Thursday, December 17, 2015

CHRISTMAS CAROL | Dec. 17–Pub. Date ("Scrooge"). What year?

Charles Dickens,
A Christmas Carol,
A 1900 U.S. edition.
It was 1843 when A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was first published.

You may forget the name of the book. It was made into many successful movies, and they usually give the story a better name, just Scrooge:
  • Scrooge, or, Marley's Ghost, A Christmas Carol (1908)
  • A Christmas Carol (1910)
  • Scrooge (1913)
  • Scrooge (1935)
  • A Christmas Carol (1938)
  • Scrooge (1951)
  • It's Never Too Late (A Christmas Carol) (1960)
  • Scrooge (1970)
  • A Christmas Carol (1971)
  • An American Christmas Carol, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Scrooged,The Muppet Christmas Carol, A Christmas Carol (1997)
  • A Diva's Christmas Carol, Christmas Carol: The Movie, A Carol Christmas,Springtime with Roo, Chasing Christmas, A Christmas Carol (2006)
  • A Dennis the Menace Christmas, An American Carol,Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,A Christmas Carol (2009)
  • The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol (2011)
You know the story. Three ghosts – from the past, present and future – haunt Ebenezer Scrooge, by the end of which he has learned the Spirit of Christmas. My favorite Scrooge I think is still Alistair Sim.

You don't need to pay for a copy of this book any more. The copyright has expired. You can read the entire book free. The full text is here: You're welcome.

Now, with the money you have saved, the sponsors of the Boissevain Books suggests that you buy a copy of the just-released book Princess Josephine and the Rainbow Dragon. The copyright is fresh so you can't get it free for at least another 50 years.

It's a beautifully printed hard-cover book. Surely there is a princess in your family who wants this book. A young lady aged 5 to 10, maybe? A daughter, granddaughter, niece, great-niece? The lessons are powerful, but are transmitted Mary Poppins-wise.

If your princess is not yet ready for this $145,000 diamond
tiara from Tiffany, I suggest the $19.95 book, Princess
Josephine and the Rainbow Dragon.
The book is illustrated by my sister Brigid Marlin and is written by my niece Kate Bodsworth. I recommend it highly.

The illustrations are uniquely heart-warming. Princess Josephine reveals the inside scoop on the three things she has learned from Princess School. If anyone knows how to reason with dragon, Josephine is it.

The dragon is not an easy sell. He sucks all the colors out of her kingdom because if he doesn't, he loses his own colors – which if you don't know it, would be hugely embarrassing for a Rainbow Dragon.

Worst case scenario, when he is all grey, he will turn to stone.
Bottom line, the dragon has No Choice! What can Princess Josephine do?? She puts on her Princess School thinking cap, that's what she does. She thinks and thinks... .

..and you will have to buy the book to find out what happens next. The book is an inexpensive gift for a princess at $19.95 and to ship it direct to you we add on only the actual cost of shipping. What a deal. ACT! CLICK HERE NOW.

The only way to get a 15% ($3) discount on the $19.95 price is to order from the Boissevain Books Store online. Go to Copy this code into the discount box: JCKRN2S38AFK.

Thank you for ordering,
John Tepper Marlin for Boissevain Books

Thursday, December 10, 2015

BOISSEVAIN | Reunion, The Netherlands, April 16-17, 2016 3rd Notice

December 3, 2015

Dear Relatives!

We so far have received 40 registrations for the reunion. Many relatives from outside the Netherlands have signed up. Therefore we ask residents of Holland to put the date in their calendar and register via the email address below. For catering and organizational reasons we would like to know ahead of time how many people we need to accommodate. Fairly soon we will present a list with the names of the relatives who will definitely participate.

Tentative programme
Saturday April 16                 Sunday April 17
1 PM Welcome, tea, coffee Visit to Pampus Island
2 PM Formal part with
  • news about the Boissevain Foundation
  • short reading about maritime Boissevains
  • present Boissevain Award
  • practise Boissevain Song
  • auction Boissevain Books
3-5 PM  Drinks & bites
6 PM Dinner

The charges for the drinks, dinner and Sunday program will be paid at the time with credit cards or cash. The Boissevain Foundation only charges a basic amount of 10 (ten) euro per participant, which includes tea/coffee at 1 PM and drinks & bites after 3 pm on Saturday. Children up to 12 years old are for free. This is because we want as many relatives to be present at as many moments as possible, even if they can come just for a short time.

