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Posts from the ‘biography’ Category

4
Feb

#Biography John Adams

FEBRUARY

23. John Adams by David McCullough by David McCullough David McCullough

Finish date: 01 February 2022
Genre: Biography
Rating: A++++++++++++
Review:

 

Bad news: Part 1 – the book does not start with a bang. So please, do NOT give up on this book! Timeline: 8 months: Felt like reading a 18th C. version of C-Span….blow by blow accounts of the Congress of Philadelphia and the difficult birth of a new United Stats of America, July 4, 1776. Nice to read/skim….but all in all boring because we’ve all read so much about this.

 

Good news Part II – Now book really picks up steam on page 199 beginning with Adams’s departure to France with young son, John Quincy. Adams will join Ben Franklin at French court to negotiate an alliance. I especially liked CH 6…JUST WONDERFUL! It is a tender, loving look at a husband and wife reunited July 20 1784…after a separation of 4 years!! Abigail overcomes her fears of the North Atlantic sea voyage b/c her love for “my dearest “ is stronger.

 

Good news: Woman’s perspective….always great to read!! Abigail Adams’s descriptions of the North Atlantic voyage (ship, crew and weather). She has the eye for detail that just gives the reader a pause from all the ‘history’. Abigail Adams was a down-to-earth New England puritan and her observations about the French Louis XVI court and the snobbish British society are so much fun to read.

 

Good news: Part III – John Adams’s term as 2nd President of US: Intrigue , backstabbing politics and finally returning to Peacefield…his home in Massachusetts.

 

Personal:

Reading this book has given met the needed background to finally watch epic series 2008 John Adams. It won 13 Prime Time Emmy awards including Best Actor Paul Giamatti.

The greatest strength of this book… and also any other books by D. McCullough is the author’s ability to bring history to life! People are living and breathing on every page!

Motto John Adams…I will follow his advice! “You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket. You will never have an idle hour.”

Mrs. Adams’s narrative with vivid, insightful details brings a feeling of balance in the book…the frenetic revolution, war, and birth of an independent US….and the tender scenes of domestic life with John Adams and her children.

For all the biographies I’ve read….never have I enjoyed reading a history as much as this one. Don’t make the same mistake I did, judged the book by the cover…again! I thought this would be just another a stuffy history book. How wrong As I said…don’t make my mistake….open the book, skim part 1 if necessary and the book
really starts with part 2.

I was just swept away by John and Abigail! Never knew T. Jefferson indulged in “backstabbing politics” Never knew how vindictive A. Hamilton was. It’s all in the book….great learning moment!

Call me sappy and overly sentimental, but I was absolutely awe struck by the level of commitment and affection that John and Abigail felt and showed to one another even across great distances and during long years when they hardly even saw each other. It was biography with a pulse and also a love story!
#MustRead

 

8
Jan

#Memoir Out of Africa

 

JANUARY


5. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen by Isak Dinesen, Karen Blixen (no photo)


Finshed date: 07 January 2022
Genre: autobiographical anecdotes
Rating: Rating: D-
Review:

The book describes events in 5 parts during the period from 1914 to 1931 concerning the European settlers and the native people in the bush country of Kenya “in British East Africa”… told from the lyrical, poetic viewpoint of Danish Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke.

Good News: I finally finished the book.  #GoodRiddance


Bad News: The reading was slow going, lukewarm storytelling and I was bored from cover to cover.

It was a combination of:
Details: native people, the wildlife, the weather and …her farm being a type of paradise.
Short fragments: stories, ideas.
Shift to tragedy: (part 5)
coffee harvest fails….Denys Finch-Hatton dies. The author sells the farm and paradise is lost.

Personal: Do yourself a favor and just watch the movie Out of Africa
The cinematograpy is truly breath-taking, especially in the scene with the biplane. As a romance, the story is almost perfect, the performances are brilliant and the soundtrack will haunt you.

