Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Six Days in Leningrad Paullina SimonsSix Days in Leningrad Paullina Simons

Six Days in Leningrad is the memoir of the famous author of ‘The Bronze Horseman’ series, Paulina Simons.  It is about the journey behind ‘The Bronze Horseman’. Paulina was born in Russia and soon after she started writing her first story, she traveled from the U.S. to Leningrad with her father to do some research.  (Note: Leningrad is now known as St. Petersburg). 

It had been a quarter of a century since Paulina and her father visited their homeland and it was not what they expected.  They found a city that looked war torn as if it had gone back in time.  They saw buildings in disarray, bombed fields that wouldn’t grow food, and huge families living together in small rooms.  Despite that, they also met up with old family friends that were still as warm and inviting as ever.

 Six Days in Leningrad is the story of Paulina Simons family history and the nation they came from. Though it has a slow start, it is a poignant story and history that reads very much, like a novel. At times I felt like I was there with Paulina and her father, witnessing what has become of her childhood home. 

My grandparents fled from Russia as Jews being persecuted.  They wouldn’t talk about it but I imagine from the few words they did speak, that they were in one of the Jewish ghettos.  I hate to imagine what they went through and know they wanted to protect us from their reality.  I have read quite a bit about Russia and its history.  I don’t feel any kind of tie to it but am curious about it, as I am about many countries and their histories.


I received a ebook from Edelweiss and this is my honest review.

About Paulina SimonsSix Days in Leningrad Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons was born in Leningrad, USSR, in 1963. At the age of ten her family immigrated to the United States. Growing up in Russia Paullina dreamt of someday becoming a writer. Her dream was put on hold as she learned English and overcame the shock of a new culture. 

After graduating from university and after various jobs including working as a financial journalist and as a translator, Paullina wrote her first novel Tully. Through word of mouth that book was welcomed by readers all over the world. 

She continued with more novels, including Red Leaves, Eleven Hours, The Bronze Horseman, The Bridge to Holy Cross (also known as Tatiana and Alexander), The Summer Garden and The Girl in Times Square (also known as Lily). Many of Paullina’s novels have reached international bestseller lists. 

Apart from her novels, Paullina has also written a cookbook, Tatiana’s Table, which is a collection of recipes, short stories and recollections from her best selling trilogy of novels, The Bronze Horseman, The Bridge to Holy Cross, (also known as Tatiana and Alexander) and The Summer Garden

Review: The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on November 17, 2015
Posted in AnimalsBooks Read in 2015Memoir  | Tagged With: , , , | 13 Comments


‘I was hoping against hope that the penguin would survive because as of that instant he had a name, and with his name came the beginning of a bond which would last a life-time.’ 

Tom Michell is in his roaring twenties: single, free-spirited and seeking adventure. He has a plane ticket to South America, a teaching position in a prestigious Argentine boarding school, and endless summer holidays. He even has a motorbike, Che Guevara style. What he doesn’t need is a pet. What he really doesn’t need is a pet penguin. Set against Argentina’s turbulent years following the collapse of the corrupt Perónist regime, this is the heart-warming story of Juan Salvador the penguin, rescued by Tom from an oil slick in Uruguay just days before a new term. When the bird refuses to leave Tom’s side, the young teacher has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school. 

Whether it’s as the rugby team’s mascot, the housekeeper’s confidant, the host at Tom’s parties or the most flamboyant swimming coach in world history, Juan Salvador transforms the lives of all he meets – in particular one homesick school boy. And as for Tom, he discovers in Juan Salvador a compadre like no other… The Penguin Lessons is a unique and moving true story which has captured imaginations around the globe – for all those who dreamed as a child they might one day talk to the animals.
Watch for my review later in November, 2015.


Tom Michell grew up in southern England and wanted to travel.  In his 20’s, he went to teach at a boys boarding school in Argentina so that he could make money and travel.  This was at a time when Argentina’s dollar value fluctuated widely from day to day.  He was given an advance of 1 million pesos and told to spend it all on anything he think he might need right away. Otherwise it wouldn’t buy as much the next day.

When the school was on breaks he got to travel.  He went to Uruguay for a few days and he discovered many penguins by the sea all covered in oil and dead.  However, there was one penguin that was moving and he decided to rescue him.  He took the penguin to the place he was staying and cleaned him up in the bathtub.  He tried to bring him back to the sea where there wasn’t noticeable oil but the penguin followed him.

