Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lafayette Author Pens the Story of a Hidden Medieval Heroine

Lafayette Author Pens the Story of a Hidden Medieval Heroine

It's never too late to cross an item off your bucket list. That is definitely true for Lafayette author Hilary Benford, who has just had her historical fiction novel published at the age of 79. "Sister of the Lionheart", published by Wordfire Press in July and available through, is the story of Joanna Plantagenet, a young princess in England during the Middle Ages. 
"Much has been documented about her famous parents, King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and her brother, Richard the Lionheart, but I always wondered about the women of that time period, what they were doing and thinking," says Benford. "All of my history classes always focused on the men and the battles and laws."

Read rest of story here at Lamorinda Weekly and more on Hilary at Smashwords and Goodreads 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Women in science: 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world

Does science need to be pretty? Some say the facts’ inherent beauty should speak for itself. Others believe it needs a powerful picture to get a story across to a wider audience.  
No matter what you think, Rachel Ignotofsky’s bold illustrations are certainly eye-catching. She has penned serious scientific drawings, illustrations for The New York Times, as well as hilarious anatomies of Godzilla and Sharknado. Ignotofsky’s first book, Women in Science, is a celebration of her art and is as delightful as the rest of her work.
However, that doesn’t mean the book lacks content. Ignotofsky dedicates each double page to one of 50 women in science, from ancient Greek philosopher Hypatia to neuroscientist and 2014 Nobel laureate May-Britt Moser. The author recounts each scientist’s life story, combining aspects of their personal life and scientific discoveries. While the usual suspects, Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, make an appearance, the book also features many scientists I had never heard of: African-American chemist Alice Ball, for example, who developed a leprosy treatment in the early 20th century long before antibiotics became commonplace.
Many of the situations the female scientists found themselves in – not being allowed to attend science classes, or having to sit behind a screen in lectures so as not to disturb their male colleagues – seem inconceivable from today’s perspective. However, a statistics page serves as a reminder that a severe gender gap still exists in science, though the author leaves it to the reader to find out why this might be the case.

Spirit of Fire: The Tale of Marjorie Bruce

Spirit of Fire: Eastern Hills student's exciting new chapter - Community News GroupCommunity News Group
MOST people spend a lifetime finding the book in them but for Eastern Hills Senior High School student Emmerson Brand, her first novel Spirit of Fire: The Tale of Marjorie Bruce is already published and available for sale.

The 16-year-old is already wise in the ways of publishing houses, books, cover designs and dealing with editors. Her publishers, based in Finland, have been selling the book on Amazon and in hardcover through bookshops.

Emmerson said her historical fiction book was set in medieval Scotland during the War of Independence.

Read More at Hills Gazette

Saturday, July 16, 2016

5 fantasy novels to read while you wait for next Game of Thrones book

5 fantasy novels to read while you wait for next Game of Thrones book | books$ht-picks | Hindustan Times
With George RR Martin’s The Winds of Winter experiencing further delays, what other great new fantasy books can we sink our teeth into?
The Winds of Winter may have originally been scheduled for publication before the sixth season of Game of Thrones aired, but fans of the fantasy series are still waiting for author George RR Martin to put his pen down, despite the TV season having already finished. Some have even speculated that the book will not be released until early 2017.
All that book readers have to go on for the moment are the potential spoilers given away by the TV show, although the two do not share all the same plot lines, and an excerpt of a chapter entitled Ariane published by the author on his website.
To keep our fantastic imaginations whirring, there are thankfully several new fantasy novels that have just been, or are about to be, released: Behind the Throne by KB Wagers, The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin, Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan, The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence and Summerlong by Peter S Beagle.
See these books here at Hindustan Times

How Amazon influences what we read

How Amazon influences what we read |
Within the highly automated folds of Amazon's online bookstore, there's a small team of literary types whose main job is rather old school. They read books, write about them and rank the works according to their qualities, helping readers sift through thousands of offerings while also planting the tech juggernaut's flag in the world of literary culture.

The editors produce Amazon Book Review, an online offering similar to literary supplements newspapers have been putting out for more than a century. They also put together frequent lists of recommendations prominently displayed on Amazon's bookstore.

Unlike most literary reviews, which rely on freelancers, Amazon Book Review depends on content mostly churned out by the Amazon bookworms at the tune of a couple of posts a day. That includes about 10 book reviews per month.

Perhaps where the editors have had their biggest impact is in their recommendations of what they consider the best reads.

Continue reading here: Stuff - Technology 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Royal Album

Picked up this little gem from local secondhand shop - it's entitled "The Royal Album - A Symposium on their Majesties King George The Sixth & Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Possessions".  The book (hardback) was first printed in 1951 and is basically a look at the royal family, their residences, their lineage, the art collections, and lastly a family photo album.  This book is chock full of photos and images that I don't think are out there in the public realm.  

A bargain at $3.00 (Australian).

Monday, July 11, 2016

Valley Of The Dolls Relevant Now?

Valley Of The Dolls Relevant Now Women Beauty Standard

There is a long list of narrative constructs from Jacqueline Susann's 1966 novel, Valley of the Dolls, that have aged badly. Among them: abject sexism, including outlandish assumptions about the female brain and body; and the idea that a 30-year-old woman — hell, a 25-year-old woman — is pretty much past her prime. Also, the concept of a "prime." Seriously. What the fuck?

So if you have not yet read the novel, which turns 50 this month (positively ancient by its own standards) here is a thought: Maybe don't.

In a nutshell, Valley of the Dolls is a story about three young women who come to New York City seeking fame, validation, and love — in varying orders of importance. Over the course of nearly 500 pages, they rise through the ranks of the Hollywood's Golden Age, achieving success and acclaim through a cocktail of beauty, talent, scheming, and being in the right place at the right time. 

Continue reading article by Elizabeth Kiefer at Refinery29

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

May & June Additions To The Library

I have been a little lax in updating the new additions to my Library, so here are the additions for May & June 2016 - quite an eclectic collection.

(1) The Accursed Kings series by Maurice Duron.     

This French series is set in the reign of Philip IV 'the Fair" of France and his counterpart, Edward II of England.  It begins with a curse, and is followed closely by political intrigue, murder, and adultery.  I have this series on DVD and have wanted to own the books for some time.

(2) Eclectic Europe: A rather wide-ranging subject matter from Scotland & Wales, to the Normans & Norsemen, and back to the Renaissance Italy with Sam Black's "The Ground is Burning".

(3) Secondhand Gold: A few favourites discovered at the local secondhand shop - Breaker Morant is an Aussie legend, so a must have for this Aussie girl. Eoin Colfer's "Artemis Fowl" series has a place alongside "Harry Potter". And who doesn't love a good medieval murder mystery?

(4) The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski (The Last Wish, Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, Tower of Swallows, Sword of Destiny) - all wrapped up for a forthcoming birthday present - though the seventh book is on pre-order.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Fez's Al Qarawiyyin University and Library

Fez's Al Qarawiyyin University and library, founded and restored by women — Quartz
Founded by a Muslim woman, the University of Al Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morroco, opened its doors in 859. Its library has been restored during the last three years by another woman, Canadian-Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni. A wing will be open to the general public later this year.
The library houses a collection of 4,000 rare books and ancient arabic manuscripts written by renowned scholars of the region. According to the AP, the manuscripts include a 9th century version of the Quran and a manuscript on Islamic jurisprudence written by philosopher Averroes.

Read More here at QUARTZ