Category Archives: Biography

Book Diva Review: Will in the World

willintheworld Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, by Stephen Greenblatt, is a page turner of a biography, a biography that is beyond compare, and a biography that I have not read with such eagerness, before, and it is all due to the vibrancy and enthusiasm of the author, Stephen Greenblatt’s ability to blend elegant prose that makes us anxious for more, in order to fill our senses with the world of Shakespeare.

How did Shakespeare, from Stratford-Upon-Avon, a small town in the rural countryside, far removed from London, write with such perfection, beauty, emotion, sensuality and elegance, moving the country, the world with his plays, to become a playwright beyond compare and comprehension? Read Greenblatt’s book, and you will find some of the answers to that question, woven in a tapestry so fine, detailed and rich, that if you have never read any of Shakespeares brilliant plays or poetry…you will be tempted to run as fast as you can to your nearest bookstore in order to do so.

Having traveled to Stratford-Upon-Avon, myself, on three occasions, and having seen Shakespeare’s birthplace, and even the cradle he slept in, and having encompassed myself in the surrounding countryside, I am aware of some of the endless stimulations that possibly evoked thoughts and emotions in Shakespeare’s mind, his imagination, prompting him to write with such magnificence and passion, becoming the playwright of playwrights.

Varied documents, writings, testimonials, and other related data are only a portion of what is included within the pages of this wonderful book. Stephen Greenblatt encompases all knowledge of Shakespeare in Will in the World, and makes a statement that the Bard, himself, wrote all of the magnificent plays, poetry and writings on his own.

If Will in the World is sitting idly on a shelf in your house, please, take it out and read it, peruse each line, each page. You will not be disappointed, and you will be surprised, beyond imagination.

© Copyright – All Rights Reserved – No permission is given or allowed to reuse my photography, book reviews, writings, or my poetry in any form/format without my expresss written consent/permission.

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Filed under Authors, Biography, Book Diva News, Book Diva's Book Reviews, General, Non-Fiction

Book Diva Review: Being Polite to Hitler

beingpolite In the book, Being Polite to Hitler-A Novel, by Robb Forman Dew, the title can be initially misleading, because the book has nothing to do with Hitler, and everything to do with the societal standards and mores of time.

From 1953 on, Agnes, the main character, follows etiquette’s insistence on politeness, even during moments where circumstances are less than ideal or less than positive. In her mind, politeness is a standard to be idealed, and even if Hitler was standing in front of her she would exhibit politeness, despite her feelings.

The characters in the book are floundering within the realm, of family dynamics and communications. Their often political discussions are ones that leave much to be desired, and it seems as if they are speaking to hear themselves talk. They are flat, and their personalities are not ones that are necessarily desired.

The reader sees what the individuals are thinking, through their mind’s view of what is occurring or not occurring, especially through Agnes’ eyes. She is reflective of her past. Yet, often times what is not occurring is actually more demonstrative of feelings than if words were uttered.

From the various major developments within a twenty plus span of years, Agnes seems untouched by the occurrences, such as Sputnik, the John F. Kennedy assassination, desegregation, and so much more. It is easier to allow the mind to dismiss or not dwell on the situations, and go on with life without blemishes of historical consequence.

History is quite evident, within the pages, yet when Agnes and her family and friends are confronted with news or the latest incidents, they seem to avoid acknowledging them.

I found Being Polite to Hitler to be a less than interesting read. It is not really my type of story, but I am sure others will enjoy it. The setting and details regarding clothes, living habits, monetary influences, etc. are depicted quite well. The descriptions and portrayals of lackluster individuals caught in the stream of daily life, trying to out voice each other is very pronounced and well written.

With that said, I still did not enjoy the story line of Being Polite to Hitler. I am glad it was a library book, and not one I bought.


Filed under Biography, Blogrolls, Book Diva's Book Reviews, Family Dynamics, Fiction

Books Currently Reading, Books to Read

I am currently reading Gabby, by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly.

I am also reading The Book of Illusions, by Paul Auster.

And, also, The Jewish Americans, by Beth Wenger

Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runway will be released next month!

I am looking forward to the January release of The Genius: Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism.

Also, in the Jewish biography genre, I am also wanting to read the upcoming release in January of The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus.

Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, will be released again in January 2013.

Has anyone read The Twelve Tribes of Hattie?

I came across this book the other day. I don’t know how I missed it: Bring Up the Bodies.

If any of you are on GoodReads, let me know.

That is it for today. Enjoy your Friday.

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Filed under Biography, Blogrolls, Fiction, Historical Novels, Inspiration, Non-Fiction

Book Review – Under the North Light

underthenorthlight Publishing children’s books would not be what it is today, if it weren’t for Maud and Miska Petersham. What they managed to accomplish in their lives, as far as writing and illustrating books for children is amazing, and no small feat.

