In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis

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Entwined is an overall description of this book.  Written by a white man, In the Shadow of Liberty looks at the documents of five enslaved people held in bondage by four U.S. Presidents.  This author struggles to describe and understand the life of a person enslaved through primary and secondary sources of information.  Davis provides copious citations and tries to give a balanced view looking back with modern day eyes.

As a look back into history for the younger generation, Davis tries to decode political jargon and antiquated phrases while trying to remain true to the history but with a more modern understanding. (He explains terms like ‘pickaninny’ among others)

The author reminds readers that the words spoken or written by former slaves about the white people who had been their captors must be taken with a grain of salt because of the severe penalties that were enmeshed in the American culture surrounding a former slave especially of someone influential or viewed as an American hero.  It would not be safe to speak or write critically of a former “master”.

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Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

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I picked out some paperbacks off our free rack with the intention of having easy reading that I could drop, deface, destroy without consequence.  Although I am never rough with my books, I was planning to take them on vacation and I enjoy leaving books that I’ve finished for other travelers to take if they like.  I pulled four books and read the first chapter of each to make sure they would be worth toting along.  However, Grave Sight caught my attention and interest enough that I have read almost all of it almost two weeks before my trip!

I guess that in and of itself is a recommendation for this title.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Image resultWhere do we look for answers when the world stops making sense?

Mary Shelley Black was named for the author of the famous thriller, Frankenstein.  She shows scientific curiosity and has a fascination with electricity.  Mary Shelley is an anomaly in that she is driven by these passions in a time when women were not encouraged to step away from the rigid societal expectations for women.  Mary Shelley is skeptical of spirits even after the image (of a spirit) is captured behind her when she poses for a photo.

The story opens at the height of the flu pandemic and in the middle of WWI.  Mary Shelley’s father has been arrested for assisting draft dodgers and faces prison for his conscious objector stance.  Mary Shelley Black travels to her aunt Eva in San Diego where readers discover the breadth of the fear the flu has created.

She searches for answers and reasons where there seems to be only death and chaos.  Everything is mixed up like her friend, Stephen’s anagrams, and it will take some time for Mary Shelley to sort them out.  When she does, her search for answers will take on a new focus.

Everyday War

Schools

Movie theaters

Concerts

Libraries

Hospitals

Airports

Churches

Retail Stores

Nightclubs

Baseball parks

Post Offices

Restuarants

The list of public places where people have been shot in the U.S.A. travels for a long way.

The war is here and we are the refugees.

The Tightrope Walker By Dorothy Gilman

“If politeness was my severest affliction at that time it was also, I’d found, a very good smokescreen for telling a lie.  Nobody doubts anyone who’s polite; it implies a tremendous respect for authority.” (p.17)

I’m not sure why the investigator felt compelled to tell us A) so many detail about characters that didn’t come back into play much or at all.  After all, she’s talking in the past tense so she’s already gone through it and knows what details are actually important to solving the case. and B) why those details were somewhat contradictory, especially about the Colonel.

I can imagine the Author wanted to keep her audience wondering and guessing as to who the murder was, so she threw in a few red herrings before she got down to the meat of the mystery.  However, these ‘extra’ characters that are simply dead ends in the labyrinth are tiresome to me and one of the devices I don’t care for used in the mystery genre.

In the end, she hooked me with the possibility of finding the sequel to the author’s one beloved book.  Gilman connects fandom, and love with coercion and murder to tell Ameil’s story of growing up, falling in love and facing death.  I was delighted to read The Tightrope Walker.

Movement Mondays

I launched a new storytime today, focusing on movement through yoga, books, songs and dance!  We had a small turnout, but we had fun!

We started with a sun salutation call back

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

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Pop goes the weasel

push bike song

Can You Make a Scary Face by Jan Thomas

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Ring around the rosie

Relaxation