Aug 22, 2021

Sunday Salon: Books Published in 1941

 Reading Books published 1941

I found on my shelves a first edition of The End is Not Yet: China at War by Herrymon Maurer, printed 1941 by Robert M. McBride & Company, NY

A withdrawn library book that I've had for umpteen years, it's description on Goodreads:

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations.

The book begins with the August 1937 attack on Shanghai, China by Japanese forces, starting a years' long occupation of several major cities and an attempt at complete subjugation of China at the beginnings of WWII. This period of time is known as the Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese did not give up their attempts or withdraw from China until their defeat in WWII in 1945. Thus the title, The End Is Not Yet, as this book was printed in 1941, four years before the defeat. 

The book describes the surprise attacks and takeover of major cities by the Japanese troops, and the unrelenting Chinese resistance, with what amounts to mainly guerilla warfare to counter the superior tanks and armored vehicles and the bombs of the invading country. The Chinese resistance continued for about eight years, from 1937 to 1945,  and was successful because of their numbers, the mountainous nature of the landscape, the unforgiving and uncontrollable great rivers of the Yellow River and the Yangtze, the Chinese guerilla tactics, and their determination to keep their country free. 

The author received first hand information for this partial history from friends, foreign and Chinese, in Szechwan and primarily in Chengtu.

I am in the middle of reading The End is Not Yet, and am totally captivated, as I've always been fascinated by this period of Chinese history.  I'm so glad I finally noticed this book on my shelves!

From the Library: 

The title of this small green hardcover on the mystery shelves of our library caught my eye. This title was new to me, and I believed I had read all of Du Maurier's novels. 

I'll Never Be Young Again by Daphne du Maurier was first printed in 1932. This edition is a 1941 publication by the Sun Dial Press, New York. 

It's a coming-of-age story, with  a 20-year-old who was rescued from self-destruction by a slightly older man, who takes him on journeys far away from the stifling and loveless home life and family in London which had led him to near suicide.

I'm in the middle of the book and curious about the final outcome, as the young man, Dick, reacts to his new environments and meeting and interacting with new people his own age, far from home.  It seems a little different from her previous novels and is relatively unknown, it appears. 

These are my current books. 

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Aug 20, 2021

Book Beginning: First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami


First Person Singular Stories by Haruki Murakami, April 6, 2021, Knopf

The picture of the snow monkey on the cover reminds me of winter coming, as autumn is just about here, and the temperatures will soon be dropping. It also reminds me the library will be after me to return this book, which has been on my shelves for too long. So let me begin reading with the First Paragraph. 

First paragraph, first story (Cream):

So I'm telling a younger friend of mine about a strange incident that took place when I was eighteen. I don't recall exactly why I brought it up. It just happened to come up as we were talking. I mean, it was something that happened long ago. Ancient history. On top of which, I was never able to reach any conclusion about it. 


Page 56: (Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova)

The editor did kick up a bit of a fuss about my having tricked him. I didn't actually fool him, but merely omitted a detailed explanation. 

Has anybody read these stories yet? 

 Would you read on?

The Friday 56. Find any sentence that grabs you on page 56 of your book. Post it, and add your URL to Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.

Aug 15, 2021

Guest Post: Matthew Dunn, author of The Spy Thief - Sunday Salon


Matthew Dunn

Guest Post for Harvee Lau, Book Dilettante

When I wrote The Spy Thief I had certain objectives, all of which were secondary to my overarching desire to tell what I believed was a gripping tale. I am, after all, a storyteller. But the secondary objectives were real and as follows –ground the story in an espionage realism not seen elsewhere in current spy fiction; make it a completely immersive experience across all the senses; give the reader more than he or she expects or needs; and provide a motivation for my antagonist which has hitherto not been seen in fiction before.

I’m a former spy who spent many years working for Great Britain’s MI6 – the equivalent of America’s CIA, France’s DGSE, Israel’s Mossad, and Russia’s SVR, although MI6 is the oldest truly global overseas intelligence service and created the foundations for the secret world. For many years, I covertly travelled the world, confronting highly complex and fraught matters pertaining to the national security of my country and its allies. The term “spy” is often misused. Despite protestations to the contrary, there aren’t that many spies, at least not in accordance to the professional definition of the cadre. And the number of former spies writing books is miniscule. In Britain, I’m the only ex-spy writing fiction. I suspect that in America there are only a handful of former CIA officers writing stories. So, there are a tiny bunch of ex-spooks out there crafting fiction and it would be understandable to imagine that we have the monopoly on writing spy novels. We don’t and nor should we. Being a former spy means that I have a steady hand when it comes to writing about all matters espionage. But, all good authors have imaginations, are intelligent, and these days have easy access to openly-available research material. One doesn’t have to have been a spy to write a cracking spy novel. The late and great John le CarrĂ© was an MI6 officer before becoming a renowned author. But, Alan Furst is also a magnificent spy author, and he never spied in his life.  

