Hospital Books

Had lots of time while recuperating from surgery and read  these books!

Homelands and Waterways   by  Adele Logan Alexander

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A family history that takes you back to the days of slavery and provides more than a chronicle of the Bond family’s move from the  South to Hyde Park. This book gives a comprehensive history or race relations, intermarriage and the changing nation from the antebellum South to the civil rights movement.

John Robert Bond (1846-1905)

John Robert Bond (1846-1905)

The Bond-Logan family had connections at various times with such figures as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B.Dubois and the Grimke family.  The story begins with John Robert Bond, born in Liverpool in  1846 to an Irish mother and a free black father. John Bond  immigrated to the U.S. , joined the Navy and fought in the Civil War until suffering severe injury.

One review has stated

a monumental history that traces the rise of an African-American family (the author’s own) from poverty to the middle class, exploding the stereotypes that have shaped and distorted our thinking about African Americans, both as slaves and in freedom.

http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/on-the-homefront/literature/homelands.html

The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City        by Jennifer Toth

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This was my second favorite of all the books I took into the hospital. It was amazing to realize so many people are living down there, creating controlled communities with leaders and a code of behavior. Not to say that there isn’t violence, filth and lawlessness.

Homeless people who fear abuse in shelters and prefer the underground, runaway kids surviving as a group where the older looks after the younger ones and finally those who dwell at the deepest level and never come out. The are said to have webbed feet and survive on rats and garbage.

Yet this is a anthropological study, carried out in a serious manner by a brave young woman. I can’t believe she kept going down to meet these people. Fascinating reading!

Gone      by Jonathan Kellerman

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I zipped through this mystery in a day. I enjoyed relaxing with it. Combi of psychiatrist Alex Delaware and L.A. homicide  detective Milo Sturgis are after a rather deranged killer!

forget you had a daughter        by Sandra  Gregory

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Spell-binding story of a young woman who makes just one mistake in judgment and pays for it in a big way. Incarcerated in a Thai prison for trying to smuggle a small amount of heroin out of the country,  Gregory is at times kept in solitary, beaten by other prisoners and nearly starved. I know this happens and yet it is shocking to read of her ordeal. Recommended reading!!

Peninsula of Lies: A True Story of Mysterious Birth and TABOO LOVE     by Edward Ball

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I am a big Edward Ball fan ever since I found his “Slaves in the Family” ( which I read twice. I also would recommend  “The Sweet Hell Inside.” The subject matter of this book was fascinating. Writer Gordon Hall was born in Britain and the midwife who delivered him had some difficulty in determining his sex! This leads him on a pursuit of his real self while living as a well-established citizen of conservative white Charleston in the 1960s.

Gordon Hall becomes Dawn Hall in an age when transgender operations were not heard of. “She” becomes the center of a media storm! IN his book, Edward Ball tries to determine if Gordon Hall was truly born with the sexual organs of both genders as he claimed.

I was disappointed in this book as it was kind of sketchy in the material and detail that always makes Ball’s biographies so great!

Last but maybe best of all..

The Inventor and the Tycoon     by Edward Ball

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Just great! If you are interested in the development of early photography, from daguerreotypes  and glass negatives to moving pictures, you’ll relish this story that took place in California 140 years ago. The “inventor” of the title, Eadweard Muybridge  (MY-BRIDGE) kept reinventing himself as often as he changed the spelling of his name. He took some of the earliest photos of Yosemite, lugging his huge camera up mountain trails!

Muybridge in Yosemite  (1868?)

Muybridge in Yosemite (1868?)

How did Muybridge come to shoot a man in cold blood and face a murder trial and yet survive to develop his projector which he named the “zoopraxiscope” and thrill audiences all over America and Europe with his moving picture shows? You’ll have to read this book to find out!

Muybridge's zoopraxiscope projector

Muybridge’s zoopraxiscope projector

 

Eadweard Muybridge

Eadweard Muybridge

 

At one point, Muybridge formed an association with Leland Stanford (founder of Stanford University) and was given funds to do a motion study on running horses. Stanford had racing horses which he kept in a huge stable in Palo Alto, He was intrigued to know whether all four feet of a horse actually leave the ground when running.

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Later in life, the artist Thomas Eakins helped Muybridge to get a position and funding at the University of Pennsylvania to do motion studies. He attracted some unwanted attention as he photographed not only animals but humans in motion in the nude.

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He published several books, but the most prized by collectors would be his 11 volume set of photographs published in limited edition. Among other subjects he photographed were early shots of San Francisco, the building of Stanford’s transcontinental railroad, and natives in Guatemala.

A fascinating man to read about and I highly recommend this book!

Or you might at least look at his motion photos and see his horse running at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eadweard_Muybridge

 

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