Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014

John Adams

This isn't really a book....it is a re-enactor....I sponsored a table for the Colonial Dames Luncheon today.  I will update this post tomorrow....but I was afraid that I would forget some of the points that I want to think about...one is that John Adams was a Federalist while Thomas Jefferson who followed him was a Democrat/Republican.....Federalists wanted strong central govt....while the other party wanted state's rights....the re-enactor explained that while George Washington was the president there were not really parties....he was kind of a unanimous choice....but during the time that John Adams was in power, political parties began to take shape.  I liked his thoughts about some of the other famous men:  Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton,  Thomas Jefferson for whom John Adams took some credit for having made him a part of the committee writing the Declaration of Independence.  The reenacter said that Thomas Jefferson was VERY quiet but that John Adams  knew him to be an excellent writer!  My first hit via google looking this up says:

  1. In 1776 Jefferson, then a member of the committee to draft a declaration of independence, was chosen by the committee to write the draft. This he did, with some minor corrections from John Adams and an embellishment from Franklin, the document was offered to the Congress on the first day of July.

I liked the idea of how much these men sacrificed of their private lives to bring forth the new nation.

I want to add some of the thoughts about the fact that it was John Adams who appointed Marshall as supreme court justice....and that it was because John Adams had the dream of the three separate government bodies that kept each other in check that Marshall helped to bring about the importance of the supreme court.  I have done a very poor job of resaying what our re-enactor was trying to say....but as I reread it in Nov 2016, I think that the meaning can be understood well enough that I won't try to improve my words.

My good buddy,  Sandra Ferguson, just posted (by serendipity) on the Old Chester County mail list the following:

 This is Abigail's complete letter...... She was quite a woman.  I read , years ago, a compilation of their letters to each other and it was wonderful. If memory serves it was 
"Don't Forgot the Ladies" .....


I will say more about Abigail Adams in my post on Thomas Jefferson:


Monday, October 27, 2014

Emily's Ghost

Mitzi and I agreed to go to the next Cabell County Public library book group meeting in Nov.  They are reading Emily's Ghost by Denise Giardina.  Audible does not have this book available, so I am reading it on my phone via iBooks.  It is a quick read and quite interesting.  I own two other books by Giardina:  Storming Heaven and .....need to fill in.....but I added this post quickly last night as I want to look up information about Chartists and Wilberforce.

Giardina (Saints and Villains) offers Brontë fans a solid biographical novel portraying sisters Anne, Charlotte and Emily as different in temperament but in love with the same man, fighting the same illnesses and withdrawing from the same grim realities to write poetry and fiction that express their individual passions. Youngest sister Emily distinguishes herself at age six when, while attending boarding school, she admits to encounters with ghosts. (The punishment doled out by the headmaster does not deter Emily, but it does inspire a well-known scene in Jane Eyre.) Brontë men include brother Branwell, who struggles with addiction; father Patrick, straining to support his family on limited finances; and William Weightman, Patrick's young, flirtatious, social-reforming curate who becomes the key figure as he wins the hearts of the three Brontë girls. Giardina's mid-19th-century England is factually sturdy, while the relationship between Emily and Weightman is nicely nuanced, and the insights and inferences about Emily and Charlotte's relationship are convincingly rendered. You don't have to be a Brontë scholar to appreciate Giardina's novel, but having a little context will greatly increase the payoff. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.  From Publishers Weekly

I want to look up a bit about Chartists and Wilberforce....that is why I added this information tonight.  

I finished the book in Nov and liked it a lot....but never got around to looking up the Chartists and Wilberforce.  However, the description of the cholera epidemic in Emily's town is excellent.  I am thinking that that is the disease that took the lives of my Hare ancestors.  I will look that up and add it to one of my blogs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The End of Your Life Book Club

This is the synopsis found on Amazon (along with the information that there are many used copies available for 49 cents plus shipping):

During her treatment for cancer, Mary Anne Schwalbe and her son Will spent many hours sitting in waiting rooms together. To pass the time, they would talk about the books they were reading. Once, by chance, they read the same book at the same time—and an informal book club of two was born. Through their wide-ranging reading, Will and Mary Anne—and we, their fellow readers—are reminded how books can be comforting, astonishing, and illuminating, changing the way that we feel about and interact with the world around us. A profoundly moving memoir of caregiving, mourning, and love—The End of Your Life Book Club is also about the joy of reading, and the ways that joy is multiplied when we share it with others.

