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The Personal Librarian
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian--who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white--her complexion is dark because she is African American. The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go--for the protection of her family and her legacy--to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.
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squirrelbrain
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this novelised account of Bella da Costa Greene, who was not only a successful woman (JP Morgan‘s librarian) at a time when women weren‘t expected to be anything, but she was also passing as white.

It‘s certainly made me want to visit the Morgan Library, when we ever get to go toNew York again; I can‘t believe I‘ve never been before on all our visits!

LeahBergen I love The Morgan Library ❤️ 2w
90 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Insightsintobooks
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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33 likes1 stack add
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Ivonnini
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray

But we were raised in the language of respect, and I would not consider expressing my irritation

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ChaoticMissAdventures
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Mehso-so

I was so excited for this. I am frustrated reading the authors historical notes, where you learn that they have taken the weirdest "liberties" by moving around the dates of some known events. Nothing would have changed inside the story by leaving facts as they are, but it does diminish the book itself in my opinion.
Beyond this is did not enjoy the stilted writing style and will probably not pick up anymore book by this author.
???

ChaoticMissAdventures I did enjoy learning who Belle was though and have googled many things about her and J.P. 3w
21 likes1 comment
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GinaKButler
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Starting today...this month‘s bookclub pick!
#bookspinbingo

CoverToCoverGirl I hope it‘s good! 1mo
18 likes1 stack add1 comment
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CaramelLunacy
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

I first became aware of Belle da Costa Greene in an episode of the Annotated podcast, so was eager to read this.
The sections about her work and outwitting those who underestimate her are fascinating, the passages where she talks about segregation and the pressures of passing are sad and insightful. Her romantic relationships are frustrating as none of her partners was portrayed in a way that I understood the attraction.

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GidgetsTreasures75
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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10-11-21: My 99th finished book of 2021! The remarkable story of J. P. Morgan‘s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 👍🏼📖#️⃣9️⃣9️⃣

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Chelleo
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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#currentlyreading #audiobook This is really interesting so far.

75 likes2 stack adds
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Crazeedi
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

I've enjoyed all of Benedict's books. This one follows the life of JP Morgan's personal secretary. She carries a secret her whole life (this was early 1900s)-she was black and passing herself as white in NYC. Her father never wanted this and abandoned the family, her mother did this to give her children a chance to succeed. ⬇️

Crazeedi Lots of cultural implications, but a story definitely needing to be told. The author follows some of the information she found about Bella deCosta Greene. Highly recommend 2mo
AmyG I have heard good things about this one. 2mo
See All 6 Comments
DarkMina This is on my TBR. Glad to hear you liked it. 2mo
Crazeedi @AmyG it was very good, if I had the physical book I would send on! I read through Libby!! 2mo
Crazeedi @DarkMina you will enjoy! Wish I had a copy to send! Read the ebook 2mo
64 likes5 stack adds6 comments
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Emily92Bibliophile
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Bailedbailed

100 pages in & I could not get into it. As many of you know, I LOVE books & am currently in my Masters for Library Science to work as a Public Librarian Youth Services Librarian, & with a focus on Collection Development. HOWEVER, the language was too stilted for me, & I felt disconnected from the characters. We need more books like this that presents racism in our history, and how many struggled to live as passing White for their own safety⬇️.

Emily92Bibliophile Will try to read it again or listen to it as an audiobook, but I guess it wasn‘t for me at this time. 2mo
KristiAhlers I felt the same way. Which made me sad as I have enjoyed this authors titles in the past. 2mo
See All 6 Comments
Emily92Bibliophile @TheBookHippie Thank you!! I definitely will! @Katbooklover I‘ve never read her other books! And it made me sad I couldn‘t get into this one- the message is vital and we need more like it, as well as the librarian theme, but sadly couldn‘t. 🥲 2mo
TheBookHippie @Emily92Bibliophile I knew the real story having visited the library several times and gained a lot of knowledge from guides. I was put off by Marie messing with time line and truth and gossip being added to the story when the real story is so accessible. 2mo
Emily92Bibliophile @TheBookHippie that‘s horrible she did that! I am totally new to the story/ real story, and the library, but would love to learn the real facts about it. Hopefully one day I‘ll be able to visit the library as well! 2mo
16 likes6 comments
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BookNightOwl
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