6
Jan

#Biography Thomas Becket

Academy Awards, USA 1965   Becket (Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton)

 

 

JANUARY
Thomas Becket by John Guy
Finish date: 05 January 2022
Genre: biography
Rating: B


Review: From my notes I see that the book captured
my interest starting with the “broken relationship” between King Henry II and Thomas Becket in chapter 12. So You have to plod on during the first 40% of
the book that was just a description of a middle class man who climbed the social, academic and political ladder. I was impressed by Becket’s mother and how keen she was  to see what her son needed for his future (education etc).

Bad news: Some key issues (Constitutions of Clarendon 1164, turning point in king-archbishop relationship) took a few chapters to get through. Tip: read about people/issues quickly on Britainexpress.com ( great reference website ) and it will save you time. The chapters can be ‘skimmed’ if you then wish.

Good news: This book really gave me an idea what happened in that period 1120 (birth) – 1170 (murder) -1220 (veneration of the saint). Focus is on the ruthless, untrustworthy vindictive character of King Henry II and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury the ambitious, uncompromising zealot and how they clash. Sparks fly!

Personal: The only history about Henry II I knew  was from the movie Lion in Winter with Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn. I loved the film. It takes place years after Becket’s murder and I must admit Henry II is painted in the embellishment of Hollywood colors and does not divulge what (excusez le mot) a badass he was! Hepburn brought Eleanor of Aquitaine alive for me and I’ve read more books about her.

Trivia: She was one of the longest living royalty in the Middle Ages…reached the age of 82 and outlived 8 of her 10 children.

#WorthYourReadingTime 

(published 2012, 448 pg)

 

30
Jun

#Non-fiction Bolívar

  • Author:  Marie Arana
  • Genre: biography
  • Title:  Bolivar: American Liberator
  • Published:  (2013)
  • Table of Contents: 18 chapters, 468
  • Timeline:  1783 – 1830
  • SettingSouth America
  • Trivia: M. Arana won the LA Times Book Award biography 2014.
  • List of Challenges 2020
  • Monthly reading plan
  • #20BooksOfSummer20

 

Introduction

  1. Bolivar was compared to Napoleon or Julius Caesar.
  2. But Bolivar realized that he could unite South America
  3. …freed of Spanish rule, but could not unite the South Americans.
  4. He had to take drastic steps: Bolivar declared himself ‘dictator’
  5. …in August 1828 due to growing internal conflicts among his commanders.
  6. As Bolivar said: “No one achieves greatness with impunity:
  7. No one escapes the fangs of envy along the way”. (pg 406)
  8. There were several assassination attempts
  9. …thought to be instigated by his old friend, and commander F. Santander.
  10. Bolivar used psychological warfare, surprise,
  11. …deception and fear to defeat his enemies.
  12. But he could not defeat his last foe
  13. ….he succumbed to tubercleosis in 1830 at the age of 47 years old.

 

Conclusion:

Strong point: Bolivar reads like a great novel!

Strong point: Epilogue: great summation with references to modern South America.

  1. This was not a boring biography.
  2. Marie Arana is first and foremost a
  3. talented writer and knows how to create
  4. ….a book that would capture the reader’s attention.
  5. She has succeeded in melting all the biographical facts
  6. …about the American Liberator into a unique mold.
  7. The result is a ‘bronze bell’ named ‘Bolivar’ whose
  8. …tremendous sound resonated across
  9. …the South American continent.
  10. #ExcellentRead

Last Thoughts:

  1. I was surprised that Bolivar read Voltaire, Locke,
  2. Montesquieu and his hero Rousseau instead of theorists of war:
  3. Prussian Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) or French Jomini (1779-1869).
  4. Bolivar was a child of The Enlightenment.
  5. The only way I can sum him is to refer to John Locke’s book
  6. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,
  7. …page 220 where Locke discusses ‘power’.
  1. Bolivar saw that the countries in his beloved South America
  2. …were just spokes in a wheel all pointing to the hub, Spain.
  3. He felt that there was the possibility of making this simple idea change.
  4. And so we come to the idea that Locke explained as: ‘power’.
  5. Bolivar had this ‘power’:
  6. “thus we say, fire has a power to melt gold,
  7. …to destroy the consistency of its insensible parts and
  8. …consequently its hardness and make it fluid.” (Locke)

 

Twitter thoughts:

#TakingNoPrisoners
Bolivar: History of liberated South America …. is not for the fainthearted.
What a man…he could outride, outwit and outfight any enemy!

