Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life

Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life
Things through a different light...

Saturday, December 31, 2011


Farewell 2011 Edition!!!!!

Adam and I are both sick on this New Year's Eve, but that doesn't ruin our last night of 2011 at all, it has been a wonderful year!!  In need of an AWESOME recap...

We redid the Living Room, it was our first home improvement project ever: 

It was a fun project and now I have my study where I can do school work and relax, its great and I love Adam for doing it for me.  

I graduated College!!!!
Stephen, Dane, and I backstage
I know I have more schooling to go, but the BA in History is the first step right??!!!
I will be honest, it was an amazing moment to graduate, it took a long time!!!  :D
If things couldn't get any better... my awesometastic husband Took me to ENGLAND!!!!!
I want to move here!
It was a trip of a lifetime and we enjoyed every minute of it.  We stayed in London, near a lovely cheese shop that we visited and ate fine cheese from.  We visited Salisbury and Bath and loved BOTH places and did the obligatory Stonehenge visit....
Don't we look so happy
I will admit, the ancient stones were sort of a let down, there is a highway in front of where we are standing lol.

If London wasn't awesome enough....
When we got home, we got Elizabeth I
Lizzie at 8 weeks old
June 2011, isn't she adorable.....  Lizzie is amazing, and we were terrified in October when she got sick and we thought we might lose her.  But, she's over the parvo and back to normal... her giant self...
Lizzie eating her oinker on New Year's Eve
So life is good...
Now on to the normal Blog....The last book of the year is a title that I think every student should read in a world history class.
a very compelling war memoir 
Storm of Steel
By: Ernst Junger
Published: 1920

This german soldier account of the Trenches of WWI is amazing and it tells you a true story of war and what war feels like in one of the most astonishing wars of the 20th century.  WWI is a war that I feel is often put in the background.  Read this book, it's amazing.  I wish it were on nook, so I could DL it, but its not.
On the nook, I am really enjoying the book on the Crimean War, I didn't know there were so many religious undertones in the war.

I know I already said read this one... But do it, READ IT!

Friday, December 30, 2011


I love it when I get to feature a book I really enjoyed, as is the case with this title.
Having to take a class on WWI wasn't in any way a burden, I was excited to take it and excited to read the books assigned to us.  This, The Great War and Modern Memory by Fussell is one of my favorites.  The book focuses on the British Western front and not only delves with accounts of the war but into the literature and the writing of the time, its an amazing book, I loved it.

I will admit, the frenzy of buying books with all my christmas money has left me a bit overwhelmed with books to read.  Last night, I started reading 
The Crusades
Check it out here
The book is by Thomas Asbridge and was published in 2010, it seems to be a sweeping overview of the crusades, but a good refresher none the less.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


The year is winding down and I know I missed a few days.  I will preface this post with the fact that I've been nasty sick the last few days and I've had nothing but hot tea with lemon and honey and a lovely variety of remembering this food is awesome.   Adam and I had a wonderful Christmas at my parent's house with good food and a good time, after that we drove up to Atlanta, Georgia to spend Christmas night and my birthday the 26th.  Let me tell you... eating on Christmas night, even in Atlanta is a task.  After hours of waiting... three to be exact at Grand China on Peachtree, we did have pretty good food.

That was Adam's spicy Shrimp, it was spicy and good...and so was my general Tso's chicken, was it 3 hours good... no.  But, it was Christmas and people were working late and hard.

The next night's Dinner was a meat festival with a great dessert.
There is lamb, filet mignon, bottom shank, fried polenta, mashed potatoes, fried plantanes and many other yummy things
Fogo De Chao was pretty good, and a ton of meat.  Though the server did find out it was my birthday and gave me this...
Birthday Creme Brulee is happy
oh yea... sooo good.

Now... through all of that, I have been sick and I have neglected my book posts, so here goes...

A vintage 1967 bio of Henry VIII
By John Bowle
Published by: Readers Union, London

looks awesome and used right??

