Quotes of Note

“I’m now 81 and I think the happiest years started between sixty and seventy. Apart from illness and pain with my back and a few things like that, I am much happier now. For one thing, I know how to handle life. Up till the time I was sixty I was never very capable of saying no, of really saying this is the way I do it and being absolutely firm. . . Now I do.” – Muriel Spark, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

“Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you’d think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise. We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely outnumbered by all the alternates who might, except for luck, be in our places.

“Even more astounding is our statistical improbability in physical terms. The normal, predictable state of matter throughout the universe is randomness, a relaxed sort of equilibrium, with atoms and their particles scattered around in an amorphous muddle. We, in brilliant contrast, are completely organized structures, squirming with information at every covalent bond. We make our living by catching electrons at the moment of their excitement by solar photons, swiping the energy released at the instant of each jump and storing it up in intricate loops for ourselves. We violate probability, by our nature. To be able to do this systematically, and in such wild varieties of form, from viruses to whales, is extremely unlikely; to have sustained the effort successfully for the several billion years of our existence, without drifting back into randomness, was nearly a mathematical impossibility.

“Add to this the biological improbability that makes each member of our own species unique. Everyone is one in 3 billion at the moment, which describes the odds. Each of us is a self-contained, free-standing individual, labeled by specific protein configurations at the surfaces of cells, identifiable by whorls of fingertip skin, maybe even by special medleys of fragrance. You’d think we’d never stop dancing.” – Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974)

“To such degree, it seems, is truth hedged about with difficulty and hard to capture by research, since those who come after the events in question find that lapse of time is an obstacle to their proper perception of them; while the research of their contemporaries into men’s deeds and lives, partly through envious hatred and partly through fawning flattery, defiles and distorts the truth.” – Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Greecians and Romans

“No one making Casablanca thought they were making a great movie. It was simply another Warner Bros. release. It was an ‘A-list picture, to be sure (Bogart, Bergman, and Paul Henreid were stars, and no better cast of supporting actors could have been assembled on the Warner lot than Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Claude Rains, and Dooley Wilson). But it was made on a tight budget and released with small expectations. Everyone involved in the film had been and would be in dozens of other films made under similar circumstances, and the greatness of Casablanca was largely the result of happy chance. The screenplay was adapted from a play of no great consequence; memoirs tell of scraps of dialogue jotted down and rushed over to the set. What must have helped is that the characters were firmly established in the minds of the writers, and they were characters so close to the screen personas of the actors that it was hard to write dialogue in the wrong tone . . .

“What is intriguing is that none of the major characters are bad. Some are cynical, some lie, some kill, but all are redeemed. If you think it was easy for Rick to renounce his love for Ilsa—to place a higher value on Laszlo’s fight against Nazism—remember E. M. Forster’s comment ‘If I were forced to choose between my country and my friend, I hope I would be brave enough to choose my friend.’ From a modern perspective, the film reveals interesting assumptions. Ilsa Lund’s role is basically that of a lover and helpmate to a great man; the movie’s real question is, which great man should she be sleeping with? There is actually no reason why Laszlo cannot get on the plane alone, leaving Ilsa in Casablanca with Rick, and indeed that is one of the endings that were briefly considered. But that would be all wrong. The ‘happy’ ending would be tarnished by self-interest, while the ending we have allows Rick to be larger, to approach nobility (‘It doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.’). And it allows us, vicariously experiencing all of these things in the theater, to warm in the glow of his heroism. In her close-ups during this scene, Bergman’s face reflects confusing emotions. And well she might have been confused, since neither she nor anyone else on the film knew for sure until the final day who would get on the plane. Bergman played the whole movie without knowing how it would end, and this had the subtle effect of making all of her scenes more emotionally convincing; she could not tilt in the direction she knew the wind was blowing.” – Roger Ebert, The Great Movies