#SurgicalStrikes and countless stragagems later Bolivar is not afraid to take up the pen….
#ManInLove with Manuela…

#ReadMoreBiography Blood trickles down the roads, heads roll out from under the bushes. This is not magical realism… this is history!

13
Jan

#Non-Fiction The Churchill Factor

 

Finished: 13.01.2020
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: A+++++
#ReadNonFictionYear

 

Introduction:

  1. I started this book before the UK’s general election.
  2. It is fascinating to see how Boris Johnson
  3. emulates his hero, Churchill!
  4. Winston Churchill tipped the scales of destiny in 1940.
  5. We should all be thankful for his courage, pluck and
  6. famous message June 1940 to the British people:

 

“We shall go on to the end.
We shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air,
we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be.
We shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender…”

 

 

Conclusion:

  1. This book was a delight to read!
  2. Not stuffy or dry
  3. …but filled with insights and humor as
  4. Johnson weaves the narrative between war,
  5. politics and Churchill’s personal life.
  6. Boris Johnson is a savvy politician
  7. ….but also an excellent writer!
  8. #MustRead
  9. PS: John Lithgow is wonderful as Winston Churchill
  10. in Netflix series The Crown...
  11. #MustSee
11
Dec

Brett Whiteley Australian Artist

  • Author: Ashleigh Wilson
  • Title: Brett Whiteley: Art, Life and the Other Thing
  • Genre: biography
  • Reading time:  13 hours 25 min (audio book)
  • Published: 2017
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • Trivia: #ABIA 2017  short list (Australian Book Industry Awards)
  • @ashleighbwilson
  • @artgalleryofNSW
  • @ABIAs_Awards

 

Introduction:

  1. Of all the Australian painters who emerged during the mid
  2. 20th century Brett Whiteley  was the (Wikipedia link for more info)
  3. most mercurial, the most ambitious
  4. to make an impact on the world at large.
  5. I had NEVER heard of Brett Whiteley
  6. …and realize it was my loss.
  7. Delighted to discover this brilliant
  8. biography by Ashleigh Wilson.

 

Brett Whitely:

  1. Born in Australia, Whiteley moved to Europe in 1960 determined to make an impression.
  2. Before long he was the youngest artist to have work acquired by the Tate.
  3. With his wife, Wendy (1941), and daughter, Arkie (1964-2001), Whiteley
  4. then immersed himself in bohemian New York.
  5. Despite many affairs…Brett proclaims that
  6. he and his wife Wendy “We’re lifers.”
  7. His art depended on his relationship to Wendy.
  8. It had been that way since his early abstractions.

 

Ashleigh Wilson:

  1. He has been a journalist for almost two decades.
  2. He received a Walkley Award for his reports on unethical behavior
  3. in the Aboriginal art industry, a series that led to a Senate inquiry.
  4. He has been The Australian’s Arts Editor since 2011.
  5. Wilson follows the chronological order of Whiteley’s paintings:
  6. Early works
    Abstraction
    Bathroom series (sensual sketches of Wendy)
    John Christie (serial killer)  & London Zoo
    Lavender Bay, Australia
    Portraits
    Birds
    Landscapes
    The studio & late works

 

Conclusion:

