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Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Haunted America" - Armchair Reader

"Haunted America" - Armchair Reader

My new read is an easy, short stories read. After tackling a history-bound book, my brain needs a little break. What better way to do that then to read some "true" ghost stories from our homeland? Ok, so maybe I'm alone in the fact that ghost and murder stories give me a relaxing break, but it's all good. :)

"Haunted America" is composed of numerous short stories collected around America involving ghosts, haunted locations, and paranormal sightings. I'm not very far into the book yet, but so far I've read some interesting things. There is an introduction by paranormal experts explaining what ghosts really are. I've also read about angry spirits residing in an old slave house in Illinois. I've taken a short trip on a boat by reading about the spirits seen on the "Queen Mary" (which I didn't realize that it was once used as a war vessel, not always an ocean liner. The short story I read last night was about the bar "Bobby Mackey's", located in Kentucky. 

I find this book a good night-time read. The stories are approximately five pages long, give or take a few pages. The short stories are written in a more fact-based manner, but throw in little sentences of humor to keep the story going. They are not out to scare you, but to make you interested and think, kind of like Ripley's Believe It or Not episodes. So, if you're looking for an entertaining ghost story without the "scare me silly" feeling, then this would be a great book for you. For a second recommendation, if you cannot stay awake for more than five pages after your head hits the pillow, this is an especially good read. :) 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"Flapper" - Joshua Zeitz

"Flapper" - Joshua Zeitz

This book was a bit of a random card in my selection of books. I was wondering around the lousacc library with my four year old son, looking for a book to read on my plane ride to Juneau. In order to get him to behave I told him he could help me choose a book. At first he was steering me towards the romance novels... thankfully I diverted him to another section. I figured I'd pick out two books and let him choose which one he likes better. Yeah.. that worked like a brick floating. Instead, he walked up to a shelf, pulled out a novel, and said "HERE MOMMY! I FOUND ONE!" My first reaction was to put it back, but then I realized something. If I want to write a book blog about "random" books I read, then what better way to be random than to let my four year old loose in the library to choose what book I read. So, I read it, am almost done with it, and it was actually a great read. Go Atticus!

"Flapper" is all about the Jazz Age. It displays what the "modern woman" was back then. The scandalous dresses that showed women's knees, the drinking, the smoking, and the "necking" that went on. (Yes, this book actually uses the term "necking" quite often. I got a kick out of that!) At first I thought it was going to be a dull documentary book, but I actually found it quite interesting. I must say I did learn a lot about the Jazz Age that I didn't previously know.

In the book there are some prominent women of the Jazz Age discussed. There was Zelda Sayre, whom became F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife and that his characters in his book were based upon. In the book it says that this couple was said to "be" the Jazz Age. There was also CoCo Chanel. I never realized that the brand "Chanel" dated this far back, but it was interesting to read about it's beginnings and how much of a hard-ass boss she could be. There is also Louis Long, who wrote in the New Yorker under a different name about the life of a "modern woman", or a flapper, was like in New York. As part of her job, she went to clubs/bars and drank with the finest. She smoked when the men smoked. She partied all night with every type of person. She would even come to work smashed at 3 in the morning and sleep in her knickers until someone discovered her!

There are many different women and figures in this book that I can't even begin to touch on all of them. I had fun getting lost these different women's lives. It was interesting trying to image what it'd be like to live in the Jazz Age compared to what life is like now. For my recommendation, if you are interested in history, spunky women, and amusing drinking stories then this is a pretty good book to get a bit of it all. I'd say go to your local library and pick it up!