“Every now and then, I’m lucky enough to teach a kindergarten or first-grade class. Many of these children are natural-born scientists—although heavy on the wonder side and light on skepticism. They’re curious, intellectually vigorous. Provocative and insightful questions bubble out of them. They exhibit enormous enthusiasm. I’m asked follow-up questions. They’ve never heard of the notion of a ‘dumb question.’ But when I talk to high school seniors, I find something different. They memorize ‘facts.’ By and large, though, the joy of discovery, the life behind those facts, has gone out of them. They’ve lost much of the wonder, and gained very little skepticism. They’re worried about asking ‘dumb’ questions; they’re willing to accept inadequate answers; they don’t pose follow-up questions; the room is awash with sidelong glances to judge, second-by-second, the approval of their peers. They come to class with their questions written out on pieces of paper, which they surreptitiously examine, waiting their turn and oblivious of whatever discussion their peers are at this moment engaged in. Something has happened between first and twelfth grade, and it’s not just puberty. I’d guess that it’s partly peer pressure not to excel (except in sports); partly that the society teaches short-term gratification; partly the impression that science or mathematics won’t buy you a sports car; partly that so little is expected of students; and partly that there are few rewards or role models for intelligent discussion of science and technology—or even for learning for its own sake. Those few who remain interested are vilified as ‘nerds’ or ‘geeks’ or ‘grinds.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

“Hugo Black, in his youth, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan; he later became a Supreme Court Justice and was one of the leaders in the historic Supreme Court Decisions, partly based on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, that affirmed the civil rights of all Americans: It was said that when he was a young man, he dressed up in white robes and scared black folks; when he got older, he dressed up in black robes and scared white folks.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark


Posted in Books, Movies, Quotes of Note | Leave a comment

The Detection Club

The Floating Admiral

The final item in my recent quiz (published on February 12, 2018) concerned a novel entitled The Floating Admiral.  As you know by now, if you took the quiz, there were multiple authors.  But you might not know why there were so many.  Here’s the story.

Many of our best-loved mystery novels were written by British authors during the golden age of that genre.  Around 1930 Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, G. K. Chesterton and many other mystery writers formed an exclusive club in which they periodically dined and “talked shop.”  They chose their members carefully, and had them go through an elaborate initiation ceremony before they were officially welcomed into the fold.

Early on they began discussing a novel in which each chapter would be written by a different member of the Club.  The plot would not be discussed among the contributors during the process, and the completed chapters would be passed along from one member to the next without comment.  There were a few simple rules: Each member would have to take into account the previously written chapters before working on his/her own, and the plot had to move toward a conclusion that each contributor thought reasonable – without knowing what the following authors would write.  The final chapter would have the solution that its writer thought most plausible based on what had previously been written, and all of the loose ends had to be tied up as much as possible.  That alone, took up a lot of the final chapter, and made reading it a bit tedious for me.  It’s amazing that the book flows along as smoothly as it does.  Obviously, everyone involved took great care to read and absorb what preceded his/her contribution.

At the end of the book the writers were allowed to guess at the solution based on what they knew at the time that they completed their contributions to the novel.  As you might expect, those who wrote the early chapters had little or nothing to say about the solution while the later contributors often had lots to say.  The envisioned future plot turns and twists, as well as the final solution, varied widely, and wildly, between the contributors.  Interestingly, these very imaginative mystery writers went off in divergent directions in almost every case.

The Golden Age of Murder

The Detection Club still exists, and attorney and author Martin Edwards, has written a fine book, The Golden Age of Murder, about its history roughly between the two World Wars.  In it, he includes loads of information about the mystery novels the members wrote, and about their personal lives and peccadilloes. One of the most interesting stories focuses on the years of fear that Dorothy L. Sayers endured after giving birth to a child by one of her lovers.  At that time, you may remember, the revelation that she had given birth to an out-of-wedlock child could easily have wrecked her life and ended her career.  Other stories focus on writers who suffered from alcoholism or were sexually promiscuous.  Their lives, we learn, were as messy as that of other human beings despite their genius for writing spell-binding and insightful novels.

The Golden Age of Murder was published in 2015 – the same year that Edwards became only the Club’s eighth president in its nearly ninety year history.  He has also written The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (2017), and has penned several mystery novels featuring Harry Devlin who, like Edwards, is a Liverpool attorney.

In 1929 Ronald Knox, who was a Catholic priest and theologian as well as a noted mystery writer, published a set of rules – his ten commandments, so to speak – for writing mysteries.  Many writers still accept them as essential to good mystery writing.  In a post way back in 2012 I listed Knox’s rules.  In that same post I also wrote about the obituary of Agatha Christie’s most famous creation, Hercule Poirot, that appeared in The New York Times newspaper on August 6, 1975.