  1. Brett Whiteley (1939 – 1992)
  2. died from a drug overdose.
  3. He was an heroin addict.
  4. The deeper problem was that his
  5. dependency was entwined with his art.
  6. Like many addicts he found it hard to imagine life sober.
  7. Heroin provided stability...
  8. …and to live without it was like to peering into darkness.
  9. It was one thing to be clean for his health
  10. …but what would it mean for his art?
  11. He was found dead at the Beach Motel, Thirroul Australia.
  12. This expansive biography
  13. Wilson gave the essential details about the death.  (ch 22)
  14. Chapters 1-21 concentrate on the
  15. …richness and variety of Whiteley’s work
  16. …and the many exhibitions he held and  prizes won.
  17. #ExcellentBiography
  18. Worth your reading time!

 

Strong point:

  1. Ashleigh Wilson Wilson takes the reader through a
  2. virtual art gallery describing and assortiment
  3. …of Brett Whiteley’s paintings.

 

Portrait of Patrick White (Brett Whiteley)

  1. Photo in frame….Emmanuel George “Manoly” Lascaris
  2. Look at White’s eyes and
  3. ….Centennial Park in the backround.

 

Portrait Vincent van Gogh

  1. On the table….a candle, a pipe, a letter to Theo and a razor.
  2. Two arrows:
  3. towards the right = good, light and sanity
  4. towards the left = evil, darkness and madness

Portrait of Gauguin

  1. Gaughin on the eve of his attempted suicide
  2. We see ‘The Tree of Knowledge, photograph of Van Gogh and a woman’s body.
  3. Brett had extended the right side to an ear shape with a bottle with a white substance
  4. labled ‘Arsenic’.

Portrait Wendy (wife)

  1. Brett Whiteley was a master draughtsman.
  2. This sketch reveals his command of line.
  3. The way Brett could capture the essence of his
  4. subject with only a few simple sweeps.

 

Henri’s Armchair

  1. This is Brett Whiteley’s debt to Matisse.
  2. He painted the interior of Lavender Bay where the
  3. …water can be seen through the window
  4. …frame at the end of the room beyond the arches.
  5. It is a domestic workmanlike scene.
  6. Two legs  on the couch and used matches
  7. …are scattered on the coffee table.
  8. There is a vase and notebook on which is written the title of the painting.
  9. As in the works of his historical model, Matisse,
  10. ….there are notes of domesticity:
  11. bed, open fire, and several works of Whiteley in the room
  12. …a sculpture, a nude drawing and an erotic drawing.
  13. There is a deep red brown color in the house
  14. …but the blue is all around.

 

My Armchair

  1. This was the most expensive painting in Brett’s
  2. September 1976 Australian Galleries exhibition.
  3. This painting’s was priced for 10.000 dollars.
  4. This was a companion piece for “Henri’s Armchair”.
  5. The blue soaked canvas inside Brett’s studio including
  6. pictures (B/W = ‘Inside an Avocado Tree’), sculptures
  7. …a view out to the Sydney Harbour and the chair in which
  8. …he sat to reflect on the art around him.

 

 

Another way of Looking….Vincent

  1. Whiteley pays homage to Vincent van Gogh and
  2. …the profound influence this Dutch post-impressionist
  3. painter had on Whiteley throughout his career.

Birds:

  1. I had to include some of the most beautiful sketches/paintings of birds!
  2. Whiteley first came to notice the captivating beauty of birds
  3. …in July 1969 during a blissful five-month stay in a small cottage
  4. in the village of Navutulevu, about eighty kilometres from Suva in Fiji.
  5. The couple, with their five year-old daughter Arkie,
  6. lived simply and happily and enjoyed their
  7. island paradise after the turmoil and bustle of New York.
  8. Wendy Whiteley summed the period up well: ‘We really did live in Paradise there.”

