reading books then & now

31527F6E-4D80-4417-B79C-38E6F7F51364There aren’t enough days in the years to read all the books that I wish I could. To enjoy them and then read them again, and again, and again to absorb them. So many books, so little time.

I recently was rereading A LANTERN IN HER HAND by Bess Streeter Aldrich. An older book, I read it when I was a teenager and it didn’t really stick with me. Reading it now, though, as a mother of three- it stuck.

This is the way with books, I think. As we grow and learn and live, they change with us. Whether they are more or less applicable depends, but the pieces of your soul which they stick to can shift. It’s a beautiful, wondrous thing.

But I wonder, if because there are so many books and so little time, if we all take the time we do have to do this with the books that matter. To reread them, learn from them, understand them better. If we are only reading the new, new, new… if we only read books that are meant for younger readers when we are older or older readers when we are younger, are we benefitting from all the reading?

Yes, I would say. Don’t worry.

We always benefit from reading, but I think if we took more time we could benefit even more. Books help us through things, remind us of others, and help us escape. Every book has a different purpose.

If I hadn’t reread A LANTERN IN HER HAND, I would have missed the heartache of Abbie Deal. When I was younger I was more distracted by the idea of her not chasing her dreams and the fact that the book was very wordy and descriptive (less dialogue). Now, though, I understand and appreciate her sacrifice more than can be explained.

Rereading the HARRY POTTER books, for instance, or THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, with my oldest son- I am picking up on things that I have missed. (This is moreso with THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, because I’ve reread HARRY POTTER far too many times.) But each time, the books change for the good and the bad.

I think this proves the (subjective) quality of books. If they stand the test of time, change and yet mean something extraordinary to the reader, they are well worth the time to reread.

What do you think? Do you have any books you have reread that changed with time, or ones you hope/plan to reread?

Wait For Me book review

Sorry for the absence, guys. I am in a new season of life and it has been kicking my butt!

I had been waiting to read Wait For Me by Caroline Leech since before it came out. From the cover reveal to release, I’ve been very excited about this WWII Historical Fiction. And I was not disappointed! Here’s the description:

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.

The story of Lorna and Paul really brought me into Lorna’s world. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and above all loved how much their relationship tugged on my heartstrings. The struggle of their story was real, and it was a good change from many other romances in YA literature.

I felt like I really got to know Lorna through her relationships and inner dialogue. She was a teenager that others can relate to, even with the historical time period. The only thing I wished for more of were perhaps descriptions of her surroundings. I wanted to see more of where she was in Scotland, and feel it with her. There was just a small piece missing in this, but it didn’t hurt the story or character development by any means.

One thing I have learned lately is to always read the notes from the author, especially when it comes to historical fiction. It’s intriguing to know what is real and what was changed for the sake of the story. I found it so reassuring to know that the author had received a letter from someone who had a grandmother who actually married a POW- knowing that Lorna and Paul’s story could have some truth to it made it that much more heart-wrenching.

If you love period pieces, particularly learning more about WWII, and you love a good romance- I highly recommend this book!

 

trackback thursday: remember the Alamo

 

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photo credit: history.com

On March 6, 1836 For Alamo fell to Mexican troops after a siege that lasted around thirteen days.

The bravery and resistance of those at the Alamo made for the rallying cry, “Remember the Alamo!” The Texans went on to defeat General Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto in April.

Many months before this, Texans had driven Mexican troops out of Mexican Texas. About 100 Texans were garrisoned at the Alamo, and the forces only grew slightly when joined by co-commanders James Bowie and William B. Travis. On February 23rd, around 1500 Mexicans marched to retake Texas.

Over the next ten days, the armies engaged in many skirmishes with few casualties. Travis was aware that his men could not withstand an attack by such a large force; he wrote multiple letters pleading for more men and supplies, but they were reinforced by fewer than 100 men.

In the early morning hours of March 6th, the Mexican Army advanced on the Alamo. After repelling two attacks, the Texans were unable to fend the Mexican Army off a third time.

“Remember the Alamo” created two sparks: a rush of men, wishing to join the Texan army, and a panic that led to many soldiers and settlers fled the new Republic of Texas, away from the advancing Mexican Army.

