Educated by Tara Westover

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Tara Westover never set foot in a classroom until she was 17. She didn’t see a doctor, nor did her siblings, when they direly needed medical attention. Her father was a survivalist Mormon with very strong ideas about how the world ought to be. His faith in his religion certainly jeopardized his wife and children’s health as well as his own.

Tara’s older brother Tyler said, “There’s a world out there, Tara and it will look a lot different once Dad is no longer whispering his view of it in your ear.”

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s well written and amazing to read about the obstacles Westover had to overcome. There were times I thought, if this were me I think I would have wept and given up. I’d like to think I’m stronger than that but I know this, I never had the drive Westover did at the same age. Nor did I live in the same circumstances.

It would have been far easier for Tara to fall back into the fold, follow her father’s path and shut off the inquiring and intelligent part of her brain, plow through life with her survivalist family. Good for her for striving forward. She taught herself mathematics and history and managed to get accepted to BYU.  After massive culture shock she thrived and went on to Cambridge and Harvard, eventually earning a Ph.D in History.

As for the memories which Tara states she consulted her brothers for their recollections, there is an inconsistency here and there.  To read what her brothers stated after the publication of this book click HERE. I am also considering that she may well have been treated differently as a female in regard to her father’s and church expectations.

This is is my fourth book for the 2020 Nonfiction challenge hosted by Shelley at Book’d Out. Check it out HERE.

Category: Social Science. It’s a memoir but as social science focuses on relationships among individuals and society.

NonFiction

British Isles Friday: Fiction Books for the Stay-at-Home order

Florida has finally issued a Safer-at-Home order and while I feel it came a little too late, at least those with common sense will stay home now. I hope so anyway.

I miss the library and chatting with the librarians, browsing the book stacks and sale table. While they are closed the digital book service is still available so I can check out a book for my Kindle; I’ve done that a few times recently.

Today I would like to share some books I recently purchased via Amazon. These were all on a good sale ranging from $1.99 to $3.99. While I bought many other books recently I will share those authored by British writers for British Isles Friday event hosted by Joy.

Mothering Sunday is one I just started.  I am going to copy the book descriptions  from Amazon then do my reviews  here as I read them.

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift:  “Twenty-two-year-old Jane Fairchild has worked as a maid at an English country house since she was sixteen. For almost all of those years she has been the clandestine lover to Paul Sheringham, young heir of a neighboring house. The two now meet on an unseasonably warm March day—Mothering Sunday—a day that will change Jane’s life forever.

As the narrative moves back and forth from 1924 to the end of the century, what we know and understand about Jane—about the way she loves, thinks, feels, sees, remembers—expands with every vividly captured moment. Her story is one of profound self-discovery.”

Last Orders by Graham Swift: “Four men gather in a London pub. They have taken it upon themselves to carry out the last orders of Jack Dodds, master butcher, and deliver his ashes to the sea. As they drive towards the fulfillment of their mission, their errand becomes an extraordinary journey into their collective and individual pasts. Braiding these men’s voices, and that of Jack’s widow, into a choir of sorrow and resentment, passion and regret, Swift creates a testament to a changing England and to enduring mortality. ”

Note:  A movie starring Michael Caine was made based on this book. That should be a good one!

The Stormy Petrel by Mary Stewart: “When Rose Fenemore takes a desperately needed holiday to an isolated cottage on the Scottish island of Moila she doesn’t expect much in the way of adventure – just a few quiet weeks of writing, walking and bird-watching.

And then, late one night during a wild storm, two young men appear in her doorway, seeking shelter from the wind and rain. Neither man is quite who he claims, and the question of who to trust will put Rose in grave peril .”

The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy : “As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow.

With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined.”

The Ministry of Fear By Graham Greene:   “On a peaceful Sunday afternoon, Arthur Rowe comes upon a charity fete in the gardens of a Cambridgeshire vicarage where he wins a game of chance. If only this were an ordinary day. Britain is under threat by Germany, and the air raid sirens that bring the bazaar to a halt expose Rowe as no ordinary man. Recently released from a psychiatric prison for the mercy killing of his wife, he is burdened by guilt, and now, in possession of a seemingly innocuous prize, on the run from a nest of Nazi spies who want him dead.

