Tuesday, June 02, 2020


WWW.WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt us to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here. 

1. What are you currently reading? The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I have been using this time of isolation to connect with books that, for whatever reason, I bought but never read. This one doesn't quite qualify. I read it initially when I was a young girl myself, and then this 1995 edition made its way into my life when my niece was a baby. I distinctly remember being sad that the the little innocent I held in my arms would someday know about the horrors of the Holocaust.
Well, a quarter century has passed. My niece is taller than I am and engaged to be married. The book is still heartbreaking. Anne's positive, upbeat approach to each day, her yearning for real intimacy with the people around her, make what she will endure even harder to accept. In her ability to be every girl, she makes the horror real. 

I'm not enjoying it, but I'm not sorry I'm revisiting it. Especially now.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy. Every biography of John F. Kennedy includes reference to Profiles in Courage and how it gave his career credibility. So it's true that I've read about this book without ever understanding what the book is about.

It introduces us to 8 different Senators, each of whom took a courageous stand for what he believed in. That's distinct from saying these men did the right thing. I'm not sure Kennedy agrees with what they did as much as admires the fidelity to their beliefs and willingness to risk all for principle.

Three of the stories captured my attention and imagination. John Quincy Adams opposed his state's economic interest in favor of the nation's well being; Edmund Ross voted against the impeachment of Andrew Johnson; Robert Taft argued that the Nuremberg Trials were dangerous because the defendants were guilty of ex post facto laws. Like Kennedy, I came away admiring these men for their passion and sincerity, if not necessarily for the stands they took.

As a lifelong Kennedy girl, there's something in the writing I found fascinating. Throughout the book, JFK reminds us that beginning in the 19th century, newspapers had tremendous impact on the opposition these Senators faced at home. We know how, during the 20th century, Kennedy himself mastered TV while carefully maintaining positive relationships with print journalists. How would he view and use social media?

3.  What will you read next? I don't know.