As for myself, I am currently reading a book on the Crimean War.
The Crimean War

It is a war no one knows about, but has a lot of history and background, great book.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


I had to get a bit in the spirit, I am sorry I have been a bit slack in posting.
So now, It is Christmas eve and I have some great people coming over and I am listening to classical renditions of favorite christmas songs.  I wish I could find Loreena Mckinnet live streaming, but alas... I can't.


I learned a valuable lesson after my last blog post, the Vampire story book that I featured is no longer with us... instead... THIS

Bowl full of innocence right here .... has her look of "I didn't do it" while hiding under a table... yes, the book has been eaten.
She loves books...

Today's Book...I absolutely Loathe!

I have never read a more contrived and bias book

If you want an honest look at the economics of slavery, this is not the book for you, IF you want someone telling you that slavery wasn't so bad...this is the load of bull that you need.  The research is bias, horribly done, and has more holes than swiss cheese.  We were actually assigned the book to know what to look for when things  go WRONG in a history title.  Man, I never have hated a book more...

So... I should give this to lizzie and tell her to chow down.

I am finally back into reading the John Brown book and I am really getting into it.  Horowitz is pretty scant in the reference department, and I would like to see more, but beyond that...its an amazing story and you start to get to know Brown and realize he wasn't just some slight radical, he truly believed that slaves should be free and that God called for it even if that meant the taking of lives.  He lived in a hard place during a hard time and after two of his children died of cholera, they had two more and renamed them the names of the dead and moved on.  Its an interesting perspective into this man's life, which at best can be called spartan.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There is a part of me that really wants to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and be in the holiday spirit, that part of me does NOT go to work everyday.  Those who do not work in retail cannot fully comprehend how horrible the holiday season is on retail employees.  We get screamed at, we get treated like crap, we have to deal with multiple extreme situations every day and our thanks is longer hours and painful sleepless nights.  It is a stressful situation.  I think my lowpoint was having to climb under all the stalls in the women's bathroom on my hands and knees because some ignorant children who weren't being watched thought it would be funny to lock all the bathroom doors... from the inside.  So yea, that is what Christmas is like, or people calling you liars or telling you that you personally ruined their family Christmas because we didn't have some sacred gift...

Rant over...

For my book of the day, I have a bargain book I purchased at my old B. Dalton store because I really liked vampire stories and these are from the south so hmmm... seemed cool.

This is fluff reading at its finest...
I've never heard of any of the authors in the book, but the stories aren't horrible.
its a 2007 printing.
I read some of A Christmas Carol today, trying to get in the

Monday, December 19, 2011


This post is sponsored by Holiday Therapy!

Now that is done... lol... All I need to say is RETAIL MAKES YOU ANGRY!!!!!!!!!!

My book of the day is actually brought to you by my amazing husband who got this for me last Christmas because he knows me better than ANYONE.  You know, a lot of biographies seem vague in research...but this one isnt, Schiff does an amazing job and wow was this good to read, I adored it.  
I am usually pretty picky but I really liked this one.  The way she goes into Cleopatra's family dynamic and how that shapes this enigmatic woman is awesome, I cannot say enough good things, I think this one is good enough that even my fellow historians who insist on RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH will approve.

Its published by Little Brown in 2010 and its now in paperback for those who want a less expensive copy.

Man I am sucking on the personal reading, Midnight Rising and a book about what famous figures in history ate... yea, sounded cool.

But I really do recommend this one, I know I love John Brown, but its an interesting book and it really gives insight into the growing divide in America leading to the Civil War.

1843 – Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol goes on sale for the first time, let Tiny Tim’s magic be born and the lessons of what greed can do be taught by the chain toting Jacob Marley. I think I could tell the story by heart, and like everyone, I love the story. It is actually a Dickens I can stomach.

A reminder, be kind to people during the holidays or Jacob Marley may visit YOU!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I didn't love this book, I know a lot of people did, but I didn't.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what everyone said it was either...maybe I am too picky.
I thought there were parts that didn't add up and the most compelling characters disappear while some of the most annoying stay throughout.
I didn't read World Without End.

Title Pillars of the Earth
By: Ken Follett

This is just some paperback edition I picked up at the Friends of the Library Booksale for a whole two dollars.