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Quiz of the Month – February 2018

Mysteries are popular with just about everyone – and have been for a long, long time.  This quiz will test your knowledge of the genre by challenging you to guess the authors of the novels and short stories listed below, and to name the sleuth or sleuths featured in each.  The names of the sleuths will appear in parentheses after the authors’ names.  We’ll begin with some simple examples and then progress to more difficult works.  You get extra credit if you can answer the final entry – without cheating.  I’ll tell you more about it in my next post.

As always, the answers appear on my Quiz Answers page.

  1. “The Purloined Letter”
  2. A Study in Scarlet
  3. The Maltese Falcon
  4. The Thin Man
  5. Murder on the Orient Express
  6. The Murder at the Vicarage
  7. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  8. The Big Sleep
  9. The Penguin Pool Murder
  10. Death Takes a Bow
  11. A Morbid Taste for Bones
  12. I, The Jury
  13. Nevermore
  14. “Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late”
  15. The Lodger
  16. The Nine Tailors
  17. The Red House Mystery
  18. Cover Her Face
  19. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
  20. The Tin Roof Blowdown
  21. The Three Taps
  22. The Phantom of the Opera
  23. The House without a Key
  24. “The Blue Cross”
  25. The Hollow Man
  26. The Silk Stocking Murders
  27. An Expert in Murder
  28. The Daughter of Time
  29. The Daughters of Cain
  30. The Floating Admiral
Posted in Books, Quizzes | Leave a comment

Music Notes

Symphony Orchestra

Why are the various instruments in a symphony orchestra placed where they’re placed?  An article on the WQXR website provides the answer plus some very interesting clips from YouTube – including one featuring Bugs Bunny.

— — — — —


Each year in late December WQXR counts down the most popular classical music selections as voted on by the station’s listeners.  This year’s list can be found hereA post I did last January gives you some insight into previous lists and provides some ideas that might be worth considering if you want to become a “superager.”

— — — — —

The New Yorker has an article about the music that John Williams created for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest Star Wars installment.  It seems that music critics are quite impressed with what the 85 year old composer has produced.  Williams composed the score for the first Star Wars movie (which premiered in 1977), and is now working on the ninth.  Incidentally, the American Film Institute (AFI) selected the music for the 1977 Star Wars film as the greatest American film score of all time.  John Williams is a national treasure.

— — — — —

NPR Music has released a list of the top 10 classical music albums of 2017.  A YouTube video for each of the winners is imbedded in the article to give you a taste of what awaits in the full album.

— — — — —

I am currently listening to a series of lectures from The Great Courses about the life and works of the great opera composer Richard Wagner.  It is one of the many courses featuring the very interesting Professor Robert Greenberg who has a resume that is phenomenal.

The information he imparts is done with such energy and with so many funny comments that it’s hard for me to turn them off and move on to other things.  If you want to learn about music (with tidbits of history and biography thrown in for free), you can’t do better than Greenberg.  Here is a link that takes you to a list of the courses that this amazing and funny man has produced over the years.

There are many ways to access Professor Greenberg’s courses.  You can purchase them (both audio and video versions) at The Great Courses website, but be aware that most of The Teaching Company courses go on sale periodically for 70% or more off the list price.  Also, there are many formats.  I used to buy CDs or DVDs, but now I normally buy downloadable versions instead to save space and to make them readily available regardless of where I am. Many of the audio versions of his courses can be purchased through Audible for one credit.  You can also borrow them through internet media provided by your local library.  And finally, you may be able to borrow some of the CDs and DVDs the old fashioned way – through your local library.

Posted in Movies, Music | Leave a comment

Words at Play


Once upon a time (in 1936 perhaps) the United States Rubber Company (now Uniroyal) trademarked the name Naugahyde.  Naugahyde, a substitute for leather, became very popular in the 1960s.  It was used primarily as a covering for chairs and sofas and came in many colors.  It was manufactured in Naugatuck, Connecticut.

An advertising campaign in the 1960s and 1970s claimed that Naugahyde was the skin of an animal, the nauga,  that lived in the forests around Naugatuck.  A photograph of the nauga is shown above.  The advertising campaign went well until some animal lovers complained that killing naugas so their skins could be used for furniture coverings was absolutely horrible.

“You don’t understand,” said the PR folks at Uniroyal.  “We don’t harm the naugas.  They naturally shed their skins, and we simply collect and use them.”  “Oh,” said the pacified animal lovers.  “That’s fine.”

