amazonThis is the “logistics centre” for Amazon in Pforzheim, Germany.  James Bloodworth, a  young British writer recently published a book about his six months of low paid work in the UK.  He tackles interesting issues such as the hatred of immigrants in the north of England, and  the tumbling of the trade unions in modern day workplaces.   — Bloodsworth, with no credentials and no university degree,  went to work at Amazon in a  town in northern England, but his working conditions and living conditions plus the impoverishment of spirit make for a fascinating read in Hired:  Undercover in Low Wage Britain. hiredI highly recommend it .

A friend recommended The Alice Network to me.  The author manages to bridge the two World Wars with a “girls’ story” of friendship, spying and courting.  Eve,  an English spy in WWI, is by far a more interesting a character than Charlotte, an American in her late teens.  Most of the “action” takes place in 1947, when the two women meet and go off on what becomes a mad-cap adventure — with some heart-throbbing spells of romance combined with rather conventional tear-jerking moments of loss.  Eve’s  mission is to find a French enemy who destroyed her life and health 32 years before.  Charlotte wants to find a young cousin, missing in France since 1939.  aliceAll is a bit predictable, and a bit twee.  But the book moves quickly — the writer seems too sure of herself. 

widowThis is a brilliant book by Joyce Carol Oates.  Known for her scores of fiction books, essays and other literary outputs, Oates writes a candid and meaningful book about being suddenly widowed after 47 years of a very happy marriage to Ray Smith, a literary critic. On the one hand the book exudes unhappiness — but on the other it is a sometimes funny and usually persuasive story about the loss of love, and the loss of self — and finding both again, rather magically.  Highly recommended by me.  



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