He figured that the penguin’s feathers were no longer waterproof and felt there was no alternative but to smuggle him across the border to Argentina and bring him back to the school with him.  He named the penguin Juan Salvador and everyone love him.

Tom Michell shares many of the stories and escapades that ensued while Juan Salvador was with him.  He also shared his travels and the turbulent times in Argentina.  This is a tender hearted memoir with lots of laughs and, yes, some tears.  The writing is lyrical and the book was near impossible to put down.  It is a very fast read and enjoyable read.  I adored this book and highly recommend it!


I received the ebook for my honest review. 

Giveaway Alert 

There is are only 2 days left to enter my giveaway of one print copy of Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell.  Enter here: http://theteddyrosebookreviewsplusmore.com/2015/11/giveaway-the-penguin-lessons-by-tom-michell.html#.Vkro8XarS70


Tom Michell

Tom Michell was born and grew up on the rural downs of southern England, where he grew to love animals, birds and plants. After living in Argentina he returned home and settled in Cornwall where he helps with the family business, tends a small plot of what he calls ‘good Cornish soil’ and sings with a local choir. He is an amateur artist and in his spare time he draws and paints subjects from the wildlife around his home, specialising in birds of prey. Tom is an enthusiastic proponent of understanding how humans can live in genuinely sustainable ways. He is married with four children and three grandchildren.

Another Side of Bob DylanBook Description:

Los Angeles Times Best seller!

August 2014 marks 50 years since Bob Dylan released his fourth album,Another Side of Bob Dylan. Recorded in one night, in the middle of a turbulent year in his life, the music marked a departure from Dylan’s socially-conscious folk songs and began his evolution toward other directions.

During the years they spent together, few people outside of Dylan’s immediate family were closer than Victor Maymudes, who was Dylan’s tour manager, personal friend, and travelling companion from the early days in 1960s Greenwich Village through the late 90’s.

Another Side of Bob Dylan recounts landmark events including Dylan’s infamous motorcycle crash; meeting the Beatles on their first US tour; his marriage to Sara Lownds, his romances with Suze Rotolo, Joan Baez, and others; fellow travelers Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Wavy Gravy, Dennis Hopper, The Band, The Traveling Wilburys, and more; memorable concerts, and insights on Dylan’s songwriting process.

On January 26th, 2001, after recording more than 24 hours of taped memories in preparation for writing this book, Victor Maymudes suffered an aneurysm and died. His son Jacob has written the book, using the tapes to shape the story.

The result is a vivid, first-hand account of Dylan as an artist, friend, and celebrity, illustrated with never-before-seen photographs, and told by an engaging raconteur who cut his own swathe through the turbulent counterculture.

My Thoughts:

Victor Maymudes was the tour manager for Bob Dylan on and off in the 60’s and then again 1986-1996.  They became friends in the early 60’s and basically had an on/off friendship and working relationship.  St. Martin’s Press signed him up to write his memoir but he died before he could complete it.

He had recorded over 24 hours of tape about his life and relationship with Dylan and his son, Jacob, used them to complete the book for him.  He basically transcribed the tapes into print and put in his two cents.

I especially loved Maymudes’s view from the early days of Greenwich Village and the early days when Dylan was still developing his style.  I questioned some of Maymudes actions, like the time he had his two small children in the van when picking up Dylan at Universal Studios.  Dylan had a hard day of work there and the kids annoyed him with questions.  When he told Victor to deal with it, he left his kids in the parking lot, alone for 3 hours at night, while he drove Dylan home.

There were a few places I would have liked a bit more information, yet a few places that were a bit repetitive as well.  I think it could have used a bit more editing.  However, I found the book quite touching, especially with Jacobs interjections at the end of each tape.  Victor Maymudes wasn’t around much when Jacob was growing up but I could tell that Jacob loved his father despite that.


I received an advance reading copy of this book for my honest review.

About the Authors:

VICTOR MAYMUDES was Bob Dylan’s tour manager at the beginning of his musical career in the early 1960s. After a brief hiatus in New Mexico, Maymudes rejoined Dylan as his tour manager from 1986 to 1996. He died in January, 2001.

JACOB MAYMUDES is a writer, director and visual effects supervisor working for the Mill in Los Angeles, California.