Book Chat

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Much of my reading time this month was spent with The Real George Washington.

the real george washingtonI had wanted to read it for a while, hearing it recommended on Glenn Beck’s radio show, which I listen to. I was on the library waiting list for a long time for it, and when it finally arrived, I was dismayed to see that it was over 900 pages! However, a further perusal showed that the biography itself was only 600 pages (the rest is an appendix featuring various quotes of Washington’s).

I did learn a lot about Washington. He really was impressive — his cohorts begged him to lead the army into the Revolution, then begged him to be President — once, then again (and actually yet again, but he finally declined). How many folks today are so exemplary that we have to beg them into leadership positions?

I read about seemingly every Revolutionary War battle there ever was, and you know what? I’ve learned that I should probably limit my reading about world figures to the wives’ books, because I’ve found that I don’t really care so much about Cornwallis’ battle strategy, but I do care about the leader’s family relationships, or where he gets his clothes. And the women’s books tend to focus on those aspects of life more than the men’s.

The book did paint Washington as great – so much so that I was almost wishing for an opposing view. Could one man really have been that impressive? Maybe I’m just jaded by the negativity of our politics today (and indeed, one point Washington made was his dislike of the beginnings of political parties’ formation; he felt that they would be a divisive element in American life).


Friday Night Knitting ClubAnd now, a partial review on a book I only partially read. It doesn’t happen often, probably because I tend to do a bit of research on books prior to starting them, but I did quit on this one probably 100 pages in. The Friday Night Knitting Club had promise. I’d read good reviews on it and its sequel. It was about a group of women who support each other through thick and thin, and who meet at a weekly knitting club. But, even with the good framework, I just couldn’t care about the characters.

There was some profanity, which always give a book an “Ewww …” factor for me, and a bit too much emphasis on the characters’ parts on clothing and how they looked in it (maybe the author was going for the Sex and the City audience?). Anyway, even looking ahead to see that the main character dies in the end couldn’t pique my curiosity enough to continue on. If you’ve read it – did you like it?


return from tomorrowA friend loaned me Return from Tomorrow, and I enjoyed it. It’s the story of George Ritchie, who “died” for 9 minutes and he tells of what he saw. I’m a junkie for this type of thing. You know, I feel like my Christian faith is pretty strong, but still, it’s nice to hear some affirmation from people who’ve actually “gone beyond,” even a little bit. So I’ve read many books about people who have clinically died, and am familiar with the whole long tunnel/bright friendly light/movie of your entire life including all your thoughts-thing.

A few years back I read some articles debunking these types of experiences, attributing the phenomena to the brain being starved of oxygen when under extreme stress or something like that. That was slightly depressing, but only slightly — after all, no one who has actually died (permanently) has come back, so we’re not likely to get a first-hand account until we each experience it personally.

In the meantime, I still enjoy tales like this. Inevitably, the teller comes back from his or her near-death experience thoroughly committed to living a better, more loving life during his time here on earth. You could do worse than be inspired to do the same!


12 thoughts on “Book Chat

  1. I started Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I’d read rave reviews of it and it’s about a part of American history about which I know little–the confining of Japanese during WWII. I have to tell you, however, that I haven’t been able to get into this book. It might be because my mind is so wrapped up in the history of BI that I can barely think of anything else. Anyway, I think this one will go back to the library unfinished, which is pretty rare for me.

  2. Over 900 pages – yikes. That is daunting. I’m sure you were thrilled to see that 1/3 of that was biography. I think you should consider yourself a qualified expert on Washington now. Return from Tomorrow sounds very intriguing!

  3. I know what you’re saying about reading the “wife” biography. I am so much more interested in the interpersonal relationships and the “what life was really like” than in the war strategies and political bickerings. At the same time, I wonder if I wouldn’t like biographies of men more if I actually buckled down to read them!

  4. Big book!! I’m always surprised when I order a book online if I haven’t checked, LOL.

    I didn’t read Friday Night Knitting Club, but I did read Comfort Food. (linked to my review) I’m fairly sure that there wasn’t a lot of cursing. You might like it better. I enjoyed it — a good story about mothers and daughters.

  5. I read ‘Washington: The Indispensable Man’ last year and also felt I learned a ton about Washington. Before that all I knew was the he wore dentures and chopped down the cherry tree. Truly an impressive person, the more I learn about him.

  6. Wow, that is a humongous book. I also prefer “What life was really like” and details about the person or family life more than battle strategies.

  7. I read 1776 and really enjoyed it. Sounds like this Washington book would be good as well, but like you, I do enjoy the relationship aspect part more than battle strategies!

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