Wednesday, April 16, 2014


To play along, just answer the following three questions ...

• What are you currently reading? Mary by Janis Cooke Newman. Sorry if you're already sick of hearing about Mary Lincoln's fictional memoir; I haven't even hit page 300 of this 600+ page tome. But I am enjoying it immensely. Mary is reflecting on her life from the looney bin in Batavia, Illinois. The daughter of privilege, the belle of Springfield, the first President's wife to be referred to as First Lady -- she seems determined to figure out how the hell she ended up residing in a "rest home" with one woman who speaks to croquet balls and light fixtures and another who spends her days trying to memorize and recite the Bible. After all, to use her own word, Mary Lincoln is "unlunatic."

As portrayed in this "autobiography," Mary is smart, passionate and ambitious. These qualities both attracted and frightened our 16th President. Her ferocity balanced his melancholia and drove him to greatness. It's a marriage of formidable and flawed individuals who loved their sons and loved one another. It's easy to forget that against the backdrop of epic events like the Civil War, slavery and assassination.
• What did you recently finish reading? Another memoir, only there's nothing fictional about    After Visiting Friends by Michael Haney. The early death of Mr. Haney's father cast a pall over his entire life -- not only for what happened but for what his family conspired to never talk about. A beautiful and painful book that my own family prepared me to appreciate.

• What do you think you’ll read next? I don't know.

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  1. I'm reading a 700+ page book so it seems like it's slow progress, even though it's steady progress.

  2. I've added Mary to my TBR list.