Year 14, Book 28

28. The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson

In 2009, an American music student broke into the Tring Museum, part of the British Museum of Natural History, and stole hundreds of bird skins. A few years later the author heard about the crime and became obsessed with the story and finding out what really happened and where the missing birds are.

This book is very well written. It made be interested in a whole lot of things that I do not care a whole lot about like birds, natural history, and the crazy world of fly-tying which I did not even know existed. I also generally take issue when authors insert themselves into stories, but about halfway through I understood why the author did it. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 14, Books 26 and 27

26. We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White

27. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

I read Susan Rebecca White’s We Are All Good People Here and Jennifer Weiner’s book Mrs. Everything back to back and decided to review them together because they both follow the same formula of a decades long story from the 1960s through today with the two main characters (best friends vs. sisters) getting involved in civil rights issues and then ultimately flip flopping on which one is the most radical and which one winds up settling down  and raising the “All-American family”.  Ultimately i think I liked Mrs. Everything a bit better, but I enjoyed reading both of them.

Year 14, Book 25

25. The Lines Between Us: Two Families and a Quest to Cross Baltimore’s Racial Divide by Lawrence Lanahan

Lanahan provides an extensive look at housing policy in the United States, Maryland, and Baltimore that led to the segregation of the city. It goes far beyond the story of redlining and looks closely at policy and court cases regarding public housing that continued the ills begun with the redlining process. In order to put more of a face on the story he follows the alternate stories of a white Christian, middle class family moving into one of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods answering what they felt was a call from God and the story of a young black woman who is determined to get out of West Baltimore to one of the surrounding counties to provide a better life for her son. I’m not sure how interested anyone from outside Baltimore would be in the book unless they are deeply interested in housing policy, but I felt like it did offer me something beyond all the knowledge I already had about what has led to Baltimore being the highly segregated city that it is. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 14, Book 24

24. Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister

This book didn’t do much for me. I lived through most of what the author writes about and none of it was anything I wanted to relive. The deeper dive into history didn’t really offer me much information that I didn’t already know. Mostly all this book did was make me depressed about how little progress we’ve made in the way women are treated and what society expects from them. I don’t think that was the intention of the book. Other people seem to really like it and be inspired by it, so I seem to be an outlier in my experience reading it. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 14, Book 23

23. The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Ruth has been jealous of her younger sister Millie since the day she was born. That jealousy and the death of their parents eventually lead to the sisters’ estrangement until events surrounding WWII force Ruth to invite her sister and nephew to live with them and join her working the Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. The book does a good job of looking at the jealousies and difficult relationships that can often exist between sisters. It takes that a bit to the extreme, but any woman who has a sister will probably recognize the feelings expressed here. I surely did. I give it a 6 out of 10.