Official registration starts now. Please let us know which part of the program you will attend and for how many people.

T: +

On January 1 new information will follow in our fourth reunion notice. Till then!

Annemie, Aviva, Barbera and Charles Boissevain

Saturday, November 28, 2015

POPE FRANCIS | Visits Nairobi, by Author Olga Marlin

Margaret (L) and Uhuru Kenyatta greet Pope Francis.
Boissevain Books just received an email from Kenya. Olga Marlin, a Boissevain Books author (To Africa with a Dream), writes to us about the excitement of the Papal Visit to Nairobi. Here is her report:

The Holy Father was staying very near Kianda School, in the Papal Nunciature, and he passed by the school every time he went out or returned home. Kangemi, the slum he visited, is just behind the school. Some of our bursary girls come from there.

Pope Francis with President Kenyatta (R) and two former Presidents of
Kenya, Mwai Kibaki and Daniel arap Moi.
I and other people from Kianda attended the reception for around 500 people in State House, where the Pope was welcomed by the President and his wife et al., with a 21-gun salute. The two previous presidents (Mwai Kibaki and Daniel Arap Moi) were also there. The atmosphere was very warm.

Just as the Pope and entourage were getting ready to leave, a huge downpour started and continued throughout the following day. People got up very early to attend the 10:00 Holy Mass on the Nairobi University sports grounds. I left with several others at 7:00 a.m, and we ploughed our way through the mud and rain with another million people, to our reserved seats under a canopy.

Mercedes and I were about 20 seats behind President Kenyatta and his wife Margaret and dignitaries. [Note by Bois Books: An estimated one million people attended the Mass.]

Hilda van Stockum (1908-2006), "The Holy Family," Kimlea,
Kenya.  By permission of the Estate of Hilda van Stockum.
I had a beautiful view of the Altar, with Mother's painting of the Holy Family just in front of me. It was brought down from Kimlea just for this purpose. I hope you get a chance to see it.

The Kianda Girls' Choir prepared for weeks to sing for the Holy Father. They prepared an Argentinian Tango, a Kiswahili song and an English one ("Lean on Me"). They were waiting at the Nunciature when he arrived from State House. After the Argentinian song he went up to congratulate them. They followed him into the Nunciature singing the other songs. The girls of Kibondeni were recruited to help in the kitchen and serve the table for the Holy Father. They were so happy!

An Argentinian lady whose family knows the Pope very well, prepared several items on a silver tray which was left in the Holy Father's room: On it were a drink the Pope likes very much with a glass and... a dedicated copy of To Africa With a Dream in Spanish (Con un sueño en África).

Cristina from my Centre was brought in her wheelchair to the entrance of the Nunciature where they waited with many other people for the return of the Pope. When he arrived he came out of the car to meet the people. There was a lady with a newborn child who is being baptized ("Francis") today, and the Pope kissed him and made the sign of the cross on his forehead. There was another small baby girl called Francisca, whom the Pope also blessed. Then he saw Cristina and immediately went over to her. He asked her name, held her hands, and gave her a rosary. She was overjoyed!

I went out several times to our Kianda corner, where the Kenya flag and the Vatican flag were flying, in order to greet the Pope as he passed. On the way to Kangemi he was in the pope mobile, and he blessed all of us standing there.

Friday, October 30, 2015

BIRTH | Oct. 30–Robert Caro, Biographer

Robert and Ina Caro.
This day was born in 1936 the world's greatest living English-language biographer, Robert Allan Caro, in New York City.

Caro's birthday is, appropriately enough, the day after the birthday of James Boswell. Boswell is surely the most famous English-language biographer of all time.

Caro graduated from Princeton in 1957 and earned an M.A. degree from Harvard. He was a journalist before he settled down to write his biography of Moses.

His first, masterly, biography was about a New York City area planner-developer, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (1974). This book was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the 20th century. Time magazine listed it as one of the hundred top nonfiction books of all time. It won Caro his first Pulitzer Prize in Biography, in 1975.

Robert Caro has since spent one-third of a century writing what was to be a three-volume biography of his equivalent of Dr. Samuel Johnson - President Lyndon B. Johnson. The number of volumes has expanded already to four, and the fifth volume is intended to cover only LBJ's presidential years, so that six volumes are likely.

For his biographical volumes, Caro has won three National Book Critics Circle Awards (for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year and Best Biography); the National Book Award; and the Francis Parkman Prize (awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that best "exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist"). He has also won the Gold Medal in Biography from the National Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama.

