I'm totally hooked on the C-Span First Ladies: Influence and Image series. Since history normally focuses on the "great men", this is a rare chance to...moreI'm totally hooked on the C-Span First Ladies: Influence and Image series. Since history normally focuses on the "great men", this is a rare chance to glimpse the evolving role of women in society, as well as the unique personalities, passions and accomplishments of individual First Ladies, from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama. Some of their stories are delightful -- some tragic. Some, like Jacqueline Kennedy's, are both.
Biographer Barbara Perry and historian Michael Beschloss are the two panelists on the Jacqueline Kennedy program, which is, predictably, fascinating. Well researched, Perry's book is especially interesting from the standpoints of process and personality -- how she accomplished what she did, from her own legacy including the landmark renovation of the White House, creation of the White House Historical Society and the classification of the White House as a museum, to her influential patronage of the arts, international diplomatic and fashion successes, exemplar parenting, support of her husband and shaping her husband's legacy. The writing doesn't flow very well, but the content is interesting.
I'll no doubt be doing more first lady reading! And btw, the whole series is archived online at http://firstladies.c-span.org/ and some are available as podcasts via C-Span radio.
I don't know what I enjoy more-- my family's reaction to her 5-star recipes, the brilliant information I acquire in the reading, the truly gorgeous ph...moreI don't know what I enjoy more-- my family's reaction to her 5-star recipes, the brilliant information I acquire in the reading, the truly gorgeous photographs, or the warm humor so typical of this remarkable chef / educator. It could be the feeling that she's right in the kitchen with me, sharing her healthy, top secret delights. I mean, there are even healthy brownies! My new go-to entertaining menu: Layered Frittata with Leeks, Swiss Chard & Tomatoes; any of her greens or salads, depending upon the season and my mood; Golden Roasted Cauliflower; and, for a crowning glory type desert, Roasted Strawberries with Pomegranate Molasses (which I serve over coconut milk ice cream with a touch of high quality dark chocolate sauce). OMG! Easy enough that I have fun with my guests rather than fussing with food details, and my guests think they've landed in heaven. The epitome of yum.(less)
Well, I love Mark Doty's writing, and this slim volume of poetry is full of transcendent moments he's found everywhere, from the sheen of a much-loved...moreWell, I love Mark Doty's writing, and this slim volume of poetry is full of transcendent moments he's found everywhere, from the sheen of a much-loved, much polished floor to the unexpectedly still body of a little rabbit found by the back door, to summer landscapes, Durer paintings and Walt Whitman. This is life, this is art, this dazzles.(less)
An outstanding biography -- my favorite in a long time. Her story is profoundly touching, from the challenges she faced professionally as a woman of h...moreAn outstanding biography -- my favorite in a long time. Her story is profoundly touching, from the challenges she faced professionally as a woman of her time (a photo of Katherine at an Associated Press board meeting, in which she is the only woman at a giant table of 23 editors and publishers, gives a hint) and personally (her husband Phil Graham, who was bipolar, shot himself when she was in the house) to the courageous roles she played in US history, publishing the Pentagon Papers, reversing the Post's position on the Vietnam War, and sticking with the Watergate Story when no other papers would follow.
Her childhood gave her lifelong insecurities but also the seeds of leadership -- the core value of serving truth and justice along with a strong internal compass that guided her well. It's impossible to summarize her personality or achievements -- but I like this story from the book very much. "Katharine never strayed far from her reporting roots. Journalist Michael Dobbs remembers an interview at the Post with French president Francois Mitterand in the 1980s. Dobbs was supposed to write the story, but arrived late because of security procedures. The interview had already started. 'There were all those hotshot journalists there, and no one had remembered to turn on the tape recorder or take notes except for Mrs. Graham.' Dobbs had to write the story by relying on his boss's notes. 'She had been the most diligent of all of us,' he said. 'She kept good notes.' " Daughter of wealth, friend of the mighty, Publisher & CEO of the Washington Post empire, one of the greatest business people of her generation, regardless of gender, one of the most sought-after hostesses in the world -- she, of course, kept her eye on the ball.
I've been a health educator in the field of complementary and alternative medicine for a decade. If I were asked to recommend one book for someone ser...moreI've been a health educator in the field of complementary and alternative medicine for a decade. If I were asked to recommend one book for someone seriously looking to improve their health, this would be it. Science-based and heart-centered, Susan Blum's book combines the very best of nutritional, mind-body, and functional medicine in a comprehensive healing plan. Terrific. (less)