Impressionistic Vignettes of a Year Still Reverberating Today

Review: 1947: Where Now Begins, by Elisabeth Asbrink (Amazon / Book Depository) I try to assemble the year 1947 into a splintered whole. This is lunacy, but time does not leave me alone. Within the first few pages of 1947, I made myself slow down because I realized I was reading something special and I didn’t want it to be over too quickly. There’s a reason why librarian … Continue reading Impressionistic Vignettes of a Year Still Reverberating Today

Dark Roots and the Myth or Reality of a European Family History

Book review: A Crime in the Family, by Sacha Batthyany Swiss journalist Sacha Batthyany heard a disturbing rumor: near the end of the Second World War, his Aunt Margit was alleged to have participated in the massacre of hundreds of Jewish prisoners in the small Austrian town of Rechnitz. The crime took place during a party at her home attended by Nazi officers. He’s haunted, … Continue reading Dark Roots and the Myth or Reality of a European Family History

Memory, History, And Family Roots in Latvia

Book review: Among the Living and the Dead, by Inara Verzemnieks “This is why I had journeyed to my grandmother’s lost village, nestled at the edge of Latvia, which is itself nestled at the edge of Europe’s psychic north, south, east and west, or, as Pope Innocent III described it…’the edge of the known world’.  Because I imagined, maybe, I might find her again in the old … Continue reading Memory, History, And Family Roots in Latvia

Perspectives On Paris

Book review: A Paris All Your Own, edited by Eleanor Brown (Amazon / Book Depository) “My time in Paris was like no one else’s ever.” “In the end, I think Paris kept us married for an extra five years.” “I should probably write an article for a women’s magazine about this: ‘Lose Weight While Eating Your Feelings in Paris!’” A Paris All Your Own is a … Continue reading Perspectives On Paris

Best Notes for the Grand Tour

Book review: Leading the Blind, by Alan Sillitoe (Amazon / Book Depository) Leading the Blind is Alan Sillitoe’s witty compilation of some of the most interesting, bizarre, quirky or hilariously biased and outdated bits from 19th century guide books to continental Europe, with a select few parts of the Middle East thrown in for good measure. These guide books were tailored to wealthy British travelers doing trendy Grand Tours … Continue reading Best Notes for the Grand Tour

Olivia deHavilland On Paris

  Book review: Every Frenchman Has One, by Olivia deHavilland (Amazon / Book Depository) A quick, fun and light collection of anecdotes with lots of vintage charm by the actress I knew best as Melanie from Gone with the Wind, but of course she’s legendary for way more than that. I had no idea she was a Parisian expat, was almost 100 years old, and had … Continue reading Olivia deHavilland On Paris