They were pioneers in every aspect, and each chapter of Under the North Light: The Life and Work of Maud and Miska Petersham demonstrates that. Each chapter is sensitively and brilliantly written, and we are given a window into the moments of their lives and what they were striving towards. Along with the prose, each chapter contains pictures of their illustrations, illustrations that are absolutely stunning in their details and depth.

The Petershams were a unique couple, coming from diverse backgrounds. They endeavored throughout the years, to collaborate, not only in the art of illustration, but in the art of artistic beauty, beauty that kept children fascinated, and it also kept adults fascinated. Their biography is a testament to both.

Their marriage was strong, even through the lean and war-filled years. Their work ethic was strong, and their lives were filled with writing and illustrating under the north light of a window.

I read their stories growing up, and my childhood was filled with inhaling them. I wish I had been able to keep the books, but due to family moves and life in general, the books were either given away to others or to libraries.

Reading the glossy pages of this outstanding and stunning book, I was reminded of my childhood, of how reading played an important role in my life, and still does, decades later. Fond memories flashed before me with each line and illustration, and I found myself a bit breathless from the pure joy and beauty of the pages

Under the North Light: The Life and Work of Maud and Miska Petersham is an excellent resource regarding the development of book illustration, and it sheds light on graphic arts and its inception. It is a book of immense historical value, and one that I feel the reader will be inspired by.

Under the North Light: The Life and Work of Maud and Miska Petersham, by Lawrence Webster is an elegant and insightful tribute to the Petershams, and to their life’s work. I highly recommend it to everyone.

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Filed under Biography, Inspiration, Non-Fiction

Mary Antin, Salman Rushdie – Two Memoirs

Mary Antin, in my opinion, was a author ahead of her time in the early 20th century. Her memoir, The Promised Land, will be released again, 100 years after its first publication in 1912.

I have a 1987 hard back book of The Promised Land, and might just order the new paperback release to add to my collection.

I was lucky to get the 1987 copy as a free giveaway from my local library. I just began reading it, and am fascinated with each sentence.
Like all authors who I find intriguing and fascinating, I like to collect their works, including newer releases of them, even if I have an older edition.
This also include Salman Rushdie. I am in the midst of reading his memoir, Joseph Anton. I am enthralled. I am an avid reader of his books, and own all of them.

What an author, what stunning writing, what a life he has led. I am about one third through the memoir and can’t put it down. His writing encompasses boundaries, and often opens boundaries of religion, social acceptance, assimilation and the immigrant experience.

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Filed under Biography, Blogrolls, Memoirs, Non-Fiction

Recent Book Releases


Below find  a compilation of a few recent releases, some sound compelling and  profound, some illuminating and inspiring, some comical, some intriguing, some delicious, and some in between.  Stroll through the links, and find something on the pathway to perusing that speaks to you.

Barefoot Contessa Foolproof:  Recipes You Can Trust

Bruce, by Peter Ames Carlin

Hello Gorgeous, by William J. Mann

Jerusalem:  A Cookbook, by Sami Tamimi

Killing Kennedy – The End of Camelot, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Letters to Talia, by Dov Indig

Life Goes On: A Novel, by Hans Keilson and Damion Searls

Master of the Mountain:  Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves, by Henry Wiencek

Mere Christianity-the Gift Edition, by C.S. Lewis

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, by William Kuhn

Open Heart, by Elie Wiesel and Marion Wiesel (December 4, 2012)

Refected in You – A Crossfire Novel, by Sylvia Day

Rod:  The Autobiography, by Rod Stewart

Saul Steinberg:  A Biography, by Deirdre Bair

Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler:  A True Love Story Rediscovered, by Trudi Kanter

Son, by Lois Lowry

The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro

The Bridge, by Karen Kingsbury

The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling

The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe

The Racketeer, by John Grisham

The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton

The Sins of the Mother, by Danielle Steel

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds:  An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (9), By Alexander McCall Smith

The Watchmaker’s Daughter:  A Memoir, by Sonia Taitz

To Russia With Love:  An Alaskan’s Journey, by Victor Fischer

Why I Left Goldman Sachs, by Greg Smith

You Saved Me Too, by Susan Kushner Resnick

Thank you for visiting.

October 24, 2012

© Copyright 2007 – All Rights Reserved – No permission is given or allowed to reuse my photography, book reviews, writings, or my poetry in any form/format without my expresss written consent/permission.


Filed under Biography, Blogrolls, General, Historical Novels, Literature/Fiction, Non-Fiction, World War II