Books From My Closet

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Archive for the tag “World War II”

City of Girls

Hello Dear Followers,

It’s be a while since I last wrote here. In all honesty, I haven’t been reading as much as I want to. I have so many books with bookmarks in them. Time to remedy that.

(For those of you have trouble getting on the reading train, I recommend reading at least 45 minutes a night)

Anyway, I wanted to write a blog post about “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her book came out last month and it’s an awesome read.

The story is about a girl named Vivian Morris, who fails out of Vassar in 1940 and is shipped off to live with her Aunt Peg in New York City. It is there where her whole life as she has known it changes. Her aunt owns a theater in the heart of the city and the best way to describe it that it is filled with showgirls, sex and drinking and overall good crazy time.

I am not done with the book yet, I am about 100 pages until the end. I won’t give too much away, other than to talk about a very important theme in this book.

Sex. Vivian comes to the city a virgin and is de-virginized (is this even a word?) and ends up partying and sleeping with every Tom, Dick and Harry. This gets her in a bit of trouble. Anyway, I wanted to approach the thought about how times have changed in terms of how men viewed women in the 1940s that weren’t virgins at marriage and guys of today.

I believe back then guys wanted a good clean woman who hadn’t slept with anyone before marriage (while this thought is archaic even for me) I think today, if you haven’t slept with everyone you are considered damaged goods just as much as you were damaged goods back then when you did.

I have seen this theme in so many period pieces both in books and movies. I know today we have more liberties than we as women had back then. We’re more independent, we’re more self-sufficient.

I have to ask the question, what happened? I am not saying we have to wait until marriage to sleep with someone, certainly not. What I am asking do men have more respect for women today if they have slept with multiple men? Do people who haven’t had the life experiences that other girls might, damned to hell in meeting the right guy because she isn’t as loose as the girl next to her?

I have been told multiple times that men today, don’t want that responsibility of being the “first” one. While men in the time this book takes place would have been honored. What happened?

I think the more serious girls who respect their bodies and respect the act of sex are at more of a loss today than girls who don’t. It might sound skewed, but I have seen too much where men will pick a girl who has slept with everyone, respect her and treat her like a queen and toss away the ones who haven’t.

Does this say a lot about the men, maybe. I don’t know. Anyway, I wanted to approach this with all of you and sincerely hope you read “City of Girls” it is truly an excellent work of fiction from an author that captured the time period so well in her voice and in researching the time in which this book takes place.

Until next time!

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Escape to Guernsey

Hello Dear Followers,

I finished “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” tonight and wanted to share my final thoughts about the book.

I thought overall it was a sweet book, it was quaint at times and teetered a little on boring.  I did however, find myself craving an opportunity to read it throughout the day, brought it with me everywhere as a chance to escape to 1940s Guernsey just after World War II. 

Photo courtesy of http://www.oldUKphotos.com

I tend to enjoy escaping into novels that take place in a  different time period, especially a time period I know little about.  While at first I thought the constant correspondence between the characters via letter writing dragged the book a bit, it gave it character and personality that you may not have gotten if the book been made up of chapters.

The characters in the book will become your friends, you will want to join them for their literary meetings and want to be part of this circle of friends that would ultimately become family.

You will want to travel to the Channel Islands of the British Isles and see Guernsey for yourself once you read this book.  The authors do a great job at making this place seem magical in a time of such darkness.

I love history so learning what I could about the German occupation on this island and a little more about the Nazi concentration camps was fascinating and terribly sad at the same time, I can’t imagine going through something like that.  These poor people.

I have heard  bits and pieces about World War II  from my grandparents every now and then,  but they were young when it was happening around them in Italy.  They remember only so little about it.

I would recommend this book for its simplicity, its escapism and its character. If you are looking for something more enticing however, this isn’t it.  I kept waiting for something more to happen that would consider this book a page turner, but it never came.

Until next time…

What I’m Reading This Summer

Hello Dear Followers,

I usually don’t announce books in advance like this and I am not done with “The Help” just yet, but I have to admit seeing the constant mention of “summer reading lists” in bookstores and on various social media sites, made me nostalgic for the days before Borders and Barnes & Noble were my escapes, when I’d be one of the first kids signing up at the library for the summer reading program.  I couldn’t wait!

So here are three books I will be reading this summer –

Book image courtesy of http://www.bestsellers.about.com

1. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them.  And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want to as our legacy. Mr. Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it was his last, since he was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Why I picked this:  Because it has been my experience that books like these, however  as short as they are (this one is 206 pages), they are filled with excellent advice about life and this reminds me of my favorite book “The Five People You Meet In Heaven” by Mitch Albom. Mr. Albom’s book left such a deep impact on my life, it saved me from myself during some of the darkest moments of my life.  I imagine this book will do the same.

Book image courtesy of http://www.bookmomma.wordpress.com

2. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  It is January 1946, London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject.  Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’d never met, a native of Guernsey, the British Island once occupied by the Nazis. He’d come across her name on the flyleaf of a secondhand volume by Charles Lamb.  Perhaps she could tell him where he might more books by this author. As Juliet and her new coorespondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a unique book club formed in a unique, spur-of-the-moment way: as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the Germans.

Why I picked this:  Letters, books and history. All of which I just love. I feel the art of letter writing is lost in the maze of social media and e-mail. There isn’t romance in correspondence anymore, letter writing was personal, romantic, and passionate.  I love books, if I could spend my time in a cafe  drinking fabulous coffee and reading all day escaping the world around me, I’d be happy.  History especially the time in which this book takes place has always fascinated me, I love learning about World War II and shortly after the war.

Book image courtesy of http://www.nicholassparks.com

3. “The Best of Me” by Nicholas Sparks.  In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for each other seems to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. A loner from a violent and infamous local family, Dawson believed his love for Amanda promised an escape from the darker destiny laid out for him. A golden girl from a well-to-do family with plans to attend Duke University, Amanda saw something in Dawson that spoke to her own rebellious and passionate heart. But as summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.

Why I picked this –  I just love Nicholas Sparks, he is a wonderful writer. He grabs you from the first page and never lets you go and when it is over.  Then you are left craving more. That is a good writer.

(Since I fell behind with “The Help” I will be making up my June book with one of these three books and “The Help” will be considered my May book.  )

Make sure you share with me what you are reading this summer on here or on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Okay! Until next time… Happy Summer Reading!

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