Kookaburra

 

Cormorant

 

 

 

The sunrise, Japanese: Good morning

 

 

 

Bookcover: (self-portrait)

7
Dec

#AWW 2019 Nine Lives: Women Writers

  • Author:  Susan Sheridan
  • Title: Nine Lives: Postwar Women Writers Making Their Mark
  • Published: 2011
  • Genre: non-fiction
  • Rating: A
  • Trivia:  This book has been sitting on my TBR for two years!
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019   @AusWomenWriters

 

NOTE:

  1. Trying to get back to books with
  2. …’one’ very good eye after cataract surgery
  3. …the the other eye ready for correction in 2 weeks.
  4. #NeedCoffee

 

Introduction:

  1. Why did I wait so long to read this wonderful book?
  2. I think the  bland bookcover did not catch my eye.
  3. Ms Sheridan should have used thumbnail photos of te
  4. …talented Australian writers she was about  to introduce to this reader!

 

  1. This books contains
  2. nine condensed, compact biographies of Australian Women writers
  3. Sheridan highlights a generation of women writers
  4. overlooked in the Australian contemporary literary scene.
  5. These women writers who were born between 1915-1930:
  6. Judith Wright
    Thea Astley
    Dorothy Hewett
    Rosemary Dobson
    Dorothy Aucherlonie Green
    Gwen Harwood
    Jessica Anderson
    Amy Witting
    Elizabeth Jolley

 

  1. All had children...
  2. J. Wright and D. Green were the sole support of their families.
  3. The nine women were versatile writers
  4. poet, playwright, novelist, short stories,
  5. non-fiction (autobiography), literary critic and editor.
  6. T. Astely won Miles Franklin Award 4x, Jessica Anderson 2x and E. Jolley 1x.
  7. All shared a sense of urgency…
  8. their vocation, their ‘need’ to be a writer
  9. that would not let them rest.

 

 

  1. Judith Wright – was an important name in the emerging postwar literature.
  2. She was one of the few Australian poets to achieve international recognition.
  3. Ms Wright is the author of of several collections of poetry,
  4. including The Moving Image, Woman to
  5. Man, The Gateway, The Two Fires, Birds,
  6. The Other Half, Magpies, Shadow, Hunting Snake, among others.
  7. Her work is noted for a keen focus on the Australian environment.

 

 

  1. Thea Astley –  I am a huge fan of this writer.
  2. I did learn more tidbits of info about this woman.
  3. Critics were not always kind to Thea Astely.
  4. The ending of  The Slow Natives
  5. …was  “…too sentimental and melodramatic.
  6. I didn’t think so!
  7. Even Patrick White was harsh.
  8. Criticism should be like rain
  9. …gentle enough to nourish growth without
  10. …destroying the roots.
  11. White’s  fault finding ended their friendship.
  12. Thea Astley won Miles Franklin Award four times!

 

  1. Dorothy Hewett – After reading Ms Hewett’s short biography in this book the
  2. only thing that suited this woman is the song: Born to be Wild  !!
  3. Once I read about the tumultuous life of Dorothy Hewett I knew
  4. I had to read her books.
  5. I ordered Baker’s Dozen ( 13 short stories)…
  6. …cannot wait to read it!

 

 

  1. Rosemary Dobson – She was fully established as a poet by the age of 35.
  2. She published 14 collections of poems.
  3. The Judges of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 1996
  4. described her significance as follows:
  5. “The level of originality and strength of
  6. Rosemary’s poetry cannot be underestimated…”

 

  1. Dorothy Auchterlonie Green –  She saw herself primarily as a scholar.
  2. Ms Green felt overworked and
  3. under-recognized, trapped by circumstances of her life and unsure of her capacity as a poet.
  4. She won widespread admiration for her poetry, literary scholarship
  5. her reviews and social criticism and inspirational teaching.