I became bogged down in the subplot in the Princes of Ireland and also in the long trek home by Mary Ingles in Follow the River, so last night I downloaded a book that my friend, Mitzi, had suggested to me.  I am already captivated!  But I can tell that this book is one to read as I go to Starbucks and the post office and the mall and home because there are sooooooo many ideas that I want to capture as I go.  So I will be blogging as I read.  Of course, I am reading this one via audible.com.

First book mentioned is Crossing to Safety.  I don't own it yet.....but I will be buying it.   It is by Wallace Stegner ....just bought it and noticed that Angle of Repose is also available via audible.  I have owned the book for probably 30 years and have not yet read it.....perhaps I should buy it via audible as well?  

The interesting thing about Crossing to Safety according to the author, Will Schwalbe, is that one of the characters is dying of cancer as is Will's mother.  He explains that in talking about the book, the two of them were able to talk about feelings and things that were going on in his mother's life that were hard to approach.  I wish that I had had something like that in the last year of Jack's life.  

I also loved the thought that Will expresses that his mother was very thrifty.  If someone gave her or loaned her a book, she read it.  So much the opposite of me.  I am not very thrifty.  I am much more careful  with the use of my time than I am with the use of my money.  It is much harder for me to spend an hour than a dollar.  Also Will's mother reads the end first.  She wants to know the outcome ahead of time.  Will explains that it is much like that of a cancer patient who is stage 4 (as his mother is):  you know how the story will end. 

On the way to Starbucks today Will talks about the fact that his mother was very attached to a book given to her by a friend:  Daily Strength for Daily Needs by May W. Tyleston.  Will's mother was given a used book that had been reprinted in 1939 from a book written perhaps earlier than 1900.  I can't remember for sure.  Here is what Amazon says about the book (book available via kindle for $5.95):

Power to Live God intends each of His followers to walk with Him every day and come into closer contact with Him. This 365-day devotional will lead you in this walk and guide you each day of the year. Through some of the most inspirational words of famous Christian writers such as Jeanne Guyon, St. Augustine, Hannah Whitall Smith, William Law, Charles Wesley, and George MacDonald, you will learn how to:Live each day worry-free Overcome present trials Find the peace of God Receive clear direction from God Cast all your cares on God Handle discouragement and temptation Experience God's free favor As you daily come closer to God, you will gain wisdom on how to live a godly life and persevere in it.

It is quite evident that many of the people who bought this book were indeed reading The End of Your Life Book Club as there is a list of other titles bought by those who bought Daily Strength.  And one of them reminds me of another book mentioned earlier in End of Life:

The Etiquette of Illness: What to Say When You Can't Find the Words   By Susan Halpern

And on the list of other books was the below...not mentioned in End of Life because it had not yet been written...but a book that I do have interest in:

How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick  

by Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Next book that Will mentions that I found of interest was the Gillead

Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson's beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows "even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order" (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.
Gilead is the winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Marilyn Robinson was one of the authors that was included in the Key West Seminar in 2008 and I bought the book at that time but have not read it.  It is in my bedroom closet.  The theme of the seminar that year was historical fiction and I suppose that it is possible that this book qualifies in that category.

Today's book discussion in End of Life....was People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.  I won't take time to put much here because it was the book that I read by Ms Brooks just before the Key West Seminar in 2008.  I thought it VERY entertaining and unusual.  I liked it a lot.  I own several books by this author and look forward to reading them.  I liked the idea that Mary Ann (Will's mother) put forth that the about the fact that many people risked their lives to save the Haggadah.  She sugested that the Haggadah was symbolic of ALL books.

Wikipedia says of the Haggadah and People of the Book:

People of the Book is a 2008 historical fiction novel by Geraldine Brooks. The story focuses on imagined events surrounding protagonist and real historical past of the still extant Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the oldest surviving Jewish illuminated texts.