 

Honestly, when I think of the Alamo, I think of the movie that came out years ago… 2004… with Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton. I know, kind of pathetic. But it’s one place I would love to visit! Raise your hand (or leave a comment) if you’ve been there.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO!

 

trackback thursday: bombardment of Ellwood

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Map of Ellwood/ Ellwood Offshore Oil Field showing location of well damaged during 1942 attack. Map credit: wikipedia.com

Just two-and-a-half months after Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941), the first attack on the U.S. mainland happened on February 23, 1942.

The Bombardment of Ellwood was a naval attack when a Japanese submarine targeted an oil refinery near Santa  Barbara, California. An oiler named G. Brown later told reporters that the enemy submarine looked so big to him he thought it must be a destroyer, until he realized that just one gun was firing.

Although there was minimal damage, this attack was key in triggering West Coast invasion scare and influenced the decision to intern Japanese-Americans.

I have to admit that there is so much WWII history that is beyond my personal knowledge bank, and it’s something I absolutely love to learn more and more about.

What’s your favorite period of history?

trackback thursday: the boy scouts of america is founded

unknownIn February 1910, William Boyce founded The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), modeling it after the Boy-Scout Association in Britain.

Boyce founded BSA in Washington, D.C. There is a “legend” that Boyce, who was an American newspaper man, was lost on a foggy street in London one day when an unknown Scout came to his aid, guiding him to his destination. When Boys offered a tip, the Scout refused- explaining he was just doing his duty as a Boy Scout. Boyce immediately sought the head of the Scouts in Britain, then returned to America and, four months later, founded the Boy Scouts of America.

Of course, this is legend. The truth of it is that a Scout did actually help Boyce, and he asked for the address of the Boy-Scout Association headquarters, but he never met with the head of the scouts in Britain, and it took much longer for the BSA to officially take flight.

BSA isn’t new to controversies. There have been protests for the inclusion of African Americans, and it took a few years before the Catholics and LDS would accept the organization since it had firm ties with a Protestant organization (YMCA).

BSA has survived a century of growth and change, and although there is recent controversy over the laws and acceptance of the association, it is one that was founded in tradition and good intentions and will always have that at it’s roots.

trackback thursday: all-American bombing raid on Germany

Consolidated B-24 "Liberator"

Photo courtesy from the 8th Air Force History Office, found here

On January 27, 1943, the United States 8th Air Force conduced the first all-American bombing raid on Germany.

As 55 bombers targeted Wilhelmshaven, Germany, they dropped 137 tons of bombs on warehouses and industrial plants, losing three aircraft and shooting down 22 German fighters.

The 8th Air Force was activated in February 1942 as a heavy bomber force based in England. Commanded at the time by Brig. Gen. Newton Longfellow, the 8th Air Force was amazingly effective and accurate in bombing warehouses and factories in this first air attack against the Axis power.

The success of this first raid encouraged U.S. military planners to begin regular daylight bombing raids. However, these raids resulted in high casualty rates for the American soldiers involved.

 

 

wayfarer book review

img_2408After a VERY LONG YEAR of waiting, the sequel to Alexandra Bracken‘s Passenger was finally released earlier this month, and I had to wait two whole days after it came out to receive my copy in the mail.

I could have gone to the bookstore, but seeing as how I ordered it the day before it came out, I was responsible. And I waited.

Once I got the book, I was semi-thankful that I was under the weather, because I finished it in approximately 32 hours– and that was only because I fell asleep and dropped the book on my face. Otherwise it would have been shorter.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I will admit it didn’t wrap me up in the world of time travel and history as much as the first one did. Perhaps it’s because the two characters we came to love together so much, Etta and Nicholas, weren’t together for almost the entire book… or perhaps it was something else I can’t put my finger on. But before I go into more (without spoilers, I promise), here’s what Goodreads has to say:

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.

I did absolutely love the secondary characters in the book. I loved getting to know Etta’s father, Julian, Li Min, and more layers of Sophia, Nicholas, and Etta. But, like I said earlier, the fact that the fight for Nicholas and Etta to be together took almost the ENTIRE book… I found myself desperately wanting to skip ahead to the part when they FINALLY REUNITED. This, I’m sure, is the romantic in me.

