Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nevermore around the world: Sharyn McCrumb, Martin Sixsmith, Edward Gibbon and more!

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue continues to be passed from reader to reader at the Nevermore table.  While verdicts vary on the book, it was agreed that the two narratives running through the book made it a little confusing.  The two threads are intertwined, but occur only four days apart.  For a somewhat confusing or possibly a great book about San Francisco in 1876, check out Frog Music.

Another reader had just finished King’s Mountain by Sharyn McCrumb.  From the description of the events surrounding the Revolutionary War battle of King’s Mountain, our reader thought that the battle must have raged for months.  However, the actual engagement only lasted about two weeks, and the battle itself encompassed only sixty-five minutes.  Our reader enjoyed the book, as many others have as well.

The Guts by Roddy Doyle was again brought to the table.  Irishman Jimmy Rabbitte has been on a quest to gather old folk music and reunite bands which may want to make a comeback.  Incidentally, the Pope is coming to visit Ireland for the first time since 1932.  Our reader would love to see this book made into a movie.

Staying with the Ireland theme, Philomena by Martin Sixsmith put in an appearance.  Our reader noted that the incredible detail written in the first few pages was impossible to portray in the recent movie of the same name.  However, the movie was promoted as very powerful because it was stripped down to the essential story line.

Continuing with Ireland, a particular chapter was mentioned in Shakespeare’s Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects by Neil MacGregor.  In the chapter entitled: “Ireland: Failures in the Present”, the author mentions that the largest army ever assembled in England was under King Henry V in order to put down an Irish rebellion.  The Irish fighters were known as particularly savage, using guerrilla-like tactics to defend their territory.

Heading back to the United States, Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff was mentioned.  By a journalist, the book is a very personal journey through the chaos and corruption that fills Detroit.  As the decay of Detroit has been in the news lately, general opinion around the table is that Detroit has hope and may turn around to be re-born as a smaller, better city, much like New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Another reader has just begun The Passage by Justin Cronin.  Described as “sort of science fiction” with secret government experiments going on, our reader is looking forward to finishing the rest of the book.

Finally, another reader confessed to reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, but only in the abridged version.  Originally published in six volumes between 1776-1789, we can’t fault our reader for taking on the somewhat ambitious task of reading a mere 700 pages or so.

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