Books From My Closet

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Archive for the category “Historical Non-Fiction”

Why Would Anyone Read About Lincoln?

Hello Dear Followers,

downloadThe title of this post was asked of me recently, and I laughed. Simply because why not read about President Abraham Lincoln?  He was one of the most influential presidents in our nation’s history.

But he was also a good man.  You can tell that by the moves he made while he was president, you can tell that by the way he stood at 6’4” tall, you could see it in his face.  He was good man who wanted to do good for this nation.

He was humble, he was romantically melancholy, the kind that made you want to spend time with and find out what was going on in his head to see who he was and what he thought about regularly.

So why not read about President Abraham Lincoln? Don’t get me wrong, historical books about dead presidents isn’t always what I choose to read about, but I truly love history, particularly Civil War history, so I am always wanting to know more about this time.

As I have been reading I am finding myself thinking of the movies I’ve seen during this era like,  “Glory” or “Gone with the Wind,”  “Little Women,”  and lastly “Lincoln.”

I remember seeing “Lincoln” and at the end of the movie as he headed to the theatre I started to tear up, because I knew he was going to die.  Oh how I would have loved to have seen him as president, I am sure it would have been remarkable.

Is there a historical figure you would love to learn more about?

Until next time…

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Killing President Lincoln

Hello Dear Followers,

I have chosen my next book!  I am so excited about this! I am reading “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly.  For years I have wanted to read this book because I just love LOVE Civil War history and President Abraham Lincoln.  When I saw “Lincoln” in the theaters I had just about started to cry knowing this man was going to be killed as if he were my president.

Biographies and autobiographies always intrigue me, I want to know about people’s lives, how they lived it, what made them tick what they loved, what they lost. All of it.  I hope you will join me as I go along this journey into a different time and place as we read the ending of life for such an extraordinary man.

Until next time…

 

Newtown

newtownML1-198x300Hello Dear Followers,

It has been several months since I last wrote, ( I have to be honest, I lost my password to this site).  But several months ago I read the book, “Newtown: An American Tragedy”  by Matthew Lysiak.  A journalist like myself,  he spent several months following the attacks learning all he could about the tragedy.

I read this book in less than 24 hours, it was a great book, with the exception of a few mistakes the author made since he wasn’t from Connecticut or checked his facts regarding the area in which the tragedy took place.

I read it because I wanted to know more than what I already knew about this horrific event in our nation’s history.  I was one of many journalists living in Connecticut during the time of the shooting that reported on it.  I still remember that day like it was yesterday.

I was actually at home the day it happened,  just had my morning coffee, I was on Facebook when the news broke.  Of course, I immediately called my editor ready to do what was needed to cover this story. My editor had me stay back (I think to protect me from what I was going to see and hear about this tragedy)  my two co-workers were the first in our company to cover the story, while I stayed back and covered anything that was needed for social media.

At the time we didn’t realize how big of an event this actually was, news was coming out in pieces, the numbers of victims were growing and news crews from all over the country wanted a piece of this story.  This small town had now become the focus of everyone’s conversations and fears, laws were being created to prevent a horrific situation like this from happening again in another school.

Sometime during that morning when I had heard the principal had been shot and killed and news reports had released the name of the principal, I realized I knew her.  I had interviewed her numerous times when she had been in another school district before Sandy Hook Elementary.  I had heard her give several presentations during board of education meetings,  I wrote the story about her leaving the school district for Sandy Hook.

It was a shock to the system to know that this woman I had seen so many times had been brutally murdered by senseless sick individual.

Like I said earlier in the post,  I thought the author did a great job with the book, he paid close attention to detail. What I didn’t care for was hearing about the shooter’s life and his family’s life and who he was. I didn’t believe that much attention should have been given to someone who deserves no glorification whatsoever.

I almost felt like the reporter wanted us to hear the shooter’s side, like there was some justification for what he did or that we should as the public feel remorse for him and his family.  The shooter and his family deserved none of this.

