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Readers' Nook

Readers Nook

by
Cherilyn Banson

EBOOKS

FICTION
Lisa Wingate The book of lost friends
Sarah Pinborough Dead to her
Chris Hauty Deep State
Celeste Ng Everything I never told you
Kathleen Barber Follow me
Erica Spindler The look-alike
Heather Chavez No bad deed
Mary Kubica The other Mrs.
Sophie Hannah Perfect Little Children
Anne Tyler Redhead by the side of the road
James Patterson Revenge
Donna Leon Trace elements
Jussi Adler-Olsen Victim 2117

NONFICTION
Randy Shaw Generation Priced Out : Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America
Chris (Christopher) McDonnell Steven Universe : art & origins
Maria Alexandra Vettese A year between friends : 3191 miles apart : crafts, recipes, letters, and stories

EBOOKS

FICTION
Lisa Wingate The book of lost friends
Sarah Pinborough Dead to her
Chris Hauty Deep State
Celeste Ng Everything I never told you
Kathleen Barber Follow me
Erica Spindler The look-alike
Heather Chavez No bad deed
Mary Kubica The other Mrs.
Sophie Hannah Perfect Little Children
Anne Tyler Redhead by the side of the road
James Patterson Revenge
Donna Leon Trace elements...

Continue reading...
by
Steven Dunlap

The Mechanics Institute now offers streaming video! The Kanopy online video streaming platform offers thousands of classic films, educational videos, documentaries, indie, art house, foreign films, and more. 

After clicking on this link you will need to authenticate using your Mechanics Institute barcode (the long number on the back of your membership card). This will lead you to an online form to set up your account on Kanopy. After this initial set-up, you will use your email address and a password of your choosing to access Kanopy. If you encounter any difficulties, please email us at [email protected] then we will set up a time for us to call you to talk you through the process. Once you have done the initial set up, bookmark the link to return to Kanopy to watch great films and videos. 

What can you find on Kanopy? Try a search to find out. Have a favorite writer? I searched for mine and found a wonderful documentary about her. Have a favorite topic, maybe cooking? You will discover Kanopy includes The Great Courses series, among many others, The Everyday Gourmet.  Explore Kanopy to find a video about whatever interests you. 

Our Friday's CinemaLit program will continue with members viewing the selected movie on Kanopy then participating in a group discussion (Click here for more information and to register for the discussion on Zoom).

[The picture for this post, Buster Keaton 29c (from the National Postal Museum, Scott Catalogue USA 2828, April 27, 1994.) comes from Smithsonian Open Access provided by the Smithsonian Institution, which has made over 3 million of its ditiized images freely available.]

The Mechanics Institute now offers streaming video! The Kanopy online video streaming platform offers thousands of classic films, educational videos, documentaries, indie, art house, foreign films, and more. 

After clicking on this link you will need to authenticate using your Mechanics Institute barcode (the long number on the back of your membership card). This will lead you to an online form to set up your account on Kanopy. After this initial set-up, you will use your email address and a password of your choosing to access Kanopy. If you encounter any difficulties, please email us at [email protected] then we will set up a time for us to call you to talk you through the process. Once you have done the initial set up, bookmark the link to return to Kanopy to watch great films and videos. 

What can you find on Kanopy? Try a search to find out. Have a favorite writer? I searched for mine and found a wonderful documentary about her. Have a favorite topic, maybe cooking? You will discover Kanopy...

Continue reading...
by
Steven Dunlap

As a public service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Theatre of London places a video of one of its live performances on YouTube for free for a week at a time. This week enjoy a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, with Tamsin Grieg as "Malvolia," until Wednesday, April 30th, 7 p.m. UK time (That is noon Pacific Daylight Time).

Then starting noon Pacific Time on Wednesday the 30th, you can watch Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller alternate roles in a production of Frankenstein directed by Danny Boyle, script by Nick Dear.

Next, starting May 7th, they return to Shakespeare with a performance of Anthony and Cleopatra starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo. (Both Shakespeare plays directed by Simon Godwin.)

Keep checking the National Theatre at Home's homepage for updates.