Last Night I downloaded the Common Book of Prayer used by the Anglican church, just reading it...


Another amazing book sale find.

1809 Edition, Published by The Book League of America

I have a little love for Washington Irving  :D

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I adore Neil Gaiman.  This love affair began with Sandman many many years ago and flourished into a deep respect for his storytelling abilities when it came not novels.  His style, is almost a modern fairy tale one, with grit, dirt, and reality.  You believe in these characters, even when they do the fantastical and you ache and hurt for them when they ache and hurt, or you loathe them when you are supposed to.

I enjoyed American Gods not just because of the context, or the representations that each character has, but because of Gaiman's simplistic and yet complex ability to tell a story and pull you in.
Honestly, I wouldn't start with this book.... Perhaps Neverwhere or Stardust, but you'd have to ease into American Gods once you are sure you like his writing, not all people will. 

My favorite Neil Gaiman book Anansi Boys.

What I am reading?

I downloaded a new history book on my nook color which has to do with things famous historic figures ate, who knows, may be good... it was 1.99  

This Day in History:

1653 – English InterregnumThe Protectorate – Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of EnglandScotland and Ireland.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


One of the first Anne Rice books I read, not counting Interview... amazing.

     I adore Anne Rice, and I can easily say she is my favorite author, now I do not like all of her books, I am not a big fan of her Christ books she did, just not my thing...but even her non-supernatural stuff is beautiful to me.  

I remember reading Interview with the Vampire as a child, yea I know...I'm special.  

The first time I picked it up was in an old used book shop that used to be on Davis Drive out here in Warner Robins, my Nana (most awesome) took me there to buy me some books and since I didn't really read a lot of kids books...I found myself with this used and beat up version of Interview, I remember it because it had real people on the cover and it was creepy.

So, after reading a good bit of the vampire chronicles and reading Cry to Heaven...which is one of the BEST Anne Rice books EVER written....
A novel about the Italian Castrati singers.... beautiful.
I picked up The Mummy.

This is the ONE book that Anne Rice doesn't have a sequel to that she SHOULD.... omg, its amazing.  If you have not read it, read it.... and if you like mummies, you will adore this.
Its wonderful, and Rice did a good bit of research on Egypt before she wrote it, its lovely.

“The Romans can not be condemned for the conquest of Egypt; we were conquered by time itself in the end. And all the wonders of this brave new century should draw me from my grief and yet I can not heal my heart; and so the mind suffers; the mind closes as if it were a flower without sun” Work has seriously cut into my reading time!  Damn the holidays, but I will say that Midnight Rising is starting to pick up and I am enjoying it, Horowitz has a great storytelling style.  
I did find a new book I wanted to read today...


The Title alone makes me chuckle, its 22 dollar ebook price is typical for history books and I suspect I will purchase it with christmas gifts.

I know I am already pretty well versed in the history of England, but you know.... never can know enough.  ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Loved this book

Facing East from Indian Country
By: Daniel R. Richter

Harvard University Press / 2001

   This book tells the story of Westward expansion from the perspective of the Native Americans, its an amazing book, I read it for a Native American history course I took in college.
Had a great professor who specializes in the subject.

`De Soto's enslavement of thousands of Native men and women many of whom died under their burdens or were abandoned deep in enemy territory-- must have had a deep effect on communities already in demographic and political flux."

-p 34

What Am I Reading?
"aka, what is on my nook"

I'm still reading Midnight Rising, though a friend at work loaned me Beastly, its wonderfully terrible.... so much so, I cannot rip myself away.  :D

So since I don't have much of an update on what I am reading, I thought I would show you which bookshelf I am pulling from for my book of the day selections currently, as you can will be quite a while before I switch shelves.

The first of 9 shelves.

Anyway, the Horowitz book is slower than expected, but maybe it will pick up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Ok, I got a bit artsy with this one.

Damned Women : Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England
By: Elizabeth Reis
1999 Cornell University Press

Oh this book, what can I say about it, I loved it.  The professor that assigned this book has probably given me the most wonderful books of my college career to read, Grad school and PhD work will have a hard act to follow in the realm of just great books and engaging books to read.  This book, focusing on witch claims during the Puritan era is breathtaking and insightful with a stunning array of wonderful research.