The four volumes so far of the Years of Lyndon Johnson series have been called by the London Times "the greatest biography of our era." The LBJ books have appeared so far as follows:
1. The Path to Power (1982),
2. Means of Ascent (1990),
3. Master of the Senate (2002), winner of Caro's second Pulitzer Prize in 2003, and
4. The Passage of Power (2012). 
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said of the series: "It's a wonderfully written set of books. [...] It's about ideas and principled policy achievements. That's what makes it one of the great political biographies." Former British Conservative Party Leader William Hague said that Means of Ascent is "the best political biography of any kind, that I had ever read. [I]t conveyed more brilliantly than any other publication what it really feels like to be a politician." Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle called Master of the Senate "magnificent". Former Vice President Walter Mondale called it "a superb work of history".

For the LBJ series, Robert and his wife Ina Caro  - who has been his sole research assistant - are said to have consulted 34 million documents at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas. He has conducted more than one thousand interviews. He lived in Johnson's hometown for three years, so that he could get to know the people there well enough that they would open up to him. He also identified and interviewed every surviving member of Johnson's grammar school class.

Ina Caro has meanwhile written two well-regarded books of her own, on her travels in France and the connection between the places that she has visited and French history. I read her book The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France (1996) prior to spending two weeks in France last month, and she inspired Alice and me to visit and write about Vaux le Vicomte, the home of Louis XIV's first finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet.

See also James Boswell

Thursday, October 29, 2015

BIRTH | Oct. 29–Boswell, Biographer (Updated May 29, 2016)

James Boswell
This day in 1740 is born James Boswell, in Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the greatest biographers ever.

The son of of advocate (later judge) Alexander Boswell and Euphemia, née Erskine, he enters the University of Edinburgh at 13, and doesn't like it. He escapes to London but is found and  brought home.

His father has him instead tutored in law at home, and he graduates at 18. His fellow students include John Johnston and William Temple, who become lifelong friends.

Boswell moves to London. He loves to drink, travel and gossip. He meets the famous Samuel Johnson for the first time in Thomas Davies' bookshop near Covent Garden, London.

Johnson is known to be writing A Dictionary of the English Languages, which would be published when Boswell was 25.

Boswell studies law at Utrecht for a year, and proceeds to a two-year Grand Tour of Europe, visiting German courts and Italian cities and Corsica, meeting Rousseau, Voltaire and Corsica's rebel Pasquale Paoli, who is leading a revolt against Genoa.

Boswell develops a lifetime taste for talking with European leaders of the day and writing down what they say.

Timeline by Age in Years

26–He completes his legal education with the dissertation Disputatio juridica de supellectile legata quam publicae disquisitioni. Two years later he writes An Account of Corsica, a widely admired book, translated into four languages.

29–He marries the daughter of his father's sister, Margaret Montgomerie.

35–He publishes The Journal of a Tour to the Western Isles of Scotland, an edited version of the journal he wrote during his journey through Scotland with Dr. Johnson two years before. During the next ten years he writes dozens of articles for London magazines.

42–His father, Lord Auchinleck, dies. Boswell becomes the 9th Laird of Auchinleck, a place where his family lived for two centuries.

44–Johnson dies.

48–Boswell is elected Recorder of Carlisle. He resigns the position after two years and moves to London.

49–Boswell's wife Margaret dies while her husband is on his way home from London.

51–He publishes the first of three volumes of a biography of Johnson, which has absorbed him for many years. The books are based on Boswell's own diaries (Boswell says - "A page of my Journal is like a cake of portable soup. A little may be diffused into a considerable portion."), which were lost until the 1920s. His detailed journals for three decades from the early 1760s by themselves provide unique first-hand observations of life and personalities of his time and ensure continued interest in him. The biography goes beyond Plutarch's Lives, which were personal, and provides intensely personal stories and arresting descriptions of contemporary life.

55–He dies in his house on Gt. Portland Street in London, following weeks of serious illness, having not yet finished the third and final volume of his book.

See also Robert Caro.

Friday, August 14, 2015

HOMESCHOOLING | Library Services, Montrose, Pa.

Susquehanna County Main Library, Montrose, Pa.
Some school teachers and administrators, are uncomfortable with homeschoolers in their area.

Even when that is the case, many hospitable connections may be made with local libraries.

(Not to mention sports programs at local schools, where homeschooled children in the appropriate age cohorts are often welcomed, especially for competitive sports.)