And the naugas, the Uniroyal employees, and the animal lovers all lived happily ever after.

— — — — —

You’ve probably read some novels in which the owner of a large home invites a visitor into the drawing room for a little chat.  What, exactly, is a drawing room?  Is it a room where someone paints pictures, or a room where people gather to play games?  Actually, a drawing room is a room into which people withdraw for privacy.  One novel I recently read used drawing room and withdrawing room interchangeable throughout the work.

— — — — —

“Gaslighting” is a word commonly used to describe the efforts on one person to make another think he/she is going crazy.  Gas Light was the title of a 1938 play by British playwright Patrick Hamilton.  In the play a man tries to make his wife think she is going crazy by turning on the gas lights in a room above their home which causes the gas lights downstairs to dim.  When he reappears and she tells him that the lights dimmed, he tells her that she just imagined it.  The floor above their living quarters is supposed to be vacant, so he walks around while he’s up there to also make his wife think that, in her delusional state, she is hearing footsteps as well.


Gas Light was the basis for the 1944 U. S. movie Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotten.  Bergman won an Academy Award for her spectacular performance in the movie.  The movie also included a newcomer named Angela Lansbury who played a saucy maid who plainly had designs on her employer.

— — — — —

Detectives in novels are often referred to as “sleuths.”  Do you know the origin of the word?  Long ago a bloodhound was referred to as a sleuthhound.  As time went by it came to refer to a detective who follows the trail of a lawbreaker.

— — — — —

I ran across the following sentence in a Guardian newspaper article about the die-off of insects: “Molecular biology, with its concern for DNA, proteins and chemical processes within individual cells, dominates curriculums and hoovers up grant money.”  “Hoovers up” is, as it turns out, a British term that means “vacuums up.”  Of course the hoover in the sentence refers to the Hoover brand of vacuum cleaner.  I’m sure that many British use it without considering its origin.

Then I thought about a word that we use in the United States without giving any thought to its origin.  The word is “fridge.”  The word may be taken from “refrigerator” or it may be derived from the name of the first commercial electric refrigerator, the Frigidaire (frigid air), which debuted in 1919.  In many areas, including my area of the deep south, any refrigerator was commonly referred to as a Frigidaire. “Put the milk in the Frigidaire,” you might have heard someone say.  From there it’s easy to imagine that after a while the request was shortened to “Put the milk in the fridge.”

The refrigerator was preceded by the icebox, a non-electric cold storage unit that featured a pan at the bottom which held a block of ice – probably a cubic foot or so in volume – that melted in about 24 hours.  Iceboxes were so numerous in my neighborhood that the local iceman riding a horse drawn wagon (and later driving a motorized truck) would replenishing the melted ice daily.  If you missed the iceman, you could always go to the neighborhood ice house to buy more.

During my childhood the people around me would often talk about putting food in the icebox when, in reality, they meant the fridge.  Sometimes it takes a while for our speech patterns to catch up with the current technology.

— — — — —


“Sloe-eyed” and “sloe gin” are two terms that you may have heard,  but did you ever check to see what the word “sloe” means?  Well, there is a bush called a blackthorn or sloe which has berries that look very similar to blueberries.  Remarkably, It is a member of the rose family, and is not related to the blueberry bush at all.  The berries (see the photo above) are dark blue or black, so if you refer to a woman as being sloe-eyed, you’re saying that she has dark or black eyes.  And sloe gin is an alcoholic beverage made from the juice of sloe berries.

— — — — —

“Chin Music” is a term I ran across while solving a crossword puzzle.  The clue was, “idle chatter.” I was surprised to learn that Stephen Crane used the term in his 1885 novel The Red Badge of Courage.  “There’s too much chin music an’ too little fightin’ in this war,” one of Crane’s characters declares.

— — — — —

How often have you heard that someone has “cirrhosis of the liver”?  In fact, cirrhosis is a disease that only occurs in the liver, so it is redundant to add “of the liver.”  Cirrhosis is a condition in which normal liver cells  degenerate into scar tissue thus limiting the organ’s functionality.

Knowing what you now know, I’ll bet that if you tell someone that such-and-such has cirrhosis, your listener will ask, “Of the liver?”  Then you can display your intellectual superiority by explaining the above.  Or, better still, simply answer, “Yes,” and avoid being considered a smart ass.

