Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz




What did I do this week? Read. Pretty much all the time. 




I finally seem to have gotten into the quarantine reading spirit; I finished eleven books last week and eight of them were adult titles. 

I heartily want to recommend The Splendid and the Vile. I started this year deeply saddened by the mean-spirited political climate in America, and I began the year reading only mood-boosting books. The Splendid and the Vile would be an excellent addition to that list. It's perfect for this awful time in the world. The Splendid and the Vile tells the story of Winston Churchill, prime minister of England during the terrible days, weeks, months of bombing from Nazi Germany. I felt heartened by reading the words of Churchill. We could all become better people if we modeled ourselves after that man (well, we might skip the cigars and whiskey). 

I also loved the novel Migrations. There's an end-times feel to Migrations, with the main character, Franny Stone, attempting to follow the last migration of the last of the Arctic terns from the north all the way to Antarctica. Franny is an unreliable narrator and the world feels unreliable, too, with mass extinctions occurring everywhere. There is the sense that everything is falling apart; there is uncertainty in how to act in these sorts of times. Migrations will be published in August of this year.

I also finished:


 In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
The Paris Hours by Alex George
The Candy Mafia by Lavie Tidhar
The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis (5 stars)
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman
Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler (5 stars)








I'm reading four wonderful books right now:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Emergency Poet: An Anti-Stress Poetry Anthology edited by Deborah Alma
Weather: A Novel by Jenny Offill
Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse





Lots of articles about Quarantine Reading:

What to Read in Quarantine by The Harvard Crimson



Several bookish events going on now or soon:






1. I had a cough this week with aches and maybe a touch of fever. That doesn't sound like a good thing, does it? But the cough was not a dry cough, and it seems to be diminishing, and the fever and aches are gone. My daughter-in-law, son, and two grandchildren all had something similar the last time we saw other human beings, three weeks ago. 

2. Sunny, cool days.


3. Our daughter-in-law and son in Chicago mailed us a package this week. Hurray! 



How are you doing this week?




Thank you for coming to the Sunday Salon. There are no real requirements for linking up at Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in the conversations going on there. 

Some of the things we often talk about at the Sunday Salon:

  • What was your week like?
  • Read any good books? Tell us about them.
  • What other bookish things did you do? 
  • What else is going on in your life?


Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.


My linkup for Sunday Salon is below.

56 comments:

  1. Oh, I certainly hope y'all are well and that cough, etc are nothing serious!!

    How did your son and daughter in law score enough toilet paper to share? The highlight of last week was finding some online to order. It hasn't shipped yet, though, so I'm still a little nervous about it.

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    1. My cough seems to have improved greatly overnight. I am hopeful I am on the mend.

      My son and daughter-in-law live in Chicago. They are not having problems with acquiring it there. I wonder why there is toilet paper in Chicago but not in Houston or in your area. It doesn't really make sense to me.

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    2. Do they make toilet paper in Chicago? My Costco shopper scored some for us on Sunday so we're fine for now.

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    3. That could be the reason there have been no shortages there.

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  2. I placed our first Giant Eagle home delivery and scored tp, paper towels AND Lysol wipes. Woo hoo! I hope you're feeling better. I've been dealing with some allergy symptoms which overlap with COVID19 and it just adds that little bit of extra stress. Take care!

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    1. My cough started out as a reaction to oak pollen we always get at the end of March, but then it developed into this awful cough. I feel much better today, but I'm still coughing.

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  3. That's funny about the mailed TP from Chicago, but nice too! I'm hoping it was not Covid with you. You sure got a lot of reading done last week. I too read Separation Anxiety ... it had some good wit to it but was darker than I expected. I hope good healthy week ahead .... enjoy your reads!

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    1. The main character in Separation Anxiety had so many issues. I found myself wishing she'd go by herself for therapy.

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  4. Oooh, I'll bet you felt a bit anxious when you developed a cough, fever and aches! I hope it turns out to be nothing serious. We have a fair amount of TP since we have a few packages for the RV, but we are getting to the point where I should try to find some at our store. Every time I go, the shelves are bare, so I should probably try to go first thing in the morning. Ugh. I'm anxious to read the Churchill book since my husband said it was very good. He and my mom are both reading Sapiens, which you might enjoy if you haven't already read it. It's our book club selection and I'll start reading it in a few weeks. Take care of yourself, Deb. xo

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    1. Thank you for the heads up on Sapiens, Les. I was able to find it at Overdrive and I started it today.