The Susquehanna County, Pa., library for example says on its web site that
the library has responded to the growing homeschooling population by offering benefits to families who are residents of Susquehanna County and registered in the Homeschool program. 
With a Homeschool library card, participants receive an extended check-out period. Registered families are also eligible to participate in the Homeschool programs held monthly during the school year. With notice, the outreach department will gather a collection of books according to a specific request, or conduct a tour of the library and its resources.

Click for future programs or the most recent past program.

The Homeschool Resource Center is located downstairs in the county's main library in Montrose, Pa. It contains a collection of homeschooling materials available to borrow. There is also a swap shelf for families to share instructional materials.

The library offers "Useful Links for Homeschooling Families":
  • Susquehanna County Homeschoolers Yahoo Group: An email based group used to connect with other homeschoolers in Susquehanna County. Post or read about different local homeschooling activities or ask questions about homeschool related topics.
  • About Homeschooling: groups useful information and links from around the web. This is their page devoted to homeschooling.
  • Homeschool World: The official website of Practical Homeschooling magazine. How to get started, forums, etc.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

THE BOX HOUSE | Review by Marlene Rehkamp

The Box House cover by Brigid Marlin.
Excerpts of the book may be read here.
Boissevain Books has just released The Box House by Brigid Marlin - the story of an abused child, Cassie, as told to an adult who has befriended her.

Boissevain Books was interested in the opinion of someone who has worked in the children's-services field. We contacted Marlene Rehkamp, who used to serve New York City's Administration for Children's Services as Deputy General Counsel. She has just sent her review of the book, and we couldn't be more pleased at her reaction to the book:

"Ms. Marlin shares the real-life journey of an abused and courageous girl who uses her imagination and resourcefulness to help shelter her siblings from an abusive and neglectful home life in 1960s England.

"Fashioning a playhouse out of cardboard boxes in a nearby alley, the young ‘Cassie’ creates a safe haven of sorts; there, away from the imminent threat of harm, she provides the children some feeling of normalcy and tenderness.   The author knows Cassie well: soon after meeting her, Ms. Marlin reaches out to help and unwittingly becomes the girl’s model of good motherhood.

"Occasionally visiting the Marlins’ house and dreaming of creating a safe and loving home like hers, Cassie emerges poignantly as a model herself: one of lifelong commitment to family and faith. Ms. Marlin’s epiphany on the effects of taking time to help the young outcast is priceless.   Told through Cassie’s perspective, Ms. Marlin’s cinematic portrayal of violence and betrayal of trust, and of one child’s resilience, reveals youthful stoicism and terrifying realities rarely seen in young adult works.

"The author insistently details the profound effect of adults’ treatment of children over time, and the perils of passivity. The systemic, utter failings of family, school and government safeguards during this period in the history of the United Kingdom as well as of the United States, loom large. Given recent revelations surrounding the global trafficking of children, Cassie’s true story takes on new dimensions today.

"A lauded painter, Ms. Marlin paints with words. Her brushstrokes illuminate the young girl’s intimate experiences in a way that will move teen and adult readers alike to tears of sorrow and delight. This book is a joy, a bona fide page-turner and must-read for teens and for all parents and other adults devoted to understanding the unspoken yearnings of children in crisis."

The Box House can be ordered through Amazon.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

BOIS BOOKS | Annual Meeting 2015

Emily and Charles Boissevain, c. 1872.
The 2015 Annual Meeting of Boissevain Books LLC will be held on Sunday, October 11, 2015, in Ottawa, Ont., Canada.

Boissevain Books, named after Charles Boissevain, editor of the Algemeen Handelsblad of Amsterdam, was created in 2007, a year after the death of Hilda van Stockum, to keep her books in print and publish new related books.

Charles Boissevain was Hilda van Stockum's maternal grandfather and her first publisher.

The financials for Boissevain Books for 2014 will be presented along with an account of 2015 results to date and a budget for 2016.

Expected attendance so far:
John Tepper Marlin
Randal Marlin
Brigid Marlin
Alex Marlin

Monday, July 20, 2015

NEW BOOK! | The Box House, by Brigid Marlin

Just Released: The Box House
Boissevain Books has just released Brigid Marlin's The Box House, a poignant and inspiring story of a child's ability to transcend neglect and abuse.

This remarkable new book is the true story of an abused and neglected child's struggle to survive.

