The Last Madam

lstmadamThe Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld
by Chris Wiltz
2001/ 288 pages
rating 7 / biography – US

This was a “freebie” from Kindle Unlimited and that’s what got me to read it.  It was worth it – lol – worth the monthly price of the Unlimited, that is.  It’s a pretty good book, especially if you’re interested in the topic or enjoy biography/memoirs.  (This is largely based on the subject’s taped memoirs but Wiltz did a commendable amount of extra research.)

Norma Wallace was one of the notorious madams of New Orleans, although her times were a bit after the infamous Storyville era.  She moved to the city in 1917 >>>>MORE>>>>

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Burial Rites

by Hannah Kent
2014/ 338 pages
rating 7 / hist. fict – (Iceland)

I really enjoy books set in Greenland or Iceland, especially historical fiction, so I thought this book might be interesting. Too bad. The books by Sjon, Michael Crummy, Haldor Laxness, Peter Hoeg, Jane Smiley and others are incredibly better in many ways. The most important to me of those ways is that in Burial Rites there seems to be very little sense of being in historic Iceland – it’s just a story based on an actual event which took place in Iceland circa 1828 with some language thrown in (actually, though, what’s wrong with that?- lol)  >>>>MORE>>>>

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I finished sorting out the pages from the posts and putting them into the right months in the menu.  That’s 3 month’s worth of posts sent from my iPad while I was visiting in North Dakota.  The iPad is wonderful for reading and for writing posts but trying to put in the graphics and doing the intro posts and longer pages which I like is too much.  (I still have to do monthly summaries but … )

I had a great time, though.  And now I’m back to the real world in Porterville, USA.  Hot and dry – I get everything done in the morning and read all afternoon.  :-)

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The Unicorn

theunicornThe Unicorn
by Iris Murdoch
1963 /319 pages
rating 7 / 20th cent. fiction – UK
(I read this back in June but it slipped out of the posts.) 

Once upon a time, somewhere west of Ireland there lived a beautiful young woman who was trapped in a mansion called Gaze by her raging husband. He was angry because she had had an affair and during a quarrel she had pushed him off a cliff. But he survived and went away leaving bodyguards and servants to assure she could never escape. The woman’s name was Hannah, backwards and forwards. She was golden-haired and golden-eyed and seemed to live in a golden world by the sea. But gold is neither good nor bad, but perhaps it is both – is that possible?

Toward the end of seven years Marion, a new tutor/companion for Hannah, came to Gaze. Now living in the house at Gaze were Gerald the main bodyguard, Jamsie Evercreech his helper, Violet Evercreech Hannah’s secretary, Denis Nolan the business clerk, and some servants. The first part of the book is told. from Marion’s point of view. >>>>MORE>>>>

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by Rachel Joyce
2014/ 400 pages
rating 6/10 – contemp fict UK
read by Paul Rhys – 11h 18m

Not impressive although I must say I was expecting a thriller or a mystery type book and it’s not that.   Also,  I listened to it piece-meal over a period of many weeks so in a way I didn’t give the story a chance.  (That said,  if the book had been grabbing me I would likely have made a point to listen.)  >>>>MORE>>>>

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All Our Names

allournamesAll Our Names
by Dinaw Mengestu
2013/ 272 pages
rating 8/ contemp lit – Africa

Two young men in Uganda pretend to be university students while fomenting rebellion against the dictatorship. Both are apparently named Isaac, at least known by that name as well as others. The 1st person narrator, known as The Professor, is a main follower of the man he calls Isaac who is apparently working with a more radical group.  >>>MORE>>> 

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The Golden Bowl

The-Golden-Bowl-by-Henry-JamesThe Golden Bowl
by Henry James
1904/ 386 pages
rating 6/10 – classic

What if a widowed father were so rich he could buy his beloved only daughter a financially embarrassed Italian Prince to marry? And what if beloved daughter’s best girlfriend and the aforementioned Prince had met before and fallen in love, but because neither has money they can’t marry? Still, best friend has to marry someone, right? Preferably someone rich as this is the Gilded Age, the Belle Epoque, whatever. So girlfriend marries rich widowed daddy which puts Prince and girlfriend together for intimate moments because rich daddy and beloved daughter really prefer each other’s company. That gives a close and concerned mutual friend, confidante and meddlesome Fanny Assingham (yes, that’s the name of my favorite character), as well as the main characters, plenty to consider, speculate, surmise and generally think about – as well as scheme.  >>>MORE>>>

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