Despite Chicago's location beside the world’s largest source of fresh water, its low elevation at the end of Lake Michigan provided no natural method of carrying away waste. As a result, Chicago began to choke on its own sewage collecting near the shore. The befouled environment, giving rise to outbreaks of sickness and cholera, became so acute that even the ravages and costs of the American Civil War did not distract city leaders from taking action.
Chesbrough's solution was an unprecedented tunnel five feet in diameter lined with brick and dug sixty feet beneath Lake Michigan. Construction began from the shore as well as the tunnel’s terminus in the lake. With workers laboring in shifts and with clay carted away by donkeys, the lake and shore teams met under the lake three years later, just inches out of alignment. When it opened in March 1867, observers, city planners, and grateful citizens hailed the tunnel as the "wonder of America and of the world."~Goodreads Blurb
For such a simple seeming project, taking water from over there and bringing it over here, there have to be a million ways this could have ended badly. Author Benjamin Sells has not only done the hard labour of discovering all this information but also the dauntless task of putting it together in a way that makes it readable for the average reader, rather than simply a history book for engineers. I wouldn’t be able to repeat the feat with justs this book but I feel like I could hold my own in a conversation, thanks to Sells’ hard work.
I don’t often find myself singing the praises of non-fiction books because they can be too dry or you have authors who feel they must include every single fact to justify learning it. I feel like if I had been a Chicago resident some of the names might have made more sense so I have to take my own personal ignorance into account when I have questions. I would have enjoyed a bit about what strides were being made in similar problems during this time but what was given was plenty. The balance between storytelling and factual drive was well balanced and I can only hope that other readers will feel the same way.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and NorthWestern University Press in exchange for honest feedback*
A gorgeous, deft literary retelling of Charlotte Bronte's beloved Jane Eyre--through the eyes of the dashing, mysterious Mr. Rochester himself.
"Reader, she married me."
For one hundred seventy years, Edward Fairfax Rochester has stood as one of literature's most romantic, most complex, and most mysterious heroes. Sometimes haughty, sometimes tender-professing his love for Jane Eyre in one breath and denying it in the next-Mr. Rochester has for generations mesmerized, beguiled, and, yes, baffled fans of Charlotte Brontë's masterpiece. But his own story has never been told. ~Goodreads Blurb
Just as I have always been interested in the the women of history who names have been nearly forgotten, often times I am interested in the leading men’s point of view. I thought I had gotten my fill of Eddie Rochester from “Wide Sargasso Sea” but instead it looks like there is room in my library for two different sides of young Rochester. Unlike many of the readers I noticed reviewing, “Jane Eyre” is not the be all and end all for me. It was a fun book to read and it left me with many questions that I found uncomfortable asking my parents about. When you’re 10-11, you don’t want a lecture about good versus bad, anti-hero and the like, you just want a solid answer. I couldn’t find one so I moved on.
Author Sarah Shoemaker did a great job of answering some of those questions I had. Some mysteries were solved and some answers were given. You know the basic formula of how everything will work out but instead of being bored to tears and pushing on for the sake of a “read” label, I found myself intrigued by how she would wrap everything together. While it isn't a perfectly wrapped package, the love for it is there and you can tell a great deal of work went into this. So if you enjoy Jane Eyre and are open to having someone else climb into your prize sandbox, then I recommend you give it a go. If you have Bronte on an altar and consider every word law, then perhaps just re-read “Jane Eyre.”
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing in exchange for honest feedback*
It is the spring of 1527. Henry VIII has come to Hever Castle in Kent to pay court to Anne Boleyn. He is desperate to have her. For this mirror of female perfection he will set aside his Queen and all Cardinal Wolsey’s plans for a dynastic French marriage.
Anne Boleyn is not so sure. She loathes Wolsey for breaking her betrothal to the Earl of Northumberland’s son, Harry Percy, whom she had loved. She does not welcome the King’s advances; she knows that she can never give him her heart.
