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Posts from the ‘non-fiction’ Category


C.J. Dennis


Author: P. Butterss
Title: The Life and Works of C.J. Dennis
Published: 2014
Trivia: (SA) #AusReadingMonth @Brona’s Books
Trivia: Winner National Biography Award 2015
Trivia: #NonFicNov
Trivia: List Reading Challenges 2017


Who was this man?

  1. C.J. Dennis (1876-1938)   was an Australian poet known for his
  2. humorous poems and also his politically tinted verse about topical subjects.
  3. He is considered among Australia’s most famous poets. (…with H. Lawson and B. Paterson)


What are the main characteristics of his writing?

The essential ingredient was the reader’s emotional response.
His poetry was easy to understand and beneath the slangy twang
1. rolling rythm – rhyme
2. street slang
3. stage cockney
4. phonetic spellings


Best chapter:

  1. Best chapter 6:
  2. In this chapter we learn more about the poet’s,  subtle meanings …..very insightful.
  3. Other chapters are awash with names of Dennis’s
  4. literary circles ( Sunnyside, Melbourne).


  1. Dennis wrote about a ‘sentimental bloke’…but he wasn’t sentimental at all.
  2. Throughout his career he was  a hard-nosed business man.
  3. He does not want to advertise his change of political views
  4. ….it may annoy his readers/sales.
  5. The author  everything to make sure  his books were a ‘marketing success’.
  6. He asked the popular H. Lawson to write a foreward.
  7. He made his publisher agree to print his book BEFORE Christmas (sales?) and
  8. …publish a small pocket edition  of ‘The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke
  9. …so that families could send it to the troops fighting at the front WWI.
  10. The book would boost the soldier’s morale….and earnings for Dennis!


Timeline: 1920’s – 1930’s:

  1. Author started to drink heavily again
  2. suffered from periods of depression an asthma.
  3. C.J. Dennis  was the unofficial poet laureate of Australia!
  4. But slang an dialect were becoming unfashionable.
  5. light topical verse (politically tinted) that filled newspapers
  6. was in decline.



  1. I enjoyed this book….and it is a shame that  C.J. Dennis is practically
  2. …an unknown by a large reading public outside of Australia.
  3. His books are on Kindle for a mere  1 or 2 euro’s….
  4. I bought them all!


Major works:

  1. Major work:  The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke
  2. Dennis acknowledges class division
  3. and then goes on to minimize it in his  poems.
  4. “…how life and love can be splendid for
  5. …the common bloke as for the cultured (pg 113)
  6. Dennis used the archetypal Australian male values of the
  7. bushman…and channeled unruliness into hard work for his family.


  1. Major work:  The Moods of Ginger Mick
  2. Dennis brings the bush values into a city setting
  3. ‘Mick’ was also important helping a nation (Australia)
  4. grieve after losing so many soldiers in WWI.
  5. Dennis used the archetypal Australian male values of the
  6. bushman…and channeled a backstreet fighter (larrikin) into an Anzac soldier.


  1. Major work: Poem:  Comin’ Ome Frum Shearin’
  2. Conflict:
  3. Man’s domestic duty to provide for his family VS
  4. The delights of a wilder and freer masculine life
  5. Attraction of drinking VS destructiveness
  6. Major work: Poem: The Play
  7. Humorous parody recognizable to anyone with the minimun
  8. knowledge of Romeo & Juliet…
  9. …don’t forget Mick Curio !




My Place


What do we know about Sally Morgan?

  1. I knew nothing about Sally Morgan until I read
  2. Brona’s Books post in 2016 about her children’s book Sister Heart.
  3. Then I stumbled upon her  simple poem Janey Told Me.
  4. In just a few words you feel something hidden…a stigma no one must know!
  5. During  my weeks searching for books for #AusReadingMonth @Brona’s Books
  6. …I found myself curious about the plight of the Aboriginal race in Australia.
  7. So I decided to read My Place (memoir) by Ms Morgan.
  8. Brona tells us in her post:
  9. “Sally Morgan’s autobiography, My Place was
  10. one of the publishing super stories of the late 1980’s.
  11. Her story was fascinating but has since been
  12. …surrounded by various controversies and academic debates.”



  1. Sally Morgan tell us how she learned  of her Indigenous Australian heritage.
  2. Morgan visits family, old acquaintances  in the land of her ancestors.
  3. She tape-recorded the monologues of her relatives and they take over the narration.


