How do you pronounce that last name? crafwell? crah-well? I dunno.
In continuing with my Lincoln fetish. Heh. fetish. This was a great book. It was sh...moreHow do you pronounce that last name? crafwell? crah-well? I dunno.
In continuing with my Lincoln fetish. Heh. fetish. This was a great book. It was short, which is so rare in Lincoln books. It's not really so much about Lincoln though, it's about a heist to steal the dead president's body back in the 1870s. The fellows who were going to steal the body were doing so to hold it for ransom. What did they want? One of their buddies released from jail and $200,000. I know, the plan itself is even more, "really? they thought that would work?"
This book gives a short history on counterfeiting, which apparently was a HUGE DEAL back then. The author tells how half the currency at that time was fake. So the book is mostly about that and there's a lot about the criminal history of Chicago and Irish immigrants. It was very interesting. I had no idea that counterfeiting had been that big of a deal.
Like I say, the book was short (maybe 250 pages or so, the last 30 or so pages were bibliography and index) but it was riveting and as with any Lincoln book, there were a ton of names. But I love the specificity (is that a word?) of this book, and the author sticks with it. It's JUST about the heist (what led up to it, the heist itself, the aftermath), it doesn't wander all over the place. A great read.
Yes, I am a bit obsessed with Abraham Lincoln at the moment. I did not like this book very much. Ms. Morris is a British author and she writes this bo...moreYes, I am a bit obsessed with Abraham Lincoln at the moment. I did not like this book very much. Ms. Morris is a British author and she writes this book as a sort of quest to find out how she ultimately feels about the glory (i guess) that is given to Abraham Lincoln. On the one hand it's interesting to see a foreigner's take on such a huge part of American history, but on the other hand Ms. Morris is kinda bitchy at the beginning of the book, and towards the end when she seems a bit charmed by Lincoln it's as though the whole journey for her was an annoyance in that she still doesn't know what to think about Lincoln.
And it's not that I don't understand her humor, I do, it just... doesn't work in this book. She's pretty insulting at the beginning, when she talks about being in Kentucky (or perhaps it was Indiana) and one of the locals approached her and talked to her. She made a big deal about it like the guy was there to ruin her day or something. When in fact, the very fact that the local came up and talked to her, gave her a story for her book that went on to prove the very point she was making in the book about southern people and the way they talk to anyone/everyone.
The only good thing about the book is that it gives a general overview of Lincoln's life without getting too detailed in any one part. But at the same time, as books about Abraham Lincoln go, this one is unnecessary. (less)
This was a good book. It was daunting (to me) because it seemed that on every page there were 1,500 names. After a while it became easier to glean thr...moreThis was a good book. It was daunting (to me) because it seemed that on every page there were 1,500 names. After a while it became easier to glean through the names and remember which ones were important and which ones were able to be forgotten without losing what was going on. The great thing about this book (besides the fact that Mr. Steers Jr. has a footnote for everything) is that it really is just about the assassination. We're not forced to relearn all about Lincoln's past, there's not a ton of stuff about the Civil War, it's really JUST about the assassination.
He does touch on some of the conspiracy theories about how Booth wasn't really killed and that Dr. Samuel Mudd was an innocent bystander kinda deal. He basically calls shenanigans on both of them.
I think what amazed me most was how the Union army/governemt was able to catch all the conspirators as quickly as they did. It seemed that most of it was luck, and I can't help but think that God was all, "Psst, check over there." even the one guy (john Surrat Jr.) who got away (for a short while)... he made it as far as Italy. I know! he became a Papal Zouave (um, lookitup), and while doing that, in Italy, he was recognized? really? He was caught, escaped to Egypt, and then caught again. That is remarkable. What, only to me? Fine.
Like I say, this book is great and it covers a very specific moment in history. So if you're interested in this moment and you don't want to have to muck through a bunch of "twice told tales" about Lincoln growing up in a log cabin, or Gettysburg, or the U.S. Civil War (not that those aren't great subjects, mind) then this is the book for you. WARNING: if you read this book on purpose, for entertainment or your own personal edification and NOT because you have to write a report of some kind, just know that your friends will make fun of you, nerd.
Oh! But! The best part of this book was the cover! On it Lincoln looks like a psycho (he's got this Crazy Eye) and Booth looks like My Name is Earl. Every time I got the book out to read I was all, "*sigh* Can SOMEone straighten Crazy Eye's tie? We're taking a portrait over here!"
Okay, if you're looking for a biography of Tommy Lasorda, just know that this isn't really that kind of book. This book is about Tommy Lasorda, yes, b...moreOkay, if you're looking for a biography of Tommy Lasorda, just know that this isn't really that kind of book. This book is about Tommy Lasorda, yes, but it's not a typical baseball biography where they tell you all about growing up poor and making it to the Bigs and living the Baseball Life. Well, that stuff is in there, but not much. Mostly this books talked about what Tommy Lasorda does now and they've mixed in a few stories of when he was the manager of the Dodgers. Personally I was looking forward to reading about some late '70s early '80s baseball, you know, his heyday as a Dodger manager. There was just not a lot of that in here.
