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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Books Read in August

Was She A Gold-Digger Or A Woman In Love?

Did Wallis Simpson want to be Queen or was she just desperately in love with King Edward VIII? According to Charles Higham in Mrs Simpson, she 'wanted to have her cake and eat it too'.  She liked the grand life-style and the stunning presents she received as Prince Edward's mistress and she wanted to remain his mistress after he became King.

This is about the best thing about her, according to this book.  Apart from being vulgar and common, Higham writes that she was also a Fascist, promiscuous, and even a drug-runner in China!  The Duke of Windsor was also sympathetic to the Nazis and even gave secret information away.  He even suggested that England should be bombed more heavily so that the country would be more inclined to want peace!

They were apparently an extremely nasty couple if this information is correct, and Great Britain was extremely lucky that this King abdicated!

This book is full of salacious gossip and scandal but it's written in a fairly dull way.  I wouldn't recommend it unless you are very interested in this story.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This book has been the hit of the year and it is certainly a tour-de-force.  After 'Skeeter' comes back to her small Mississipi town from college in the 1960s, she looks at her home with different eyes.  She starts wondering why the family maid, Constantine, disappeared.   She also begins noticing what a hard life the African-American servants lead and the discrimination and persecution they suffer.

Skeeter decides to tell the stories of the maids but what will this cost her? How much is she prepared to sacrifice?

Stockett captures the stifling, small-town atmosphere well and even writes in the vernacular in an authentic way. Skeeter is an engaging character and the other characters are well-rounded and believable.  It's a great book and highly recommended.

I do have to admit that it struck me as a bit contrived, but that's not a big criticism.  I also feel obliged to admit that one of my favourite books is Gone With The Wind.

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