Author Archive

The Rose Code

May 12, 2021

Kate Quinn has written a gripping novel about Bletchley Park, an estate in London where men and women worked together during WWII to break the secret Enigma code of the Germans. Three young women are featured: Mab, Osla and Beth, each with unique talents. But there is a traitor in BP, who has Beth locked up in a mental institution before she can figure out who it is. Quinn also uses real historical figures in her novel: Alan Turing, the father of artificial intelligence who created “Bombe” machines to enable Enigma codebreaking; Dilly Knox, a brilliant cryptographer who ran the Enigma research team, Winston Churchill, the PM who pays a visit to Bletchley, and Osla’s love interest, who turns out to be Prince Philip. This was a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these codebreakers, who had a huge effect on the success of the Allies. Highly recommended for history buffs.

The Paris Library

April 28, 2021

Janet Skeslien Charles has written a novel based on a true story of the American Library in Paris during WWII. Odile is a librarian who joins the resistance movement by delivering books to her Jewish patrons who are no longer allowed to visit the library. She also steals “crow” letters from the desk of her father, who was chief of a police precinct. These were letters of betrayal, written by those who were hoping to gain favors from turning in their neighbors.

The novel jumps ahead to introduce Lily, a young girl in a small Montana town who is Odile’s neighbor, and is taking French lessons from her. Eventually, Odile tells Lily the story of her life during the war, which she has never shared with anyone else. There is an author’s note that reveals more about the history of the library, and how the characters were based on real people. A fascinating read!

Damascus Amid the War

April 21, 2021

As I was entering new books into the system, I flipped through this title after reading the “About the Author ” section in the beginning, and I was struck by the author’s story. Muna Imady died before this book was published, after undergoing an operation that had a very low risk factor. Her mother and sister finished it for her, using Muna’s notes. The book is a series of poems and stories about her life in Syria, and they reflect the pain and sorrow she experiences at the changes that have taken place since the war began. It makes one realize how fortunate we are to be living in the U.S., and your heart breaks for these brave people. Muna’s mother feels that the strain of war added to the stress on Muna’s heart, contributing to her death. The book is a reminder of Muna’s artistry with words, and a fitting tribute to her legacy.

The Vanishing Half

April 14, 2021

Brit Bennett has written a fascinating novel about 16 year old twin sisters who disappear from a small town in the South. They run away to New Orleans, and live together for a short while, until one sister leaves abruptly without any notice, and her twin spends a great deal of her future life wondering why. The girls are both very light skinned African Americans; one sister marries a man with very dark skin and has has a child of “blueblack” color. She flees her marriage due to abuse, and winds up back in the town she grew up in. The other sister makes the decision to pass for a white person, and tells no one, not even her husband. Until one day when their daughters cross paths, and one girl figures out what happened. Both sisters experience being the “odd one out” in their circles, and the reader can empathize with both characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Large book Publishers

April 7, 2021

According to Library Journal, the “Big 5 ” publishing houses based in the U.S. shrunk to 4 last November, when Penguin Random House acquired Simon & Schuster, which was then the nation’s 3rd largest publisher, according to the New Republic. As of March 29, 2021, HarperCollins, one of the “Big 4,” acquired Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Rudolph Murdoch’s New Corp owns HarperCollins, and Penguin Random House is owned by Bertelsmann, a private German corporation. It seems that the large publishing houses just keep getting larger. Where will it end, I wonder?

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