10 June ’10

A fascinating expose of corruption, typhoid and the art of the daguerrotype in 1840s New Orleans; the well-known 12th-century tale of Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Thomas Becket; and a comparison of a group of Oregon Trail pioneers with a modern-day family retracing their route — my reading has been quite varied since last I posted.

And it’s been a whirlwind several weeks, traveling, working, worrying (about my sister Joan, who’s currently encountering some health issues) and learning….. always learning.

Since this “department” focuses on books, however, here’s to these, in brief:

Yellow Jack, the debut novel by Josh Russell, was recommended by the manager of Faulkner House Books in New Orleans — as her favorite look at the French Quarter pre-Civil War. Yes, Peter and I took a last-minute jaunt there to celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary (neither of us had been there since our honeymoon). An incredible, thought-provoking trip — honestly, I’m still processing it but will likely write more about it soon (so stay tuned.)

Time and Chance is by Sharon Kay Penman; I’d read nearly ALL of this author’s books about England, Wales and France, but had somehow never acquired this one. While I knew the “outcome” (a little bit like watching the movie Titanic and knowing the ship will sink) it was  still a most-satisfying historical novel.

Not sure why I’m so fascinated with all things English, but… might as well feed the hunger. And of course the book inspired me to some serious research in our library, looking at entries in Who’s Who in British History: Early Medieval England, 1066-1272, by Christopher Tyerman; The Lady, in Medieval England, 1000-1500, by Peter Coss; and the Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages, 950-1250, edited by Robert Fossier.  As the song says, “One thing leads to another.”

And I’m not through yet: this morning I just started Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George, another tome of nearly 900 pages.

Ghosts of the Pioneers by Twain Braden was the book club book we talked about at Monday’s get-together at Dark Horse Books. It was a good discussion — Bev Charette suggested the title originally, brought a map of the trails through Wyoming, and facilitated the interchange. Plus, at the end of the meeting, we chose our next slate of book club books — will be posting those soon, too.

This coming week I head to Denver for a long-awaited reunion with the girl cousins of my generation from my dad’s family.  Many I haven’t seen since the early 1990s (!) so probably won’t take much time to read.

My Weekly Reader is become something less frequent, but still rewarding as a journal of  my literary journey.  I hope you enjoy it, too — happy reading!

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