But hers is an opportunist family. And whether Anne is willing or not, they will risk it all to see their daughter on the throne…~Goodreads Blurb
Too often literature focuses its attention on Anne Boleyn as a conniving woman, or as a witch who tricked the King into marriage. There are some who choose to look at her through her daughter’s eyes and see a woman who was torn away from her daughter. Her time spent in the courts of others is usually just a brief mention in order to hurry her along into the arms of Henry the Eighth. I really appreciate the way author Alison Weir has taken the time to show the path that was taken before she became the notorious Queen that we most know her as. But instead of following up with this idea of a woman doing what she had to for her family and for her own survival, it seems strange that it instead slips into a strange world where some of our prominent men are rapists,though this was never proven, and other obviously fictional and unnecessary elements were added in order to make the story more interesting.
I understand that with such a well-written subject it can become difficult to write anything new about the story, I enjoyed the story of her youth and the interesting views of some of the other strong women in her life. It only seems like Weir seems to slip into a caricature of Boleyn that seems old and outdated. This made the book a toss-up for me. On the one hand I enjoyed the new look at young Anne but when she comes of age, she becomes the villain again. It seems to be a very strange route to take. This is going to be one of those books that you will either really enjoy or won’t be able to finish. I finish them in order to be fair but I know many don’t have that requirement.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Ballantine Books in exchange for honest feedback**
The thrilling tale of Sherlock Holmes’ daughter and her companion Dr. John Watson Jr. as they investigate a murder at the highest levels of British society from the USA Today bestselling author.
1910. Joanna Blalock’s keen mind and incredible insight lead her to become a highly-skilled nurse, one of the few professions that allow her to use her finely-tuned brain. But when she and her ten-year-old son witness a man fall to his death, apparently by suicide, they are visited by the elderly Dr. John Watson and his charming, handsome son, Dr. John Watson Jr. Impressed by her forensic and deductive skills, they invite her to become the third member of their deductive team.
Caught up in a Holmesian mystery that spans from hidden treasure to the Second Afghan War of 1878-1880, Joanna and her companions must devise an ingenious plan to catch a murderer in the act while dodging familiar culprits, Scotland Yard, and members of the British aristocracy. Unbeknownst to her, Joanna harbors a mystery of her own. The product of a one-time assignation between the now dead Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, the only woman to ever outwit the famous detective, Joanna has unwittingly inherited her parents’ deductive genius.
One of my favorite things about the older mystery novel is the comradery between the detectives and their companions. Whether it be Sherlock and Watson or Poirot and Hasting, there is always this sort of master and apprentice relationship going on. “The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes,” has made the irksome decision to throw a bit of romance into it. Coupling that with the name-dropping of familiar names and it becomes quite clear who the baddies are and what happened even by chapter 4 entitled “Christopher Moran.” There might have been a slight mystery around who Joanna Blalock might be if the book wasn’t called “The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes.”
Throughout the entire book, all of the characters seemed to be the children of Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters. The ones that weren’t, simply were there to be discredited or move the story along. I suppose this would be a good book for a younger set that may not have read the Sherlock Stories but for someone who enjoys the stories in their original and the more modern counterparts, this story felt like a mimic of the originals.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Minotaur Books in exchange for honest feedback*
The story of how modern surgery developed through experiments on women…
In 1811 Fanny Burney, then Madame d’Arblay, wrote a harrowing journal about an operation she had endured for breast cancer. These were the days before anaesthetics, and many people preferred to suffer their pain — whatever the consequences — rather than to submit to the terrifying hands of the surgeons. And many surgeons dared not do what they knew in theory would relieve the suffering of their patients.
Because operations on ovaries were the major development of internal surgery in the nineteenth century, it was women who bore the brunt of surgical experimentation and who also reaped its rewards. Their need was great, but so was their compliance.
From the first operation in America in 1809, the saving of much suffering was achieved at the expense of prolonged surgery endured by both black slaves and prosperous whites.
Later in the Victorian era there was even a craze for mutilating operations such as ‘spaying’ and clitoridectomies to ‘cure’ hysteria and masturbation, as well as questionable interventionalist surgery in pregnancy and childbirth which continues to this day.