It was one of those books I couldn't find anything wrong with... I liked it so much.

I understand that some may shy away from academic texts, but if you have the chance, I recommend this one.

Here is a link to the book, you can get it pretty cheap.

"Laity and magistrates, women and men alike shared the belief that the devil could intrude in various costumes and demand that his victims serve him."
p. 71

Finally completing We Need to Talk About Kevin, I decided to move on to non-fiction for my next read on the nook color.  I've started Tony Horowitz's Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War.  I'll preface this with the fact that I have a growing fascination with the Civil War, which is rather funny if you knew me oh say...three years ago, when I despised the subject.  Being southern and a historian in training... the assumption that you will love the Civil War and lament the loss to the evil yanks is an assumption that I loathe.  I don't hold a great deal of sympathy for the South... I don't agree with the constitutionality of secession, and in truth, I believe the entire war was a treasonous rebellion in defense of a disgusting practice that an entire region relied on instead of trying to move towards industrialization and the future.  So, for a long time, I did not read about, did not study, did not care about the Civil War.  College changed all that, and thankfully after having an amazing professor for a Civil War class, reading some awesome books and (regardless of how accurate Ken Burns can be) watching one of the best documentaries I have ever seen Ken Burn's Civil War, I have a new respect and fascination with the subject.  I particularly love the oddities of the war, or in this case...oddities before the war... John Brown.

So... This is what I am reading!
Midnight Rising

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12th, 2011

I have a few new features today for my blog,  all related to bookish things or history so its all good.

First off... I'm going to start talking about what I am currently reading on top of the usual book of the day off my shelf and I have also decided to sometimes feature "On this day..." kind of a daily history thing because I am a nerd and I love history.

What I am reading now?
Well, what I finished reading at 8:30 this  morning?
We Need to Talk About Kevin 
By:  Lionel Shriver 

This book is a psychological head rush and often difficult to read, but not in a bad way.  The novel, which is basically about the way in which a mother deals with her sociopath sixteen year old son after he commits a massacre at his high school is relevant, but chilling.  It is not mushy, it is not overwrought with emotion, and it doesn't pull any punches.  The main character, the mother, Eva, writes her husband Franklin in order to explain in detail the problem she always saw in her son...the problems he refused to see.  Eva is not always likable, she is pretentious, she is cold, almost surgical, and she had a detachment from the son who never wanted her and often played a long lasting psychological game that only seemingly ended after his massacre and the devastation it caused.  Eva looks down on most middle class Americans, big cars, and she makes a perfect antagonist at times...because even for those who  may hold the same ideals as she dislike her because she is so pompous and full of herself and yet at the same time... she is miserable, she has settled for a life she didn't want and in return received a child who loved no one, and felt nothing...  It is a dark book and I enjoyed the read because Shriver pulls you into this life, this destroyed life that Eva now lives...  To me, it is a great deal more honest than some of the other things I have read relating to this subject, which in itself is pretty taboo.  The book is not for everyone... its harsh and cold and cruel. 

Book of the Day

Title: Restoration and Eighteenth Century Comedy (A Norton Critical Edition) 1997

I picked this one up at the friends of the library booksale about three years ago, for two dollars... I have a thing for Norton Critical Editions, I love them.

Yay, Comedy!

The text I probably like the most in the book is School for Scandal by Sheridan.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11th, 2011

It's been a few days since my last post.  I often wonder if it matters if I don't post something or if I skip a few days, with so few followers, I wonder if a book of the day even matters when there is so much in cyberspace to occupy a person, but I enjoy the blog, it gives me something to do.  
Purchased in London, England 2011

There are days I wish we spent more time in England, maybe two weeks...maybe enough to spend an entire month, or just move there and live in a small flat, I could find a temp job's a dream.  I loved not only the buildings and the people and the history I was so familiar with that upon finding a place I read about I instantly felt akin to it.... but it was the smaller things... the tiny places to eat, the little shops with old books and fresh cheese, it was the variety, the mix of people, the everything.  