As a public service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Theatre of London places a video of one of its live performances on YouTube for free for a week at a time. This week enjoy a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, with Tamsin Grieg as "Malvolia," until Wednesday, April 30th, 7 p.m. UK time (That is noon Pacific Daylight Time).

Then starting noon Pacific Time on Wednesday the 30th, you can watch Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller alternate roles in a production of Frankenstein directed by Danny Boyle, script by Nick Dear.

Next, starting May 7th, they return to Shakespeare with a performance of Anthony and Cleopatra starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo. (Both Shakespeare plays directed by Simon Godwin.)

Keep checking the ...

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by
Steven Dunlap

(All of the books and stories mentioned here the Mechanics Institute Library provides to members as eBooks). 

When we think to ourselves that we do not live in ordinary times we have to wonder whether our experience would look at all unique to those who lived in other places at other times. The Russians lived through times of crisis, with an incompetent and often cruel government. In the 19th century a satirist named Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin wrote A History of a Town, that tells the story of townspeople who, generation after generation, submit to the increasingly cruel and bizarre dictates of the towns leaders. Sound familiar? 

"Everything worth learning about life you can learn from reading Chekhov," is an aphorism I truly believe. In The Bet, he tells the story of a man who bet his fortune that no one could live in isolation for 20 years.  For us it's only been a few months, but we all can relate to this story, perhaps in ways we could not before? 

In The Grasshopper, a vain, celebrity-obsessed woman takes her physician husband for granted, failing to appreciate until it's too late his generous and self-sacrificing soul and the essential work he did for so many people. I cannot help see the parallels to our present situation in which people most of us took for granted carry out their work under extremely difficult conditions without hazard pay. Similarly, How a Muzhik Fed Two Officials by Saltykov-Shchedrin tells a fable of how a peasant does all the work to support two officials stranded on an otherwise uninhabited island.  And in Agafya, a charming person proves shallow and destructive once you've become better acquainted with him. Again, sound familiar? And one of my all time favorite Chekhov stories, Ward No. 6, provides an indirect answer to the question: "Where do you find the only sane person in an insane world?"

(The Bet and  How a Muzhik Fed Two Officials appear in Best Russian Short Stories Compiled and Edited by Thomas Seltzer. Seltzer's anthology remains on of the most highly regarded translation of the stories it contains). 

Russian authors had to contend with censorship during the Tsarist regime but many found imaginative and inventive ways to "write around" the censors. Aleksander Radishchev's famous Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow read like a plain vanilla travelogue to the censors, describing a traveler's experiences going from one of the empire's major cities to the other.  But after its publication, with its descriptions of the harsh conditions in which serfs had to live contrasted with the extravagant livestyle of Catherine the Great's favorite, Count Potemkin, the fact that he not only wrote a work of fiction disguised as a travelogue but also a deliberately subversive work earned the author a death sentence, commuted to exhile in Siberia. (You can check out an ebook copy of Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow by registering, for free, with the Internet Archive).

We also have satirical Russian literature eAudiobooks. One of my favorites, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (and read expertly by George Guidall), tells the story of how the Devil visits the Soviet Union in the 1930s and fits right in. The story within the story about Pontius Pilate shows a remarkable abilty for compelling story-telling and as read in the audiobook shows Pilate in different light than any other work of literature. 

[The picture for this post, Russian Man (Antonion Zeno Shindler, 1813-1899. The Smithsonian American Art Museum.) comes from Smithsonian Open Access provided by the Smithsonian Institution, which has made over 3 million of its ditiized images freely available.]

(All of the books and stories mentioned here the Mechanics Institute Library provides to members as eBooks). 

When we think to ourselves that we do not live in ordinary times we have to wonder whether our experience would look at all unique to those who lived in other places at other times. The Russians lived through times of crisis, with an incompetent and often cruel government. In the 19th century a satirist named Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin wrote A History of a Town, that tells the story of townspeople who, generation after generation, submit to the increasingly cruel and bizarre dictates of the towns leaders. Sound familiar? 

"Everything worth learning about life you can learn from reading Chekhov," is an aphorism I truly believe. In The Bet, he tells the story of a man who bet his fortune that no one could live in isolation for 20 years.  For us it's only been a few months, but we all can relate to this story, perhaps in ways we could not before? 

