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Monday, December 5, 2011

Reading and Reviewing 3: Webb, Puleo, Zander

The one hundredth anniversary of the ill fated Titanic's maiden cruise is near, and I am sure it is not coincidental that this charming story includes a reminiscence of that day. Here's my review:

Christmas in TimeChristmas in Time by Peggy Webb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whimsy and Nostalgia ... This is a delightful book, deceptive in its title but rewarding in its historical context. Gilly is an easy to understand character, with family and friends who exemplify bonding love. I read it in an evening, tucked under a quilt, with candles in my windows celebrating the coming holiday. I loved it, and look forward to the sequel!

Review also posted at Goodreads and Amazon
***** ***** ***** ***** *****

A bit earlier, in the nineteenth century, we have a story of the city my Dad loved, the city his parents chose when they emigrated from Scotland shortly after the beginning of the twentieth century. Focusing on the years 1850 to 1900 Steven Puleo has captured the most dynamic half century in Boston's story:

A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900 by Stephen Puleo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished the book just in time to enjoy Stephen Puleo's participation in our local library's author speaking engagements. He again spoke to a delighted, large audience, addressing the highlights in the book: the incredible decade of the eighteen fifties and the abolitionists in Boston and surrounding areas, the Fugitive Slave Law and Boston's humiliation when a slave was forcibly removed from the city, the later decades that saw the filling in of the back bay, accomplished in thirty years and resulting in a planned development that cost no city or state dollars. The notable names mentioned in both his presentation and in more depth in the book awakened a pride in our region's history. He is an inspiring, down to earth speaker and writer of remarkable non-fiction and history.

Review also posted at Goodreads and Amazon
***** ***** ***** ***** *****

I also read one about the twenty-first century that was given to me by a good friend for a retirement gift. He is one who always looks around carefully at the present, and then looks forward. The book is written by a husband-wife team, Ben is an orchestra conductor who travels the world leading professional orchestras and teaching college students; Ros is a therapist, and both offer their skills from different areas of talent, and blend them very well:

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal LifeThe Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On finishing the book and reflecting on the passages that I'd marked, I would have to admit that the musical anecdotes were less "insight-filled" to me as a reader. I felt a stronger connection with Roz's passages. Perhaps I wasn't open enough to those passages that spoke of musical selections with which I am unfamiliar. I did learn in reading it how little I know of an orchestra student's passions. As an academic teacher whose orchestral students were sometimes missing from class for extra practices, I briefly felt an annoyance with Ben's admitted assumption that he had no realization of his student's other commitments. We as adults pull students in so many directions... we often forget that their own passions may differ with the expected compliance with mandated curriculum.

Review also posted at Goodreads and Amazon

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