Below is an excerpt from the authors web site , an introduction to the book. This book was just released in August of 2017, and I happened upon it at the local library. Being a fan of Paris, and loving French history, this seemed the perfect read for me.
Although the story is fiction, its based on a "maybe this happened" and is loosely based on real events during World War 2. The book was of course a GREAT READ, and I love when the author provides notes at the end, explaining or giving the book more context. In fact I will post the notes and research references here, this one book can lead to so many areas of interest!.
This book is part of a series, so its great to discover a new author, with more to read!!!!
Reposted from the authors web site
The Paris Spy
(Bantam Dell/Random House, August 8, 2017)
Maggie Hope has come a long way since serving as a typist for Winston Churchill. Now she’s working undercover for the Special Operations Executive in the elegant but eerily silent city of Paris, where SS officers prowl the streets in their Mercedes and the Ritz is draped with swastika banners. Walking among the enemy is tense and terrifying, and even though she’s disguised in chic Chanel, Maggie can’t help longing for home.
But her missions come first. Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared after being saved from a concentration camp, and Maggie is desperate to find her — that is, if Elise even wants to be found. Equally urgent, Churchill is planning the Allied invasion of France, and SOE agent Erica Calvert has been captured, the whereabouts of her vital research regarding Normandy unknown. Maggie must risk her life to penetrate powerful circles and employ all her talents for deception and spycraft to root out a traitor, find her sister, and locate the reports crucial to planning D-Day in a deadly game of wits with the Nazi intelligence elite.
Below are notes and references from the book.
Written by Philippe Krief, I found this book at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and it is defiantly a great “coffee table” book. Loving both history and Paris, I look forward to the pleasure of reading this book!
The second is really a magazine of sorts, and this is a series on biographies, this one on the French poet Charles Baudelaire, a poet that has inspired me, so how could I resist this fine selection.
And that’s all folks; I haven’t blogged in a while, and have a “backlog” of stuff to do! Also thank you to some who have emailed me suggestions, all great ideas!
And remember these wise words, two heads are better than one! Just like two books are better than one! ( photo taken and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts )
First, let me say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and the author Dalia Sofer, enchants the reader from beginning to end. Lovely poetry, one can not help but be enticed by any story taking place in Persia.
Knowing so many Iranians, who have told me of the beauty of their country and culture, I have to say my dream, is to be able to visit there, to see today, and to see the ancient history told by art and poetry, both then and now.
Below you will also find a beautiful poem by Hafiz!
Author Dalia Sofer
I will provide a brief “wiki” summary of the plot. Suffice it to say, I loved the book, and am sure you will too.
During the first months after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, wealthy Jewish Iranian gemologist Isaac Amin is suddenly arrested at his office in Tehran by the Revolutionary Guards who take him to prison. During his prison days, he meets fellow prisoners of different backgrounds, who are tortured and finally prosecuted. In interrogation sessions, his interrogator Mohsen, once torturing him with a lit cigarette and having him lashed, refers to the injustice of being affluent and to the justice that the revolution is bringing to the oppressed. After the guards scare him by putting him before a firing squad and shooting around his body, he says to Mohsen that he has realized the truth and is ready to pay all his savings as his debt to the revolution. After emptying his bank account, Mohsen declares him free and leaves him alone in the street.
Below is a poem of which part was quoted in the book! Enjoy
Poems from the Divan of Hafiz, by Getrude Lowthian Bell, 1897
I CEASE not from desire till my desire
Is satisfied; or let my mouth attain
My love's red mouth, or let my soul expire,
Sighed from those lips that sought her lips in vain.
Others may find another love as fair;
Upon her threshold I have laid my head,
The dust shall cover me, still lying there,
When from my body life and love have fled.
My soul is on my lips ready to fly,
But grief beats in my heart and will not cease,
Because not once, not once before I die,
Will her sweet lips give all my longing peace.
My breath is narrowed down to one long sigh
For a red mouth that burns my thoughts like fire;
When will that mouth draw near and make reply
To one whose life is straitened with desire?
When I am dead, open my grave and see
The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet:
In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee;
Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet!
Ah, come, Beloved! for the meadows wait
Thy coming, and the thorn bears flowers instead
Of thorns, the cypress fruit, and desolate
Bare winter from before thy steps has fled.