The story continues with the obstacles faced by the earliest women doctors, such as Elizabeth Blackwell and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.~Goodreads Blurb
Thought the cover calls it ‘an exceptionally enjoyable read’ I didn’t find it to my taste. This was a reprint of a book first published in 1980 and I’m not sure I would have chosen this book to save from the archives. Luckily I am not in charge of all books ever and I can understand why this book would be important. The sheer amount of information and the manner that it was discussed was too much for me both as a woman and as a lover of history in general. There is no sugar-coating and no shiny veneer on this past. It is all grit and gore. Author Ann Daly has put together a number of cases and interesting people who made up the medical community and their pasts. Though one reviewer was glad to not have emotional bias behind the writing, I feel as though there needed to be some acknowledgment of emotion behind the horrors. It is our emotions AND our logic that guide our morals. I would recommend this to someone with a strong stomach and an interest in early female medical practices. I would not recommend this as someone’s first foray into that world though.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and The Odyssey Press in exchange for honest feedback*
Before Nick Carraway was drawn into Daisy and Gatsby s sparkling, champagne-fueled world in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald vacationed in the French Riviera, where a small green lighthouse winked at ships on the horizon. Before the nameless lovers began their illicit affair in The Lover, Marguerite Duras embarked upon her own scandalous relationship amidst the urban streets of Saigon. And before readers were terrified by a tentacled dragon-man called Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft was enthralled by the Industrial Trust tower-- the 26-story skyscraper that makes up the skyline of Providence, Rhode Island.
Based on the popular New York Times travel column, Footsteps is an anthology of literary pilgrimages, exploring the geographic muses behind some of history's greatest writers. From the "dangerous, dirty and seductive" streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante's famous Neapolitan novels, to the "stone arches, creaky oaken doors, and riverside paths" of Oxford, the backdrop for Alice's adventures in Wonderland, Footsteps takes a fresh approach to literary tourism, appealing to readers and travel enthusiasts alike."~Goodreads Blurb
It might be seen as an odd way to view the books of our lives; Having writers write about writers, travelling in their footsteps, trying to delve inside their minds and their personas by seeing what they saw. Yet, Footsteps manages to brilliantly pull it off. As someone who doesn’t subscribe to the ‘New York Times,’ this collection of some of their best columns has made it easy for me to delve into that world. I was originally drawn in by Michael Morris and Gracia Lam’s wonderful cover design and illustrations. I didn’t recognize all the essay writers though their way of writing and the sheer affection they felt for their chosen authors, found me smiling throughout the book. Footsteps is a lovely read that you can scramble through in an evening. I would recommend this during a time when you want to travel but can’t. We all have those moments in life when we long to hit the open road or whip out our passports and take to the skies, yet life has a habit of stopping this. In those moments, escape can be found in some of our favorite classic and in Footsteps’ case within its pages.
*This book was provided by BloggingForBooks and Three Rivers Press in exchange for honest feedback*
Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.
Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves. ~Goodreads Blurb
I once read about a comedian’s love for Dickens. He spoke about how he loved how descriptive the author was. The sheer joy he had in immersing himself into Dicken’s world, that he could practically breathe Dicken’s world all excepting the smells of that world, all of that made him so happy. I started out feeling the same way about Rin Chupeco’s new world in The Bone Witch. Her world building and descriptive nature holds you captive in the beginning. The problem for me came when I began to look for more than just that. I began digging through descriptions looking for plot and action. The mythology Chupeco created was very unique and intriguing, but it just wasn’t enough to hold my interest. I feel as though this the book readers have to get through to reach the second book. If it was a film these would be the flashback points. Beautifully written and full of rich descriptions, but just like a meal needs more than sugar, this book needs a bit more substance to make it a sure-fire read. I was intrigued enough to put the next book on my TBR list but I won’t be putting this one on my Read Again list.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for honest feedback*
Fresh from a public humiliation and in search of his true calling, former college football star Jack Marshall enlists as bartender and steward aboard Horace Button's vintage private railroad car, the Pioneer Mother, which is transporting the legendary food writer and social critic across the country in opulent style.
Decked out in a white jacket, mixing perfect cocktails, Jack is immersed in a style of living -- and dining -- he'd assumed was extinct. While striving to appease the eccentric, finicky Horace, and Wanda, the Pioneer Mother's enigmatic chef, Jack falls under the spell of Giselle Lebeau, a gorgeous celebrity chef whose designs on him test his self-control amd his loyalty.