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  5. I hope you start feeling better and recover soon! I am so impressed with your reading this week! I got two done and feel very good about that. What a nice package to receive from your family. I enjoy Erik Larsen's books a lot and need to add this one to the list soon. Thanks for hosting and I hope you enjoy your reading and your week!

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    1. The Splendid and the Vile started slowly for me, but I gradually fell into the story of the English people and their leader.

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    2. The Splendid and the Vile started slowly for me, but I gradually fell into the story of the English people and their leader.

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  6. I hope you are feeling better, Deb. I'm sorry you've been feeling under the weather.

    I am glad you enjoyed The Splendid and the Vile. Churchill had a lot of good things to say. I know he is a bit of a controversial figure in history (aren't they all), but I think we could learn a lot from him. I am glad you enjoyed In Five Years. I did as well. The Paris Hours is on my wish list. I am looking forward to reading it, and am glad to see you liked it!

    I hope you have a good week. Stay safe and well.

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    1. I'm very curious now to know what the British people think of Churchill.

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  7. I hope you are feeling better! Take care and stay safe!

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  8. I hope you'll feel better soon!
    The Splendid and the Vile sounds great! I would like to read about Churchill, it's an interesting historical figure.

    I hope you'll have a good week!

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    1. The Splendid and the Vile was great. He was a strong leader during a terrible time.

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  9. I'm glad you got some toilet paper. I've been taking LYFT clients to work at Target and they have stories for sure revolving around toilet paper, including one guy who screamed, "how am i going to wipe my a##" lol. sorry if that was indignant.

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    1. I'm glad you are helping get people to work, and I hope you are all staying safe.

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  10. We live in strange times... at any other time, we'd all be scratching your head at your excitement over a parcel of toilet paper. Now, we're all hoping you'd be large-hearted enough to share them around your blogging buddies... Though we're lucky that the situation has eased here and they are on the shelves more than they're not. What a lovely lot of books, Deb and I hope the coming week is a good one. Take care of the cough!

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    1. It's crazy, isn't it?! Once my son and his wife told us they were sending a package, we kept wondering to ourselves what was inside, and what we hoped for wasn't candy or flowers!

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  11. Hope you feel better soon! Have a great week!

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    1. I'm not one for doctors or medicine, but I decided to go ahead and take the antibiotic and see if it might knock this cough out.

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  12. Feel better and take care! We all had something similar, about five weeks ago.

    And yay for toilet paper!! What a world these days right? My mom was super excited I found garbage bags for her the other day. :)

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  13. First of all, glad your illness has gotten better. Since this is such an allergy season in Texas, I think a lot of people have been dealing with that and wondering whether it was 'something else'. Happily, my allergies show up in fall and winter, but the oak pollen has definitely been out. I've been going to HEB early (and standing in line for a bit) when I've gone to the grocery store. They have always had some TP when I've been, but I've heard that later in the day that was not the case. It's been funny because I've had several friends and family members that were incredulous that I would stand in line for 15 minutes or so to get in the store, but then they also are complaining big time about nothing on the shelves. I social distance, wear my mask, and have found most things I wanted. Maybe not the brand or the exact type (like peanut butter), but most things. Hope your week goes well and our spring season of storms will be as light as it can be. We had tornadoes near us the other night. Not uncommon though.

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    1. Thank you, Kay. I've heard HEB is one of the few stores that had a plan in place for such a disaster as we have been given.

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  14. I added The Splendor to my TBR list.

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    1. I'd love to hear thoughts about Churchill from citizens from the British Empire.

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  15. Glad your cold/flu symptoms? have abated. The Toilet paper delivery made me smile. We haven't been able to get any in one month but, I had a stash of 40 rolls LOL - I know, I'm bad but what would we do now? LOL

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    1. We have ordered tp from seven different vendors and nothing arrived.

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  16. Migrations sound interesting. I may have to watch out. Glad that you are feeling better!

    I hope you have a great week ahead.

    Gayathri @ Elgee Writes

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  17. I read The Devil in the White City last year and really enjoyed his style. I might dig into more soon!
    I hope that cough wasn't anything serious! It's scary how CV19 affects some so badly and others so little so the whole situation is stressful! Wishing you good health and a great week!