The book discussion this morning on the way to Starbucks was about The Lizard Cage which I will probably not read....and then about The Last Lecture which I read just after Jack's death.  I had to look Randy up in Wikipedia to remember when I had read his lecture....I remember going to a website almost daily for a while to see if Randy was still hanging in there just after I had read the lecture and just before his actual death.  I loved the idea that the proceeds of his book would help give his children a better life in addition to the fact that they would always have his words to inspire them...to help them remember how much he had loved them and had wanted them to remember him and how full of life their father had been!

Randolph Frederick "Randy" Pausch[2] (October 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) was an American professor of computer sciencehuman-computer interaction, and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Pausch learned that he had pancreatic cancer in September 2006, and in August 2007 he was given a terminal diagnosis: "3 to 6 months of good health left". He gave an upbeat lecture titled "The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" on September 18, 2007, at Carnegie Mellon, which became a popular YouTube video and led to other media appearances. He then co-authored a book called The Last Lectureon the same theme, which became a New York Times best-seller.
Pausch died of complications from pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008.

You know, as I look back, I think that I listened to the you tube version from Randy himself rather than having read the book and then bought the book which I actually never read as I had already heard it!  But I do have a copy of the book and would be happy to share.

A thought that was unrelated to books that came up on one of the last two day's trip to Starbucks was about a nurse who was thought of a life coach to help make Mary Ann's last part of life as comfortable as possible.  I particularly liked the suggestion that Mary Ann not meet people for meals as she had little appetite and mainly pushed the food around on her plate.  Instead the nurse suggested that she meet for coffee or tea and non-meal times.

Today on the way to Starbucks the two books that were mentioned are Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking and Olive Kitteridge.  I own both books, but have read neither.  Both books are actual printed copies.  These books are mentioned several times in the book....I do look forward to reading both of them.

Today's trip to Starbucks is the third day that it is clear that Mary Ann is dying.  She is no longer taking chemo.  The tumors are growing very fast.  She is frail and tires easily.  So much of the book is devoted to what she is doing with her last days.  However, she does not quit reading.  The book mentioned today that is of interest to me is John Updike's:

My Father's Tears and Other Stories by John Updike was published posthumously on June 2, 2009. It is the first collection of Updike's short fiction to be released since 2000.

It turns out that Mary Ann remembers John Updike in her freshman class seminar in college as a very bright young man that she had failed to get his name.....but later realized that he was indeed John Updike.  I liked the part that Will recounts in which there is a description of a 55th high school reunion.  It might be fun to print a bit of it in our memory book.

I am sorting through old papers and see a couple of notes that I made along the way to add to this blog post .....but did not get around to doing so.....The Book The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

I finished this book early December 2014.  There were less books mentioned at the end of the book as the author dealt with the final stage of this terrible disease that his mother was fighting.  However, the end gives a very good depiction of what the death is like when one's loved ones die at home.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gift of Rain

 Set during the tumult of World War II, on the lush Malayan island of Penang, The Gift of Rain tells a riveting and poignant tale about a young man caught in the tangle of wartime loyalties and deceits.
In 1939, sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton-the half-Chinese, half-English youngest child of the head of one of Penang's great trading families-feels alienated from both the Chinese and British communities. He at last discovers a sense of belonging in his unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. 

Mary just sent me an e-mail that she had read this book because of my recommendation.  It reminded me of how much I liked the book when I read it.  I actually read this book in paper format.  I would be happy to loan it out if someone wants to read it.....unless I gave it to Mary.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Follow the River

It is hard to believe that I have never read this book before!  I have owned it for many years and the subject is of great interest to me!  However, I finally bought it via audible and it is the book of the month for me.  Great book!  Well written!  I sometimes wish to not spend quite so much time on the trail in the beginning of the book.  However, the author has a story to tell and many details to include.

