World War II has always been one of my great fascinations. Guiltily, I always declare that World War II is the “best” period in history, but of course what I mean is that it’s the best period to be studied. For anyone alive at that time, it was a period filled with uncertainty, terror, and unheard of atrocities. Perhaps the most haunting years to read about or study are those twilight years just before Hitler began doing what he is infamous for. Indeed, there is a period of time from when Hitler was first elected to when he declared supreme control over the country of Germany that is chilling to read about with hindsight.
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, by Erik Larson, is a book that covers that in-between time. The picture Larson paints of Germany is one where tensions are rising due to reparation payments demanded by the U.S. and the abysmal economic climate. It was in this landscape that Adolf Hitler was elected to the position of Chancellor. From this position, Hitler began implementing subtle changes to the landscape of Germany. He introduced the brown-shirted secret police and began drafting legislation that quietly took away the rights of German Jews. Berlin, the capital city, was at the heart of this undercurrent of tension and in 1933, an American came to town.
Read the rest of this review @Persephone Magazine!
My first summer storm in the city! The lightning is amazing!
Sunday was much hotter, so it was a bit of a difficult day. I missed that early morning breeze and the coolness that comes on a summer day before the real heat hits you. Drove downtown in the early afternoon and sought out the man selling those Oxford World Classics again. Having bought Villette the previous day, I wanted to add some more of those editions to my personal shelves. I ended up choosing The Mill on the Floss, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and The Romance of the Forest.
After standing in the unforgiving sun with my brother as he chose from several Star Wars movie poster choices he was waffling on, I relieved my co-worker at the tent. Inside the tent it was less harsh because we were shielded from the sun, but it was still a very hot day. Luckily, I had people to bring me slushies and my table-mate was nice and conversational.
This morning — a Saturday morning — I was awake at 5:15am. Luckily, it was for a good cause. PRINTERS ROW!
Printers Row, for those of you who don’t know, is a literary festival that takes place each summer in Chicago. The last time I went was 2007. I went, frankly, to see Melissa Anelli and John Noe of Pottercast do a live episode of their podcast. It was incredibly awesome, I got a t-shirt, and got my first taste of literary life in Chicago.
This time around, five years later, I found myself as one of the exhibitors. Let me tell you, that’s a weird realization to make. Just five years ago, I was an awkward teenager graduating from high school, enamoured by dusty old books and the writing life. Today, I’m still pretty awkward and that attachment to books and writing certainly haven’t changed. But a lot of other things in my life have changed.
Apparently, some of those changes cause me to have to wake up at 5:15am.
Simultaneously wishing I could be at Book Expo in New York right now, and knowing that I’m not socially capable of being at that kind of huge event. Not yet, at least.
Meanwhile, back in the second city, this weekend is Printers Row and we got free tent space with Chicago Publishes! Exciting! I’m looking forward to it, though there are a lot of logistics to get into place before the weekend.
Such a busy weekend, but it was a weekend away so it was quite lovely. I do adore hotel lounging, just enjoying a place that’s not your own and being in a place you’re not usually in. I don’t have cable at home, so it’s always fun to watch cable in a hotel. I watched a lot of Food Network shows, I’ll tell you that. On Sunday, my dad and brother went to the Indy 500, which was thrilling though I wasn’t there. My dad’s always wanted to see the race, so I was really glad he could go. On Monday, we had adventures that included Half Price Books (excellent deals there), the downtown area of Indianapolis, and red velvet flavoured ice cream. Oh, it was divine!
I hope you all had a splendid Memorial Day weekend! I’m awfully tired now, but it’s nothing that can’t be solved by some Would I Lie to You? (a British quiz show), tonight and some tea tomorrow morning.
Today I attended the third issue release event for the Jet Fuel Review, which is a student-run literary journal that I founded in my final year of university. I had no idea what I was doing when I started this thing and I’m pleased as pie (definitely not a legitimate saying) that it’s carried on to even have a third issue. Last fall’s release was a bit bumpy and unrehearsed, but I felt this year’s went off without a hitch. Everyone read very well, we had an actual slideshow of the featured artwork, and we even had programs for the event! Programs! To say nothing of the t-shirts that we now have with logos. Actual logos! Yes, I’m quite pleased with how this third issue has come out.
That being said, it’s not available to the public yet because of some snafoos with the website. Har-har. The perils of having an entirely online literary journal, eh? But this year we have actual tech people on our staff, so they should be working on it.
Also, my former professor gave us all gifts (as she always does when a new issue launches) and I got Patti Smith’s Just Kids. I’m really looking forward to reading it!
I wanted to say something else, what was it…? Oh, yes! I failed miserably at Blog Every Day in April. I did have some other topics saved as possible posts, but I was tired and often didn’t feel like spewing my opinions onto this blog. I do hope to write up those planned posts and even more text posts here in the coming months.
See you around!