Fun Facts Friday: Benjamin Franklin
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / January 17, 2020

January 17 is the birthday of one of the most famous man in American History, Benjamin Franklin ( 17 January, 1706 – 17 April, 1790). I read Benjamin Franklin’s Biography by Walter Isaacson a few years ago and it is, to this day, a favorite of mine. Many people know that Mr. Franklin was a printer, but here are a few interesting facts about his printing career and love of books & libraries. Franklin considered himself a printer all his life, and took great pride at his occupation. Wherever he went he always had a printing press at his disposal. Franklin’s last will and testament begins “I, Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, printer…”. To his life’s end, Ben Franklin remained a printer and took pride in it. Wherever he lived in Europe or America, he managed to have a printing press at his disposal. Franklin’s first publication was when he was 16 years old, he wrote in the voice of a feminist woman named “Silence Dogood”. At age 21, Franklin established the colonies’ first circulation library for all interested citizens or as it was known “The Library Company of Philadelphia”. The Pennsylvania Gazette, a newspaper, was bought by Franklin when he…

Book Spotlight: Hands Up by Stephen Clark
Guest Posts , Latest Posts / September 17, 2019

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence. Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary. Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice. Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos. Buy…

Fun Facts Friday: James Russell Lowell
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / February 22, 2019

James Russell Lowell (22 February, 1819 – 12 August, 1891) was an American editor, critic, poet, and diplomat. Books by James Russell Lowell* Born in Cambridge MA, he was an 8th generation Lowell, ancestors to settlers who came to America in 1639. In 1838 Mr. Lowell graduated from Harvard College. Despite being known as a troublemaker, he managed to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School. In 1841 Mr. Lowell published his first collection of poetry. Together with his wife, Maria White (married in 1844), the couple had several children; sadly only one made it to adulthood. The Lowells took on the abolitionist cause with great enthusiasm. Mr. Lowell wrote anti-slavery poems and even moved to Philadelphia, PA to work as an editor for an abolitionist newspaper. Lowell taught at Harvard for 20 years as a professor of languages. In 1874 Mr. Lowell resigned from his Harvard professorship and became an ambassador to Spain (officially “Minister to the court of Spain). Even though he spoke the language and a trained lawyer, Mr. Lowell did not socialize well in Spain and used to send funny letters to his political bosses. Those dispatches were posthumously published as Impressions of Spain (1899)….

Book Review: The General’s Cook by Ramin Ganeshram
4 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / November 19, 2018

About: The General’s Cook by Ramin Ganeshram is a historical fiction book taking place in 1793, following Herucles, a slave as well as President George Washington’s chef. Mr. Ganeshram is a journalist, chef and food writer. 336 pages Publisher: Arcade Publishing Language: English ISBN-10: 1628729775   My rating for The General’s Cook – 4 Buy The General’s Cook from Amazon.com* More Books by Ramin Ganeshram* Thoughts: I have heard of Hercules before from reading several biographies of George Washington and visiting his home in Mt. Vernon. Even though we know little of Hercules, The General’s Cook by Ramin Ganeshram takes the little we know and expands upon it to create a rich story of early America. The picture the author constructed of 1793 Philadelphia, where most of the story takes place, that of a bustling town where people from all walks of life interact. At that time a law stated that if a slave was in Philadelphia over six months, they would be considered free. The Washington’s sent their slaves back and forth to Mt. Vernon so the clock will start ticking again. At a bind they’ll send them over to New Jersey, to step over the line and come back….

Fun Facts Friday: Benjamin Franklin: Printer & Bibliophile
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / January 17, 2014

January 17 is the birthday of one of the most famous man in American History, Benjamin Franklin ( 17 January, 1706 – 17 April, 1790). I read Benjamin Franklin’s Biography by Walter Isaacson a few years ago and it is, to this day, a favorite of mine. Many people know that Mr. Franklin was a printer, but here are a few interesting facts about his printing career and love of books & libraries.

Book Review: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / June 19, 2013

Article orignially published as Book Review: ‘The Execution of Noa P. Singleton’ by Elizabeth L. Silver on Blogcritics.org About: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver is a novel about our capital punishment system taking place mostly in Philadelphia. This is Ms. Silver’s, a lawyer who worked on death penalty cases, debut novel. The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book –to enter fill out the Raf­fle­copt­ter form at the end of the post. 320 pages Publisher: Crown Language: English ISBN-10: 038534743X My rating for The Execution of Noa P. Singleton – 4 Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format* Thoughts: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver (website | Facebook | @ElizLSilver)is a thoughtful book which keeps turning itself upside down with new revelations about the protagonist, antagonist and several other characters. The book is mostly narrated by Noa but the chapters end with letters written by the victim’s mother to her deceased daughter. The trial scenes were fascinating and the selection of the jury was hilarious. But best of all, the book made you think, not only about the nature of the death penalty but about the judicial system…

Flag Day Post: Books & Beef with Betsy Ross

Today, June 14, is flag day in the United States so I thought this post would be appropriate. My daughter who just finished second grade, decided to do her biography project on Betsy Ross (she had to do several persuasion papers, a biography, autobiography, an entrepreneurial project (design, build, and sell for profit a product – in her case an easel made out of popsicle sticks) and more), which I found a bit disconcerting. As an astute student of history I know that the only “proof” we have of Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag is a family legend which started after she died by her grandchildren. At first I was put off by my daughter’s choice, mostly because of the tale told about Ms. Ross is now told so often and is printed in so many history books that it actually became fact, with absolutely no evidence. Much like George Washington’s wooden teeth (they were made of bone – could you imagine chewing with wood splinters?), or that Columbus discovered the Earth was round (the first globes went on sale the year Columbus sailed, by the way he didn’t “discover” America either) and many more. If you’re interested…

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