Only eight years old when we first meet her, Cassie Drover is determined to protect her younger siblings and create a "real home" for them all.

The Box House is Cassie's story. Both heartbreaking and inspiring, this story will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

Set in a small English town in the 1960s, the story follows the Cassie's journey. She has taken on the role of caretaker to her younger siblings. 

She is determined to make a home for them. She literally builds a box house - a home constructed out of cardboard boxes. 

The heroine of the story is a young teenager. The book is not intended for young children, since it describes child abuse. It might be appropriate for young adult readers.

The Box House is the Brigid Marlin's third book. She previously authored A Meaning for Danny and From East to West: Awakening to a Spiritual Search

Ms. Marlin is known primarily as an artist and is the Founder and Director of the Society for Art and Imagination based in the UK.  She has also illustrated a number of books, including King Oberon's Forest, a children's book written by her mother, Hilda van Stockum.

Boissevain Books has primarily published books for children, building on those of Hilda van Stockum (1908-2006), whose books are the core of the list. Starting with Robert Wack's book, Time Bomber, Boissevain Books has opened up a list of biographies/memoirs, of which this book is the third. (The second was Brigid Marlin's A Meaning for Danny, about the tragic life of an autistic/epileptic boy.)

To order The Box House (preview of some pages is available), click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WW2 | The Dutch Resistance

Jan Boissevain with Mia, Walrave, Nella and Thijs, Heleen, Charles, Danil,
Walrave, Li, Aat van Hall, Wil de Vos, Sissy Blijdenstein, and Gi den Tex.
I am writing a book about the Dutch Resistance to Hitler, specifically the contribution of the Boissevain and the van Hall families.

The subject was suggested to me in 2014 by Ben Boissevain. I immediately received great cooperation from Charles Boissevain and Hester Boissevain Grinberg.

In February I visited many relatives in Holland and yesterday had a return visit from a van Hall relative and her daughter.

The Boissevain and van Hall families date back to two brothers, Jan and Charles Boissevain, each of whom had a daughter who married one of two van Hall brothers.

Writing about all this comes naturally to me because I was brought up on the stories my grandmother (Olga Boissevain) and mother (Hilda van Stockum) told me about their family and World War II. My mother wrote two books about the war in Holland:

  • The Winged Watchman (1962), told from the perspective of two Dutch boys (aged 10 and 14) living in a rural windmill. 
  • The Borrowed House (1975), told from the perspective of a German girl living in a "borrowed" house in Amsterdam with her parents, who were performers sent to entertain the German troops and SS; a Dutch translation was published in 2013, retitled Het Gestolen Huis (The Stolen House).
These two books are both among the 20 top-ranked (by Goodreads) books for children on World War II, out of 177 nominees. They have been optioned for a television miniseries.

These books have led the people interested in doing a miniseries, and a cousin, to ask me if I could document what my mother's relatives did during the Dutch Occupation. I have been building a database from:
  • Stories I remember hearing from my mother, my siblings, and other relatives.
  • Albums and boxes of letters and clippings, in English and Dutch - from wartime and post-war Holland, Ireland and England - entrusted to me as my mother's executor. 
  • I have been transcribing, translating (with the help of Dutch speakers) and posting letters, many at and My son Jay has helped type some of these letters and my wife Alice has read many of them with interest.
  • Continuing contact with Dutch relatives - some who were were young children during the war - and other sources of information through letters, posts, emails and phone calls to fill in gaps in information and make the record as complete and useful as it can be.
  • Cooperation from some of the people who were helped by my relatives during the war, and from their children. 
It's been an engrossing journey of discovery, with much left for me to learn (just found out about Audrey Hepburn's work for the Dutch Resistance).

The outline of the book with links to chapters is here.

BEA 2015 | Next Month in NYC

The BookExpo America autograph area. Photo by JTMarlin.
BookExpo America 2015 is coming to the Javits Center at the end of May.

There will be a Bloggers Conference on the first day, May 27.

I always wondered why the Frankfurt Book Fair claimed such a large share of the publishing industry's attention and budget.

Publishing has been broadening and deepening:
- More kinds of media for readers,
- More opportunities to publish for authors,
- More competition for traditional publishers.

It makes sense that the annual BookExpo in New York City has become increasingly important as a way for independent bloggers and authors to connect. The intermediary institutions are learning to work with the independents. Publishers are learning to harness the desire of authors to make their work more accessible and better known.

Here's an overall take what I posted on BookExpo America 2014 last June.