Pursued on a dark odyssey through the bombed-out streets of London, he becomes enmeshed in a tangle of secrets that reach into the dark recesses of his own forgotten past. And there isn’t a soul he can trust, not even himself. Because Arthur Rowe doesn’t even know who he really is.”

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As you can see I have a variety of good books, some light reading, some literary fiction and some mysteries.  Upcoming  I will be sharing reviews and another grouping of books and movies I have acquired for our self isolation period.

Wishing you all good health and safety during this crazy time in our lives. Stay safe.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

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The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

DF72BA8D-1B64-4A2B-8B57-604061B336E1I liked Kubica’s previous book Pretty Baby so I was excited to get my digital library loan for The Other Mrs.

We start off with Will & Sadie Foust and their young sons arriving in Maine, looking at a house they’ve inherited from Will’s deceased sister Alice.  Included in the inheritance is custody of Imogene, Alice’s 16 year old daughter. Sadie  has an uneasy feeling about the house and the move. It’s a big change from the apartment they had in Chicago. The house is located on one of Maine’s islands.

Right now with people self isolating I have to say living on an island sounds pretty good. A ferry comes twice a day to take kids to school on the mainland and for people to commute and get groceries.

Frankly there aren’t a lot of likable people in this book in the very beginning. I feel a little sorry for Sadie but I definitely did not like her husband Will. This intensified as I read on. The character Imogen was no picnic either but let’s allow for the fact that her mother was dead and she is now subject to these strangers moving into her home.

After reading a little more I’ll say it has a decent plot with a lot of mystery, psychological kind of drama. I think it was around 82% mark that I slapped  my head and said, really? I did not like the turn the plot took but I’d read so far that I decided to finish it.

Perhaps Kubica meant to bring awareness about  mental illness and slam this ending to a crescendo where you’d say, wow that was amazing. Didn’t see it coming, etc.

Instead it made me feel gypped. I’ve read books where I didn’t like the ending but this was different. She wrapped it up but that twist….yeah. Rolling my eyes.

Obviously this is just my opinion and yes I would read another book by this author in the future. At least one more.

 

Peter Brook: Landscape Painter

Peter Brook was a landscape painter focusing his art on the Pennines in Yorkshire. The stark beauty of the Yorkshire landscape is captured in his art.  The vast empty countryside shines with beauty and visions of life less complicated these days.

The Pennines is a range of hills and mountains separating the area of Yorkshire from the northwest. Just as I love reading about the Yorkshire Shepherdess and viewing the magnificent scenery in her posts on Twitter, I enjoy looking at Mr. Brooks paintings.  By the way, if anyone knows where I can get a copy of the landscape books for a reasonable price, please contact me.  I have found a copy of the book pictured above but $58 is too steep for my budget these days!

The photos here are credited from the AC Gallery. We don’t own any of Brooks paintings, alas.

I was inspired by Joy for British Isles Friday to share some beauty today. She has posted about virtual museum tours which is ideal for the situation we are all in these days.  Staying home doesn’t mean you can enjoy art and science.  Check out here post HERE.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday.

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John Glenn: A Memoir

773BEF7F-8CE7-4715-925E-181DB7FB9856If you were a fan of the space program you’ll remember when Glenn orbited the earth. I was a kid but my family and I were glued to the television and watched the story unfold. What I didn’t know until I read this book was how long it took for Glenn to go up in Friendship 7. There were many delays, incredibly invasive testing and, didn’t know this either, several attempts were first made with monkeys.

He went into space again when he was 77. In talking about the crew on Discovery he describes himself as “Another subject was a 77 year old 190 lb specimen known as a payload specialist.”  He Said he was as much a guinea pig as he had been in in 1962

Muscle loss in elderly is thought to be primary from lack of exercise, but in space astronauts lose muscle from decreased protein production. NASA wanted to monitor and gauge this with a former older astronaut.

While it was the flying and astronaut stories that initially interested me in this book I have to say I enjoyed hearing about his early life.

He met his wife when they were plopped into the same playpen as infants. Their parents were good friends and the friendship, eventually love, blossomed for John and Annie.

Every time he would go away for a long period of time, especially on dangerous missions, they would part with these words.

“I’m just going to the corner store to get a pack of gum” and her response was always “Don’t be long.” The same corny line from that kept the tears in check when left for war,  the Korean conflict and being launched into space.

