Friday, July 07, 2006

my summer reading list

over the weekend I finished assassination vacation, sarah vowell's wonderful travelogue/historical rumination on (as the title implies) assassinations past. Specifically, lincoln's, garfield's and mckinley's assassinations - which took place over a 36 year period. pretty condensed in our overall history - and all took place before any of my forefathers or mothers made their way to this country. vowell is wry, witty and self-deprecating - yet she also manages to humanize not just the presidents, their wives and children, but also their political adversaries, their enemies and their killers. its a great summer read - maybe not light chick-lit beach reading - but so much of it painfully echoes our political situation today - extreme political polarization, imperialist "interventions" (I'm looking at you, mckinley), a misled and misleading media, and religious justifications for war, tyranny and oppression. how little we learn. all wrapped up in an incredibly funny book. No, really! Assassinations are a hoot!

I actually liked it so much, I dragged out those last 20 pages so it wouldnt end too soon. But, alas, all good things must end. So I went to the bookstore and picked up The Partly Cloudy Patriot, vowell's collection of essays that preceded Assassination Vacation. And the very first essay is all about Gettysburg! its a testament to her writing (or perhaps my geekiness) that I was beyond excited to find the first chapter took us back to her favorite philosopher/writer/politician. And she visits Gettysburg with her old friend Bennet, who makes frequent appearances as her travel companion in Assassination Vacation. it was like coming home to old friends. Now the question is - will this book live up to the standard set by the first one I read? will I be chasing the dragon - as so often happens whenever I discover something I love for the first time - The OC, shanghai soup dumplings, John Lautner, the Barneys Warehouse Sale? Will second, third and fourth experiences ever live up to the initial, giddy blush of excitement and infatuation you feel the first time? only time will tell...

p.s. I also bought roth's The Plot Against America - more light summer reading! about nazis! But since I havent started it and its been ages since I read my last roth book, I'll withhold commentary for now.

3 Comments:

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Keith said...

I wasn't too fond of The Plot Against America. I'll wait until you're done with it so I won't ruin it for you.

 
At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Hilary said...

I'll echo what Keith said. In fact, I quit reading halfway through.

 
At 4:49 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

I could've loaned you both the books you bought. Only fair since next on my list is a book I borrowed from you. Unless you prefer to own them; I generally do.

 

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