Where I do have something to say on the dreaded word “realism” is that I’ve seen, heard, touched, smelled, and felt the secret world. I know from first-hand experience what it’s like to deal with the human condition when it’s tested to the limit in the shadows. In The Spy Thief I portray a raft of emotions, and they include those that are reactions to the most extreme events. I would hope that my readers can tell such scenes are written by an author who has manifold memories cascading through his head as his fingers tap the keyboard. The Spy Thief allows the reader a glimpse into my head. But it’s not just a “look”. I want all of the reader’s senses engaged. Thus, I’ve written the book in a certain way and with key content that hopefully ensures the reader is in the secret world and all that it contains.

The starting point for The Spy Thief project was a photograph. In 1965, my father was fresh off the boat from his last voyage, in a fifteen-year globe-navigating career in the merchant navy. He gravitated to London which, at the time, felt like “spy-central”. The Soviet Union was having an impact on British fiction, fact, and fashion. That year, cinemas were showing The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, The Ipcress File, and Dr Zhivago; the Cold War was at its peak; in London and elsewhere, people wore clothes that made them look like they were about to stab someone with a poison-umbrella. My father took his photo while strolling through a London park with his flatmate. By his own admission, the shot was a fluke. But he thought, and I concur, that the photo really captured the feel of a spy story. For years I wanted to use the photo on the cover of one of my books. The challenge was marrying the photo with the right story. Finally, I created the right story. The result is The Spy Thief.  

I’ve always set myself the highest standards and am my biggest critic. That applies to my work as an author. I constantly tell myself that readers deserve better than what I’m doing, better than what others are doing. I’m a perfectionist, and make no apologies for being that way. That doesn’t mean I always achieve what I strive to accomplish. But, I relentlessly give it my best shot and am never complacent. In The Spy Thief, I believe that I have achieved what I set out to do. In my opinion, it is my best work and I’m proud of the story. I want to test my readers, take them away from the norm, and give them a wholly unexpected and captivating odyssey.

I sincerely hope that my loyal readers and new readers enjoy the novel.

 Matthew Dunn

August 2021   


The Spy Thief (Ben Sign Mystery #5) by Matthew Dunn, August 2, 2021, ebook

The most vital secrets of Great Britain are being stolen and sold to hostile foreign agencies. The perpetrator is a ruthless high-ranking British official, code name The Thief.... Brilliant strategist and former MI6 spy Ben Sign is commissioned to investigate the security breach and neutralise The Thief. Sign realises he is facing the most formidable opponent he has ever encountered.(publisher)

Author Bio

Matthew Dunn is a former MI6 British Intelligence officer. He spent many years operating in deep-cover alias roles in overseas locations, often in hostile territories. His work as a spy required him to obtain secrets from hostile regimes, agencies, and individuals. He specifically targeted the highest echelons of rogue states and in doing so supported and directly influenced the national security effort of Great Britain and its allies. He retired from MI6 ten years ago and became a bestselling author. To date he has written 14 published novels, including the “Ben Sign” spy series and “Spycatcher” series. His latest novel is The Spy Thief, the 5th standalone novel in the Ben Sign series, exclusive to Amazon in e-book and paperback format. 


Author Social Media Links



Thanks to the author, Matthew Dunn, for giving us a look into the writer's mind, with his British intelligence background and  intimate knowledge of the people in the world of international espionage. 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also, It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Aug 8, 2021

Six Degrees of Separation: Communication

Six Degrees of Separation Meme,  hosted by Books Are My Favorite and Best, are held the first Saturday each month. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up. 

This month begins with a work of autobiographical fiction, Postcards From the Edge by Carrie Fisher. To this I'm adding and linking the following six books.

Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher is supposedly autobiographical, though it's written as a novel. 
Postcards from Nam I haven't read as yet, but it's evidently on my shelves! 
A fictional Vietnamese lawyer in DC  receives postcards from an unknown person in Thailand, known only by his signature, "Nam."

Abby's Journey by Steena Holmes.

Twenty-year-old Abigail Turner knows her mother, Claire—who died shortly after she was born—through letters, videos, postcards, and journals.