Posted in Books, Movies | Leave a comment

Talking About Books . . .

According to the folks at Audible their members listened to over one billion hours of “spoken word entertainment” during 2017.  Furthermore, Tuesday is the most popular listening day; the most popular time when people begin listening is between 4:oo p.m. and 5:00 p.m.; and the most popular genre this year is self-improvement.

— — — — —

On Writing

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one in your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day… fifty the day after that… and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s — GASP!! — too late.”

The above is a quote by Stephen King about the use of adverbs by writers.  It is from his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.  You can find more of King’s thoughts on what constitutes good and bad writing here.

Is King correct or incorrect about the use of adverbs (-ly adverbs in particular)?  In their book Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal about the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing, authors Ben Blatt and Vikas Adam delve into the adverb issue and many other issues in an attempt to scientifically explain what makes a book a bestseller.  There are numerous graphs and charts, and it’s a very enlightening read.

— — — — —

The Long Read is one of the many wonderful features provided by The Guardian.  It also includes podcasts and photo essays.  Check it out.  The subjects are quite diverse, so you’re sure to find numerous pieces that you’ll enjoy.

And don’t miss the list of The Best Long Reads of 2017 from The Guardian.

— — — — —

While browsing the NPR website recently I ran across a series called In Character which was broadcast many years ago.  Its stated purpose was to explore the great characters of American fiction, folklore, and pop culture.  Some of the many characters spotlighted include Ricky Ricardo, Willie Stark, Auntie Mame, Charlie Brown, Norman Bates, and Nancy Drew.  Click on the title that interests you, and you will be taken to a page that  provides the audio of the segment as well as a written version of it complete with interesting photos and drawings.

— — — — —

The Story of America

Jill Lepore is a history professor at Harvard, the author of a number of books, and a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.  One of Lepore’s best books is The Story of America: Essays on Origins which is composed of 20 essays on America and notable Americans that she wrote originally for The New Yorker.  The title is a bit too broad since the book only contains 20 essays, but her choice of topics and her writing style make each essay worth reading.  Be sure to read the essays about Benjamin Franklin (“The Way to Wealth”) and Charles Dickens (“Pickwick in America”).

— — — — —

Robert McCrum is the author of six novels, and the co-author of The Story of English. He was the editor-in-chief of the British publishing house Fabre & Fabre for almost 20 years, and the literary editor of the Observer for 12 years.  He has also been a contributor to the The Guardian since 1990.  Mr. McCrum has recently completed a two year project to create a list of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time – or at least the ones he thinks are the best.  I could argue with some of his choices as well as some of his omissions, but every list of this kind is subjective, so why bother.  It provides a wonderful list of books you might want to read.

In 2015 McCrum completed a list of the 100 best novels written in English.  Again, you have a list that is definitely subjective and definitely worth perusing.

Be sure to check out the associated articles referenced at the top of each list.

— — — — —

I’ve got a great idea for the new year: Make miniature paper sculptures from the pages of old books.  You can see some examples of what Malana Valcarcel has created at boredbanda.  Caution: If you explore this website you might find yourself there for hours.

— — — — —

Gulliver’s Travels, which was published in 1726, is sometimes considered a children’s book, but Jonathan Swift definitely didn’t have children in mind when he wrote it.  A Smithsonian magazine article lists some surprising things you probably don’t know about the book.

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Talking About Books . . .

The Sympathizer

The list of the 2017 MacArthur “Genius” Grant winners has been released, and, as usual, the list is quite diverse.  Also, as usual, I am reminded of how unlikely it is that John D. MacArthur would be the person whose billions would make the grants possible.  An NPR article lists the recipients, their areas of interest, and provides interviews that the recipients have done on various NPR programs – where available.  The Eccentric Billionaire by Nancy Kriplen, a biography of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, tells the fascinating story of these unlikely philanthropists.  You can read a post that I did in 2015 about MacArthur here.

— — — — —

Historically we in the United States have had little interest in “world literature” – however you define that term.  Walter Cohen, an English professor at the University of Michigan has an article on the Oxford University Press  blog website that explains the meaning of the term “world literature,” and, more importantly, he provides a link to a website, Words without Borders, that features lots of interesting articles about world literature as well as some short stories translated into English.

