Tuesday, September 09, 2008

William Shirer- The Sinking of the Bismarck

Sterling Point Press has some wonderful reissues of war related memoirs, including one of this 1962 account war correspondent turned historian Shirer (1904-1993). Told in an avulncular style, it brings immediacy to an event now long in the past. Complete with maps and photos, WWII buffs will find this very engaging. 

Also read about half of Stephen Alter's Ghost Letters, which sounded very cool ("Gil discovers a bottle that carries messages into the past, finds a genie is a letter, and three letters that were never delivered but would have changed the course of history." From book summary.) but didn't really engage me. Switching back and forth between Gil in the present and a scribe's apprentice in the late 1800's, too much of the book was taken up with lushly worded descriptions of making ink. This reminded me of fantasy books by the likes of Edward Eager, but my audience wants a little more action.

Also very contemplative and philosophical was Stephen M. Kelly's Symbala's River, which was loaned to me by one of my students. Symbala has never been far from her village, but when her caretaker dies and she must decide what job she will do, she decides to investigate the source of the river that leads to the sea near her home. There is a little action and adventure, but a lot of Symbala's journey is one of faith.

Just kind of icky was Baldini and Biederman's Unraveling. Suffice it to say that any book that starts with, erm, girls' biological issues and moves on to issues of sex is not one that is needed in my library at this juncture.

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