But when tragedy rocks Horace's insulated white-linen world, Jack must take charge of a simmering stew of quirky yet powerful personalities -- all while staying in Wanda's good graces and keeping an eye on their newest passenger.~Goodreads Blurb
There has always been this allure and romance associated with passenger trains for me. I don’t know if it’s simply because of my love of old Victorian and Western stories. I love the sense of adventure that trains seem to hold, all these people with a place to go, or perhaps no place to go. It was with this mindset that I started “The Dining Car.” Though author Eric W. Peterson could easily have made it a average Joe versus the upper class sort of story, he thankfully held back from that trope. Instead we are treated to an almost lovingly described menu of food and drinks and the sheer debauchery of this once notable journalist. The narrator, a former-football player who rarely talks about football, gives a view into Horace Button’s, our journalist, life. In a refreshing viewpoint, instead of despising this lush of a man, the readers are instead lead to feel sorry and to pity this man who has outlived his time. In an ever advancing world, Button is being left behind by choice as he clings to the days of old. Instead of being annoyed at his chosen seclusion I couldn’t help but feel for a man who enjoys the pleasures of life, even as he becomes a relic. Our narrator on the other hand, didn’t leave me with any strong emotions. He simply seemed to be pointing the camera instead of taking real point in the story. I would recommend this book for people who enjoy train stories and want to take a look within a private Pullman Car.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and HUckleberry House in exchange for honest feedback**
In 1902 New York, Alice Roosevelt, the bright, passionate, and wildly unconventional daughter of newly sworn-in President Theodore Roosevelt, is placed under the supervision of Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, ex-cowboy and veteran of the Rough Riders. St. Clair quickly learns that half his job is helping Alice roll cigarettes and escorting her to bookies, but matters grow even more difficult when Alice takes it upon herself to investigate a recent political killing--the assassination of former president William McKinley.
Concerned for her father's safety, Alice seeks explanations for the many unanswered questions about the avowed anarchist responsible for McKinley's death. In her quest, Alice drags St. Clair from grim Bowery bars to the elegant parlors of New York's ruling class, from the haunts of the Chinese secret societies to the magnificent new University Club, all while embarking on a tentative romance with a family friend, the son of a prominent local household.
And while Alice, forced to challenge those who would stop at nothing in their greed for money and power, considers her uncertain future, St. Clair must come to terms with his own past in Alice and the Assassin, the first in R. J. Koreto's riveting new historical mystery series.
Though she has to be without doubt one of the most strong-headed woman in her time, sadly little a has been written about Alice Roosevelt in the historical fiction world. Often she is overshadowed by her father Ol’ Teddy Roosevelt, though there have been a few recent biographies which I feel take a closer look at her life. A true wild child of her time, She answered only to her father and he was a bit busy looking after the free world at the time. Though Author R. J. Koreto has managed to bring her to life, I think the choice to view the story through the bodyguard was a poor choice. To step inside the mind of such a strong-willed woman would have been a joy but to be a part of the shadow instead of the light wasn’t quite what I signed up for.
There have been many books called “Alice and the Assassin” and I think it might have been better titled “Alice and the Anarchists” if only for a change. A well written and enjoyable bit of a mystery, it became obvious too early on, and that tends to make it difficult for me to want to finish a story. I don’t enjoy deus ex machina as mystery enders but solving a mystery with a significant number of pages left leaves me sad and underwhelmed. I look forward to seeing how Alice and St. Clair’s relationship and partnership continues in the next book.
The incredible true story of the young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium and their brave struggle for justice...
As World War I raged across the globe, hundreds of young women toiled away at the radium-dial factories, where they painted clock faces with a mysterious new substance called radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was safe, the women themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered from head to toe with the glowing dust. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” were considered the luckiest alive—until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America’s biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights.~ Goodreads Blurb
During a time when often female physical complaints were brushed off or made to see as less than important, these women, these radium girls were ingesting a poison that was replacing the calcium in their bones and eating them away from the inside. Author Kate Moore has really outdone herself with this book. Well researched and yet far from dry, she paints the picture of these women who trusted their employers to keep them safe and paid for that with their lives. This book is definitely one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read. It shows the 1920s not as some hedonistic last bash before the Great Depression but real people with real lives. There are a whole slew of facts and interesting bits that I really want to learn more about, and I have to give kudos to Moore for being able to give all the facts and keep it from bogging down the story line or worse bogging down the reader. I would recommend this to people who are interested in the discovery of new science and its effects on the population of the time.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Sourcebooks in exchange for honest feedback**
Freelance Editor & Reviewer