Tag: History

May 14 2018

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peleponnese by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Mani grew in the telling. Patrick Leigh Fermor meant it “to be a single chapter among many, each of them describing the stages and halts, the encounters, the background and the conclusions of a leisurely journey … through continental Greece and the islands.” He undertook the journey, “to pull together the strands of many previous …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/14/mani-travels-in-the-southern-peleponnese-by-patrick-leigh-fermor/

May 12 2018

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine — Halftime Report

One of the unexpected pleasures of The House of Government is Yuri Slezkine’s occasional playful way with words. Given the subject matter, and particularly given Slezkine’s argument that Bolshevism can best be understood as a millennarian sect that gained control of the state, a reader would be forgiven for thinking that his prose would range …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/12/the-house-of-government-by-yuri-slezkine-halftime-report/

Apr 23 2018

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

The Secret Lives of Color fairly leaped off the display table at me. Once I had it in my hands, I had to own it. The book itself is an argument for books as tangible objects, thanks to the efforts of designer James Edgar and the production team at Penguin who all made it such …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/23/the-secret-lives-of-color-by-kassia-st-clair/

Apr 17 2018

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple

I read The Gatekeepers, a book about White House chiefs of staff, like the grad student and extremely minor Washington insider that I used to be: acknowledgments first, then scan the bibliography, then a look at the notes, then the main text. In this case, I also read the last chapter, which is about the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/17/the-gatekeepers-by-chris-whipple/

Mar 31 2018

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

This powerful book about a woman discovering her own agency through the lens of the Bangladeshi immigrant experience surprised me at how timeless it felt even though it’s set at the turn of the 21st century. It’s very much in the tradition of classics by Thomas Hardy and Willa Cather, documenting with a fine eye …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/31/brick-lane-by-monica-ali/

Mar 18 2018

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

What a terrific book. What it lacked in pathos for me, it more than made up for in the breadth of its empathy and historical vision. Structured as eight short stories and an epilogue connected by their cast and timeline, Lovecraft Country plunges an ordinary black family of the 1950s and their friends into the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/18/lovecraft-country-by-matt-ruff/

Feb 25 2018

Delivering the Truth (A Quaker Midwife Mystery #1) by Edith Maxwell

Wonderful heroine, great setting, intriguing (but not super clever) mystery. I loved all the attention to period detail (even if my copy had some really weird lapses between the use of “thee” and “you”) and especially enjoyed the blunt way in which pregnancy and delivery are treated. As this book is set in 1800s Massachusetts …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/25/delivering-the-truth-a-quaker-midwife-mystery-1-by-edith-maxwell/

Feb 13 2018

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine

When it was built, the House of Government — maybe better known in English as the House on the Embankment thanks to the book by Yuri Trefonov — was the largest residential building in Europe. With The House of Government, Yuri Slezkine gives the building, its people and its first era an equally enormous treatment. The main …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/13/the-house-of-government-by-yuri-slezkine/

Feb 03 2018

Berlin by Rory MacLean

Rory MacLean gave his book on Berlin the subtitle “Imagine a City.” His American publishers changed this to “Portrait of a City Through the Centuries,” which is odd because it loses the ties to MacLean’s prologue “Imagine” and epilogue “Imagine Berlin.” Further, the book is not a portrait but rather a collection of almost two …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/03/berlin-by-rory-maclean/

Jan 24 2018

Goodbye, Moskau by Wladimir Kaminer

Wladimir Kaminer left Moscow for Berlin in 1990, and since then he has lived and chronicled the life of a Russian in the German capital. In roughly two dozen books, beginning with Russendisko (Russian Disco, first published in 2000), he explores with droll humor what it’s like to make a new life in a changing …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/01/24/goodbye-moskau-by-wladimir-kaminer/