Hoping within some garden ground to find
A red rose soft and sweet as thy soft cheek,
Through every meadow blows the western wind,
Through every garden he is fain to seek.
Reveal thy face! that the whole world may be
Bewildered by thy radiant loveliness;
The cry of man and woman comes to thee,
Open thy lips and comfort their distress!
Each curling lock of thy luxuriant hair
Breaks into barbèd hooks to catch my heart,
My broken heart is wounded everywhere
With countless wounds from which the red drops start.
Yet when sad lovers meet and tell their sighs,
Not without praise shall Hafiz’ name be said,
Not without tears, in those pale companies
Where joy has been forgot and hope has fled.
This blog was written while tasting a wonderful Shiraz wine, Sonovino from Sicily!
The Falklands War
I found this book in a used book store in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia! I was surprised and intrigued as to the connections with France and New France. The book is very detailed and thus may be boring to some; however, I found this to be a unique and interesting part of history. The devil is in the details, and this book certainly takes a reader through the war, day by day. I think what is also interesting is no one at the time thought such a small insignificant peace of land would cause such a conflict. Argentina learned this the hard way.
Now, I know most will not have the time to read the book and may not be interested in that moment in history. However, one of the things I try to do when writing poetry is to see things from the human element, or a particular person's point of view. I think humanizing these events helps us to create empathy and understanding of all things, not in terms of right or wrong, but in terms of realizing that humans inflicting pain on humans is a terrible thing. And by no means do I have any answers, only by viewing problems with lots of empathy, may one soften his thoughts towards any perceived enemy.
I have included a short video of Simon Weston, a veteran of the Falkland War, with the Welsh Guards. This is a short one but he has appeared on many shows and has given many interviews. He is a man who currently advocates for better treatment for War Veterans. This is an issue that most countries fail to recognize. It was interesting to hear him speak and added the human touch to the book.
This Blog is also thus dedicated to Simon Weston and the Welsh Guards!
Guard of honour, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards by Thomas Plunkett
Below are a few paintings of the Falklands War.
Berlin Diary by William L.Shirer
This non-fiction book is without a doubt a GREAT READ! This basically covers the build up of Nazi Germany and you get the perspective and views from inside the country. What I liked about this book, as it covers not only the historical context and content, but it’s basically from a personal point of view and describes the day to day life people had to live under. You get to see both the he right and wrong assumptions of someone who is living the period without the benefit of hindsight. I found the book very refreshing and a stark reminder of how this could come to be, even in our times.
With the election of Donald Trump, I found this book very relevant, and I certainly hope in this case history will not repeat itself, however its certainly a wake up to call to be on guard. I hope the American system can withstand the likes of Trump, and regardless of whether his intentions are the same or simply the actions of a psychotic egomaniac, the sad part is the outcome could be the same.
Below is a summary of the book by Wiki.
Berlin Diary (1934–1941) is a first-hand account of the rise of Nazi Germany and its road to war, as witnessed by the American journalist William L. Shirer. He was a radio reporter for CBS, covered Germany for several years until the Nazi press censors made it impossible for him to report objectively to his listeners in the United States; feeling increasingly uncomfortable, he left the country. The identities of many of Shirer's German sources were disguised to protect these people from retaliation by the German secret police, the Gestapo. The contents of this book provided much of the material for his landmark book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
In 1947, End of a Berlin Diary continued and finished the story of the Third Reich, from July 20, 1944, to the Nuremberg Trials.
William Shrier (left)
As a side note, Donal Trump has banned Syrians from the USA, I wonder how much the American economy would have suffered had he prevented STEVE JOBS from entering the USA, yes he was a Syrian!
Now many know Jeffrey Deaver, a No 1 best selling author, famous for his Lincoln Rhyme series of books. Having read many of his books, I was browsing a bookshop and came across one of his called “The October List”. I knew one can’t go wrong with a novel by him.
So, I was in for a few surprises, and not quite sure pleasant ones. He wrote the book backwards! That’s correct backwards. The book starts at Chapter 36 and so you at least have no doubt you will getting 36 chapters worth of novel. However I certainly couldn’t see how this was going work, and was a little skeptical after the first few, or shall I say the last few chapters. But come on its Jeffery Deaver here, have faith I told myself.
