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Showing posts from May, 2016

Heroines of Mercy Street, or How Much Do I Love This Book -- A Lot, It's A Lot

I. love. this. book. I feel no qualms in saying it should be required reading in school. Heroines of Mercy Street covers the women who volunteered, organized, and worked as nurses in the Civil War. We know words like Gettysburg, Bull Run, Antietam, and others, but we aren't told what happened after them – what happened to the wounded soldiers, and who cleaned up after the initial horror.

I thoroughly intended to watch PBS's Civil War nursing drama Mercy Street, and then...I did not. But why watch an entertaining work of fiction when you can read a 250 page book about the true events it's based on?



Like the series (apparently), the book focuses on the largest hospital in Alexandria, Virginia: Mansion House Hospital. Alexandria was the city occupied the longest by Union troops during the Civil War. It was so strategically placed, that less than 24 hours after Virginia seceded, Union troops crept in during the night and captured the city. 

Something I had little to no idea abou…

The Best Books of BEA (in my highly biased opinion)

I got a lot of books at Book Expo America. Like a lot. Mainly because it was held in Chicago this year, so I had no concerns about how to get them home. 


Some of these books I very purposely sought out.  Some I thought looked neat as I passed by and I grabbed 'em. Some were placed in my hand by publishers who just didn't want to carry them home. Which am I most excited about?

Dust Bowl Girls. Pitched as A League of Their Own meets Boys in the Boat, and then they had to explain what Boys in the Boat is to me because that is not my area of interest. This is about a group of girls in the Depression who were basically The Sandlot, but with basketball and girls and no James Earl Jones-owned giant dog. Or weirdly successful without-consent lifeguard kissing.



The players in Dust Bowl Girls beat BABE DIDRIKSON'S TEAM. That's right, the woman we only know about because of that time Emily Deschanel played her on Drunk History. So it's maybe less like The Sandlot and more like

Murder by Candlelight: The Gruesome Crimes Behind Our Romance with the Macabre

Murder By Candlelight has a great cover and talks a lot about murders in The Past, which means you don't have to feel as guilty as usual when reading about them, because there are not currently people alive who were affected by them.


Short non-fiction books are maybe my favorite. So many non-fiction writers have the tendency to let their work be bloated & distended, so those who can keep it short and to the point have my immense respect. Murder By Candlelight is subtitled "The Gruesome Crimes Behind Our Romance With the Macabre." How can you not read that.

It covers a number of murders, starting with the unshocking-for-our-times murder by Jack Thurtell, moving to James Greenacre and the murder of Hannah Brown, the murder of Lord William Russell by his valet, the Ratcliff Highway Murders of 1811, and ending with some Jack the Ripper. Michael Knox Beran ties in all of these with literature of the time, while talking about the shift from the Enlightenment to the Rom…

It's New York Time

Or it was New York Time. I went to NYC week before last to visit my oldest brother, see Hamilton and meet DOMA-defeating lawyer Robbie Kaplan, which made for a pretty kickass five days.
First we had the mismatched socks debacle at the airport, which consisted entirely of me realizing with increasing horror that I had put on different socks (BUT OF COMPARABLE THICKNESS) that morning, somehow believing no one would see them in the course of the day.


I arrived in NYC around 11 PM Tuesday night, where I immediately made my way to my brother/brother-in-law's in Astoria. They got a cat! Her name is Numi! She loves one particular crinkle ball very much.


WEDNESDAY was the Big Important Day, so I put on my favorite blouse and hit the town.



I was having lunch with Robbie Kaplan (whose book was my favorite of 2015) at 12:30. It was a disgusting day out, so when I arrived downtown much too early on 5th Avenue, I proceeded to walk around inside the Ritz while thinking how little the interior now …

Charleston or, Alice Has a New Job

I left my job of seven years two weeks ago, and have been footloose and fancy free ever since. Haha, jk, I have a new job! But as it is a job that takes its employees to Charleston, South Carolina for a team meeting, I remain relatively footloose.


A fair amount of the trip consisted of bonding, as my team members and I are spread out across the country. We stayed on the Isle of Palms, about 25 miles from downtown Charleston, and right next to the ocean. By right next, I mean it took appx 60 seconds to walk to the ocean. 



Where there were jellyfish! Jellyfish that I thought were dead, but then someone told me that nay, they were SUNNING THEMSELVES. However, I have just googled this, and it turns out that's a load of crap because jellyfish evaporate in the sun because they are 98% water.

Aside from amazing memories like hot tubbing  next to the ocean at night and being able to see All the Stars (note: no one can actually see all the stars, but you know what I mean), I also went to dow…