Quote:  pg 192

  1. Sally: I found out that there was a lot to be ashamed of.
  2. Mum: You mean we should feel ashamed?
  3. Sally: No, I mean Australia should.



  1. This is one one of the first books written from the Aboriginal point of view.
  2. “No one knows what it was like for us.” (pg 208)
  3. People must realize  that identity is a complex thing.
  4. Identity is often not fully dependent on
  5. …your culture or the way you look.
  6. Morgan’s family shame…
  7. was so strong that she had not been told she was indigenous.
  8. She was well into her teens when her mother admitted the truth. (pg 170-71)
  9. Sally Morgan’s book  My Place was written  30 years ago.
  10. But is is still a very relevant
  11. She is an excellent storyteller…and her family history will touch a heart string.
  12. It touched mine!


Last thoughts:

  1. I started this book My Place yesterday in the train
  2. I never looked out the window because
  3. this story was very moving.
  4. The book really picks up steam in chapter ‘Owning up’ (pg 165).
  5. Pages 7-164 deal with Morgan’s childhood.
  6. Basic info…but not overly interesting.
  7. So you must decide is ‘skimming’ in the beginning
  8. …of the book is a good idea,
  9. Despite the slow start… the book engaged and entertained me
  10. ….that is what good books do!

Into the Heart of Tasmania

Title: Into the Heart of  Tasmania (2017)
Author: Rebe Taylor
Genre: non-fiction; history
Trivia:  (TAS)  #AusReadingMonth  @Brona’s Books
Trivia: #WorldFromMyArmchair Challenge (Tasmania)

Trivia: #NonFicNov

Trivia:   #AWW    @AustralianWomenWriters



  1. Into the Heart of Tasmania is a new history of Aboriginal Tasmania
  2. …the eccentric Englishman Ernest Westlake (geologist)
  3. ….and  his  hunt for man’s origins.


Who was Ernest Westlake?   (1855-1922)

  1. English amateur scientist Ernest Westlake from about 1870 to 1920.
  2. The man who loved stones and the history they revealed!
  3. Westlake was officially a geologist… unofficially a self taught anthropologist
  4. The story of Ernest Westlake his collections is brought to life  this book.
  5. I was most interested in what I could learn about Tasmania by reading Rebe Talylor’s book.


What did Westlake do?

  1. In 1908 E. Westlake packed a tent, a bicycle and forty tins of food and
  2. sailed from Liverpool to Port Melbourne Australia.
  3. He believed he found on the island of Tasmania the remnants (stone tools)
  4. …of an extinct race the Tasmanian Aboriginals.
  5. In the remotest corners of the island
  6. Westlake did encounter via interviews
  7. ….the living indigenous communities.


Why were the Tasmanians so important for anthropology?

  1. The Tasmanians are believed to have been the most isolated race on earth.
  2. Their importance is their status as a cultural beginning.
  3. Because of their isolation and slow transformation
  4. …the Tasmanians ‘may have gone on little changed from early ages’ (pg 100)


What evidence do we have that the Tasmanian Aboriginals first human beings?

  1. Edward B. Tylor, ‘the father of anthropology’ after viewing an aboriginal stones
  2. …’the Taunton Scraper’  declared the Tasmanian Aboriginals as the ‘dawn of humanity.’


What was Westlake’s goal?

  1. Westlake wanted to rewrite history.
  2. In the process he  finds and documents a living culture
  3. ...that had been declared extinct, Tasmanian Aboriginals.




  1. I knew NOTHING about the Aboriginals or Tasmania!
  2. Strong point:  Westlake lets the frontier violence done to the Aborigines
  3. seep through his  anthropological journey.
  4. …(Risdon Cove Massacre,  The Black War in Tasmania)
  5. I have never read about the injustice done to this race. #Shameful
  6. All in all did discover Tasmania….following Westlake’s journey on a digital map.
  7. Warning: Be prepared to  ‘push’ through the first 50% of the book.
  8. I had to…. at times Westlake’s  life  back in England
  9. …was not so interesting after his return from Tasmania.