The New York Times stated “At age 36, Major Glenn is reaching the practical age limit for piloting complicated pieces of machinery through the air.” This was after his supersonic flight across the U.S. which took 3 hours and 23 minutes at an average speed of 723 mph.
They’d certainly had no idea what was in store for John Glenn!

I learned quite a bit about John Glenn, his war experiences, his love of flying, the space program and what a patriotic and ethic man he was. There were things I’d forgotten about Glenn such as his bid for the presidency and some of the details of how he ended up in politics.

John Glenn is my third  book for the nonfiction challenge hosted by ShelleyRae at Book’d Out
Category is Memoir.

NonFictionr

Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman

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Dr. Emma Lewis is a 30 year old neuropsychiatrist living in London. She is offered the case of a lifetime, one which could make her career.  A well respected doctor in her field offers her the case of Mr. Nobody.  The man was found on a beach, drenched to the skin and having no apparent memory of who he is or where he is from. Could this be an actual rare case of fugue?

If you recall, back in 2005 there was a similar real case called The Piano Man, the circumstances of his case very similar and probably (in my opinion) gave our author the inspiration for this story. True story you may read about by clicking the hyperlink above.

By page 76 the plot dances around the fact of an incident with Emma and her family, so bad her family needed to be relocated and given new identities. As a reader I think it would have been better to reveal what her horrific experience was much earlier in the book. You learn why at page 200+

Anyway, she decides, against her brother`s advice, to return to Norfolk as it is a  career changing case. Also weird was a government agency did an intense background check on her, knows her identity and why she left Norfolk 14 years ago.  Lots of mystery about the government agency and what happened to Emma and her family. She was required to sign a confidentiality contract before proceeding. Hmmm…..they must know or suspect something about this Mr. Nobody.

I ask, if they wanted HER in particular why not relocate the man with fugue to a London hospital where Emma Lewis is working and reduce risk of her former identity revealed near her childhood home? Logical question.

The psychological mystery does wrap up with a few twists that were nicely incorporated.  The mystery man knows so much about Emma already although they’d never met.You have to suspend disbelief on some scenes, I wont give spoilers, but it is a decent enough mystery to make me look for her other publication.  This one is her second book.

Catherine Steadman is an actress based in North London, UK, and the author of Something in the Water. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End. In 2016, she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Oppenheimer. She is best known in the United States for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from Random House and LibraryThing. I was not compensated and opinions are all mine.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

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Many Rivers To Cross by Peter Robinson #shrug

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I have enjoyed my journey with the real time aging of DCI Alan Banks and was eager to pick up book #26. Alas, this one was lackluster.

By page eight he had already trashed Donald Trump and Brexit. Politics do not have a place in this series and frankly, it was a huge turn off. I felt like I was being lectured.

This is a British author who lives in Canada.  While he may have a strong opinion on Brexit, or the U.S.president, Mr. Robinson doesn’t reside in England or the U.S.A. so he should shut his pie hole and write the mystery!

We start with the murder of a Middle Eastern young man and boy oh boy, the lecture/judgement starts again.  Clearly the readers are told how narrow minded most of are. The book description states there would be some racial tension and that here is.

Also, a character named Zelda returned in this book and we hear about her experiences when she was a victim of sex trafficking. It doesn’t fit in with the investigations and reminded me of those movies where you have that gratuitous sex scene, one that doesn’t belong or fits in with the overall plot.  You blink and think, why is this in here?

What I did like: The police procedural genre. Also still loving detectives Annie Cabbot and Winsome Jackman as well as Eastvale’s CSI team.

It’s been fun reading  about his children’s updates as they were so young in the beginning of the series. They are in their late 30’s now and it’s a nice “slice of life “ but I noticed Banks’ age isn’t mentioned. I wrote the author over a year ago voicing concern about Alan Banks aging in real time.

His aging will slow down. Still, if you’ve been reading the books in order and remember when his children were adolescents you’ll be able to do the math. By the way, hardly any time is spent on his grown children (Brian & Tracy) but if you’ve read from the beginning you watch them grow emotionally and professionally.

Overall, and I didn’t think I’d ever feel this way, Alan Banks should wrap up his career and ride off into the sunset. The last book had too much sex trafficking mentioned & had lots of “filler”  about his musical taste. More on that HERE.

This was my second disappointing book in a row and I may not continue. One, two, three strikes you’re out. If the next book is similar I’m done with the series. Mr. Robinson, you will have to write a cracking good story to keep your fans after these last two books.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

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