In The Grasshopper, a vain...

Continue reading...
by
Cherilyn Banson

EBOOKS

FICTION
Lisa Wingate Before we were yours
Elizabeth Gilbert City of girls
Kathy Reichs A conspiracy of bones
Ann Patchett The Dutch House
Jojo Moyes The giver of stars
Emily St John Mandel The glass hotel
John Grisham The guardians
Celeste Ng Little fires everywhere
Isabel Allende A long petal of the sea
David Baldacci A minute to midnight
Michael Connelly The night fire Michael Connelly
Liane Moriarty Nine perfect strangers
Elizabeth Strout Olive, again
Tara Laskowski One night gone
Mary Kubica The other Mrs.
Alex Michaelides The silent patient
Heather Morris The tattooist of Auschwitz
Margaret Atwood The testaments
Janet Evanovich Twisted twenty-six
Delia Owens Where the Crawdads sing

NONFICTION
Michelle Obama Becoming

EBOOKS

FICTION
Lisa Wingate Before we were yours
Elizabeth Gilbert City of girls
Kathy Reichs A conspiracy of bones
Ann Patchett The Dutch House
Jojo Moyes The giver of stars
Emily St John Mandel The glass hotel
John Grisham The guardians
Celeste Ng Little fires everywhere
Isabel Allende A long petal of the sea
David Baldacci A minute to midnight
Michael Connelly The night fire Michael Connelly
Liane Moriarty...

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by
Cherilyn Banson

eAudioBooks

FICTION
Eric L Harry Contagion
Terry Goodkind Crazy Wanda
Wallace Stegner Crossing to safety
P C Hodgell Dark of the moon
Donna Grant Everkin
David Drake In the heart of darkness

NONFICTION
Barbara W Tuchman A distant mirror the calamitous 14th century part 1

eAudioBooks

FICTION
Eric L Harry Contagion
Terry Goodkind Crazy Wanda
Wallace Stegner Crossing to safety
P C Hodgell Dark of the moon
Donna Grant Everkin
David Drake In the heart of darkness

NONFICTION
Barbara W Tuchman A distant mirror the calamitous 14th century part 1

Continue reading...
by
Cherilyn Banson

EBOOKS

FICTION
Sulari Gentill After She Wrote Him
Deb Olin Unferth Barn 8
Charles Finch A Beautiful Blue Death
Lisa Wingate Before we were yours : a novel
Martin Walker The Body in the Castle Well : A Mystery of the French Countryside
Len Deighton Bomber
Harlan Coben The boy from the woods
Stephanie Wrobel Darling rose gold
Clive Cussler Final option
Emily St John Mandel The glass hotel
J D Robb Golden in death
Therese Fowler A good neighborhood
Michael Christie Greenwood : a novel
Margery Allingham Hide My Eyes
Stuart Woods Hit list
Sarah J Maas House of earth and blood
Rebecca Serle In five years : a novel
Amanda Eyre Ward The jetsetters : a novel
James Rollins The last odyssey : a thriller
Lee Durkee The Last Taxi Driver
C J Box Long range
Hilary Mantel The mirror & the light
Nathanael West Miss Lonelyhearts : "Numbers Constitute the Only Universal Language."
Edwin Hill The Missing Ones
Jonathan Kellerman The museum of desire
Danielle Steel The numbers game : a novel
Adam Sisman The Professor and the Parson : A Story of Desire, Deceit, and Defrocking
Susan Minot Rapture
Gish Jen The Resisters
Peter Heller The river : a novel
Alexis Schaitkin Saint X
Laura Zigman Separation anxiety : a novel
Erin Morgenstern The starless sea
James Patterson Texas Outlaw
Donna Leon Unto us a son is given

