. Having survived World War II, the Nazi occupation of Greece, and her husband’s death, Theodora now endures the twenty-year-long silence of her daughters’ absence. Her children have their own lives — they’ve married, traveled the world, and courted romance, fame, and even tragedy. But as they become modern, independent women in pursuit of their dreams, Theodora knows they need her — and each other — more than ever. Have they grown so far apart that they’ve forgotten their childhood home, or will their broken hearts finally lead them back again?
Kohei Araki believes that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years of creating dictionaries, it’s time for him to retire and find his replacement. He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime — a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics — whom he swipes from his company’s sales department. Along with an energetic, if reluctant, new recruit and an elder linguistics scholar, Majime is tasked with a career-defining accomplishment: completing The Great Passage, a comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. On his journey, Majime discovers friendship, romance, and an incredible dedication to his work, inspired by the words that connect us all.
In this sweeping saga of love, loss, revolution, and the resilience of the human spirit, Amba must find the courage to forge her own path. Amba was named after a tragic figure in Indonesian mythology, and she spends her lifetime trying to invent a story she can call her own. When she meets two suitors who fit perfectly into her namesake’s myth, Amba cannot help but feel that fate is teasing her. Salwa, respectful to a fault, pledges to honor and protect Amba, no matter what. Bhisma, a sophisticated, European-trained doctor, offers her sensual pleasures and a world of ideas. But military coups and religious disputes make 1960s Indonesia a place of uncertainty, and the chaos strengthens Amba’s pursuit of freedom. The more Amba does to claim her own story, the better she understands her inextricable bonds to history, myth, and love.These three books are among nine offered free for Kindle for another five days.
Why 'tock-tick' does not sound right to your ears
Ever wonder why we say tick-tock, not tock-tick; or ding-dong, not dong, ding; King Kong, not Kong King? Turns out it is one of the unwritten rules of English that native speakers know without knowing.
The rule, explains a BBC article, is: "If there are three words, then the order has to go I, A, O. If there are two words, then the first is I and the second is either A or O. Mish-mash, chit-chat, dilly-dally, shilly-shally, tip top, hip-hop, flip-flop, tic tac, sing song, ding dong, King Kong, ping pong."
There's another unwritten rule at work in the name Little Red Riding Hood, says the article.
"Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest, you'll sound like a maniac."
That explains why we say "little green men" not "green little men," but "Big Bad Wolf" sounds like a gross violation of the "opinion (bad)-size (big)-noun (wolf)" order. It won't though, if you recall the first rule about the I-A-O order.
That rule seems inviolable: "All four of a horse's feet make exactly the same sound. But we always, always say clip-clop, never clop-clip."
This rule even has a technical name, if you care to know it ― the rule of ablaut reduplication ― but then life is simpler knowing that we know the rule without knowing it.
PLAY IT BY EAR:
If a word sequence sounds wrong, it is probably wrong.
UPDATE from Facebook comments:
This book was falling apart, with pages brittle and loose. Rather than throw it in the garbage, I gave it to a Crown Center resident who is from Iran. He's always studying dictionaries and listening to tapes, trying to learn more about the English language. One of the hardest things, in my opinion, is grasping the idioms. This little book has many of them, and he knows he can ask me questions.HIGH WINDS
English is so confusing! Other parts of this book include "Keeping Up with the Joneses" (he may not even know anyone named Jones), "The Lemon" (about a car), "The Eager Beaver" (no, it isn't an animal), "The Worrywart" (a wart?), and "The Absentminded Professor." But those lessons will have to come later as he gets to those parts of his reading of this little book that sounds childish, but isn't.
I picked up this one for the photos of glaciers. It's small and full of pictures, so I'll read it in a very short time.When Madeline Was Young ~ by Jane Hamilton, 2006, fiction (Wisconsin)
I've read and enjoyed at least two of Jane Hamilton's novels: The Book of Ruth (1988) and A Map of the World (1994).Tallgrass ~ by Sandra Dallas, 2007, fiction (Colorado)
I read and enjoyed her novel Prayers for Sale (2009), and this one is about Japanese internment in the United States during World War Two.
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"Wow!" I can remember saying as soon as Vivian stepped out of the bathroom and showed me the positive result of the pregnancy test. "That's great!" In truth, my feelings were closer to ... Really? Already?Two by Two ~ by Nicholas Sparks, 2016, fiction (North Carolina)
At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear ... and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding ― one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.
"Now I know why I suddenly forget what I was about to say."So now I need to figure out how to get this idea into the plot of that novel I'm not (yet?) writing.
Left ~ "Each day is a blessing from God."
Right ~ "It is better to give than to receive."
My, oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin' my way
Mister Bluebird's on my shoulder
It's the truth, it's actual
Ev'rything is satisfactual
Wonderful feeling, wonderful day.
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