To read something that was based on a true story is wonderful. I love historical fiction I love learning about something I never knew about and I love incredible stories of risk and success. This story is about Bella da Costa Green. J.P. Morgan's personal librarian who is passing off as a pure white woman but who is actually a woman of color. She is smart a risk taker and very powerful in society of New York. I loved this story

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candc320
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

This story was fascinating! The main character, the real librarian for JP Morgan‘s brilliant library, was so amazing and complicated and served as the perfect conduit to not only tell the story of this library‘s collection but to open up the discussion of racism and a person‘s real worth. The narrator had a wonderful soothing voice and was easy to listen to. Highly recommend! 🌟🌟🌟🌟

SamAnne I read about her in Timothy Egan‘s book on the photographer Edward Curtis—Nights of the Shadowcatcher I think. And I was fascinated! At the time I thought, there oughta be a book about her! And now I know there is! 3mo
candc320 @SamAnne I‘ll need to check that out…sounds fascinating! 3mo
22 likes1 stack add2 comments
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bell7
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

The collaboration between Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray tells the fascinating story of Belle da Costa Greene, the woman who worked as J.P. Morgan's personal librarian, acquiring items to add to his phenomenal collection of manuscripts and art. She also had a secret - she'd been born Belle Marion Greener, a Black woman, but along with her mother and siblings is passing for white. A bit repetitive and clunky, but worth reading.

22 likes2 comments
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Kristin_Reads
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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📚 My Saturday plans 📚 This has already captured my full attention at just 25% in...

EvieBee Sounds promising. Waiting for my library hold. 3mo
Kristin_Reads @EvieBee I‘ve really enjoyed it! Hope you do too! 3mo
54 likes1 stack add2 comments
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bell7
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Weekend reading! I took last week off, and this is the second book I finished. Review to come soon 😊

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wen4blu
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Finishing my weekend with the fictional story of J.P. Morgan‘s real life librarian. I‘m fascinated by the fact that, as his librarian, Belle was granted access to the top society parties and events, just to get to know the competition.

DivineDiana I would love that job! 3mo
43 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Dalaine
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

This book follows the life of Belle da Costa Greene, born Belle Marion Greener, who becomes J. P. Morgan's personal librarian. She lives in a time where she has to lie about her race and pass as white in order to do what she loves. The book cleverly discusses issues that would face women at the time, from race inequality to abortion (not too different from the present, sadly). I quite enjoyed getting lost in Belle's world of art and history.

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Librarybelle
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

A light pick, as the narrative started to drag a bit towards the end. But, ultimately, an important fictionalized account of Belle de Costa Greene, personal librarian to JP Morgan, and a woman who has a secret that could change everything. What a remarkable woman! Like any good historical fiction story, this makes me want to learn more about Belle…I had no knowledge of her prior to reading this book. So good that her story is being told.

Librarybelle Thanks to the publisher and to #NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Also, my first (!) read for #14Books14Weeks2021 @TheHeartlandBookFairy , my August #BookSpin @TheAromaofBooks , and my selection for #TitleIncludesLibraryorLibrarian for #Booked2021 @4thhouseontheleft , @BarbaraTheBibliophage , and @Cinfhen 3mo
Cinfhen Woohoo 🙌🏻 sounds like a good read!!! 3mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage Great review! And all those challenge-related successes. Way to go! 3mo
See All 7 Comments
Ericalambbrown She is mentioned several times in the Ron Chernow behemoth 3mo
Librarybelle Good to know, @Ericalambbrown ! Thanks! 3mo
TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! 3mo
92 likes1 stack add7 comments
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MaureenMc
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Mehso-so

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Green‘s story (passing as White while working for J.P. Morgan during the Gilded Age) was interesting, but I never really connected with her character. I found the writing style somewhat clunky, too.