NONFICTION
Daniel Tudor Ask a North Korean : Defectors Talk About Their Lives Inside the World's Most Secretive Nation
Christoph Wolff Bach's Musical Universe : The Composer and His Work
Courtney Maum Before and After the Book Deal : A Writer"s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book
Sam Wasson The big goodbye : Chinatown and the last years Hollywood
Kim Ghattas Black Wave : Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East
Richard White California Exposures : Envisioning Myth and History
Thomas Piketty Capital and ideology
Anne De Courcy Chanel's Riviera : Glamour, Decadence and Survival in Peace and War, 1930-1944
David Carr Final draft : the collected work of David Carr
Sinclair McKay The Fire and the Darkness : The Bombing of Dresden, 1945
Barbara Ehrenreich Had I Known : Collected Essays
Elsa Morante History
Peter Fritzsche Hitler's First Hundred Days : When Germans Embraced the Third Reich
David Reynolds Island Stories : An Unconventional History of Britain
Bjorn Vassness Kingdom of Frost : How the Cryosphere Shapes Life on Earth
Douglas Adams Last Chance to See
Carol Garrard The Life and Fate of Vasily Grossman
Adam Nicolson The Making of Poetry : Coleridge, the Wordsworths, and Their Year of Marvels
Jeffrey Kluger The narcissist next door : understanding the monster in your family, in your office, in your bed-in your world
Mark A Altman Nobody does it better : the complete, uncensored, unauthorized oral history of the James Bond films
John Boessenecker Ride the Devil's Herd : Wyatt Earp's Epic Battle Against the West's Biggest Outlaw Gang
Andrew Whitby The Sum of the People : How the Census Has Shaped Nations, from the Ancient World to the Modern Age
Robert B Reich The system : who rigged it, how we fix it
Lynne Olson Troublesome Young Men : The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England
Deborah Feldman Unorthodox the scandalous rejection of my Hasidic roots

EBOOKS

FICTION
Sulari Gentill After She Wrote Him
Deb Olin Unferth Barn 8
Charles Finch A Beautiful Blue Death
Lisa Wingate Before we were yours : a novel
Martin Walker The Body in the Castle Well : A Mystery of the French Countryside
Len Deighton Bomber
Harlan Coben The boy from the woods
Stephanie Wrobel Darling rose gold
Clive Cussler Final option
Emily St John Mandel The glass hotel
J D Robb Golden in...

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by
Celeste Steward

As book lovers, we all appreciate libraries. In these unprecedented times, it has never been more true that libraries continue to play a vital role in communities. While Mechanics’ Institute members shelter in place, librarians  have been working diligently to bring you more digital resources and recommended readings. This is the first of several posts as all of our staff members are avid readers!

 

Since nearly all libraries are closed temporarily, naturally my thoughts turned to books about libraries. To celebrate reading and information delivery--whether it is a satchel on horseback, a cozy hometown branch library, or a beautiful historic building--I hope you enjoy these titles hand-picked by Celeste, Mechanics’ Library Supervisor. All are available digitally through the library’s website.


The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes - Set in Depression-era Kentucky, this gracefully told story about Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library takes readers deep into the Appalachian mountains to deliver books to families that have never had any. Despite serious hardships, the “Horseback Librarians” as they came to be known formed lifelong friendships and lasting relationships with the Kentucky hill families. A richly rewarding tale, readers will admire the dedication and life-changing abilities of five daring women--a title not easily forgotten.


The Library Book by Susan Orlean -  Prepare to be dazzled by this fascinating story of the Los Angeles Public Library’s 1986 fire that consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. While the mystery remains unsolved to this day, the Orchid Thief author will delight library fans with her own love of books, a unique cast of characters, and an examination of the library’s crucial role in our lives.. There’s still plenty of time to read Orlean’s bestselling title as it’s being adapted for television. 


84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - While not technically about libraries, this title may send you looking for further library reading. Part memoir and part classic love story, Hanff, a freelance writer in New York City begins a 20-year correspondence with a used book dealer in London. Rich with literary references, this touching story takes armchair travelers between picturesque London and bustling New York City. As a final treat, readers may want to watch the equally superb film with the same title starring Ann Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. 

As book lovers, we all appreciate libraries. In these unprecedented times, it has never been more true that libraries continue to play a vital role in communities. While Mechanics’ Institute members shelter in place, librarians  have been working diligently to bring you more digital resources and recommended readings. This is the first of several posts as all of our staff members are avid readers!

 

Since nearly all libraries are closed temporarily, naturally my thoughts turned to books about libraries....

