And so it’s September… and I celebrate one year of my series of monthly roundups.
Can you believe it? A year already! (read the first post here)
When I started doing it was – like it seems so many years in my blogging experience – just mimicking what other bloggers do. A summary of cool finds during the month sounded like fun, and I was looking for something I could share every month, as a recurring feature. I do share this kind of content on my social media constantly, but some of you might not see it. So why not share the best here on my blog?
I’m very happy I decided on this because it has been great fun. I’m happy to see that you guys generally appreciate it.
So let’s go hunting for some more Diesel Era fun facts! It’s a roundup heavy on history this month. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Chicago vintage L
I’ve been revising the first chapters of my novel Ghostly Smell Around (because I’m once again sending it out to agents) and for the first time I realised there was a major inaccuracy in the second chapter. I don’t know how I could oversee that!
So, of course, I immediately started researching. As always, researching the details of everyday life is the worst. So many people (including who writes articles about these matters) take this for granted, and when we write historical fiction, we might just think it will go as we are accustomed to seeing it going today (which is what I did, I’m ashamed to say).
But I was finally able to straighten up Sinéad’s journey on the L. I couldn’t find all the details I was looking for, but at least I found enough to make that episode more authentic.
Here are the two links I enjoyed the most:
Hate center-facing? Take a seat on 130 years of ‘L’ trains – Chicago Tribune online
Vintage CTA Trains, Buses Offer Peek at 1920s Transit – WTTW Chicago Tonight
In the 1920s, photographer John Frank Keith who wandered and took photographs of residents of the neighbourhoods of South Philadelphia (particularly the Pennsport area) and Kensington (where Keith lived most of his life) sitting on the doorsteps of their houses.
These are pictures of common people in very prosaic surrounding, which is the kind of photos I prefer. There are awesome photos of celebrities from the 1920s (and I sure love them) but these photos of people taken in a moment of their everyday life are simply fascinating. These are truly windows on a different time, on how people like us lived back then.
During the Irish War of Independence and even more so during the Civil War, the situation of the armed forces in Ireland was complex, to say the least. Many different armed forces were present on the island, some British, some Irish, some a mix of the two.
This article by author and historian Paul O’Brien looks more in detail to one of the most hated British forces, one that was closely connected and bonded to the Civil War.
This is another of those everyday details we don’t pay much attention to. We think we know what we’re talking about, but the activity, life and work of newsboys were unique and specific, and I discovered a few things I didn’t’ expect from this article.
Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl has recently been a guest on this blog with an interview about her Harlem Renaissance novel. Her unusual take at the Renaissance is fascinating and sheds a different light to a very important movement of the 1920s. Since you guys seemed to appreciate that, you may want to delve a bit more into it with this article by Yecheilyah which goes even more in details.
In 1917 two young girls produced a series of photographs that seemed to prove that fairies did exist. These photographs spread like wildfire on the media of the time and many people – including Sherlock Holmes’s author Arthur Conal Doyle – believed the photos were genuine.
1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true—didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.
One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?
I Feel Like I’m On the Cusp
Margot Kingberg was so kind as to reference my review of The Mysterious Affari at Styles on her blog. Then she proceeded to do something really nasty (I mean, Margot!): she listed a series of novels of mystery novels all set in the 1920s… which of course I had to put on my TBR list. Couldn’t pass that on.
The one that intrigues me the most is this one by Sarah Waters. I heard many good reviews about this one.
“It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.
With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways.“
This is actually not focusing on any time of the Diesel Era (late 1910s – early 1950s), but I’d like to share it because it’s a deep examination of what historical fiction should be about, how we should go about writing and how we should approach reading it. It’s a great article.
Sarah Plugues Her Stuff
Only two links this month and I have to thank C.P. Lesley for both of them.
Books We Loved, Aug. 2017
Where you’ll find a lovely review of my novella Give in to the Feeling.
Which, as someone has pointed out, is probably the more in-depth interview I’ve done about Give in to the Feeling. I loved writing the interview. It gave me the opportunity to speak a bit more about my characters… which is always a pleasure. But I hope you’ll like it too if you feel like reading it.