  1. 1-8% – introduction to the man Ernest Westlake and his family and education
  2. 9-32% – described Westlake’s 1,5 year trip to Tasmania
  3. …Flinder Island and Cape Barren Island.
  4. 42-45% – Westlake’s return to England and his  studies…and his death in 1922.
  5. 46-48% – Westlake’s Tasmanian stone collection and notes were now open to
  6. Rhys Jones, University of Sydney earning his PhD in Tasmanian archeology (1966).
  7. 49-   57%   The book gathers steam with the very interesting
  8. …escavations by R. Jones and his team (1965)
  9. Finally Dr. Rebe Taylor shines as she pulls all the diverse theories
  10. …together of past explorers into a  ‘page turning’ last few pages!
  11. 57-100% – notes and other resource

Last thoughts:

  1. Rhys Jones the ‘cowboy archeologist’ once said:
  2. “Australian archaeological treasure is not gold or silver
  3. …it is time itself.”
  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite a ‘few slow pages’.
  5. Dr. Rebe Taylor deserves
  6. University of Southern Queensland History Book Award 2017
  7. Tasmania, the heart-shaped island, takes on a new meaning for me!

Dr. Rebe Taylor:



I visited new museum websites:

  1. Tasmanian Museum
  2. National Museum Melbourne

Cast of Characters: Golden Age of The New Yorker

Wolcott Gibbs, Dorothy Parker, James Thurber

  • Author: T. Vinciguerra
  • Title: Cast of Characters: Golden Age of the New Yorker
  • Published: 2016
  • Trivia: #NonFicNov
  • Trivia: List Reading Challenges 2017



  1. The New Yorker has and still is beyond rivalry to a
  2. position of supremacy among American magazines.
  3. It has attained this  by its the quality of writing.
  4. Of course, aspects of the New Yorker have always irritated people
  5. …its arrogant elegance.
  6. Raymond Chandler wrote:
  7. “Beyond the superficial sophistication the whole attitude of the
  8. New Yorker seems to me to have that same touch
  9. …of under-graduate sarcasm. (Ouch!)  (pg 206)


  1. But I have not lived a day of my life without the magazine.
  2. It was in our house in 1950’s.
  3. I adored the cartoons of Charles Addams as a child.
  4. I am still  addicted to the short fiction and profiles pieces.
  5. Book and movie, theater reviews?
  6. The New Yorker is my ‘first go-to source’.
  7. Hilton Als  is the current theater critic.
  8. He  has been awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
  9. Hilton Als never disappoints
  10. His reviews are literary works of art, magnificiant!
  11. He introduced me to some new  American Theater playwrights
  12. who are  serious, original, and deeply ambitious.
  13. Here are only a few worth reading….
  14. Annie Baker, Thomas Bradshaw, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins,
  15. ,….Richard Maxwell, Sarah Ruhl, and Young Jean Lee.


  1. I have had a subscription to the New Yorker
  2. …for more than 40 years here in The Netherlands.
  3. It is my most treasured ‘link and contact’  to the old country.
  4. I’ve read a biography of Dorothy Parker,
  5. What Fresh Hell is This
  6. Collection of Essays by E.B. White  and
  7. …many books by James Thurber.
  8. But I knew nothing about the abrasive Wolcott Gibbs.
  9. He was the  theater critic from 1938 until his death in 1958.
  10. Wolcott wrote  some of the magazine’s most remembered pieces.
  11. Wolcott Gibbs is by far the central character in this book
  12. .…followed by
  13. E.B. White, James Thurber, A.J. Liebling, Harold Ross, William Shawn
  14. …Charles Addams and Katherine White.
  15. Curiously…there was very little mention of Dorothy Parker
  16. …and Richard Bentley!
  17. If you love the New Yorker this is a …
  18. #MustRead



Salt Water

Author: Cathy McLennan
Title: Salt Water
Genre: memoir
Published: 2016
Trivia: (QLD) #AusReadingMonth  @Brona’s Books
Trivia: #AWW   @AusWomenWriters
Trivia: List of Challenges 2017
Trivia:  #NonFicNov



McLennan describes her book as a memoir.

  1. It based on the recollection of the facts about several court cases,
  2. her personal diaries, newspaper articles and  judicial sentencing remarks.
  3. Theme: McLennan highlights indigenous issues to give us a better understanding of the problems.
  4. Time of self-reflection:
  5. McLennan reflected on her experience in the justice system.
  6. Title: refers to page 38.
  7. McLennan describes her feelings while swimming under salt water:
  8. “Under the sea it’s silent, the sounds of the world above vanish.”
  9. Strong point: McLennan does a great job recounting her cases and
  10. …all the emotions and efforts of those involved.



