The gripping true story of a sensational religious forgery and the scandal that engulfed Harvard.
Dr. Karen King, a well-respected professor at Harvard Divinity, announced to the attendees of a scholars conference, steps from the Vatican.
Someone had given her a scrap of an ancient papyrus where Jesus calls Mary Magdalene his wife. As you can imagine, this was huge. I know I followed this in the news because I had an interest in the Gnostic Gospels and what was and wasn’t true. I never saw Mary of Magdala as a prostitute and I never found any corroboration of that.
Imagine if all these years later we find out Jesus had a wife. What? What a shakeup that would be for the Catholic Church especially. If he was married, why celibacy in the priesthood? Why no women in positions of power? There was a powerful uproar and King’s reputation suffered. Was this piece a forgery and if so was King in on it?
Amid all of these questions, journalist Ariel Sabar started digging into the story. Where did the fragment come from? With impeccable research and detective skills, he brings us the story of King and the man who may or may not be a forger.
This was a brilliant look at the rivalries in academia. The hopes of King that there was an alternative to the bible out there that was more inclusive to women. I’ll leave you to enjoy the mystery.
I am still mulling over questions this book brought up. And I’m sure I will be for a long time.
NetGalley/ August 11th, 2020 by Doubleday Books
Gareth Russell has done his research. Uncovering previously unpublished sources and including photographs. Russell tells the story not just of the sinking of the Titanic, but of six well-known and well-heeled passengers and the role they played in history.
He is a gifted writer and puts the event in context with what was going on in the world. Especially the Americans and the British. With the Edwardian Era ending, war on the horizon and changes in the social norms, technology, politics, Irish Home Rule, the class system, this was a major time of change for the world.
We follow the stories of six of those passengers on the Titanic and how their lives changed. The description of the sinking, minute by minute, the different ways Americans and the British handled the tragedy. Not everyone was chivalrous or brave. And for some that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
For me personally, this was the best book I have read on the subject. And that was because it was so well researched and written. Myths were shown for what they were. Facts and journals told stories never heard before. The pictures were priceless in creating an image in your head of who these people were and how they behaved.
I would have no problem recommending this book as a definitive look at this point in our history.
Extremely Well Done!
NetGalley/ November 19th, 2019 by Atria Books
In the Fall of 1940, Alexa and her mother were taken by the Nazi’s. Stacked like cordwood in cattle cars on a train. Most would die and the rest would labor. If you were a pretty blue-eyed blonde, you could end up as the slave of a Gestapo head. If you were lucky you didn’t get beaten every day.
I enjoyed reading a first-hand account of Alexa and her family.
This is a true story told by her granddaughter. The story and what happened to her is a solid story. It’s true. At only 13, she must grow up very fast and learn to survive.
The writing was monotone. I didn’t feel any emotion behind the characters. A lot of it could benefit from more editing. I didn’t feel her fear or any emotion. It is a true story and one with a horrific topic and that felt as if there should have been some emotion in it. I didn’t feel any fear or horror or anything.
An inspiring memoir from the front lines of history by award-winning 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.
Don’t ask the meaning of life. Life is asking, what’s the meaning of you?
Journalist, Scott Pelley, is someone I have always respected. And counted on to give us the news and the story behind the news. The Truth.
Scott gives us true accounts of people changed forever by the events like The World Trade Center bombing, 9/11, fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq.
I found his telling of his own and others experiences on 9/11 to be difficult to read. The book is raw and unforgettable. Pelley has a writing style that is equal to his reporting style and that made this both a heartbreaking read and a profound one.
Free Speech and what it means for the people. Why it is the most important thing at all times and especially at this moment in history. A Free Press is part of the checks and balances that we must have in a democracy.
For readers who believe values matter and truth is worth telling, Pelley writes, “I have written this book for you.” Scott Pelley
NetGalley/ Harlequin Hanover May 21, 2019
From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions.
The horrific conflict known as The Troubles is introduced to us beginning in 1972, when Jean McConville, 38 and a mother of ten children was abducted from her home in front of her children and neighbors, never to be seen again, until years later when bones found on a beach turned out to be hers.
Everyone knew it was the IRA, but no one was speaking out. Fear and Paranoia were rampant and no one was safe. Family members turned on each other. Neighbors turned a blind eye and some, like Dolours Price, were carrying on the family tradition of violence and proud of it.
This was a bitter conflict that I once thought was over Catholic vs. Protestants but that was only a small part of the story. Everyone wanted peace, but when it came, it was shaky at best.
