23 July 2009

It Gets Better

I had a hard time getting into the chapter. But once I got going, I could hardly put it down. I was up till 1:30 last night finishing the chapter, and had to discipline myself to stop and write before I read the next chapter.

15 July 2009

Looks Interesting

I don't know if we want to officially participate, as in it's part of the "assignment" we set ourselves, but this General Conference "book club" looks interesting. Maybe we could do it on a when-we-get-to-it basis? What do you think?

Oi Oi!

Sadly, I haven't got much to say about 1776 today... Back in June (due to changes with work) I switched up my general day's schedule. When this happened, I thought it was rather a bother. (I miss that extra hour of sleep!!) However, there has been some good things that have come of it. Most notably, I've had more opportunities to read over my lunch hour. It's really great!! I've had two or three days where I've been able to read a chapter over lunch, with time to take notes and think about it too. (Amazing what one can do with an entire hour of undistracted quiet time!) However, it seems that it probably would have been a better idea to have brought my 1776 book to work rather than my Eleanor Roosevelt (E.R.) biography; all that progress I've been making has been in the E.R. book and I've nothing to write here about 1776!
**sheepish grin**

However, I believe we've talked about how we can use this blog to discuss/share any good or interesting book that we're reading, so I thought I'd post a little on this biography that I've been reading.

It's a very interesting read. The author has a written it with a very easy narrative that tells a compelling story. In the introduction she gave a brief overview of what the book would contain and the chapters (so far; I just finished chapter 3 yesterday) delve into much more detail of the various periods and events of her life.

I felt that the introduction had a bit of a feminist slant ("[E.R.'s] experiences as a woman caused her to appreciate the elements of empowerment, of shared power in partnership with others." -how do we know that just 'cuz she's a woman that that increased her appreciation of these things??) Really, on the whole, I don't object to any feminist elements; it would seem that would be a fitting view to take when looking at E.R., she was a powerful and empowered woman; also, and I understand that not everybody holds the same religious views that I do and I accept that, however, having sensed that slant or tone to the author's telling, I became more wary about accepting everything the author says at face value and my 'critical reading' became all the more critical.

Nevertheless, despite my mild concerns, as I've delved into the chapters and followed the author as she has outlined E.R.'s life so far, I haven't felt that things are too biased or slanted to exaggerate the good qualities of E.R. As far as I can tell -at this early stage- the narrative seems to remember to point out shortcomings or shortsighted behaviors as well as the good and the great.

So far, in the chapters that I've read, it tells about E.R.'s childhood. Her family was notable and wealthy, but her father was a raging alcoholic and her mother was young and "unprepared for life's sharp corners." In protecting and covering for her alcoholic husband, E.R.'s mother became withdrawn and bitter. She valued pretty and pleasant things and didn't make any secret that she felt that E.R. did not embody either of those attributes.

So far, my sympathies are definitely with E.R... and to hear the details of her dysfunctional family, it's a wonder that she was able to break the cycle and make anything of herself at all. Still.. part of me wonders if this is really an unbiased account, or did the author focus on the very bad elements of E.R.'s childhood so that we would come out admiring E.R. all the more?

Either way, I'm enjoying reading this book. Still.. Before I'm finished with my study of E.R., I intend to do some other reading, seek out other biographies, just to see how similar the tone/descriptions are to this one.

05 July 2009

Siege at Boston

I found this chapter a bit harder to get into, but I think I've finally made it.

There's a siege at Boston. George Washington was there, trying to whip the soldier into shape so they would not only be a useful fighting force, but also they'd stop getting so sick. Sounds like conditions were terrible in part because folks weren't being at all careful about where they went to the bathroom. Gross. Already folks are dieing, in large part because they are not keeping clean, as mostly they have enough food still at this point.

I think that the most interesting bit from the whole chapter was how King George, by saying the colonies were in rebellion, convinced them - the colonists - of that fact. Prior to that point, even General Washington himself was hoping for reconciliation and a quick end to the conflict. This was news to me, and I find it amazing. Take home lesson from this seems to be: watch what you say! It's still 7 years from the point that Britain recognizes America's independence, but that speech proved to be a turning point in that news of it caused the Americans to make up their minds, en masse.