Salt Water won University of Queensland
Non-Fiction Book Award 2017.
I read the book based on this recommendation.
I admit that I was expecting something else.
As I read the book I kept waiting for it to develop.  It didn’t.
I was looking for items often in memoirs:
turning point in the author’s life
role-models or mentors who inspired the author
world event that changed the author’s view on life.
This was just a different sort of memoir.
It did not leave a lasting impression on me.
It was just not my cup of tea, but others may enjoy the book!


#NonFicNov 2017 Week 1

  • Week 1: (Oct 30 to Nov 3) – Julie at  JulzReads:   
  • Your Year in Nonfiction
  • #NonFicNov


  1. Time to share my year of non-fiction and answer a few questions about the books.
  2. I discovered audio books are a great way to keep reading while commuting
  3. …or doing housework!
  4. I read a few non-fiction books in French.
  5. Interesting but they …take  so long to read (vocabulary issues).


Non-fiction:  2017  ( AB= audio book)

Badinter, E. – Le pouvoir au féminin
Watson, D. –  The Bush
Brodsky, J. – On Grief and Reason
Barry, B. – Georgiana Molloy: The Mind That Shines
Canetti, E. – The Voices of Marrakesh
Du Bois, W.E.B. – Of Our Spiritual Strivings
Franklin, R. – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life  (AB)
Eltchanihoff, M. –  Dans la tête de Marine Le Pen
Fosse, J. –  An Angle Walks Through the Stage
Galbraith, J.K. – The Great Crash, 1929 (AB)
Veil, S. – Un Vie
Greenwald, G. – No Place to  Hide
Trumpington, J. – Coming Up Trumps: A Memoir (AB)
Hegarty, N. – The Story of Ireland
White, E.B. – Collection of Essays  (AB)
Hochschild, A. – Strangers in their own Land
Brands, H.W. – The General and the President  (AB)
Tye, Larry – Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon  (AB)
Jablonka, I. – Laëtitia
Sophocles’ ‘Oepidus The King: a Reader’s Guide – S. Sheehan
Jones, L. – Foxes Unearthed
Kaplan, G. – Bird Minds
Peraino, K. – A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman and Birth of Modern China  (AB)

Brown, E. – The Bloody Mary Book
Lee, L. – Village Christmas
Massimino, M. – Spaceman
Levingston, S. – Kennedy and King  (AB)
Lamb, K. – Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather
Massie, R. –  Catherine the Great
McCoole, S. – Easter Widows
Ogien, R. – My Thousand and One Nights
Prescott, T. – Neil Gaiman in the 21st Century
Rebanks, J. – The Shepherd’s Life
Katz, Yaakov – Weapon Wizards
Robinson, M. – The Death of Adam
Verdier, F. – Passagère du Silence
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi – Dear Ijeawele
Sayarer, J. Interstate
Lewis-Stempel, J. – The Running Hare
Sinha, M. – The Slave’s Cause
Wood, L. – Walking the Nile
Shestokas, D. – Constitutional Sound Bites
Briant, L. – Propaganda and Counter-Terrorism
Lahr, J. – Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh: Tennessee Williams
White, R.C. – American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant
Tuchman, B. – A Distant Mirror

Viner, K. – How Technology Disrupted The Truth
De Tocqueville, A. – Democracy in America (AB)
Plutarch – Plutarch’s Lives
Paxton, R. – The Anatomy of Fascism  (AB)
Meade, M. – Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This
Paine, T. – Common Sense
Leovy, J. – Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America  (AB)
Plato – The Republic
Yong, E. – I Contain Multitudes
Madigan, K. – Medieval Christianity: A New History
Sands, P. – East West Street 


What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?   The best book has to be about a writer who has delighted many readers….but do you know what influenced Jackson so she could send shivers down our spines?

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life  by R. FranklinNational Book Critic’s Circle Award Biography 2016


What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

I would recommend reading more  literary biographies…but discover authors outside the US or UK! Australia has a tremendous number of writers to read.  Here is one of my favorites. Once you know more about the personal life of an author …their books take on a whole new dimension!

Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather   by K. Lamb (Australian writer) – Shortlist National Biography Award (Australia) 2016.