I understand that when writing a story, any story for that matter, you must tell all sides in order to be accurate, but I felt too much time was spent doing this.  I found myself skipping chapters here and there. I didn’t want to hear about the mother or  her son.

I read the book because I wanted to see how accurate the story would be told, would the author/reporter leave anything out, would he be gracious to this small town that had everyone’s eyes on them for several months.  I do believe he tried his best to tell the story the way he knew how.

After the shooting that cold December morning,  we immediately (my fellow co-workers and I)  went to work. I wanted to do a story about the principal since I knew so many of her friends and former co-workers in the district I covered.

My co-workers covered other aspects of the story,  clarifying rumors that had circulated, trying to get in touch with family members of victims and so on.

While many believed that the media had intruded on this small town, some of us did our best to be respectful despite what the public wants to believe. While so many of us thought it was crazy to see people like Anderson Cooper standing in a town no one would ever know about if it wasn’t for this tragedy,  as Connecticut reporters we felt we needed to tell the story because Connecticut was our home.

Until next time… (sooner than this time I hope!)

 

 

 

American Wife

Image courtesy of http://www.ew.com.

Hello Dear Followers,

For September, I’ve decided I will be reading “American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld. The book, some say is loosely based on former First Lady Laura Bush.  

According to Amazon.com, on what might become one of the most significant days in her husband’s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House–and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, “almost in opposition to itself.”

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.

I have to say, I had a difficult time choosing a book for September.  I had no idea what I wanted to read this month or what I was even in the mood for.  I had toyed with the idea of taking two months to read “A. Lincoln: A Biography” by Ronald C. White Jr.

I found in searching for a new book that I have a lot of books based on real people’s lives.  I am so fascinated by people and what their lives were about, who they are or were.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this along with me, if you are.  I think its a good read.

Until next time…

Laura World

Hello Dear Followers,

At this late hour (11:30 p.m. Monday) I am writing my concluding post about “The Wilder Life” by Wendy McClure. I’d like to start off by saying thank you to the author for her trip into Laura’s world. Through out the entire novel she made me want to take trips to the same places she did and remember a time long since forgotten.

The author reminded me of my love for Laura Ingalls Wilder and the story she told, whether it was fact or fiction.  For a brief moment she brought me back to my own childhood when life was simple.  I never thought there was anyone else who loved the story of Laura and the Ingalls family as I did. I was introduced to Laura through my Mother who was also an avid fan of the books and the TV sitcom in the 1970s.

From the point this author told us about her own mother, I knew she was searching for something, something that was gone but never forgotten, similar to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life.  What Ms. McClure did was give us something “unremembered” we got a chance to look at a memory she had from a different perspective.

I got to view Laura from an adult’s point of view and I realized the author and I had a lot of the same questions with regards to the books and Laura’s story. The same disconnections to “The First Four Years” and the dislike of “Farmer Boy” ( I don’t even know if I read that book entirely)

There is so much I can say on this, don’t know where to begin or end really. I would just say that I  highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be transported back in time into Laura’s World.

I also recommend taking a look at the author’s Web site at http://www.wendymcclure.net.

Until next time..

A Little House Craving

Hello Dear Followers,
While I certainly didn’t expect to write again this soon, hours even after my last post, I couldn’t resist to share my absolute recent thoughts about “The Wilder Life.”
Ms.McClure makes me want to look through old bins and find my old “Little House” books and relive a very small portion of my childhood again.
I found myself wanting to be in Kansas too with Ms. McClure while she rediscovers Laura’s home.
In the middle of reading tonight I found myself on eBay and Amazon.com to see how much a whole set of the books might be, I don’t think I have all of them.
I’m craving to read them again, seriously considering a summer of Laura this summer.
Oh well, I don’t know I thought I’d share these thoughts with you.

Until next time….

You Didn’t Need to Churn Butter

Hello Dear Followers,

After my post last week, I realized I had more to say about “The Wilder Life” because as I continue to read, I never heard of anyone so enthralled by an author as Ms. McClure is with Laura Ingalls Wilder.