 

  1. Gwen Harwood – She was sick of the way poetry
  2. editors (Meanjin) treated her…no accepting her work.
  3. Ms Harwoon created several nom de plume: Geyer , Lehmann and Stone.
  4. Geyer and Lehmann were regularly invited to meet editors for lunch next time they were in Sydney
  5. or Melbourne. Geyer was evern invited to read at the Adelaide Festival.
  6. ….he respectively declined.
  7.  Awards

 

  1. Jessica Anderson – She was in a male-dominated and
  2. Anglocentric publishing world.
  3. How did she survive?
  4. She cultivated the qualities of character and
  5. strategies of survival necessary to
  6. sustain enough belief in herself to go on writing.
  7. She won the Miles Franklin Award twice…1978 and 1980.

  1. Amy Witting – For many years Amy Witting was invisible in the literary world.
  2. She won the Patrick White Award 1993
  3. for writers who have not received adequate recognition.
  4. I am waiting for her book of short stories to arrive…Marriages
  5. …I’m sure Amy Witting will have much to tell about this institution!

 

  1. Elizabeth Jolley – In a single year she received 39 rejection slips
  2. …yet she persisted.
  3. She won Miles Franklin Award 1986.

17
Nov

#AUSReadingMonth 2019 An Unconventional Wife

 

Hook: introduction 

  1. Ms Hoban explains what drew
  2. …her to write about Julia Sorell Arnold
  3. It was very personal  text that
  4. …made this reader eager to continue reading!
  5. I had to find out if Tom Arnold could
  6. …tame the high spirited Julia Sorell
  7. ..the the ruling belle of Hobart of Tasmania
  8. ..into the Victorian ideal of a wife?

 

Conflict:  Tom vs Julia …and religion

  1. In the world that Julia and Tom inhabited
  2. religion was never simply about belief.
  3. It was about position. economic stability and place in society.
  4. This was true for Tom and Julia…and their children.

 

Tom’s weak point:

  1. He had a tyrannical understanding of marriage.
  2. He turned the blowtorch onto Julia.
  3. He blamed her for all that had happened to them.

 

Julia’s  strong point:

  1. For a woman….marriage was a destiny,
  2. …nothing more, nothing less.
  3. But Julia would be…
  4. a revolutionary wife.
  5. not go where Tom took her
  6. not believe what he believed
  7. not do as he asked.

 

Conclusion:

  1. This is a magnificent biography!
  2. Mary Hoban just swept me away to Tasmania and
  3. …then on to Brussels, England and Ireland.
  4. I was so engrossed in the story I had no time to take notes!
  5. Julia felt like a very modern woman…in a Victorian world:
  6. She was fiercely independent.
  7. Tom radiates toxic masculinity in every chapter.
  8. As in many marriages…partners hope to change each other’s behavior.
  9. We read in this book the collision course
  10. that Tom and Julia were destined to follow.
  11. Tom’s wife must in all things submit to him.
  12. Julia cannot give up her own soul.
  13. Their relationship becomes a battle to the death.
  14. Julia refused to adhere to the ideal of a Victorian woman.
  15. She refused to be silent.
  16. #Excellent biography!

 

Last Thoughts:  (feedback to @bronasbooks)

  1. I rarely get ‘swept’ away with a biography but
  2. my heart just went out to Julia Sorell Arnold!
  3. Mary Hoban writes with a flair that touches on a novel….
  4. it is a well-crafted, beautifully rendered meditation on
  5. abandonment (Julia – mother)
  6. marriage (opposites attract)
  7. religion (Catholic and Protestant….sharing the same bed!)
  8. grief, (loss beloved father; children [stillborn, sickness])
  9. the ‘can’t live with you…but can’t live without you’
  10. ….type relationship between Julia and Arnold.
  11. It seem distance does make the heart grow fonder
  12. …and not to mention 9 children!
  13. I could go on and on
  14. ….but I hope this book is on your TBR
  15. great read during Xmas holidays!