For sites that give more information on this book:

The author's site:

Wikipedia about the event in Draper's meadows:

Information on Wikipedia about Mary Engles:

WV Archives information:

Mary Engles Trail Blazers site:

                              Information from the National Park Association

                              WV Scenic Trails information:

                              Information from a descendant of Mary Engles:

An account by Luther Addington for the Historical Society of Southwestern VA

The account written by her son, John, born after her return from captivity:

On some of these pages is found the photo of the cabin in which Mary was living when the Massacre happened in Drapers Meadows:

and several of the sites show the map of Mary's trip home:

I had to turn the book off yesterday when the Indians were sorting out the prisoners in the big meeting place.  My imagination was too vivid in worrying what might happen to some of them.  But when I finally turned it back on and finished hearing about the ceremony, understanding the finality of the sorting made it easy to know how Mary would try to escape.  When I was researching the Clendenin event, I found it hard to believe that Ms. Clendenin would leave her children and escape on the trail.  It is said that Ms. Clendenin had heard the stories told about Mary's escape and trip home.  If that was true, I can see how one might leave one's children.  Mary was separated from her boys and her daughter had been practically adopted by a squaw.  She realized how hopeless her situation was in the Indian towns.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I am Livia

I liked this book a lot even though I found the end of it a bit tedious.  Ms. Smith has a wonderful imagination and is able to make Livia come to life.  At the end of the book, one knows that the author has chosen a viewpoint of Livia's life to depict that might or might not be true.  But I like the fact that Phyllis Smith chose to depict Livia as she believed she REALLY was.  And I have an understanding of an era of history that I knew absolutely nothing about before I read this book.  I am happy to share this book with anyone who would want to read it.

For my own benefit I will add a few reviews of the book below that explain the historic setting.

 A Misunderstood Villainess?April 1, 2014
This review is from: I Am Livia (Kindle Edition)

 Having been a fan of the TV series and book, I Claudius, I recognized Livia as the wife of Augustus Caesar and mother to Tiberius Caesar who reportedly poisoned anyone who stood in the way of her ambition. The book does not disappoint, though the author, Phyllis T. Smith, takes a decidedly more understanding look at Livia than other historical accounts. In this historical fiction we hear the story of Livia through her own voice, from her early years as the precocious daughter of a prominent Roman family who learns not to utter "foolish truths" but instead to take "perverse pleasure in pretense". We see her rapid rise to power by marrying Octavian, who, after defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium, becomes "First Citizen" of Rome. Through it all, Smith reveals Livia as intelligent, scheming, and ruthless but curiously sympathetic, thanks in large part to the author's vivid first person narration. We can better understand Livia's methods, even though we should disapprove of them. I found I Am Livia an intelligent and engaging look at one of history's most notorious and perhaps most misunderstood women.

Now my own comments.  The author explains the ridiculous notion that Livia poisoned her opponents in a way that makes so much sense that one can not even begin to believe that the poison allegations could have been true.  I just plain like the character that Ms. Smith has drawn.  I would have trouble ever making her a villain in my thoughts.  And I had a lot of fun spending a bit of time in this era of Rome.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ender's Game

Below is a review taken from another site:
Ender's Game (1985) is a military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth's future, the novel presents an imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the "Buggers", an insectoid alien species. In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, children, including the novel's protagonist, Ender Wiggin, are trained at a very young age through increasingly difficult games including some in zero gravity, where Ender's tactical genius is revealed.
The book has become suggested reading for many military organizations, including the United States Marine Corps.[4] Ender's Game won the 1985 Nebula Award for best novel[5] and the 1986 Hugo Award for best novel.[6] Its sequels, Speaker for the DeadXenocideChildren of the Mind and Ender in Exile, follow Ender's subsequent travels to many different worlds in the galaxy. In addition, the later novella A War of Gifts and novel Ender's Shadow take place during the same time period as the original.  

My own review:
I read this book via audible.com in April 2014.  I have always liked Science Fiction and I enjoyed reading it very much.  Very entertaining.  Didn't like the last chapters as much as the earlier part of the book.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


 Nancy Magnuson and I worked together on a slideshow of the Great Wagon Road for the Homecoming at Bush River several years ago.  We discovered that although we did not have Bush River ancestors in common, we did share Coffin ancestors.  Nancy contacted me via e-mail this week to recommend the book Carminow by Elsie Balme.   I have not yet quite figured out the relationship of our mutual Coffin family to this line for myself, but I'll add that information as I get my head together on it.