Since the first book took us on a crazy adventure that brought these two lovebirds together, I hoped the second would bring them together at least halfway through so we could experience more of their balance in the midst of the craziness. This wasn’t the case. However, in a few months I’m hoping to reread both the books in succession and perhaps I won’t feel as torn about my feelings for Wayfarer then.

Overall, this book was beautiful. The places we got to go and the emotions I felt through all of the characters wrapped it up in a wonderful end as a sequel. I especially loved all the toying with history and the potential repercussions of what that could mean.

If you loved Passenger, I would still highly recommend picking up the sequel. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

trackback thursday:Hattie Caraway- first female senator

hattie-carawayIn January of 1932, Hattie Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, was appointed to the U.S. senate to fill the term of her deceased husband, Thaddeus Caraway. Before Caraway, Rebecca Felton had been the only woman who had served as a senator in 1922– for a single day only.

In May 1932 Caraway surprised Arkansas politicians by announcing that she would run for a full term in the upcoming election, when the prominent candidates assumed she would step aside.

She told reporters, “The time has passed when a woman should be placed in a position and kept there only while someone else is being groomed for the job.”

Caraway was the first woman elected as a U.S. Senator.

In 1938 Caraway entered a fight for reelection, challenged by Representative John Little McClellan, who argued that a man could work for and represent the state’s interests better. With support from government employees, women’s groups, and unions, Caraway won a narrow victory in the primary, but then took the general election with 89.4 percent of the vote!

During her time in the Senate, three other women, Rose McConnell Long, Dixie Bibb Graves, and Gladys Pyle, held brief tenures of two years or less in the Senate. None of them overlapped, however, so there were never more than two women in the body.

The 115th Congress (2015-2016) had 21 women out of 100 senators. While we have made strides since 1938, it is still not ratio that is close enough (if you ask me).

 

trackback thursday: birth of the american civil rights movement

rosa_parks_bookingOn December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back section of the bus.

Because she sat down and refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, Parks was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law requiring blacks to relinquish seats to whites when the bus was full. African Americans were also supposed to sit at the back of the bus, which Parks refused to do.

Her arrest sparked a 381-day boycott, by African Americans and others involved in the Civil Rights Movement, of the Montgomery bus system. It also led to a 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation.

Parks and her husband were active in the Montgomery Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). While working as a tailor’s assistant, Mrs. Parks served as chapter secretary. Later, she advised the NAACP Youth Council. Denied the right to vote on at least two occasions because of her race, Rosa Parks also worked with the Voters League to prepare blacks to register to vote.

Rosa Parks became known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” honored with awards around the world.

 

trackback thursday: first presidential library

unknownNovember 19, 1939: construction of the first presidential library began.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone next to his home in Hyde Park, New York. Roosevelt actually donated the land, but public donations funded the library building which was dedicated on June 30, 1941.

When President FDR first proposed the idea of building a library to house his papers and memorabilia, some thought he was just interested in constructing a monument to himself. FDR, however, saw the library as a way to preserve and provide public access to the records of his presidency. He had an “open government” attitude, believing that the people of the USA were entitled to a good look at how their government was working, even at the executive level.

Seems like we should go back to the “good ‘ole days” sometimes, huh? But then, who knows if they were were the good ‘ole days.

The library contains not only FDR’s collections of personal and family papers, but manuscripts related to his career at the state and national level, pictures, sound and motion picture recordings, books, and more. It even has his vast collection of ship models, prints and paintings, gifts from the American people, and family items.

At the cornerstone laying ceremony for the library, Roosevelt said:

“Of the papers which will come to rest here I personally attach less importance to the documents of those who have occupied high public or private office, than I do the spontaneous letters which have come to me and my family and my associates from men, from women, and from children in every part of the United States, telling me of their conditions and problems, and giving me their opinions.”

Talk about a pretty cool guy, am I right?

Have you visited it before? If you’re in the neighborhood, you should check it out– here’s the LINK to the library’s website.