Month: April 2011

What I’m Reading Now: A Little Sisterly Advice by Jennifer Stewart Griffith

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With her freshman year at Utah State University starting in a few days, Julia Cronquist has decided to make some changes that will improve her dating life. Is the problem her unruly red curls and a shy personality—or a general lack of . . . everything?

Enter Bianca, Julia’s older sister—popular, witty, fashionable, and fun. With Bianca’s magical touch, Julia is sure to finally get everything figured out. However, following her sister’s rules proves harder than Julia imagines.

Join Julia as she navigates the uncharted waters of college, dating, and life. It’s a blundering journey that all starts with a little sisterly advice.

My Thoughts on American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

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Let me explain my joy. I have been reading this book since December of 2009. So, you should garner from that little piece of information that this book was not exactly a page-turner.

It was an interesting book. Primarily because Jackson was so interesting himself, so polarizing and internally contradictory. The sections regarding the Trail of Tears were sad, I hated Jackson’s disregard for the Supreme Court, he should have let Andrew Donelson stay home with his dying wife. . .well, one thing is for sure. . .this book makes you think, makes you judge, makes you reflect.

But I hope it does not take you 18 months.

What I’m Reading Now: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

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Newsweek editor and bestselling author Meacham (Franklin and Winston) offers a lively take on the seventh president’s White House years.

We get the Indian fighter and hero of New Orleans facing down South Carolina radicals’ efforts to nullify federal laws they found unacceptable, speaking the words of democracy even if his banking and other policies strengthened local oligarchies, and doing nothing to protect southern Indians from their land-hungry white neighbors.

For the first time, with Jackson, demagoguery became presidential, and his Democratic Party deepened its identification with Southern slavery.

Relying on the huge mound of previous Jackson studies, Meacham can add little to this well-known story, save for the few tidbits he’s unearthed in private collections rarely consulted before.

What he does bring is a writer’s flair and the ability to relate his story without the incrustations of ideology and position taking that often disfigure more scholarly studies of Jackson.

My Thoughts on The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning

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The one thing that I liked about this book was the kind manner in which it treated John Adams. Being a piece of historical fiction, “Jane” interacts with a few period people. Her brother is an employee of John Adams, and so he pops up in the book from time-to-time.

I like historical fiction, but I was not a huge fan of this book. Jane observes Massachusetts and Boston at a time right around the real Tea Party and the Boston ‘Massacre’. But she views it all dispassionately — seeing both sides, hating the extremism both sides are guilty of. It’s not a time to be dispassionate, and so it bothered me.

There was a surprise twist, and I appreciated that portion of the book. It kept me reading. But, overall, I think other works address this time better.