Saturday, May 14, 2011

John Adams week 6

Well, I can not begin to express the relief I feel at being caught up finally!! By some miracle, my 9 month old took a 2 1/2 hour nap this morning so I was able to finish reading the last two chapters.
Since I have no computer at home today, I am forced to write everything on my phone.

I think Abigail was one patient woman and I have to believe that she was truly the most patriotic person of all. I would probably not be quite as patient as she had I been the one taking care of everything at home, farm, family--for 4 years straight. I can understand John's ideals and his desire to make the country a better place for his children and posterity but I probably would have questioned his devotion to his children. I think I would have wondered at times if he had a French mistress. But I am getting sidetracked.

Abigail made a lot of interesting observations when she arrived in Paris and one in particular that got me thinking was one in which she speaks of this country (France)"grown old in debauchery and lewdness" where marriages are arranged and not considered holy and honorable (comparing it to the one-America-"where the wise laws and institutions of one consider it holy and honorable")
Speaking of debauchery, it got me thinking and I remembered that in 1999 I was travelling in France as a student and the woman ticket agent who was selling me the train ticket at the station took the opportunity of asking the American why our country was so upset about our president being unfaithful to his wife.
I suppose Abigail would have had something to say about that.

I loved getting to know Jefferson a little bit better. I'm glad that he kept such perfect accounts of what he bought as it says a lot about a person. His love of books and excitement in the bookstores of Paris was something I could relate to, but I loved how much art he purchased and in particular the green Moroccan leather he used to outfit his carriage!
Aside from his irresponsible spending--he was a serious shopaholic--and probably a hoarder as well-- and his insane "sensation" about blacks and whites,all of that aside-- he was surely a fascinating person, and one who suffered a great deal. I like that these two very different individuals, one a staunch New Englander and the other an elegant Virginian, represented in France the diversity of America even in it's first days as an independent nation.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Beginnings

Friday Book Beginnings
How to participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you would like, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be at  A Few More Pages every Friday and will be open for the entire week.

>The doctor with whom I discussed the question told me to begin my work with a historical analysis of my smoking habit.

From Zeno's Conscience

Very good first sentence.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

One Good Turn

In One Good Turn Jackson returns, following his girlfriend, Julia the actress, to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. He manages to fall into all kinds of trouble, starting with witnessing a brutal attack by "Honda Man" on another man stuck in a traffic jam. Is this road rage or something truly sinister? Another witness is Martin Canning, better known as Alex Blake, the writer. Martin is a shy, withdrawn, timid sort who, in a moment of unlikely action, flings a satchel at the attacker and spins him around, away from his victim. Gloria Hatter, wife of Graham, a millionaire property developer who is about to have all his secrets uncovered, is standing in a nearby queue with a friend when the attack takes place. There is nastiness afoot, and everyone is involved. Nothing is coincidental.
from Amazon.

I enjoyed this mystery set in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It's a quick read with a cliffhanger at the end of nearly every chapter. And every chapter switches back and forth between the main characters of the story.   
I read this for my library book group, and while I found it an enjoyable read, the others felt just so-so about it.  They found the change of POV at every chapter confusing, and they weren't happy with it as a book club choice, which got us talking about coming up with some criteria for choosing future books.  Did we want to focus on a certain time period, writing style, or topic?  In the end, we didn't come up with anything.  They decided for this month to read a book that another book club was reading and which I and another member of the group have already read.  This gives us some time to come up with some guidelines.  I'm going to do a little research of my own and find some tips on choosing for a rather diverse group, well, age group anyway.
If anyone would like to share how your book club chooses, please post your ideas. I would love your feedback.
Now, it's time to catch up on my John Adams reading.