Quote of the Week

“The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.”

From Part II, Nature
Emily Dickinson [1830-1886]

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett. Published by Little, Brown and Company in 1955. Page 647.

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[Review] Tales From The Perilous Realm by J. R. R. Tolkien, illustrated by Alan Lee

Publisher and Publication Date: Mariner, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2021.
Genre: Fantasy fiction. Poetry. Middle-earth.
Pages: 432.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Tolkien and Middle-earth readers.
Rating: Excellent.

Link @ Amazon

For further reading:
Tolkien Estate
Tolkien’s legendarium-Wikipedia

The book is organized in this order:
Introduction by Tom Shippey.
Roverandom was first published in 1998.
Farmer Giles of Ham was first published in 1949.
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was first published 1961.
Smith of Wootton Major was first published in 1967.
Leaf by Niggle was first published in Tree and Leaf in 1964.
Starting on page 313 through page 400 is the Appendix. The title is On Fairy-Stories and is written by J. R. R. Tolkien.
The book ends with an Afterword by Alan Lee the illustrator.

Roverandom is the story of the adventures of a little dog who becomes lost. He also suffers under the spell of a wizard named Artaxerxes.

Farmer Giles of Ham has a problem with a giant who is a menace and is terrorizing the land.

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is several poems that rhyme. Examples of titles are Bombadil Goes Boating, Errantry, Princess Mee, The Man In The Moon Came Down Too Soon, and Cat.

Smith of Wooten Major is simply a man named Smith who lives in the village of Wooten Major. He recounts his tales of Fairyland.

Leaf By Niggle began for Tolkien as a dream he had. It is a blending of Middle-earth and Faerie.
The story begins: “There was once a little man called Niggle, who had a long journey to make. He did not want to go, indeed the whole idea was distasteful to him; but he could not get out of it. He knew he would have to start sometime, but he did not hurry with his preparations.” Page 285.

The last is a brief teaching on fairy-stories by Tolkien.
My favorite quote from this chapter:
“Fantasy is a natural human activity. It certainly does not destroy or even insult Reason; and it does not either blunt the appetite for, nor obscure the perception of, scientific verity. On the contrary. The keener and the clearer is the reason, the better fantasy will it make. If men were ever in a state in which they did not want to know or could not perceive truth (facts or evidence), then Fantasy would languish until they were cured.” Page 370.

Several reasons why I love this book:
1. It holds a variety of short stories and poetry. It is a Tolkien buffet.
2. The last chapter on fairy-stories is a gem.
3. I love the illustrations (black and white) throughout the book. This adds a visual beauty to the book.
4. The story of the little dog named Rover is endearing. I actually gushed while reading.
5. Farmer Giles is humorous. I love this little man who puffs up his courage to take on a giant.
6. This volume is an over-all enjoyable-escape read!

[Review] Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis

Publisher and Publication Date: Gallery Books, a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2019.
Genre: Nonfiction. World War II. Women and Literature.
Pages: 384.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of WWII history and SOE British agents.
Rating: Excellent.

Amazon link
Barnes and Noble link

SOE is the initials of Special Operations Executive.
List of female SOE agents during World War II:
Wikipedia.
WordPress blog of Alan Malcher. He has a post about SOE female agents.
Nigel Perrin. This site has a photo archive of the SOE agents and profile information.
Biography Online about Odette Sansom.
Imperial War Museum about Odette Sansom.
History101.com about Odette Sansom.

Summary:

In 1912, Odette Marie Celine Brailly was born in Amiens, France. Her father fought and died in World War I. Odette had a younger brother, Louis. Odette married an Englishman, Roy Sansom, and they had three daughters. After the birth of the first daughter, the family moved to England where the other two daughters were born.
Odette’s grandfather predicted another war. He told his grandchildren to do their “duty, both of you, to do as well as your father did.” From page 2.
When World War II began Odette wanted to serve in some way but hesitated because of her young daughters. In 1942, Odette contacted the War Office and she eventually joined the SOE.
Code Name: Lise is the story of Odette Sansom and her work as a SOE during World War II. The book gives a little background information of her life before 1942, but the book is primarily about her role as an agent.

My Thoughts:

I’ve read a few other books about SOE agents. I’d been a little familiar with her name and history. I am pleased to finally know her full story in history.

Several reasons that led me to give this book an excellent rating:

1. Odette is portrayed as a remarkably strong person who endured separation from family, injuries, imprisonment, and torture. Several times I have been amazed at how she handled herself in a crisis or during those periods when she was tortured. She is a hero.
2. I love it that several black and white photographs are included in the book.
3. The appendix addresses criticism and problems that were brought up in the 1950s with the SOE. Odette was criticized by other agents. In one example, her report of what happened to her were made up-untrue. I am glad Loftis added this chapter to the book for clarification.
4. Code Name: Lise gave me an education of how the SOE agents were trained and how assignments were implemented; and how they were treated by the Gestapo, especially the techniques of interrogation and torture.
5. The book is told in narrative nonfiction and the author narrating.
6. Odette is a compelling historical character. The life she lived during the time period of the book is strong, and it is more than engaging, it is on the edge of your seat drama unfolding.