TiredLibrarian Aww - it sounded so good 😕 3mo
MaureenMc @TiredLibrarian Your mileage may vary! I wouldn‘t discourage others from trying it. But maybe borrow not buy. 😁 3mo
33 likes2 comments
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MaggieCarr
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Mehso-so

This one kind of fell flat for me. Too long and drawn out without any big story arcs. Elizabeth Lett's is my favorite author of this genre, so far, and nobody else has been able to spin a tale about a year person quit the same way. I will give credit for the ending portions with correct dates and how they were used in context in the book. The research was definitely there, just fell short for me.

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BeaG
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

WOW! This lady‘s story was intriguing! I enjoyed it.

29 likes3 stack adds
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lynneamch
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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J.P. Morgan's personal #librarian is sobered by her mother's cautionary advice to her #daughter Belle: ". . . this is about the future and what my world will be if I dare to fly too close to the sun." Marie Benedict's best #histfic yet and she's clear that she couldn't have written it without Victoria Christopher Murray. Russell Whiting's Icarus statue overlooks the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. Pic from our recent visit.#QuotsyAug21 @Tk-421

TK-421 Great quote & photo! 4mo
29 likes1 stack add1 comment
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SLSbooks
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
Pickpick

An easy read, but it left me wanting to know more about Belle da Costa Greene, which may have been the intent. Greene‘s life-lived-on-the-edge is something that could never be pulled off in today‘s world of never ending social media scandals and I hope no one would need to hide who they are in order to be successful in their lives, but unfortunately plenty still do. Thanks Belle, but there is still work to be done.

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cjk
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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1. Tagged title along with Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin.
2. Untamed by Glennon Doyle.
3. The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin.

@rachelsbrittain

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Ellen_C
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

Novel based on trues story of Belle da Costa Greene, a Black woman who passed as white and was JP Morgan‘s librarian, helping turn his personal library into one of the best in the world. Deals with matters of race, class, code switching. She was a fascinating woman! https://cannonballread.com/2021/08/the-personal-librarian-elcicco/

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Booknerd2
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

I very much enjoyed this book! A piece of little known history. And, of course, who wouldn‘t want to be in charge of a library where money was no object! 💜💜💜

mdm139 That is a great view 4mo
Booknerd2 @mdm139 I know. Unfortunately it‘s a background from the internet. Not my view. 😢 4mo
49 likes2 comments
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AmyK1
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

Belle Da Costa Greene was JP Morgan‘s personal Liberian. She was also a black woman passing as white at a time when discovery would have been dangerous for her and her family. I knew absolutely nothing about Belle and her accomplishments. The middle dragged a bit but overall a good, informative read.

45 likes5 stack adds
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LatrelWhite
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Reading and listening 🎧 love Robin Miles voice☺️

LatrelWhite ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4mo
lynneamch Just finished reading this, but kept the audio on my Overdrive holds because I'm curious about the voice. Good to hear you liked it. 4mo
20 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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Librarian-ish
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

A lovely novelization of a real woman. It follows the personal and professional life of Belle da Costa Greene an African-American woman who chose to pass as white to become JP Morgan's personal librarian. I don't know a lot about Greene, but I do appreciate that the authors cite their sources and provide examples of where they embellished. I think a lot of care went into making Greene a three dimensional person with flaws, fears and triumphs.

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BethM
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! It was a strange one bc of the plague. Seriously how do I sanitize my kid from daycare 😂

Thank you @Avanders for the birthday present! 😘😘😘

marleed Happy Birthday! 4mo
Bklover Happy Birthday, my dear!! Hope it was a lovely day!🎉🎂 4mo
Avanders Oh you‘re so welcome!! 😘😘 And… man, sanitizing the kids from day care.. only way i knew how was *through* it. But he almost never gets sick now! 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 4mo
BethM @Avanders I would just really love it if through it wouldn‘t keep including the stomach virus lolz I‘ll take a cold month if I can avoid anymore of that! 4mo
Avanders Uuugh I know there‘s an end! Just hang in there… 😰🙏🏽😘 4mo
33 likes5 comments
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hissingpotatoes
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Mehso-so

3/5⭐ I applaud the authors' intent to bring light to both Belle da Costa Greene and the history of race issues that are still ongoing, and I'm so glad to have learned about Belle.