What is in here is the motivational speech circuit that Lasorda does today. This book tells you all about how he gives great speeches to ANY organization (some he does for free), and how he donates tons of money to charity. That is awesome. It really is. But also? For MOST of a book? It's meh. So, he's a great motivational speaker... he inspires ALL kinds of people, baseball players, firemen, people with heart problems, olympic athletes, fantastic. Personally, I want to hear more about his Championships and Fernandomania and junk like that. Maybe there's already too many books on those things and they wanted to write kind of a "where are they now?" kinda book, and that's cool. It's just, I wish I had been warned. So now, baseball book fans, I'm warning you. This book completely paints Lasorda as a saint and it gets redundant.
I've never read any of Clive Barker's stuff, and I think I've only seen one of his movies. (I've never seen any of the Hellraiser franchise, but I did...moreI've never read any of Clive Barker's stuff, and I think I've only seen one of his movies. (I've never seen any of the Hellraiser franchise, but I did see the first Candyman movie. It's the only scary movie I've ever watched at an actual "sleepover". Oh, the cliches I've lived. Oh, wait, I just IMDB-ed him and I'll also admit to seeing Lord of Illusions, at the theater no less. My friend Nola had a huge tv crush on Scott Bakula at the time, and that's the ONLY reason we sat through that piece of shit.) Anyway, Barker has written tons of stuff, and I'm always surprised by how much he's written every time I'm putting away books at the library. Still it was never enough for me to want to actually read any of his books.
Then, a couple of weeks ago a patron returned his latest book, Mister B. Gone (and are you also thinking of Mr. B. Natural? because you know I am.) and the patron said that it was SO SCARY that she couldn't read past the first page. Now this patron, she reads a lot. She usually reads only good stuff, and she's made several reccomendations lately all of which have been good. So she says this book is terrifying... I gotta believe her. But I got curious. So I thought I would read the first page to see if it was, in fact, terrifying.
It wasn't. In fact, it was kinda corny. It was insisting that you should burn the book because the evil within the book was so evil that it should be burned immediately without reading the book because EVIL! Like I said, corn. So I read the whole thing because it's not very long and it's easy to read. The narrator is a demon, and he's telling his story and begging you to burn the book to put him out of his misery because he's been bound to the book. It's a neat idea, but the parts (and there are MANY) where he pauses to beg/insist/threaten you to burn the book become SO TIRESOME AND BORING that it kinda ruins the book. Really.
I did like the book though. I really liked the story. I just wish there had been more time spent on the story instead of all those pleas and threats to burn the book. Do you see how annoying it is for me to keep mentioning that the demon wants you to burn the book? Yeah, well multiply that times 20 and that's what it's like to read the book. Like I say, the story is great. It's about this demon and the invention of well, the invention that will bring about the End of the World. I don't want to give too much away because even though I could see what was coming I was happy about the invention and the story. Seriously, I LOVED the story.
It never got scary, and I told the patron that she should give it another go, because I don't think she'd get scared reading it. Annoyed maybe, but scared? Nah.
I have a feeling that this will influence the rest of the nonfiction I read this year... or at least the next 6 months. Ms. Vowell is a fan of America...moreI have a feeling that this will influence the rest of the nonfiction I read this year... or at least the next 6 months. Ms. Vowell is a fan of American history. I've never really been a big fan and in fact, in college I took the least amount of American History allowed and then proceeded to take class after class of British history to the point of the professor asking me if I was a history major. Of course I wasn't. I was just a nerd in history nerd heaven.
I think the reason I'm not fond of my own country's history is that I feel the need to apologize to the world for our history. I feel guilty about it. But I shouldn't. My family wasn't a wealthy land-owning family with slaves. I come from poor people, like, Pennsylvania Dutch and all that. What shame should I have? I dunno, still American history always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But after reading this book I feel like I should get reacquainted with my country's history. And actually I started doing that earlier in the month when I was going through the old local newspaper clippings, and reading up on the women's suffrage movement. And when I think of Women's Rights I never think about it being American history, but I guess really, it totally is.
Anyway, this is a neat book, and it's short and sweet.
These books are formulaic and redundant, but also they're mindlessly easy to read. but this one made me extra mad. it not only drives me crazy that Mr...moreThese books are formulaic and redundant, but also they're mindlessly easy to read. but this one made me extra mad. it not only drives me crazy that Mr. Patterson's chapters are two pages long, but did he have to kill her?! jerk! it added nothing to the series to kill her. (less)