Life can only be understood backwards; but I must be lived forwards.
So onwards I marched, reading a newer chapter by newer chapter, and slowly, like any addictive drug I became hooked. This is a Mystery Thriller that with each earlier newer chapter gets better and better.
What is also interesting, is at the beginning of each chapter is a photo, something you don’t always see in novels these days, and explained at the end, end of the book, where I might add is the table of contents, yes at the end of the book. This book was after all written backwards.
Its about a woman Gabriella, whose was leading a normal life, and a kidnapper takes her daughter and not only demands an impossible ransom, but demands she find a list she knows nothing about in twenty four hours.
Definitely a great read!!!
The Prettiest of feathers and The Killing Circle
Psychological thrillers are not my favorite genre; however in this case, I shall recommend two books I thoroughly enjoyed. One is by a Canadian author and takes place in Ontario Canada, the other is by both John Philpin and Patricia Sierra.
THE PRETTIEST OF FEATHERS delves into the deep and dark mind of a psychotic killer. What is interesting is the dance between his latest victim and himself, one bent on killing and the other seemingly wanting to be killed. I will say no more, not to spoil the read!
I will add however the start of the story takes place in a bookshop, and poetry plays a role!
THE KILLING CIRCLE. Is another thriller based on a writing group. (by Andrew Pyper) Now as most interactions between writers and poets is via the internet, I am sure many could relate to this one. Oh how much fun it would be …. If only……………. Ah if only one could keep a secret! J
Now I have shared these good reads with a few poets on the PoetrySoup, so it will be interesting if this should maybe inspire a poem or two. I most surely think it will.
As Halloween is just around the corner, I thought what a fitting post!
Here is a great spy novel, love story, and fiction novel that is in fact based on a true story. What a pleasure to browse old books, and find such thrillers as this one. I have written a poem, inspired by this poem, called “Black Winter”
Read Black Winter on PoetrySoup
Although there are many plot lines in the book, a Mossad agent and an Arab girl end up falling in love, and the story weaves through many political and social issues of the time. I am sure readers will have many different takes on the Novel based on their points of view and prejudices, none the less; the message of love is one I choose to take from it.
I highly recommend this book!
As you know, I post some of the books I have read, that I have really enjoyed. However today I thought I would introduce a book, and a poet. Fernando Pessoa was the first Portuguese poet I have read, and from there, opened my eyes to a new language and culture. Although he is from Portugal, I actually bought his book Mensagem, while traveling in Brazil.
I find it invigorating and inspiring to read poets from different places and cultures and in different languages, as each language and culture have nuances that add to the creativity of anyone’s writing.
Even if a book has not be re-published in English, with the internet one can always find translations of most poems and lyrics, and if not even Google translate, although not perfect can give you the jist of a poem!
Below, I will post one of his poems, and invite anyone who speaks Portuguese to provide a translation! (even I could, it would not be very accurate)
TERCEIRA / D. PEDRO, REGENTE DE PORTUGAL
Claro em pensar, e claro no sentir,
É claro no querer;
Indiferente ao que há em conseguir
Que seja só obter;
Dúplice dono, sem me dividir,
De dever e de ser --
Não me podia a Sorte dar guarida
Por não ser eu dos seus.
Assim vivi, assim morri, a vida,
Calmo sob mudos céus,
Fiel à palavra dada e à ideia tida.
Tudo o mais é com Deus!
David Hirst Beware of Small States
You will not be able to put this book down, and even better, the next review will be about a book just as good, another great saga!
Jeffrey Archer as most know is a famous world selling author and this book sure is an example of why that is true. Kane and Abel is a saga that will keep you reading until you can read no more.
He is one of my favorite writers, and this mystery novel for sure a great read. Taking place mostly in Louisiana, It’s about a twin whose sister goes missing. This one is simply on more surprise after another right till the end!!!
Hi there, the blog has been running for almost a year, and as you can see I try to keep up a few posts a month. More about poetry and fellow poets, but also about current events, social issues as well as art and music. I look forward to any suggestions from readers and fellow poets!