While I liked the beginning of the book with its focus on Belle's career and the complexity involved with passing as white, my interest waned in the second half with the heavy focus on her romantic relationships. (continued in comment)

hissingpotatoes The story also skipped forward a lot which required slow, lengthy expositional passages of Belle describing what we missed.

I've never understood why authors take “creative license“ to change historical information we have solid facts about (e.g. the year a certain event took place), so one of the author's notes listing a whole bunch of these changes frustrated me.
5mo
16 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ChaoticMissAdventures
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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#julyjourneys #newyorkcity
So many books set in NYC. This is the next one from there that is on my TBR, I have heard such good things I am excited to get to it soon!
@Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Eggs

Librariana Uuuuu!! I just picked this one up not too long ago, too! Very excited about it 😊 5mo
Eggs Looks so good!! 5mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Looks good!! 5mo
23 likes1 stack add3 comments
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JHSiess
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

Book░Review

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗟𝗶𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗻 by 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗰𝘁 & 𝗩𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗮 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗠𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗮𝘆 is a meticulously crafted fictionalized acct of a woman who presented 1 identity to the world while hiding her true self. Poignant, engrossing, timely & timeless, she rose above societal constraints & forged an enduring legacy. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⁣

𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘭 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸: https://tinyurl.com/2a6m9m6r

47 likes2 stack adds
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ReadingEnvy
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

Belle la Costa Greene was J.P. Morgan's personal librarian (and rare books and art collector) who went on to run The Morgan Library after his death, converting it into the public serving institution he always planned. Her story is fascinating, having to pass as white to live/work/move in the circles she did, how this issue separated her parents, etc. ↘️

ReadingEnvy The authors did a great job at blending research with imagination; Belle may have burned her personal papers but all the people she wrote to and did business with over the years did not!
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An interview with the authors will come up on the podcast but in the meantime I can recommend this book of historical fiction!
5mo
Daisey This sounds so good! 5mo
LeahBergen Her story is fascinating. I read a really good biography of her 5mo
ReadingEnvy @Daisey I learned a lot! 5mo
ReadingEnvy @LeahBergen I think the authors used that as a source because that author had access to her letters! 5mo
45 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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Emily92Bibliophile
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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My book haul (to me!)- first three from B&N, and last from Half Price Books! Money is a little tight bc I am redecorating my bedroom and bathroom, but I had to get some books on my book outing with my friend!📚 I will share my reading corner when I get it all set up 💙

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BookishMarginalia
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Yey! #BOTM

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SilversReviews
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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BookishMarginalia
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Our #July2021 #BOTM picks!

JenReadsAlot I picked the same two! 5mo
63 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Avanders
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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I tried to walk away… but then, books! 🤦🏽‍♀️🙇🏽‍♀️💁🏽‍♀️

I didn‘t even pick one of the July offers, either… 🤷🏽‍♀️😬😁

#BookoftheMonth #BOTM

BethM The personal librarian sounds great! 5mo
CaramelLunacy I relistened to the Annotated podcast about Belle da Costa Greene and am super excited to see more about her 5mo
Avanders @BethM I know, doesn‘t it? 🤩 5mo
Avanders @CaramelLunacy oh very cool! 5mo
79 likes4 comments
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Smokinjo
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

I don‘t usually read historical fiction, but I made an exception for Belle da Costa Greene. Benedict & Murray do a tremendous job with historical accuracy, and provide such exquisite detail that you can‘t help but be transported back in time. It also had a lot to say about race and gender identity, and the struggles of denying one‘s true self to be able to fit into society. #ThePersonalLibrarian #NetGalley