Author Archives: smellincoffee

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.

Victorian London

Victorian London: The Life of a City, 1840 – 1870© 2013 Liza Picard504 pages As far as immersive English social histories go, I would heretofore have called Ian Mortimer the champion standing, but if Victorian London is any example, Liza … Continue reading

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Of Captains Courageous, dog-training, and walking amid mountain laurel

Late last week I finished Captains Courageous, a coming-of-age adventure story in which a spoiled brat named Harvey Cheyne falls overboard at sea and is rescued by a fishing boat, whereupon he must work for his living and matures rather … Continue reading

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His Majesty’s Dragon

His Majesty’s Dragon© 2006 Naomi Novik384 pages William Laurence’s career was all set: a ship of his own, a fair French prize in his sights, and fiance waiting for him at home.  But then, in the hold of the French … Continue reading

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A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England

A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England© 2014 Sue Wilkes224 pages Fancy a visit with Jane? Sue Wilkes has created here a light introduction to Austen’s society, the landed gentry of the mid-Georgian period. Although its approach reminds one of … Continue reading

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Wisdom for Wednesday: Take charge of your mind

“Occupy your mind with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill them with bad ones.” – attributed to St. Thomas More, Chancellor of England. Unfortunately, I can’t find a primary source for this, hence ‘attributed’. “A gifted American psychologist has … Continue reading

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The Blooding

Master of War: The Blooding© 2013 David Gilman512 pages Thomas Blackstone is a free man, a stonemason who learned his trade alongside his deaf-mute brother Richard.  When Richard is accused of raping and killing a young woman,  the price for … Continue reading

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The Rebel Killer

The Rebel Killer© 2019 Paul Fraser Collard432 pages Jack Lark is a defeated man. Soul-scarred after the campaign in northern Italy, he came to the United States desiring nothing but to deliver a letter from a mortally wounded comrade to … Continue reading

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The Fox from his Lair

The Fox from his LairOriginal pub. year unknown, Kindle edition © 2020220 pages In the wake of a disastrous training exercise, bodies are washing up on the shores of England. If intelligence from one of those bodies falls into German … Continue reading

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Read of England, 2021!

Bang upon the big drum, crash upon the cymbals — it’s April 1st, and time to Read of England. This is an annual tradition at ReadingFreely in which I devote the month’s reading to English literature and English history. I’ve … Continue reading

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2021: March Review

Challenge Progress: Science Survey: The Storytelling Animal, Johnathan Gottschall (Anthropology & Archaeology)Conspiracies Declassified, Brian Dunning. (Thinking Scientifically) That’s now 5/12 categories filled. Classics Club Strikes Back: Davita’s Harp, Chaim Potok. We are now 5/50. Climbing Mount Doom: Jesus, Son of … Continue reading

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