    Stacy Renee | LazyDayLit

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  18. Hurray for the TP! Who knew it could be so precious?

    Glad you are feeling better. I had some aches a couple of nights ago that improved by the morning. Knock wood.

    Hang in there and stay safe and well.

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    1. Yes, what is just normal aches and pains and what is the virus?

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  19. I noticed on goodreads that you were having a banner reading week. You got me to add several books to my list, too! My reading was a little slower, but I'm enjoying my current book (Unsheltered) quite a bit. Sorry to hear about that cough... very worrisome in times like these. Also glad to see in the comments that you're feeling a little better. Hooray for TP!!!

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    1. I decided to go ahead and take the antibiotic, too. I hope I'm on the upswing.

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  20. Great package to get right now. I'm glad everyone got over whatever cough thing you all had.

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  21. That's wonderful about your reading week! I read Larson's Dead Wake last year and absolutely loved it. I have another one of his from the last time we were able to go to the library and I will add this one to the list. I've always found Churchill fascinating as well as his mother though I doesn't have much to do with this particular book. I'm sorry to hear you've been sick but hopefully you're feeling better? We had a scare with my daughter right after all this started. She's a teacher and several of her students had the virus or had parents who had had it and then she started feeling bad. But luckily it seems to have just been some less scary crud and passed fairly quickly. I hope it's the same for you. Have a wonderful week and keep reading!

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  22. Larson is one of my favorite authors. I know it's probably a sun-shiny view, but I feel like there have been times in the past when people hung together a little more than currently.

    Glad you're feeling better. My husband and I have had a few "what's a dry cough?" discussions. I've been battling allergies (it's spring, after all) and it's hard to avoid going down some needless roads of thought.

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  23. Just a couple of months ago, no one would have thought that the gift of toilet paper would be a source of joy and sign of caring... Nowadays? It's the best, lol. How things tip on their heads!

    I'm sorry to hear you're feeling unwell! Hopefully, it passes quickly. It's so hard not to panic over "normal" illnesses nowadays as you automatically assume it's the worst. My hayfever has been kicking in and it keeps sending me into tizzy. :(

    Hope you have a good week!

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  24. The Splendid and the Vile sounds excellent. I’ll add it to my TBR list. I hope you feel better soon. Have a great week!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  25. Wow, you go girl! Look at all that reading you did last week! I'm yet to have a better than normal reading week but with little to distract me this week, I'm hoping I'll turn more pages. We'll see. What did you think of In Five Years? It's on my list but have months-long wait list at the library Overdrive so I'm just going to have to wait for it.

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  26. It’s still difficult to get toilet paper here, the cycle continues because as soon as it arrives people worry next time they won’t find any and the shelves are stripped in minutes. Thankfully we have a bit of an inside source so it hasn’t been an issue.

    I’m hugely impressed with your reading this week, both the number and the variety. I’m not reading nearly enough.

    It’s heading into Winter here, and the combination of the Flu season and Covid-19 is scary to contemplate. I got my flu shot on the weekend, who knows - it might offer some protection against Covid.

    Wishing you a great reading week and good health..

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  27. Glad to see you enjoyed The Splendid and the Vile. I've been thinking about picking it up.

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  28. I'm in Chicago too and I think it's a total crap shoot if stores will or will not have TP! Though we have gotten lucky a time or two. I'm having trouble finding baby wipes!

    I liked In Five Years a lot- it definitely took a turn I wasn't expecting!

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  29. Hope your cough goes away soon. I'm glad you are finding reading satisfying. I'm still doing better with audiobooks than print books. I am really enjoying listening while I play mindless computer games. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  30. I still want to read In Five Years, but now The Splendid and the Vile sounds very interesting too! Thanks for sharing :)

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  31. I am currently reading The Splendid and the Vile, and like you with every page I am gaining respect for Churchill. I LOVE this author but wish I had the Large Print Version I ordered before the library closed.
    Sorry you've been under the weather. We both have a dry cough but no signs of a fever. We are getting out a bit socially. Saw a friend on her birthday Monday and today (Thursday) visited a couple we try to check on fairly often. She will be 100 on June 6th. Help us pray that she will make it. Rae

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    1. I'm sorry you have the cough, too, Rae. Please stay safe. We aren't getting out at all. We are in the high risk group.

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