This is one of the best books I have read on the Irish Conflicts. Turning loved ones against each other and so many deaths and in the end, who was right? Was it all worth it?
I don’t know but reading this account I fully intend to find out more.
Very Well Done!
Netgalley/ February 26th 2019 by Doubleday Books
Productivity Series Book #4
Self help books aren’t really my thing. And this wasn’t either. I found more quotes and sayings such as ‘Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.’ That was what it all boiled down to.
I wasn’t impressed with this one.
Netgalley/ St. Martin’s Business December 31, 2018
On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual false alarm. As one fireman recounted later, “Once that first stack got going, it was Goodbye, Charlie.” The fire was disastrous: It reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but over thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?
Susan Orlean is an exceptional writer and her love for the written word and libraries is all over this work.
As she digs into the fire at the LAPL, this becomes a book about libraries and the people who inhabit them. The librarians and all of the ins and outs and backrooms and quirky people who make up the library. What she finds is something that we all have found at one time or another, a second home. A place of community, a place that levels the playing field for those who don’t have the luxury of buying a lot of books or resource material.
I often joke I would love to be locked in a library and after reading Susan’s book, I really want to do that! I associate the library with my childhood, my first library card, the smell, all the adventures I took in those books.
Librarians are really lucky!
I loved this book and I hope you do as well.
Netgalley/ Simon and Schuster October 16, 2018
Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis
A lively and introspective look into Oklahoma City, where colorful city officials business leaders, artists, and sports fans have turned an unassuming Southwestern city into a thriving metropolis with a dazzling basketball team.
Sam Anderson–award-winning critic and journalist–makes his long-awaited debut with a stunning, insightful, and raucous portrait of Oklahoma City, an iconoclastic outpost in America’s heartland.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I’ve lived in Nichols Hills since Hurricane Katrina spit us out of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. The entire state has been a mystery to me.
I had never heard of Sam Anderson, sorry Sam, but I won’t forget him! This was the best unvarnished look at who makes the rules here and what the powers that be have envisioned for the city. Oklahoma City is a huge sprawling area of tiny pockets of old-established neighborhoods. While there have been huge improvements to downtown OKC, beyond the city center the homeless linger under bridges and overpasses and oil and gas rules. Unemployment is rampant unless you are an oil field worker and even then you may only have a job until it’s bonus time.
From the Land Run to Aubrey Mclendon’s spectacular exit from his oil and gas woes to the Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne, whose house I have been in and it is just as weird and wacko as Sam will tell you about.
I laughed so hard all the way through this book. Sam has captured the city perfectly as well as all of its most colorful residents.
Very Well Done and I look forward to more from this author!
Netgalley/August 21st 2018 by Crown
From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, the powerful story of how a prominent white supremacist changed his heart and mind
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen comes a new explosive, compelling thriller.
In the epic tradition of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Jonathan Maberry, a chilling new masterwork of small-town evil, centuries-old traditions, and newly risen terror…
This is what we are reading here at Books,Books and More Books this week. Kids are back in school and it’s back to business! Have you read any of these yet? If so, what did you think?
A human drama unlike any other: the riveting and definitive full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history.
Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, days after delivering the components of the atomic bomb from California to the Pacific Islands in the most highly classified naval mission of the war, USS Indianapolis is sailing alone in the center of the Philippine Sea when she is struck by two Japanese torpedoes. The ship is instantly transformed into a fiery cauldron and sinks within minutes. Some 300 men go down with the ship. Nearly 900 make it into the water alive. For the next five nights and four days, almost three hundred miles from the nearest land, the men battle injuries, sharks, dehydration, insanity, and eventually each other. Only 316 will survive.
Coming from these two authors, I knew this was going to be a good book. And it was. I don’t usually do Military history. But something about this story pulled at me.
A true account of what happened to the ship and crew of the USS Indianapolis. After delivering precious cargo that would effectively end the war with Japan, she has limped on a course to complete the repairs that were not finished before they were pulled for a special top-secret mission. But they never made it. Torpedoed by the enemy and sank.
A story of bravery, of teen-aged boys stepping up when needed. Of the fight to survive for those left alive in the dark water surrounded by deadly oil slicks and sharks. I am not going to lie, it was hard to read some of this but then these young men sacrificed their lives and as we learn more about each one we become invested in their survival.
A story of how a crew and an enemy came forward to save their Captain from an unjust court-martial.
Any military fans will love this in-depth look at our military history. I know I will never forget this one.
Netgalley/ Simon and Schuster July 10, 2018