#BlogTour: The Edge of Summer by Viola Shipman

For this blog tour we’re looking at a phenomenal book that really draws the reader into its scenery. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Edge of Summer by Viola Shipman.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Solid Look At Family And Secrets. This is a book that instantly transports the reader into its setting, particularly once it gets to the small town Michigan shores of Lake Michigan. But here, things are not always exactly as they seem, and there is a dark family secret lying just beneath the surface. Shipman – a pseudonym using the actual person’s own grandmother’s name – does a phenomenal job here of showing how small town secrets can fester through generations, and that even when not actually knowing one’s own history… history has a way of coming back around. Truly an excellent work, and the only reason for the star deduction is that this book deals pretty heavily with COVID – the reason our main character even travels to the small town is directly due to the insanities of COVID and that idiotic and chaotic period of living in the 21st Century. And, well, I have a personal war going on against any book that mentions COVID because *I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT COVID*. Period. My only weapon in that one man war is a star deduction in my review of the book, and so I deploy it automatically no matter how strong the book may otherwise be. Still, truly a great book that Shipman’s long time fans will enjoy and a great example of “her” (his) style of writing for anyone who may not be familiar with it. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Edge of Summer by Viola Shipman”

#BookReview: Unraveled by Maxine Bedat

Eye Opening, Yet Critically Flawed. Bedat does *phenomenal* work in this text when reporting what she has found in her investigations of trying to track even a “typical” cotton *garment* from the cotton seed to its eventual use and destruction. Using each chapter as a way to trace one particular step in the chain was truly a stroke of editing genius, as it concentrates just what is happening at that particular stage. And some of it – including the direct link, in Bangladesh at minimum, between garment factories and sex work (where in one particular harrowing tale, a source tells Bedat that when she gets in the van to be taken to a factory as a day worker, she sometimes finds herself at a massage parlor instead) – is utterly horrific. It is these sections of the book that are *so* strong that the book *had* to be rated fairly highly.

HOWEVER, when Bedat speaks almost at *all* of policy or her own opinions… well, this is when the critical flaws become apparent. To be fair, she *is* at least somewhat more balanced than many leftists, and outright points out things that ardent Bernie Sanders / AOC types won’t want to hear. But in her attacks of “neoliberalist capitalism” – a running strawman throughout the narrative – … eh, I’ll be a touch gentle and go with “YMMV”. If you happen to be on that side, you’re going to love her commentary here. If, like me, you find yourself more an adherent of Milton, Mises, Hayek, Bastiat, etc (the so-called “Austrian School of Economics)… you’re not going to like her commentary so much. The star reduction, to be clear, isn’t from the fact that I don’t like much of the commentary – but that I can so easily refute it, despite not being a trained economist (just a – clearly 😉 – well read human :D).

And yet, the actual reporting here is simply too strong, too eye opening. This is a book that *needs* to be read for its current issues reporting, if for no other reason – and even if her commentary leads one to contemplate defenestration of the book. If you’ve read Hafsa Lodi’s Modesty or Virginia Postrel’s Fabric of Civilization (among presumably numerous other recent texts on fashion / clothing/ fabric), do yourself a favor and read this one too. Even if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read all three books. 😉

Very much recommended.

This review of Unraveled by Maxine Bedat was originally written on February 20, 2021.