Continue reading...
by
Cherilyn Banson

EBOOKS

FICTION
Clare Beams The Illness Lesson
Tom Bouman The Bramble and the Rose
Lynn Brittney A Death in Chelsea
Tim Garvin A Dredging in Swann
Joe Ide Hi Five
Christian Kiefer Phantoms
Larry Kramer The American People : The Brutality of Fact
John Lanchester The Wall
SL McInnis Framed
Stewart O'Nan Henry, Himself
Douglas Preston Crooked River
Short Stories Nebula Awards Showcase 2018
Peter Swanson Eight Perfect Murders
Anne Enright Actress
Vanessa Hua Deceit and Other Possibilities : Stories
Marcial Gala The Black Cathedral
Laura Childs Lavender blue murder
Jeff Abbott The three Beths
Ian Rankin In a house of lies
Jeanine Cummins American dirt

NONFICTION
Erik Larson The splendid and the vile
Martha Ackmann These Fevered Days : Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson
Anita Diamant Choosing a Jewish Life : A Handbook for People Converting to Judaism and for Their Family and Friends
David Grann The White Darkness
Carolyn Burke Foursome : Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury
Jennifer Ashton The Self-Care Solution
Jan Timman The Longest Game : The Five Kasparov - Karpov Matches for the World Chess Championship
Vivian Gornick Unfinished Business
John Loughery Dorothy Day : Dissenting Voice of the American Century
Robert Harms Land of Tears : The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa
David G Marwell Mengele : Unmasking the Angel of Death
John Connelly From Peoples into Nations : A History of Eastern Europe
Rebecca Solnit Recollections of My Nonexistence : A Memoir
Florian Huber Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself : The Mass Suicide of Ordinary Germans in 1945
Kathryn Harkup Death by Shakespeare : Snakebites, Stabbings and Broken Hearts
Alexander Norman The Dalai Lama : an extraordinary life
Iain MacGregor Checkpoint Charlie : the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, and the most dangerous place on earth
Nicole Marie Aschoff The smartphone society : technology, power, and resistance in the new gilded age
Diane Rehm When my time comes : talks with twenty-three men and women about whether those who are dying should have the right to determine when life should end
Martha Stewart Martha Stewart's organizing : the manual for bringing order to your life, home & routines
Jim Mann The great rift : Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and the broken friendship that defined an era
Christiana Figueres The future we choose : surviving the climate crisis
Dan Bongino Exonerated : the failed takedown of President Donald Trump by the Swamp
Daniel Mallory Ortberg Something That May Shock and Discredit You

EBOOKS

FICTION
Clare Beams The Illness Lesson
Tom Bouman The Bramble and the Rose
Lynn Brittney A Death in Chelsea
Tim Garvin A Dredging in Swann
Joe Ide Hi Five
Christian Kiefer Phantoms
Larry Kramer The American People : The Brutality of Fact
John Lanchester The Wall
SL McInnis Framed
Stewart O'Nan Henry, Himself
Douglas Preston Crooked River
Short Stories Nebula Awards Showcase 2018...

Continue reading...
by
Steven Dunlap

In the first "True Crime Roundup" for 2020, we have a book by Joshua Hammer: The falcon thief : a true tale of adventure, treachery, and the hunt for the perfect bird. "A true-crime adventure about a rogue who trades in rare birds and their eggs-and the wildlife detective determined to stop him." (Hammer also wrote The bad-ass librarians of Timbuktu, which proved very popular with MI members.) 

The story of an unrepentant birds’-egg thief who found a lucrative market for rare wild falcons on the Arabian Peninsula... (Continue reading the Kirkus Review) .


 

You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin, but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest with a shotgun or that a couple of his wives died under extremely mysterious circumstances? Or that Sam Cooke was shot dead in a seedy motel after barging into the manager's office naked to attack her? Maybe not. So begins the description of Disgraceland : musicians getting away with murder and behaving very badly, by Jake Brennan, a book that tells true crime stories of how rock stars do truly insane things and invite truly insane things to happen to them; murder, drug trafficking, rape, cannibalism and the occult.

