Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Mentors, Book Reviews and Best-sellers, then and way back when

Colette, third right, in her small hat in 1913, ahead of the fashion, of course. This was from a 1937 Marie Claire, comparing Royalty and Celebrities and their fashion sense. Royalty was always behind the times. Colette was hired to write a beauty column for Marie Claire upon its launch, but she never made her deadline, so Marcelle Auclaire the Editor took over and wrote all the features in the first few issues herself.


I'm reading Claudine at School in French, Colette's first novel, attributed at first to her husband Willy.

I do like Colette.

I downloaded the novel from Gutenberg, but somehow I wish I had the hard copy. (You can download a novel or an ebook, but you can't download a book, right?)

Reading on a Kindle or an Android lends itself to grazing, I'm half-way through about 3888 ebooks I've downloaded from all over the place.

Once again, I checked out the Internet, to see what books were best-sellers at the turn of the Century. Claudine at School was written in 1900, but not a best-seller.

I noticed that the books (yes, books) I read in my late teens and twenties were American best-sellers from the 1920's to the 1940's.  My mother had recommended them to me! Just another instance where having a mentor is important.

And then there were the ads for the Book of the Month Club in all the magazines.

The books I read in my 20's comprised the classic literature of today, Virginia Woolf et al.

 I think I got the New York Times Review of Books back then, too.  I read a lot of current bestsellers like the Secret of Santa Vittoria and Breakfast of Champions.

So it goes.
My grandmother drew herself in her cell at Changi and left behind a memoir I used in my story Looking For Mrs. Peel.

Yesterday, I saw something come across Twitter (SQUIRREL!) that advised e-book authors to be sure to get recommendations before they published any ebook online.

Fine and dandy. But I don't see how getting your friends to give you book 4 stars means anything.

Here are my e-books, based on Canadian Social History from 1910 period.

Furies Cross the Mersey, about the 1912/13 invasion of British Suffragettes to Montreal.

Milk and Water: about Montreal City Hall in 1927, during the era of American Prohibition.

Diary of a Confirmed Spinster about the Rossmore Hotel Fire in Cornwall in 1910 and the sad life of a teacher.

Threshold Girl, about a college student in 1910.

Not Bonne Over Here, family letters from WWI, covering all the bases and points of view.

Looking for Mrs. Peel - about WWI and Malaya and Expo 67.

(I must say, I'm still reeling about last night's Madmen and how the doctor ignored Betty Draper when he diagnosed her with cancer, only wanting to talk to her husband. I can't say male doctors treated me any better over the years, the few times I had to go to them.

When I was 30 and went to the doctor thinking I might be pregnant, he laughed at me, suggesting that I wanted a baby so much I was imagining things.. IDIOT!!! And that was 1985.

"Have you ever been pregnant before?"
"No."
"Well, then, how can you tell you are pregnant now?"
"I feel unlike I've ever felt before."

Today, of course, I can't get any appointment for weeks, even with  my so-called family doctor, so I just don't bother.