My fascination with the British extends to the wars they fought in and the Great War has always held with me a level  of reverence and interest.  I love not only reading about the little intricacies of battle or who caused what, ect... but I have a fascination with what that war in particular did to a people, a civilization that seemed burnt and soiled after the war.  

Poets especially, placed into words, the horror and disillusionment of that war.  I read their words and I wonder why on earth anyone would find it good to fight, to kill, to destroy... for whatever reason.  

Rupert Brooke is one of my favorite voices of the war, even though he died soon after it began, in 1915 of septicaemia.  If you have the priviledge of reading his pre-war words in comparison to the words he wrote during the war, its a vital look at what I think a war like that did to an entire generation of boys going off to be the heroes in a war that would only last until Christmas, as they always are.

Blow bugles, blow! They brought us, for our death,
Holiness, lacked so long, and love, and pain.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And pain his subjects  with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.

-The Dead 1915    p 21

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6th 2011

Today I have spent the afternoon drinking tea and cleaning up the house, its one of those days.  I did have a lovely lunch with a friend and my awesome husband found me a stash of Twinings Christmas Tea at the local Wal-Mart after searching the entire city for it...

My book of the day today... on the top shelf of one of my 9 bookcases... is

One of Those Russian Novels
By: Kevin Cantwell

This is a signed edition, because the author is also an amazing professor I took once, and a really neat person.

October 2009, I picked it up at the release for the book, where he and some others read, which was awesome... it was a great night.

Modern poetry, with a very storytelling style, I like it.

You should pick it up if you can find it.

Publisher: What Books Press

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5th, 2011


Now that we have that out of the way... lets get on with it.  
This is a small novella that talks about a character that is in the book Eclipse, which is probably my favorite out of the Twilight Saga books, yes I have read them... yes... all four.  No, I didn't hate them.  

Twilight is sappy teen love mush, because its written for teenage girls... and so I am not asking for anything else  but that... these books aren't in fiction by Steinbeck or Joyce, they are surrounded by other sappy teen love novels and no one can tell me that Sweet Valley High was any better.... everyone has their fluff reading so all the backlash against these books I think is just as silly as the books themselves can be at times.  Let people read what they want.... it is what it is.

That being said... Breaking Dawn was the most disappointing end to a series I have ever read in my life and if it wasn't so stupid laughable, I might have been angry I read it.

So, I read the Twilight books, I don't hate them.... myself and the millions of other women who read them are not morons... thanks.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December 4th 2011

First off, please excuse how beat up this book looks... lol, it was a used college school book, so just imagine the abuse it has seen.
This book was an assigned read in a Native American History class I took at Macon State College and probably the book I liked the most out of that class just because of the small story that really translated into a larger problem.  The struggle to make Native Americans adapt and change to be white, which made no sense, seeing as it was destroying a culture.  The book is touching, anger inducing, and very relevant I think when it comes to how often a dominant culture seeks to eradicate another culture just because it is different.  I liked the book a lot and I appreciate my professor for assigning it.

Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940
By: Brenda J. Child
Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Friday, December 2, 2011

December 2nd 2011

A surprising hit with me...get it, hit.

During my undergraduate studies at Macon State College, I took a great many history classes that just sounded cool, regardless if I needed them or not, this probably lengthened my years at MSC, but I didn't mind, I love that place.
Anyway, I took a sports history class and this was one of my favorites from the class, and also the next book on my shelf.  Now, unfortunately this does not reach my top five books of all time, but it is close... I'd say top 50, which is saying a lot if you saw the mountain of books I owned.

I never knew boxing was so interesting, I loved this book and thank Dr. Zimmerman for assigning it.  Its not just about boxing, and I recommending for anyone who likes good Non-fiction reads.

The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America
By: Elliot J. Gorn
Publisher: Cornell University Press

"Little more than a decade separated Morrissey's alleged complicity in the murder of William Poole and his election to congress.  Amidst the ethical laxity of Gilded Age business and politics, the elevation of a former bruiser seemed to guardians of propriety an especially telling sign of moral decline."  -p 127