Year 13, Book 20

20. Managing Copyright in Higher Education: A Guidebook by Donna L. Ferullo

This book looks at the work of copyright officers in higher educational institutions from how their positions are created, the credentials of those working in these positions, and how they work with various groups in their institution. It of course does weave copyright law into the scenarios, but the book is more focused on what a copyright officer does than in teaching people specifically about copyright law. It would definitely be helpful for anyone thinking of setting up a copyright position at their institution, but may be less helpful for people wanting information about applying copyright law higher education. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 13, Book 19

19. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

I’ve read several of Ruth Ware’s other books and found them all lacking in various ways such that when I picked this book up I questioned why I was doing it. I’m glad I didn’t let that thought stop me from reading it because with The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Ware has finally written a book that I really liked and I felt held together all the way through.

Hal is a young girl living on her own after her mother’s passing a few years before. She’s barely keeping her head above water telling tarot fortunes at the carnival pier and owes some not-so-nice people money that they are now determined to collect on. Then Hal receives a mysterious letter telling her of her grandmother’s passing and an inheritance she needs to attend the funeral to receive. As Hal’s grandmother is long dead she knows this must be a case of mistaken identity, but it could also be the answer to her problems if she can fake her way through the funeral and take the money and run. But once she’s with the family she determines that there is possibly much more to the mystery than her mistaken identity.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well written and the mystery worked and didn’t seem full of holes like I felt about some of Ware’s other books. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 13, Book 18

18. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

Radium was once viewed as a miracle substance that could promote health and was used in paint on dials because of its luminous properties. Young girls were employed to paint these dials, but then they started experiencing mysterious illnesses sometimes years after they had left their employment.

Radium Girls is the true story of the girls working at radium dial companies in New Jersey and Illinois who fell ill due to their work with radium leading to their fight to uncover the truth about what had caused their sicknesses and get the companies trying to hide it to reveal what they knew about the dangers of working with radium and compensate all the women who worked there.

It’s a harrowing tale of women experiencing insane levels of pain and suffering while putting in the fight of their lives against companies who are more worried about their bottom line than their employees. The women were inspiring and their fight led to many regulations we have today, but reading the book was somewhat disheartening because the cruelty of capitalism is a tale as old as time and things we still see over and over again today.

The book was also of special interest to me because one of the companies featured in the book was based in Ottawa, Illinois a small town about 90 miles outside of Chicago where most of my father’s family is from. I had no idea about this history in this little town I’ve been to any number of times in my life and I still have a lot of family.

I give it a 9 out of 10.