Mothers and Daughters: A Novel by Rae Meadows

I enjoy reading books that explore the relationships between mothers and daughters. This one is especially interesting because of the secrets discovered by Samantha about her mother Violet and her grandmother Iris. Uncovering history and the thread that connect three generations of women is the theme of the story.

Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World by Claire and Mia Fontaine

Claire and her daughter Mia take a trip to seven countries in Asia and Europe, to renew and strengthen their mother-daughter relationship. 

The Secret Language of Women by Nina Romano

Here are two  books about women communicating privately, in this case through Nushu, the secret writing used by women in China in the 19th century. 

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

In 19th Century China, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication, via nu shu (“women’s writing”). 

The overall theme of these six books is communication, whether from one stranger to another, between mothers and daughters, or secretly between cloistered women. Communication is primarily  through the written word and through travel. 

From Carrie Fisher's Postcards from the Edge to Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan! Did you follow the link from one book to the other? 

Aug 7, 2021

Sunday Salon: Tuscan, French, and Tahoe Mysteries

 Haven't been to the library lately, but welcomed a new book to my home which I'd already read, although I was glad to get the finished copy from Soho Crime.  

The Bitter Taste of MurderA Tuscan Mystery by Camilla Trinchieri, August 10, 2021, Soho Crime

My Goodreads comments: An entertaining mystery with lots of Italian food to add spice and interest. Throw in some romance, engaging characters, and you have an absorbing police procedural mystery set in rural Tuscany.

Other reading: 

I dug out my Kindle Paperwhite from among the books where I had left it unused, recharged it, and am enjoying reading on it a French mystery, Rien ne T'efface by Michel Bussi. 

The Paperwhite has a built-in French-English dictionary that is super useful for this intermediate language reader who loves mysteries written in French. This is Bussi's most recent novel; I have his previous one waiting on my ereader! 

Rien Ne T'efface by Michel Bussi, February 4, 2021, Presses de la Cite. Besides being a professor of geography in Normandy, Bussi is a best selling mystery writer in France. 

About the book: Maddi's  ten-year-old son Esteban disappeared on a beach in the Basque coast of France, and when she spies another boy, Tom, 10 years later, she feels as if it's her son Esteban. Tom is, however, the same age as Esteban when he disappeared, and that was ten years ago. So how could it be the same boy, because of the difference the boys would have in their ages? Maddi, a medical doctor no less, follows Tom and his mother to their home town, wanting to be near the boy. 

What will happen next? I am reading on.....

Also to be read: 

Tahoe Jade by Todd Borg, Aug. 1, 2021, Kindle Unlimited

This is the latest in the Tahoe mystery series featuring Owen McKenna, a detective living in the Lake Tahoe area. Owen has his Harlequin Great Dane, Spot, as his back up and helper in the business of solving crimes. 

About: An attempted murder, a murder, and a disappearance has McKenna on the job. The discovery of a long-lost letter from President Lincoln to the new governor of California is involved in the case somehow, and complicates McKenna's attempts to solve the murder and disappearance. 

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Aug 6, 2021

Book Beginning: Paris, A Life Less Ordinary, A Memoir by Krystal Kenney

 Another book of Paris: 

Paris: A Life Less Ordinary, a Memoir by Krystal Kenney, December 1, 2020, Kindle Unlimited 

Publisher description: Krystal Kenney sets out to conquer her dream of living abroad and starting her photography business in the city of light. She falls in love with Paris, but quickly learns that Paris does not love her back..., forcing her to fall apart before she can... build herself into a modern independent woman

Book beginning: It's pouring rain, dark and cold, and I'm sitting on the front stoop of a church in Paris. Tears stream down my face, falling harder than the rain. I'm crying so hard, it scares me. It's the type of crying where you have a hard time catching your breath, that's been waiting to unload from months of stress and self-induced trauma.

Page 56: I'm always nervous about wearing any revealing clothing in Paris because I know it's dangerous here. 

Would you read on?

The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice.
Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.

Aug 1, 2021

Sunday Salon: Always Currently Reading

 Currently reading: 

Missing and Endangered by J.A. Jance, February 16, 2021, William Morrow

Genre: thriller, suspense

Source: library

About: Sheriff Joanna Brady is involved in a missing persons case in this mystery in J. A. Jance’s suspense series, set in the beautiful desert country of the American Southwest.

Tahoe Killshot by Todd Borg, 2004
Genre: mystery, thriller
Source: library

About: Tahoe Detective McKenna needs his Great Dane Spot and professional search-and-rescue dog Natasha to literally sniff out a killer.

I am always currently reading, as I have too many books started and thus "currently reading!" I pick up each book according to my mood! Do you ever do this? 

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

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