 


 

In the book, 18 tiny deaths : the untold story of Frances Glessner Lee and the invention of modern forensics Bruce Goldfarb examines the work of a woman

 

"... born a socialite to a wealthy and influential Chicago family in the 1870s, was never meant to have a career, let alone one steeped in death and depravity. Yet she developed a fascination with the investigation of violent crimes and made it her life's work. Best known for creating the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a series of dioramas that appear charming-until you notice the macabre little details: an overturned chair, a blood-spattered comforter. And then, of course, there are the bodies-splayed out on the floor, draped over chairs-clothed in garments that Lee lovingly knit with sewing pins. Lee developed a system that used the Nutshells dioramas to train law enforcement officers to investigate violent crimes, and her methods are still used today. 18 Tiny Deaths is the story of a woman who overcame the limitations and expectations imposed by her social status and pushed forward an entirely new branch of science that we still use today." 

With an introduction by Judy Melinek, the author of Working stiff, another book popular with MI members. 

 


 

For a book more in the style of a police procedural, try The third rainbow girl : the long life of a double murder in Appalachia, by Emma Copley Eisenberg. 

In the early evening of June 25, 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class outsiders named Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were murdered in an isolated clearing. They were hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived; they traveled with a third woman however, who lived. For thirteen years, no one was prosecuted for the "Rainbow Murders," though deep suspicion was cast on a succession of local residents in the community, depicted as poor, dangerous, and backward. In 1993, a local farmer was convicted, only to be released when a known serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin claimed responsibility. With the passage of time, as the truth seemed to slip away, the investigation itself caused its own traumas--turning neighbor against neighbor and confirming a fear of the violence outsiders have done to this region for centuries. Emma Copley Eisenberg spent years living in Pocahontas and re-investigating these brutal acts. Using the past and the present, she shows how this mysterious act of violence has loomed over all those affected for generations, shaping their fears, fates, and the stories they tell about themselves. In The Third Rainbow Girl, Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America--its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.

 


 

For readers who like to read true tales of espionage and books about World War II, we have recently acquired An impeccable spy : Richard Sorge, Stalin's master agent by Owen Matthews. 

The thrilling true story of Richard Sorge - the man John le Carré called 'the spy to end spies', and whose actions turned the tide of the Second World War. Richard Sorge was a man with two homelands. Born of a German father and a Russian mother in Baku in 1895, he moved in a world of shifting alliances and infinite possibility. A member of the angry and deluded generation who found new, radical faiths after their experiences on the battlefields of the First World War, Sorge became a fanatical communist - and the Soviet Union's most formidable spy. Like many great spies, Sorge was an effortless seducer, combining charm with ruthless manipulation. He did not have to go undercover to find out closely guarded state secrets - his victims willingly shared them. As a foreign correspondent, he infiltrated and influenced the highest echelons of German, Chinese and Japanese society in the years leading up to and including the Second World War. His intelligence regarding Operation Barbarossa and Japanese intentions not to invade Siberia in 1941 proved pivotal to the Soviet counteroffensive in the Battle of Moscow, which in turn determined the outcome of the war. Never before has Sorge's story been told from the Russian side as well as the German and Japanese. Owen Matthews takes a sweeping historical perspective and draws on a wealth of declassified Soviet archives - along with testimonies from those who knew and worked with Sorge - to rescue the riveting story of the man described by Ian Fleming as 'the most formidable spy in history'.

 

(Note: all summaries in this post adapted from publisher descriptions and/or dust jackets).

In the first "True Crime Roundup" for 2020, we have a book by Joshua Hammer: The falcon thief : a true tale of adventure, treachery, and the hunt for the perfect bird. "A true-crime adventure about a rogue who trades in rare birds and their eggs-and the wildlife detective determined to stop him." (Hammer also wrote The bad-ass librarians of Timbuktu, which proved very popular with MI members.) 

The story of an unrepentant birds’-egg thief who found a lucrative market for rare wild falcons on the Arabian Peninsula... (Continue reading the Kirkus Review) .


 

You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin, but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest with a shotgun or that a couple of his wives died under extremely mysterious circumstances? Or that Sam Cooke was shot dead in a seedy motel after barging into the manager's office naked to attack her? Maybe not....

Continue reading...