I decided to put the information about my relationship to this family in a different blog post that can be found at:


 I was disappointed that audible did not have this book available.  However, I bought it for Kindle for $4.99....quite the bargain!  The book is very well written and engaging.  I found myself reading in bed until late last night.  I'll add to this post as I read and finish the book.

Another e-mail that I sent to Nancy:

I am just beginning the book tonight.  Couldn't help but tell you that after even just a few pages, I read that there is a possible connection to the Ferrer family with Carminow.  I descend from Farrar in Virginia.....I am sure that it is connected.  I'll take a look when I get a chance and get back with you.  marsha  (anyone else reading this, remember that this is VERY iffy!....have done absolutely no research on this.....just didn't want to loose the thought)


Finally finished the book in Nov 2014.  I liked the book.  I wish that I had taken the time to figure more of the history out as I went along.  Some of the main themes of the book from my perspective are:  The craziness of having to marry in one's own social strata vs. the craziness of willing sexual partners close to home who were not marriage material because of not being in the social class of the partner....too many illegitimate children because of this problem.

Roger de Carminow was the heir to his father's estate.  His brother was better at managing the estate because he was on the grounds and paying attention while Roger was off to the Crusades or fighting beside his English king, Edward.

The prologue was very appealing....the effigies made at the death of Roger and Joanna were being carted to a more suitable place after having rested in the Chapel on their property for 300 years.  It appealed to me that someone cared enough to move them to a proper chapel when their own resting place had become a home for cattle....It is what we are supposed to do....revere the dead even when we don't really remember who they were...

One more thought that I don't want to loose....need to check my understanding.  Near the end of the book Roger and his two sons go to fight with Edward against the Scots John Balliol....this would have been late 1200's.....and the author has Roger thinking in Chapter 22 about the the battle that had just taken place:

This was no knightly, chivalrous joust; this was blood for blood; slaughter for slaughter; a war of revenge upon the innocent for the acts of the guilty.  But who were the guilty?  The Scottish lords, for usurping John Balliolo?  Or Balliol himself, for being weak?  Was Edward to blame, for interfering in Scottish affairs?  Yet if he did not do so, what anarchy might not ensue?  An what of the French King, Philip, sitting a safe distance and urging his new-found Scottish allies to perpetrate what atrocities they would, in order that Edward's position in Europe might be weakened?  Guilt, Roger told himself lay not upon one, but upon all.  ....."All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God."  Surely this was never more true than in this war, where revenge seemed heaped upon revenge, and thousands of innocent people were losing their lives in the achievement of so little.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Firebird

I am reading the Firebird by Susanna Kearsley via audible in my car.  As I have said before, Romance is not my favorite genre.  However, the Jacobite uprising ARE one of my favorite subjects.  And I like having history poured into my head with sugar coating.....that is understanding what was going on by looking at someone's life in the time period.  Susanna Kearsley does that very well.  I would never have known that the Scots were in so many places  in the time period just after 1712.  I would never have known the facts that I now know about the building of St Petersburg in Russia.  So I will repeat, while I do not love the Romance genre, I am enjoying this book!

*Starred Review* Authentic historic detail, a touch of the paranormal, and romance come together with a synergistic effect in versatile Kearsley’s (The Rose Garden, 2011) lovely and memorable novel. Nicola Marter works for a London gallery. She not only holds master’s degrees in Russian studies and art history; she also has the secret ability to hold an object and see past events. When a woman comes in with a small carved bird, Nicola has a vision of the Empress Catherine giving it to a young woman named Anna. With no documented provenance, the carving is worthless to collectors, and Nicola feels impelled to authenticate it. Impulsively, she heads to Scotland and enlists the assistance of Rob McMorran, to whom she was attracted when she met him in a psychic study. Even though Nicola can practice psychometry, she knows that Rob’s much stronger psychic powers will be invaluable. Together they embark on a journey that takes them to Ypres and Saint Petersburg and opens a window onto the early eighteenth century and the plight of Jacobites as they unravel Anna’s story. --Diana Tixier Herald

Sunday, March 30, 2014


By Peter H. Diamanis and Steven Kotler

We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions. An antidote to pessimism by tech entrepreneur turned philanthropist, Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler. 

Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing—fast. The authors document how four forces—exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. Abundance establishes hard targets for change and lays out a strategic roadmap for governments, industry and entrepreneurs, giving us plenty of reason for optimism.

Examining human need by category—water, food, energy, healthcare, education, freedom—Diamandis and Kotler introduce dozens of innovators making great strides in each area: Larry Page, Steven Hawking, Dean Kamen, Daniel Kahneman, Elon Musk, Bill Joy, Stewart Brand, Jeff Skoll, Ray Kurzweil, Ratan Tata, Craig Venter, among many, many others. 

This book also held my attention for the entire drive home from JAX in March 2014.  I liked it and was never enticed to turn it off and "listen to the music".  Some of my favorite ideas:  The photo above reminds one of the story that the authors told about aluminum.  Once more precious than gold....now it is "throw away".  Abundance.  

I also liked the story about the fact that if everyone gave up TV for one weekend and did something to make the planet better, the new ideas and progress made would be stupendous in scope.

Another story I liked was about the two shoe salesmen who fly into a undeveloped part of the world.  One looks around and says:  "No one wears shoes here.  I am out of here!  This is not a place I am likely to be successful"  The other one sends message home:  "No one wears shoes here.   This is an amazing market opportunity!  I may never come home!"

Some of the farming ideas made me think that perhaps I am too old to change some of my habits, but many of the ideas were amazing.  Can I really eat cultured meat?  Hmmmmmm.....we'll see.  

Still Life With Bread Crumbs

Rebecca Winter, Quindlen's protagonist, is a 60-year-old photographer who snapped her most famous photograph, the eponymous Still Life with Bread Crumbs, in the aftermath of yet another command performance dinner party, after which her unbearably supercilious husband, a British academic, retreated to bed, leaving her to clean up the mess. She became a feminist darling with her mainly domestic-themed photography, but two-plus decades later, her star is no longer so bright. She notes, "the coin of notoriety pays with less and less interest as time goes by."
Meanwhile, Rebecca's expenses have skyrocketed. Like so many of her generation, she's been caught off-guard with the burden of caring for her aged parents, helping with the rent on her father's downsized apartment and her mother's nursing home fees, plus an occasional assist to her filmmaker son.
What to do? Rebecca decides to cut costs by subletting the beloved Upper West Side Manhattan apartment she moved into after her contemptible husband left her for the next in his chain of ever-younger wives, and rent a cottage upstate in the woods, sight unseen. Of course it's a ramshackle mess, and she's unprepared for rural life. She calls in a roofer to help with a raccoon in her attic, and — no surprise here — he ends up patching up more than her flashing.

I read this book on the way down to JAX March 2014.  Very entertaining....almost a Romance genre book.  But easy to read and I was never tempted to turn the book off and listen to the music which happens when I get bored with a book.  I would not put the book in my top ten list, but would recommend it to someone looking for a light read that entertains.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

John Brown

I spent some time reading a fictional book about John Brown and his family.  I would like to eventually review that book here.....even if I never finish it.  When I do that I would like to add a piece of information to the review that was sent to me by Jean Leeper in March 2014:

In about 1850, Brothers Barclay and Edwin Coppock came with their mother to Iowa, and were recorded in Salem Iowa Quaker Minutes. We do not know if they actually lived at Salem or just passed through on their way to Springdale, Iowa, where they met and joined John Brown and his raiders; Edwin was hung with John Brown in October 1859 at Harpers Ferry and Barclay joined the Civil War and was killed in action. (taken from: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~jeanlee/CivilWar.html

Jean sent this to me while we were having a discussion about Quaker families during both the Revolution and the Civil War.  I had shared with the Quaker mail list the information about the Warren County, Ohio group that served and did not carry weapons that I talked about on the Homecoming blog in September 2013.  I just did not want to loose these thoughts.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Princes Of Ireland The Dublin Saga

I started reading this book over the Christmas holidays and thus had no time to begin the blog.  Then I continued to read it during my trip down and back to Vero Beach, FL for New Year's Eve and again had not time to write anything on the blog.  And this is definitely a book that one wants to write a LOT!  I don't know if I can go back and capture all that has happened thus far.  Too many characters.....too many events....However, I can say that I did not turn this book off from being tired of it in the entire trip.  

