History in the Making

History in the Making

A Book and A Beverage: May 2018

Do you ever have one of those books that you hem and haw about for months- “It looks good but I’ve never read anything by that author,” “should this be bumped up my to-read list,” and so on? Well, I do. All the time. Sometimes I never end up reading them, sometimes I end up regretting waiting so long in the first place. This month’s book is one of the regretting waiting type…
A Book and a Beverage_May 2018 (1)

The Book: Party Girls Die in Pearls, Plum Sykes

I went back and forth on this book, mostly because I wasn’t sure what kind of book it exactly was- I love my mysteries, but the author’s other books are more chick-lit and I wasn’t sure what I was getting. However, it was on sale on Kobo and I was in a chance-y mood, and I am very glad that I did. This is a mystery (dare I say, a cozy mystery??) set in Oxford University in the 1980s, drawing on the author’s own time there as an American student herself. The main character, Ursula Flowerbottom, is entirely earnest but just sceptical enough to be all of us- she discovers a dead body after a secret society party on campus, and attempts to solve it and cement a spot on the college paper. The best part about Party Girls Die in Pearls is the entire supporting cast- a suspicious librarian, more Sloane Rangers than you can count, and an American exchange student bent on dating a duke, an Austrian Prince who might be a prince or might not be a prince, they are completely entertaining and will leave you wondering rather who didn’t do it. I am desperately hoping that there is a follow up to Party Girls Die in Pearls!
I wish I had a similar book to recommend, but I’ve not found anything quite like it since! So, I’m going to recommend
Party Girls Die in Pearls
The Beverage: Dublin Morning Tea, Bewley’s
It turns out that most of my recommendations are going to be tea- I apparently only drink water and tea nowadays… I was lucky enough to discover Bewley’s on Grafton St when I lived in Dublin, and discovered one of my favourite teas, their Dublin Morning Tea. It’s a warming and filling breakfast blend that goes best with a splash of milk, and is the perfect cuppa for reading about a murder in cold and rainy Oxfordshire. (It’s also fantastic in the morning when you need a little bit of warming and a lot of caffeine to wake you up….)
What are you reading right now? And if you are interested in writing a guest post for A Book and a Beverage please send me an email at anhistorianabouttown@gmail.com
Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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10 thoughts on “A Book and A Beverage: May 2018”

  • Great review, here. Since you asked – I just finished “Crush It” by Vaynerchuk, which was ok. I took some strategies from it to improve my blog and online engagement, but the rest was much of what I had already known via my own trial and error. Mostly, the key is just to stay impassioned and become a subject matter expert in your brand and to enjoy the ride. I sometimes forget to enjoy the ride when I am being overtly technical about my approach. I also just finished “The Ghost Map” by Steven Johnson this morning. It’s about the cholera epidemic that broke out in 1850 in London from the Broad St well. Although and very unfortunately so many people died from this occurrence, it significantly transformed London and science. I.e.: Germ theory as opposed to the miasma theory. The author boldly claims that Big Ben is not London’s most magnificent marvel, but rather that which lies below the city – the London sewerage system. I found it to be a fascinating read from start to finish and it provides the eerie reminder that nuclear warfare should be far from our worries, especially when considering that an invisible monster actively lurks among us and for its opportunity to attack.

    • I’ve seen Crush It and I think I read a chapter, but I’ve haven’t read the whole thing- would you recommend me reading the whole thing?? And I know exactly what you mean about enjoying the ride- in March-ish of this year, I decided that I truly didn’t care about the numbers with my blog. It took over three years to get there, but I decided to look at each aspect of my blog like a project and to learn something from each, rather than hit a specific target, and I’m really enjoying it more. The Ghost Map is actually waiting on my Kobo!! There are so many diseases that ravaged London and changed the course of history that I believe we should all learn about, If you are interested in what lies below London, I would recommend London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd!!

      • It’s so hard for me to recommend or not recommend a book I’m kind of in the middle about. I say, with your attitude about enjoying the ride, you might appreciate a lot of the examples he provides from his own business and how he made it to the top of the blog/vlog/online branding world. Also, thanks for that recommendation! Just added it to my Goodreads!

  • One of my favourite things to do in Dublin was to go to the lunchtime theatre on the top floor- lunch provided. Always got the tea too! Will definitely try the book.
    Think I might have tea right now… ☺

  • You might like The French Girl – by Lexie Elliott – it’s a murder-mystery newly released, about a group of Oxford friends who vacation at a French farmhouse after graduation. Ten years later when the body of the french girl next door, who went missing after their last party, is found in the well, they are suddenly all under suspicion. I am currently reading Women in Sunlight, by Frances Mayes, which is just awful – I’m slugging through it out of respect for the author who wrote Under the Tuscan Sun, but it’s her first novel and I really think she should stick to travel memoirs. Three older (60’s and & 70) women rent a villa in Tuscany for a year instead of moving to a retirement home – so many people and love affairs that on page 300/400 I am still having trouble keeping the characters straight. It’s like some sort of senior chick-lit, but very poorly written, with the tense all over the place, and virtually no plot line. It’s so bad they will probably make a movie out of it!

    • The French Girl sounds fantastic, and I’m requesting it from the library!! (A lot of the reviews for Party Girls Die in Pearls note that mysteries set in Oxford and Cambridge are common but I’ve not found them….)
      I’ve decided that this year I’m not going to be continuing on with books I don’t enjoy. Life is too short and there are too many wonderful books to waste time on the awful ones!

  • Party Girls is on my Kindle. Haven’t got to it yet of course! Currently reading The Party, by Robyn Harding. I’ll be emailing you about a guest post!

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