— — — — —

Many authors have directed that their unfinished and unpublished works be destroyed, but Terry Pratchett may be the first to designate that a steam roller crush the hard drives containing those works.  And that’s just what happened.

— — — — —

Why We Sleep

I recently saw a CBS Morning News interview with sleep expert Professor Matthew Walker who was promoting his new book Why We Sleep.  There are also several YouTube videos in which  Walker discusses the subject.  Here is one of them.  He made one comment that startled me: a lack of sleep decreases our immune system’s activity so much that a lack of sleep could be considered carcinogenic.

— — — — —

Bookish features an article in which 13 Young Adult (YA) authors discuss the books that influenced their decisions to become writers.  The article also lists a book by each of the YA authors.

— — — — —

Radium Girls

This is the time of year when book clubs choose the books to be discussed during the coming year.  BookBrowse offers a list of 13 books – both fiction and nonfiction – that your book club might want to consider reading in 2018.

— — — — —

A few years ago Hogarth Press began commissioning authors to write novels that were reimagined some of Shakespeare’s plays as novels.  The locations, the names of the characters, and even the storylines could be altered, but the substance of each play had to be discernible in the end product.  Edward St. Aubyn recently completed Dunbar which tells the story of a Canadian media mogul named Henry Dunbar.  The elderly Dunbar cedes control of his empire to his two oldest daughters who then deliver him to a facility where he is kept heavily sedated.  His youngest daughter, who was his favorite, took no part in the ouster.  She lives quietly on a ranch in Wyoming with her family.  Sound familiar?  It should since it’s the basic plot of Shakespeare’s King LearThe Atlantic has a review of the novel as well as a link to the Hogarth Shakespeare Series.

— — — — —

Authors often face law suits from people who claim that their ideas were stolen. Usually the cases are dismissed, but the authors sometimes have to go to court to clear their names.  Electric Lit has an article describing five weird lawsuits accusing authors of stealing ideas.  One concerns the word “muggle” which J.K. Rowling used to designate non-wizards.  A woman claimed that she invented the word, and that Rowling stole it from her.  In a post back in February 2013 I mentioned that the word “muggle” was used as early as 1926 to mean “marijuana cigarette.”

Authors name their characters only to have unscrupulous people claim that the authors used their names without permission.  Then come the law suits for damages.  This also happens in advertising.  I’ve read that when Procter & Gamble decided to do a commercial for Charmin bathroom tissue in which a grocer can’t stop himself from “squeezing the Charmin,” the advertising agency went through a list of its employees, chose the name “George Whipple,” and had the employee named George Whipple sign a contract saying that he was giving permission for the use of his name in the Charmin adds.  That protected Procter & Gamble from frivolous lawsuits by every other George Whipple in the world.

— — — — —

The Home Front

I don’t particularly care to read about the many battles of World War II, but I love to read about what was going on in the lives of those who were at home here in the United States while the fighting was going on just about everywhere else around the world.  Rationing of food, gasoline, and tires; Japanese internment along the Pacific Coast (but not in Hawaii); Rosie the Riveter; auto manufacturers ceasing production of cars in order to mass produce things like tanks, women fighting for equality in all aspects of life, black people fighting battles all over the world, but finding little acceptance back home – all of this and more was happening right here.  Audible has produced an audio masterpiece called The Home Front: Life in America During World War II which looks at many different aspects of what happened here after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It is narrated by Martin Sheen and features comments by many learned history professors, celebrities like Carl Reiner, and (best of all) archival audio comments by the common men and women who were living through the uncertainty and hardships of the time.

The Home Front is eight hours of oral history that should not be missed.  Best of all, you can obtain it from Audible at no charge if you hurry.  I got it free because I have an Audible membership, and the website indicates that it will be free to everyone until mid-November.  However, I can’t promise you that there will be no strings attached – such as a 30 day free trial.  You can check it out for yourself here.  Note: you must have the free Audible app installed on your computer, phone, or tablet in order to download and play the program.

Audible also offers a Daily Deal each day of the week.  The Deal consists of an audio book that can be purchased for $2.95 or so.  You can check the homepage of the Audible website for the Daily Deal as well as for other deals such as The Home Front.

— — — — —

Women.com challenges you to name each of 22 books with only three clues for each one.  Can you do it?  Take the quiz here.  By the way, I answered all 22 correctly.  Not that I’m bragging.  I wouldn’t do that!



Posted in Books | Leave a comment