What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet?  I want  to read more travel books – books about other countries. I  use #WorldFromMyArmchair to collect my readings. I love to travel….but hate to leave the house!  In 2018 I hope to read at least  1 travel book a month! This was my favorite ‘travel’ book of the year…

The Bush by Don Watson – Book of the Year Non-Fiction 2015 Queensland Literary Award


What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

New books to add to my  non-fiction TBR!





Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon 2017



  1. The Dewey 24 Hour Readathon begins in Leeuwarden,
  2. …The Netherlands at 2pm  on Saturday 21 October.
  3. Read-a-Thon is online on Twitter @readathon and Goodreads
  4. I intend to restrict myself to 
  5. …1  twitter update per hour…..short and sweet!
  6. I will add a ‘check-in progress update’ to this post 1 x per 4 hours.  (pages read)
  7. I am honored to be an member of twitter team in Australia/New Zealand.
  8. I will link my posts and comments on Twitter with #teamanz.
  9. Many thanks to Brona’s Books  …she has manged to bring the team together!
  10. My READ-A-THON 2017  is all about Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!


  1. I need a COLD  beer….
  2. I need a HOT shower…
  3. I need a medium rare STEAK dinner !
  4. Thank you @Readathon
  5. Thank you #TeamANZ
  6. Thank you Brona’s Books for organizing the team!


6th Hour Discussion Dewey’s Read-a-Thon

  • What is your guilty pleasure book?
  • The genre you binge on which is not “haute literature”.
  • I devour books the reveal ‘back-room’ politics that has taken place in history.
  • It reveals the vices of our leaders,
  • the deals made for ‘detente’ and
  • confirms my belief on humanity’s imprefection.

Here are some examples of ‘blockbusters’

The Devil’s Chessboard (CIA)
A Very Expensive Poison (Russian influence )
Kennedy and King(Civil Rights Struggle USA)
The General vs. The President (MacArthur/Truman/Korean War)
No Place to Hide (NSA)


3rd Hour Discussion Dewey’s Read-A-Thon

Who are you in 3 quotes?

Joseph Conrad:

David Glasgow Farragut Admiral during American Civil War:

Seamus Heaney – Irish poet


Challenge: 10 years in 10 books

Books 2007 – 2017  (my selection best reads…..)

2007 – Edith Wharton (by H. Lee)
2008 – Breath (T. Winton)
2009 – Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life (Carol Sklenicka)
2010 – Selected Stories by W. Trevo
2011 – Return to Killy begs
2012 – HHhH (L. Binet)
2013 – O. Laing ‘Trip to Echo Spring
2014 – All the Light We Cannot See (A. Doerr)
2015 – Ghettoside
2016 – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
2017 – A Force So Swift (K. Peraino)



Hour –  0     OPENING  MEME 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
The Netherlands
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
The Grief Hole (K. Warren)
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I read all the time….love cats….hate housework!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
New: make a timeline on blogpost for easy updates
New: don’t try to take notes…just write a quick ‘Tweet to use as a reminder when I write my review.
New: use audiobook….for late night reading

+ ALL books are digital so I can adjust the font for my tires eyes!


BOOKSHELF  Goodreads  #Readathon 2017

  • I’ll add a few quick comments to my books while reading….
  • You can see my thoughts on GR  bookshelf


What will I be reading?

  1. My book choices are digital….
  2. I need to be able to adjust the font…for late night reading!
  3. I have a audiobook ready for  the ‘very late hours’
  4. … when I just  need to take a break from staring at words.


  • The Grief Hole – K. Warren  (fiction)
  • Trivia: Won Best Horror/Paranormal Novel  2016 Aurealis Awards (pages 331)

  • A Boat Load of Home Folk – T. Astley (fiction)
  • Trivia:  Astley extends the life of some characters from  her previous book
  • The Slow Natives.  Astley casts a moral disapproval of
  • female Yank-dating Miss Trump and Miss Paradise (pages 218)


  • Position Doubtful – K. Mahood (audiobook and or Kindle)  (non-fiction)
  • Trivia: Memoir if you are interested in contemporary Aboriginal Australia (pages 336)


  • The Glass Canoe – D. Ireland  (fiction)
  • Trivia: Won Miles Franklin Award 1976  (213 pages)


  • Cultural Amnesia – C. James (essays)
  • Trivia: I love Clive James’ keen sense of humor.
  • Some of James’s entries include his digressions about  a dozen women.
  • …including Coco Chanel and Margaret Thatcher.
  • I want to pick a few of these for a ‘change of pace’. (pages 912)


  • Bunnicula and Friends Series – J.Howe
  • Trivia:  I ‘ve never finished  nr 2 and nr 3 book in the series.
  • These books are hysterical….
  • and I think I may need some ‘laugh time’ during the next 24 hours!