She churned butter just to live a little bit in Laura’s life, in every chapter so far she has connected herself to the Ingalls family in some way. I found myself wanting to join her and back away from her at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong, I too have immersed myself for a day of author Louisa May Alcott’s  life (Little Women), wondered what it must have been like to have walked the same streets as she did, wondered how different it was during her time.  But I feel Ms.  McClure’s love is taken to a whole other level, and I am not sure what to call it.

I do commend her for her painstaking approach to detail and research. She has made me want to pull out my books and re-read, (I don’t re-read, but she has made me want to seriously consider it. Maybe a summer of Laura perhaps?

I am very much enjoying this book, I think Ms. McClure is funny and I think she speaks true to what most of us at some point or another thought about the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  I am not finished yet, but I am getting there and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the final post for this book.

Until next time…

 

 

Wilder Life

Hello Dear Followers,

I just wanted to check in with all of you and talk a little bit about “The Wilder Life” by Wendy McClure. The other day I was in the bookstore (obviously) and I couldn’t help but take myself to the children’s section to sit and look through the Little House books. I can still remember being a child and just engulfing myself in Laura’s life much like Ms. McClure did.

Like Ms. McClure, getting older takes us away from these fabulous reads, but what I wouldn’t give to spend a day (and only a day) in Laura’s life.

I had to agree with her statements about the book “The First Four Years” I couldn’t get into it, I too felt some disconnection to it, it was like the spark was gone from the series at that point.

I’m really liking her book right now, I never thought there was someone out there like her so devoted to Laura Ingalls Wilder like she is. I also give kudos to her husband, what a good guy.

I don’t have much else to say right now, so until next time..

Paying Homage to Laura

"The Wilder Life"

Hello Dear Followers,

Being that March is Women’s History Month, I will be reading “The Wilder Life” by Wendy McClure.  The author of this book pays homage to beloved author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

When I learned that this book was out, I was so excited and couldn’t wait to find a moment to read the book. Alongside authors like Louisa May Alcott, Ann M. Martin, Beverly Cleary and many other authors of my childhood, I found myself wrapped in the life of Laura.

I felt the love between her and Almanzo Wilder in “These Happy Golden Years” I imagined what it must have been like to be stuck in a house for days and days while reading “The Long Winter.”

Alongside the books, I watched the 1970s drama series “Little House on the Prairie” with Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert who played Laura. I was overjoyed to see these books come to life on the television screen. ( I watched them however in syndication, I wasn’t born yet when the series was actually on.)

So I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I know I will for March!

Until next time..

My trip to Hartford

Hello Dear Followers,

Uncle Tom's Cabin

I wanted to post tonight about my day trip to Hartford, Conn.,  I visited Harriet Beecher Stowe’s home also now known as The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center on Friday and I had such a great time.  I have to admit, I didn’t know much about this author other than that she wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  But I learned so much about her during my time up there yesterday, I found her to be ahead of her time and inspiring in so many ways, very much like other female authors I’ve come to know and love over the years.

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was written in 1852 and gives its readers a detailed description at injustice and inhumanity in this country in discussing the anti-slavery movement.   The book according to the back cover sold 10,000 copies its first week and 300,000 in its first year.

I am looking forward to reading this for this blog at some point soon! If you would like to read more about Harriet Beecher Stowe,  please check out http://www.countytimes.com., later this week for my story in honor of Women’s History Month.

I also wanted to touch base with you about “Much Ado About Loving,” I haven’t found this book to be interesting at all, I don’t feel the authors are telling the reader anything new that we haven’t heard before about relationships, sex, online dating etc.  The only thing I have to say I am enjoying is the creation of a list I am making of all these books I want. One of  the authors spoke so highly of “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, I was thisclose to buying it in the book store, he shared the same feelings I did about my failed attempt to read Anna Karenina, and so I felt I had someone to share my woes about this book (I will get back to that book I promise!!) haha.

Until next time (soon! I swear) 🙂

 

 

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