 

 

6
Oct

#AWW 2019 Gabbie Stroud “Teacher”

 

Introduction:

  1. Gabrielle Stroud was a primary school teacher from 1999 to 2015.
  2. In 2014, Gabrielle Stroud was a very dedicated teacher.
  3. Months later, she resigned in frustration and despair.
  4. She realized that the Naplan-test education model
  5. …was stopping her from teaching individual children
  6. …according to their needs and talents.
  7. Gabrielle tells the full story:
  8. how she came to teaching…
  9. what makes a great teacher…
  10. what our kids need from their teachers…
  11. and what it was that finally broke her.

 

Conclusion:

  1. This book is a good effort of a teacher moving
  2. from the classroom into a writing career.
  3. I’m sure we will be hearing more from Gabbie Stroud
  4. and I hope her writing skills will be even better.
  5. I have seen many reviews on Goodreads and I
  6. cannot agree:  this is not a 5 star book.
  7. It is enjoyable but not profound.
  8. In my opinion...less is more:
  9. less family backround
  10. — mother, sisters, boyfriend, chit-chat with daughters
  11. even more reflections about teaching
  12. — chapter 16 a teaching adventure at a Heritage School
  13. in Canada was wrapped up in less than a chapter!
  14. I’m sure there must be more to tell.
  15. Writing style: this all comes down to the reader’s
  16. own preferences.
  17. I felt that Stroud could improve her writing by
  18. less use of clichés...
  19. Ch 8:
  20. I felt older, fatigued but the cup was still half full….”
  21. Ch 26:
  22. “…the glass is half full…but the water didn’t taste right.”
  23. Ch 30:
  24. “We all fall down Gab, our true measure is how we rise up.”
  25. Ch 30
  26. ” I did’t leave teaching….teaching left me.”
  27. Dialogue: is conversational, simple.
  28. Pathos: There were very few experiences
  29. …that stirred up my emotions of pity, sympathy, and sorrow.
  30. Problems were mentioned..but in a light, fluffy tone.
  31. I was not swept away by Stroud’s story
  32. …as I was  with the personal essays of written
  33. Ashleigh Young in “Can You Tolerate This?
  34. This is the type of depth in the writing I hoped
  35. Stroud would tell me about….the teaching profession.

 

  1. What finally broke Stroud? (..in my opinion)
  2. Teaching was changing too fast
  3. …and Stroud’s adaptation was too slow.
  4. Jack Welch…CEO of General Electric Company 1981-2001
  5. phrased it perfectly.
  6. ..and we all can learn from it:
  7. When the rate of change on the outside
  8. …exceeds the rate of change on the inside
  9. …then the end is near.”

 

Last Thoughts:

  1. There was one spark in chapter 5 that
  2. I thought would ignite the book:
  3. Core message…
  4. ” You showed me how to teach
  5. …now show me how to be a teacher.”
  6. Unfortunately this memoir/biography…fizzled out. 
  7. I hate flat soda.

 

17
Jun

#Non-fiction biography James Tiptree jr.

 

Conclusion:

  1. Literary tastes were changing in the 1960s.
  2. Women were searching for new books
  3. …they were tired of romances, doctors and stories about horses.
  4. Fantasy and SF introduced some very talented writers.
  5. James Tiptree Jr. was born…nom de plume Alice Sheldon.
  6. Tiptree  burst onto the science fiction scene
  7. ….in the 1970s with a series of hard-edged, provocative short stories.
  8. Tiptree was hailed as a brilliant masculine writer.
  9. Ms Sheldon kept her JT persona very secret:
  10. no photo’s, no public appearances and
  11. most confusing was “his” strong
  12. feminist slant in his tales.
  13. For example The Women Men Don’t See.
  14. Women characters felt so alienated and powerless in society they
  15. choose to board a space ship with aliens rather than remain on earth!
  16. Strong point: This fascinating biography by Julie Phillips
  17. was ten years in the making.
  18. Julie Phillips takes us behind the scenes to learn the
  19. of the privileged yet troubled life of Alice Sheldon.
  20. With this information Sheldon’s short stories take on a new cachet.
  21. This book is considered one of the best biographies about a SF writer.