Redhead Reading

I'm a librarian-in-training who loves history and literature.

Le sigh

Why is it so difficult to find duplicates on Booklikes? I have 787 books on here and only 750 over on GR. Whyyyyyy


In actual reading news, I finished Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon, a dual biography of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley. Really quick read despite having 649 pages. I'm now reading Almost to Eden by June Hall McCash, which I've owned since 2015.

Booklikes Back?

Booklikes has apparently got their servers working again! I've tried a couple times in the past few months to get my bookshelf in order, but the site just lagged too much. But now things seem back on track! Woot, waiting for my import from Goodreads to finish and then I'll get things all fixed up. Looking forward to being active on Booklikes at last!


Moriarty - Anthony Horowitz I really enjoyed this despite the lack of Holmes & Watson.

A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1)

A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1) - Madeleine L'Engle I enjoyed this, but like many middle-grade books I've read as an adult, I think I would appreciated it more as a middle schooler. There were several aspects of the world not really adequately explained. (I mean why can't the Mrs. Ws go with them to fight IT?? They never give a reason.) Also, the ending was incredibly rushed and rather simplistic.

Also not related to the book itself, but after reading this, I'm really worried about good the movie will be. Reese Witherspoon does not match my mental picture of Mrs. Whatsit at all. Also Chris Pine as Mr. Murry?? He's supposed to a nerdy scientist who's been trapped in prison for who knows how long--not a buff, attractive dude. Also, because it's Hollywood, they'll probably get rid of all the Christian references, which will weaken the story. I'll be try to be positive about the movie, but my comparison of the book vs. casting is not hopeful.

The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea

The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea - Raina Telgemeier, Ann M. Martin I read this on January 12 in one sitting and I loved it! I'm definitely checking out the other editions that my work has. It is so 90s though--Stacey just moves in from NYC and is automatically accepted as a valid babysitter with no proof of any experience or certifications at all. Also, she moves just because she has diabetes?? What?? Never thought about how ridiculous that is before.

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe - Elaine Showalter This is a study of the life of Julia Ward Howe, first through the lenses of how she was suppressed by her strict father and then by her domineering husband. It then shifts to show how through publishing her poetry and giving talks on philosophy and, later, women's rights, she came into her own talents and became a beloved American icon. Of course, this rising fame came predominantly through her poem, The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

This book is super-engaging and reads quickly--my copy only had 300 pages, the last 50 being references/notes/index. I finished it in 3 days, so I would recommend it to anybody looking for a fast-paced nonfiction.

My Transcendentalism-loving heart enjoyed this book due to the fact that Julia and her husband were very much on the fringes of Transcendentalism. Julia interacted with Louisa May Alcott (who found Julia snobby!), Margaret Fuller, Theodore Parker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and basically all your Transcendentalist faves.

On the whole, Julia was a privileged women with a love for socializing and the finer things in life who eventually found a passion for speaking out for underprivileged groups, including women, slaves, immigrants, and more.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald - Therese Anne Fowler I enjoy the writing quite a bit, but I just felt angry for Zelda through a lot of it--the times she lived in and the people she surrounded herself with stunted her talent and it's just sad. Also, there was SUCH excess in this book--too much alcohol, too many fancy parties, too many people. It's the complete opposite to my nature and values, so I found it hard to relate.

Tender Is the Night

Tender Is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald Honestly, I was soooo bored with this. I didn't care about the characters at all.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir: A Novel

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir: A Novel - Jennifer Ryan I received this from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, but all opinions are my own.

The choir of Chilbury, a small town in Britain, has disbanded due to all the men enlisting, but it is reborn as a Ladies' Choir when a new female conductor comes to town. As love grows and intrigue of multiple kinds takes place, the ladies of the choir find that they have more power than they know.

This book was different than I expected--there was a lot less focus on the choir as a whole and more focus on just a few members of the choir. As a result, I could not really see how many people were meant to be in the choir and how big the town of Chilbury was meant to be. The map in the front was charming, but only listed the highlighted places in the plot. I would have appreciated more focus on the choir and town itself.

I felt the main conflict of the book--the plotline of Mrs. Paltry--to be rather unrealistic. I also thought the Brigadier General's negative reaction at the end of the book in relation to that plotline was unwarranted--it rather worked out for him in the long run. I also thought Elsie was utterly despicable.

Of the two romances, I found the one between the older couple to be more realistic--the younger romance seemed rather rushed, and by the end I was still like "you barely know each other!!!'

This book seemed overly dramatic when wartime is dramatic enough in itself. However, it did place a good emphasis on women finding their inner strength, which I appreciated. I enjoyed Mrs. Tilling's character growth quite a bit. Her portions of the book are worth the whole thing,

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir was a charming historical fiction novel, and I particularly recommend it if you like epistolary novels.

Letters of Note, Volume 2: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

Letters of Note, Volume 2: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience - Shaun Usher I received this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program, but all opinions are my own.

I have always loved reading people's letters--they seemed to me to show the more intimate side of a person, moreso than any biography can. I received the first volume of Letters of Note for Christmas in 2014 and read it cover to cover, so I was thrilled to get Volume 2.

To me, what makes the Letters of Note books stand out from all the books of letters out there is the absolute high-quality of the books. You get not just transcripts of the letters, but photos of the letters themselves. You get to SEE the handwriting and/or typewriter flaws. In this volume, you see Mark Twain's first-ever typewritten letter and it is so thrilling to see that original. If the original is not available, there are full-page photographs of either the letter writer or an image that relates to the letter.

The book covers a huge range of dates--2014 to 1500 BC, and a diverse array of topics--letters to newborn children, last letters of those dying, love letters, hate letters, letters of joy, letters of grief. Basically, every emotion of life is here. But even with this array, there seems to be an overall theme of hope and of faith in humanity. This book leaves you feeling good.

If there is anything to complain about, it is that this book has a British slant to it, and particularly a British writer slant. It makes sense as Usher is British, but be forewarned that the Brits rule in this book.

I greatly enjoyed Letters of Note Volume 2 and give it 4 stars--a high rating from my parsimonious self.

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train - William Kuhn I was not that impressed with this book--I wanted more focus on the Queen rather than all the people looking for her. And then, on the other hand, I thought it was presumptuous of the author to assume he knew the inner workings of the Queen's mind. So I don't know--I found this book rather meh.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens Dickens has an amazing talent for description--loved all his discussion of the Christmas food.

Really glad I finally read the book after watching so many adaptations. It's so short I could definitely see myself rereading it every year.

Tales of the City

Tales of the City  - Armistead Maupin A really fast-paced read that started as a newspaper serial that details the lives of the occupants of 28 Barbary Lane in 1970s San Francisco. I kept comparing it to the 44 Scotland Street series, though this is darker. There were a lot of references I did not get--I looked some of them up, but most I just guessed based on the context.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novella

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novella - Rachel Joyce Very disappointed in this book--I LOVED Unlikely Pilgrimage, but this one fell majorly flat for me.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik A fun biography of RBG, full of lots of pictures and analyzed portions of her briefs. Really recommend for anyone looking to learn more about RBG.
Had never read any Stephanie Plum before, but a coworker gave me this book. It was a quick read. It's the 12th in the series, but you really don't need to have read the other 11 to understand the dynamics. Would definitely read more of this series.

Currently reading

Almost to Eden
June Hall McCash
Windows on the White House: The Story of Presidential Libraries
Curt Smith