Thursday, October 25, 2012

Title: This Republic of Suffering: Death and the Civil War
Author: Drew Gilpin Faust
Genre: non-fiction, American history, Civil War

I first heard of this book last month when NPR replayed an interview with author Drew Gilpin Faust on September 17, 2012- the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. Suffering was published in 2008, but the interview was very interesting to listen to. You can listen or read about it here:

While most Civil War books and historical groups focus on Civil War strategy and Civil War generals'  personalities, Drew Gilpin Faust looks at how the Civil War touched the individual and changed the American culture. Americans had never seen mass slaughter on such a huge scale before the Civil War and unfortunagely the immense loss of life would be a foreshadowing of World War One. The Civil War also brought about the national cemetery system and the next-of-kin notification system- out of necessity to deal with the numerous amounts of unmarked graves and unknown whereabouts of soldiers who had "disappeared" due to being blown up or buried in mass graves or unmarked graves.

But most of all, the Civil War changed the way Americans viewed death. Before the Civil War, a "good death" consisted of dying at home surrounded by family. Dying on the battlefield or from an amputation far from home changed the way Americans perceived and dealth with death. Some Americans' spiritual beliefs would never recover from the events of this war.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Title: The Truth About Style
Author: Stacy London
Genre: nonfiction, fashion & style

Not your normal style manual...
Stacy London introduces us to nine "normal" women who having clothing issues due to various life experiences. Stacy looks into the psychology of why we hide behind our clothes, why we let ourselves go, etc. Sassy, sarcastic and non-judgmental, Stacy looks back on her childhood and college years- years that were filled with painful psoriasis and eating disorders. Recommended for all women in various stages of style in their life who need to be reminded how special and unique they are.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Title: Turtle in Paradise
Author: Jennifer L. Holm
Genre: juvenile fiction

Turtle (so named for her tough emotional exterior) is a preteen sent to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Key West in 1935. Turtle's mother never told her about her extended family so she is surprised to learn she has so many cousins. Unfortunately, in her eyes, they are all boys. In this quiet gem of a book we get a glimpse of Key West during the Great Depression and before commercialism and tourism changed the Keys' way of life forever.
Kids will learn about pop culture in the 1930s- Shirley Temple, The Shadow, etc. While dealing with her pesty cousins, Turtle learns more about her mother's past, goes sponge fishing and searches for buried treasure, and experiences her first hurricane! A quick and enjoyable read if you want to travel back in time to Old Florida.