Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I've been reading

One thing I've been reading (here's my review on Goodreads):

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham LincolnTeam of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I unfortunately lack the time presently to do this book justice, so please be warned: this will be a stream-of-consciousness review. hehe First, it was totally worth my time, all 757 pages of it (not including notes, bibliography and index which makes it 916 total). As a story, it reads gorgeously. I read it in a week. And at one point, I was reading a few chapters with David Donald's Lincoln biography open alongside it (explained later). The author, heretofore identified as DKG, used a novel theme twist that added richly to it: Lincoln's bio was the main thrust throughout, but she weaved in Lincoln's 2 eventual Repub rivals for the 1860 nomination and 2 eventual members of his Cabinet into the chronology, so that before Lincoln's presidency, it was 5 bios and their interactions. Once he was elected though, the events were the major character thrust, as they are in most every book covering the Civil War era. Approaching the book's end, the it's almost like the events were propelling the narration to move faster; and in reaction I read faster and more dedicatedly. The ending is unforgettable in its construction of the storytelling and startling overall. I learned much more because of this theme choice and her plentiful research and quotes. I have 2 dislikes about the book. The smaller one was that I really needed more maps and charts. It would have helped greatly. The larger dislike of mine concerns her sly, beguiling, persistent need throughout the book to sell Lincoln's saintly status. I constantly found myself running my hands through my hair and asking, Doris, could you PLEASE let me make up my own mind about Lincoln????? I will conceded that in the last third of the book or so, she held this annoying habit down to the last paragraph of each chapter, so I was thankful for small favors. I borrowed the hardback edition of this book from my dad and I believe if I was faced with buying it or not reading it, I would buy the Kindle version if that helps anyone. A physical book this big can be a pain to read.
View all my reviews

Something Else I've been Reading:Your emails! There has been a temporary spike in them, caused in part by my comments concerning Sarah Palin. All who wrote think I dissed her. About half think I was wrong and the other half thanked me.

Oy. The truth is, I wasn't dissing her. I didn't mean to, anyway. I was trying to be frankly honest in my criticism of her. See, in my mind, Hillary is the presidential female leader Prototype, the one model made to sell the thing. I see Sarah as Version 1.0 of the real thing. And the first version, much like software, has all the bugs. It is rarely the version people remember fondly, like the version that finally clicks with the masses in the end. But the biographers later on, they *get* how revolutionary Version 1.0 was. They tend to see the good things and force others to acknowledge, this is necessary for the evolution. I admire her. I respect her. I think she did a good job in Alaska and think they made the best choice all around when she resigned. I would probably not vote for her for President, but she has never made me physically ill or want to gag and I really haven't ever thought her stupid at all. She has a perfect right to be who she is like everyone else and be taken seriously like everyone else. And, honestly, I look at people who react to her so vehemently and wonder what is up with that? My mind is entirely open to her, say, down the road given she does something to elevate herself to above what is her official weakness in many eyes: education. I've no ideas about how she would go about obtaining that in proveable form, but the point is, she is young and smart and time fades negative passion. I might add, the most passionate I am about her is on two things: her right to be respected and taken seriously, and why does she evoke such visceral negativity in some people? I wonder if I will ever know.