The first section of the book is about Fergus and his daughter Deidre who live at Dubh Linn.  The time period is AD 430.  Deidre falls in love with Conall.  Conall is the perfect prince.   Their son is Morna.   Morna is raised in the home of Fergus because of his father's sacrifice.  I totally enjoyed the first part of the book with its twists and turns.  This section of the book ends with St Patrick converting the family from being Pagan to Christianity.  He then takes Morna with him which is against the hopes of Larine (the former Druid).  St. Patrick's words are:  "I returned to this island to bring the Gospel's joyful message to the heathen, Larine.  Not to make martyrs......Morna is a chief.  The ford is a crossroads.  Who can tell what Dubh Linn may be worth?"  Deidre is very happy that St Patrick has found a way to keep from sending her son to Tara for the new High King's fees ....his coronation.  Deidre worried about the safety of sending her son to the feis.  

The next section takes place in 981.  The main characters are Harold who is Norwegian and begins with his father, Olaf, taking him to visit Dyflin.  Also Osgar and his cousin Caoilinn who are both descendants of Fergus.  Morann Mac Goibnenn (MacGowan) is the jeweler who is friend to Harold.  

.....I did very little writing in the middle of the book as I was reading during the holidays and then on the trip to FLA and back.  But something came up in the book today and I wanted to add it here:

Tom Tidy overhears a message between a young girl with green eyes and a man while praying in the church that seems to be about the O'Byrnes coming .....They are in the church at Dalkey....but the message is that the O'Byrnes will come to Carrickmines.  So here is information about both of those places:

Wikipedia says that Dalkey is:
Dalkey (IrishDeilginis, meaning "thorn island") is a suburb of Dublin and seaside resort just south of Dublin CityIreland. It was founded as a Viking settlement and became an important port during the Middle Ages. According to John Clyn, it was one of the ports through which the plague entered Ireland in the mid-14th century. In modern times, Dalkey has become a thriving seaside suburb and a minor tourist attraction. It has been home to many writers and celebrities including Maeve BinchyHugh LeonardBono and Van Morrison.

......too much happened without my writing.....if I plan a trip to Dublin, I will reread

However in Sept 2014 I turned the book back on.  The time period in the Dublin area is 1592.  And a huge reception/party is being held to celebrate the founding of what is now Trinity College/University of Dublin.  The  main characters in the book in this time period are Joan Butler who married Doyle.  And Margaret who is a distant kin of Joan's husband.  Their is a huge misunderstanding because of an ancient feud over inheritance.  Margaret's father has told her that the husband's family "stole" his inheritance and thus they are poor while the other family is rich.  This is an English family that lives within the pale.  The main person founding the college and giving the party is a Fitzgerald.  The book refers to him as Kildare.  The story that Joan's husband tells to her is very interesting. 

Joan's one wish at the party is to meet "Kildare".  It happens early in the event.  He is dressed in a style that Joan has NEVER seen before.  His dress is influenced by the court of Henry VIII.  The information leading up to their meeting is that Kildare's father has sent him to the English court numerous times,  He has become a friend to the English kings.  As such he is left to rule Ireland almost as the High Kings of olden times have done.  He collects taxes but does not send them on to England ......thus becoming very rich....the reason that he can found this new college,  Joan's husband tells the story that during the reign of Henry VIII's father, he had two advisors who served him well.  When the king died, the coffers of the crown were richer than they had ever been,  But Parliament believed that reform needed to happen and wanted to impeach the two advisors,  The men were close to the new king, Henry Viii.....like uncles to him,  He had both men executed because it suited his purposes,  Joan's husband tells the story to illustrate the fact that being a friend to the king is very dangerous.

I found this map of Dublin 1610 in many places:

Below is a modern map of Trinity College.  Trinity College is now located inside Dublin's city limits.  This map helps put a perspective on the more ancient maps.

I found an 1840 map of Trinity College at:  

I found the following post card at:

I viewed other maps of early Dublin at:  https://www.behance.net/gallery/Medieval-Dublin/2801385
There is a particularly nice enhanced map of Dublin in 1500 which is well worth taking the time to look at.  The project is by Dara Smith.  

And the following map at Wikipedia: