June's Literary Blog

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Friday, May 8, 2015

May Daze
Besides Earl and Opal in “Pickles” (I have neighbors who look and often act just like them!), Maxine is my favorite cartoon character. Created by the geniuses at Hallmark, she is the humorously satirical epitome of elderly crankiness. I even have a 2015 Maxine Weekly/Monthly Planner which, so far, has kept me on track for various myriad appointments and  activities.

So, today, as I started to enter a few more items for this month, I noticed that the weekly pages for May are missing. Say what? No (Maxine) joke. Yep…’tis true. Except for just one page with the first five days of this month, the calendar blithely jumps right into the first week of June. There are no weekly pages for May. Nothing. Nada. Egads…

So, now, for the net twenty-five days, I am literally and figuratively at a loss…Literally and virtually in a May Daze…

In case you were unaware, yesterday, May 7th,  was the 100th anniversary of the torpedo sinking by German of the largest and fastest ocean liner of its day, the Lusitania. Part of the Greyhound class of Cunard ships, she was able to cross the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Liverpool in less than five…almost three… days. Bigger and faster, even, than the ill-fated Titanic, which sank 103 years ago on this last April 15th after striking an iceberg.

Both tragedies have a profound affect on me…I am totally fascinated by all things nautical, anyway. To wit, I have a decent collection of Titanic memorabilia  including a commemorative yellow crew cap, a replica third-class coffee mug, and a myriad collection of films, books – both fiction and non-fiction. Not to mention total recall of the urban legend about my father’s supposed namesake caught in the boiler bowels as a greaser and part-time stoker when the then Star Line “star” quickly sank to its cold, watery grave…

But I had scant knowledge about the Lusitania , except for a few minor historical footnotes – even though it was one of the prime reasons America entered World War I – until this past weekend when I picked up a copy of the just recently published Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Eric Larson. A totally non-fiction account of the tragedy, it reads, like all of Larson’s previous books, like an exquisitely finely tuned novel. I just can’t put it down…

Larson, one of the few authors who thoroughly researches his topics and writes about them with exhaustingly rich and vibrant detail, has taken this, his seventh excursion into the realm of the most bizarre episodes of history, into the extreme outer reaches of total realism. His previously most famous and highly acclaimed Devil in the White City and In the Garden of the Beasts are two of my most favorite Larson offerings to pure literary non-fiction…surpassing even the most erudite, readable, and assiduously famed David McCullough who just recently released his own latest, The Wright Brothers (which I hope to read soon and post about in the not so distant future).

Larson, is a master at capturing the salient minutia of every day life…the captivating essences of each of the “characters” that precipitated the events he explores And the sinking of the Lusitania is no exception. Little known background facts are brought to the forefront; nebulous reasons are explained; and historical figures are brought back to life in a writing style so exquisite it literally, if not physically, actually brings the reader onboard. 

For this month, this is the perfect corresponding read to help me through my ditsy daze of May.

2:06 pm edt          Comments

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June J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is an author, poet, and librettist. Her currently published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations, two volumes of poetry, stories for children (of all ages) and a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Miss Elmira's Secret Treasure: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
Colonial Theatre: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Roarin' 20s 
Phoenix Hose, Hook & Ladder: A Novel of Phoenixville during World War I
Columbia Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World War II
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members

Adventures of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Spinach Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A Collection of More Spiritual Poems

We Three Kings

Beauty and the Beast


Noah's Rainbow

Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding Hood



Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She is currently working on her sixth novel.

June's novels can be purchased at amazon.com, through Barnes and Noble,
at the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area,
the Gateway Pharmacy in Phoenixvile, PA

For more information about her musicals, which are also available on amazon.com,