The Celery Stalks at Midnight  (144 pages) – FINISHED!!


Howliday Inn ( pages 224)


TIMELINE:   21 October 2017

Location: Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, CEST
2PM:  – 6PM

Start Page: loc 51 (Kindle) 1% I’ll calculate pages after finishing!
End Page: loc 442
Total Pages Read: 40
Total Hours Read: 3,5
Total Books Read: 1
Total Books Completed: 0
Title: A Boat Load of Home Folk by Thea Astley

Comment: I’m taking too many notes…I can’t stop myself! Took time to take part in 1 challenge 10Years and 10 Books. I also answered the 3rd hour question ” Who are you in 3 quotes?”  – 15 minute break!

6PM:  – 10PM

Start Page: 11
End Page: 57
Total Pages Read: 46
Total Hours Read: 3,5
Total Books Read: 1
Total Books Completed: 0
Title: Cultural Amnesia by Clive James

Comment: Hope to read 10 essays before next check-in! I managed to read 5 essays + and feed the cats and make dinner! – 15 minute break

10PM:  – 2AM

Start Page: 3
End Page: 13
Total Pages Read: 10
Total Hours Read: 1
Total Books Read: 1
Total Books Completed: 0
Title: The Grief Hole by Kaaron Warren

Comment: I could only stay awake until midnight… target was 0100 am.  Going to bed with a general idea what both books are about and will read them tomorrow.  Saturday 2pm – midnight = 10 hrs total  – Sleep 3 hours…


2AM:  – 6AM

Start Page: 3
End Page: 90
Total Pages Read: 87
Total Hours Read: 2
Total Books Read: 1
Total Books Completed: 0
Title: Position Doubtful by Kim Mahood

Comment: Enjoyed Kim Mahood’s book….but it is very dense with rich metaphors. I have to really concentrate to absorb all she tells us about her 2nd homeland, Tanami Desert.


6AM:  – 10AM

Start Page: 13
End Page: 83
Total Pages Read: 70
Total Hours Read: 3
Total Books Read: 1
Total Books Completed: 0
Title: The Grief Hole by Kaaron Warren. This book is very good…good enough to convince met to read more  paranormal/horror fiction! I never gave this genre a chance….now I am a fan!


10AM:  – 2PM (…still reading)

Start Page: 1 (The Celery Stalks at Midnight) 7 (The Glass Canoe)
End Page: (144); ( 24)
Total Pages Read: 144 + 17 = 151
Total Hours Read: 4
Total Books Read: 2
Total Books Completed: 1
Title: The Celery Stalks at Midnight by J. Howe; The Glass Canoe  by D. Ireland

Comment: Ending my last 4 #Readathon hours  with some humor/children’s book. Relax and laugh! I still had time to start “A Glass Canoe”…I did my best!


Total Read:

Final Tally – 404 pages
Total Time Reading 17 hours
Genres: memoir (1) children’s book (1) fiction (3) essays (1)
Total Checkpoints Utilized – 6 Checkpoints and One Checkout
Total Number of Books Competed – 1
Total Number of Books in Progress – 5





  1. Jill Leovy examines one of the most disturbing facts about life in America:
  2. that African-American males are, as she puts it,
  3. just 6 percent of the country’s population
  4. …but nearly 40 percent of those murdered.
  5. This is a world that most journalists never cover
  6. …and most of America never sees.



  1. This book was researched and written in interval over 5 years.
  2. Los Angeles crime reporter Jill Levoy embedded herself in 2008
  3. ….in the 77th and Southwest squads LA.
  4. She shadowed homicide detectives.
  5. This is an impressive revelation about the
  6. …devastating  true story of LA crime, race and intimidation.
  7. One of the detective heroes is John Skaggs.
  8. His working life was devoted to one end:
  9. making black lives expensive, and worth answering for.

  1. Leovy tries to penetrate the mystery of the disproportionate
  2. …black homicide with her stats and surveys of case outcomes.
  3. This book was an eye-opener.
  4. #MustRead



Bobby Kennedy: The Making of Liberal a Icon



  1. Most of what Larry Tye tells us has been written before.
  2. Tye does an excellent job of taking the reader thru
  3. Bobby’s life and his political career in particular.
  4. Larry Tye includes new information gleaned from
  5. …RFK’s private archive that was opened in 2014.
  6. I just put the audio book on….and listened all day!
  7. Fascinating!


Last thoughts:

  1.  Larry Tye gives the reader a
  2. front row seat during at the back room drama of RFK years!
  3. Bobby was not an intellectual as his brother JFK.
  4. Bobby knew how to USE intellectuals!
  5. #MustRead or #MustListen
  6. Trivia: RFK’s favorite beer was Heinekin
  7. Trivia: RFK’s favorite cocktails were Daiquiri or Old Fashioned
  8. Trivia: RFK’s last child was born after his death.
  9. The baby girl was named Rory….the Irish version of Robert.


My notes:

NEW: RFK never forgave Edward R. Morrow in toppling Joseph McCarthy

NEW: According to RFK..McCartyism is Americanism…with its sleeves rolled up.

NEW: Joe McCarthy – RFK connection: I have never read about this time in RFK’s life. My knowledge of RFK began with 1960 and his brother’s presidental champaign. JM reminded RFK of his father. RFK’s loyalty to McCarthy grew out of the devotion to his father.  RFK and McCarthy had  many characteristics in common:
— able to be thoughtful to friends yet cruel to others
— able sensitive and yet insensitive
not able to anticipate the results of what he was doing

NEW: RFK took it upon himself to root out corruption in the Teamsters Union. But Tye explains that there was a thin line between fervour and fanaticism.
RFK vs Jimmy Hoffa was an explosive combination.
I did not know of how deep the toxic ongoing animosity  between these two men was.

NEW: 1 in 4 Americans were catholics in 1960…
yet Roman Catholicism was still a stigma in the 1960 presidential election.
In 2008 things had changed Obama’s race and not religion was the issue.

NEW: RFK turned down the offer of Attorney General in his brother’s cabinet, but after long deliberation, soul-searching and a talk with the patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy…RFK’s fate was decided.

NEW: Senators had the votes to defeat RFK’s appointment. LBJ was furious…this would be an embarrassment for the new Vice-President.
LBJ had to prove he could get the votes needed for JFK’s cabinet…even though LBJ LOATHED Bobby!

NEW:  RFK led the greatest investigative attack on organised crime ever seen in the USA. I have always thought…this put RFK AND JFK on a maffia ‘hit-list’.
RFK upset Joe Bonnano famiy in NY, the Patriarca crime family in Rhode Island, DeCavalcante crime family in NJ and worst of all….Sam Giancana of the maffia in Chicago. It is rumoured that Jimmy Hoffa had once said: “Somebody should bump this guy off (RFK).”
Yet in the book The Devil’s Chessboard (D. Talbot) an explosive, headline-making portrait of Allen Dulles, the man who transformed the CIA into the most powerful—and secretive—colossus in Washington, there was the suggestion that Dulles used his CIA contacts and was involved in the assassination of JFK…en perhaps RFK !
Will we ever know the truth?

NEW: During RFK’s three years as attorney general his office prosecuted 2 congressmen, 3 state supreme court justices, 5 mayors, 2 chiefs of police and 3 sheriffs …and ALL democrats!
RFK and JFK made many enemies!

NEW: Frank Sinatra….investigation was never triggered by RFK.  Why? There were too many links to the Kennedy family, political machine and JFK (…Frank often facilitated the supply of ‘women’ to visit JFK).

NEW:  The seeds for the Cuban Missal Crisis were planted two Octobers earlier (1959). Eisenhouwer quietly agreed to back Castro’s home-grown opposition. CIA drew op a plan in March 1960 to train and equip a paramilitary force of Cuban exiles. Castro’s welcoming of the Russian help in 1962 did not come out of the blue…it was a response to American agression. My memories about those ‘ 13 days’ in October 1962 are vivid. The political back round went way above my 11 year old head. Yet I sensed the tension that my parents radiated every time they listened to the news!

NEW:  WHAT THE… Kennedy had microphones planted in the cabinet room and taped the conversations with his ministers. No one had a clue that they were being taped! JFK was able to turn on the bugs with the help of a hidden button. JFK could turn it on or off…at his pleasure!  These recordings were JFK’s and RFK’s non-shareables.

The public found out about these tapes in 1973…and it took another 24 years to have the last of the Cuban Missal Crisis tapes to be released!


Kennedy and King

  • Author: Steven Levingston
  • Title: Kennedy and King
  • Published: 2017
  • #20BooksOfSummer



  1. Kennedy and King traces the emergence of two of the 20th C ‘s greatest leaders
  2. their powerful impact on each other and
  3. …on the shape of the civil rights battle between 1960 and 1963.
  4. These two men from  different worlds
  5. profoundly influenced each other’s personal development.



  1. I read and listened to this book.
  2. The audio brought the story to life with the whisperered voices
  3. …of Jackie Kennedy and Coretta King
  4. …JFK’s  Boston Kennedy accent
  5. …MLK’s booming preaching voice of King and
  6. ….Governor John Patterson of Alabama as the snarling white segregationist.
  7. His strong stand on race earned him the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan.
  8. This book also brought back memories of  the 1960 – 1963 years.
  9. As a child still in grammar school….
  10. I was just realizing what was happening in politics in America.
  11. At the age of 10-11 yr …my understanding of the violence and
  12. …lack of civil rights in the southern states was nihil.
  13. This book shone light on the shadows in my memories  that I had
  14. …kept after seeing the struggle for civil rights spread out in
  15. ...Life, Look, and Saturday Evening Post magazines.
  16. Steven Levingston’s Kennedy and King
  17. …is masterpiece of historical narrative.
  18. Every page sparkles with the storytelling of those turbulent years….
  19. …that I tried to remember.
  20. I would not be surprised if this book at got nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
  21. Perhaps…it could win!
  22. #MustRead….or  #MustListen


Last thoughts:

Here are a few notes I made high-lighting some facts that I was unaware of.

The book begins with the usual backround information about Kennedy and King’s youth and early careers  as senator of Massachusetts and Minister in Montgomery Alabama.

New: I remember the excitement around the 1960 election Kennedy vs Nixon. JFK’s face was on all the magazines flashing his famous Irish smile. What I did not realize at the time….
Kennedy between May 1955-October 1957 was secretly hospitalized 9 times (44 days) while he was launching his vice-presidential and presidential bids.

Kennedy was in pain (injuries to back, Addison’s Disease and many more aliments) for about half his life.

New: Kennedy did not know about the ‘real’ situation in the deep south even 8 months before the election in 1960. He had traveled all over Europe but had hardly set a foot in the ‘red states’ in the south.
Kennedy desperately wanted the backing of the prominent singer Harry Belafonte. The singer refused and told Kennedy that every hour he spent talking to him….he  SHOULD BE talking to Martin Luther King.

New: the role of Harris Wofford in the civil rights movement.

Harris Wofford white lawyer who studied in India. He was an advocate of Ghandi’s approach to politics and protest.

He and King spent many hours discussing ways to adapt Ghandi’s tactics to civil rights demonstrations. This was a powerful new form of political persuasion. King believed that the art of politics involved the skilful dramatic use of symbolic acts.

New: I did not know that MLK visited India…so he could meet with people who had worked with Ghandi.

New: One of the most prominent female civil rights activist….and I never heard of her. I would love to read a biography about Diane Nash! May-December 1961 demonstration Freedom Riders who desecrated interstate travel.


Ch 64 – The Constitution was color-blind…(and in my opinion…still is)

Ch 69 – 1962 MLK wrote in The Nation Magazine: ‘The President proposed a 10-year plan to put a man on the moon, ..yet we do not have a plan to put a Negro in the State Legislature of Alabama!” (Ouch!)

Ch 71 – I never heard of the Cosmos Club! The Cosmos Club is a private social club in Washington D.C. It endures as a an institution for the upper crust. Its rolls have included three U.S. presidents, two vice presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, 32 Nobel Prize winners and 56 Pulitzer Prize winners. Although the membership of more than 3,000 includes women and blacks, these are fairly recent developments in the club’s 132 years. The Cosmos Club didn’t end its male-only rule until 1988.