Monday, September 19, 2016

What I'm reading this week (9/19/16)

Last week I finished:

I'm happy to report that Elements of Style and I made friends somewhere along the way, and here's how it happened. Each "chapter" of the book deals with another room of the house, and at the beginning of each chapter, Gates includes a personal essay that pertains to that room or its function. Two of these essays really hit home with me: the Bathroom one on identity and looks and the Nursery one about being childfree but still having hard feelings about it. They both made me cry. Overall, the book was only average in its design and slightly below average in design advice, though. My rating: 3 stars.

 I have been looking ridiculously forward to Jackie Robinson's autobiography I Never Had It Made, and I think it's the book that has disappointed me most so far this year. The movie, 42, based on this book, is one of my favorite movies. I fully expected to love Robinson, revel in the dignity of his story, and get my baseball fix for the year. I walked away not feeling any of that. First, it is not a book about baseball. He talks about his baseball career and being the first black man in major league baseball, but that was only a small part of the book. The majority of the book dealt with his years in the civil rights movement and politics. Since race and racial politics is such an explosive issue in this country at present, I choose not to talk about where Robinson and I agree, disagree, and won't see eye to eye. I will say that there is much I don't understand about race relations and race in sports. The book was written in the early 1970s, and I would have appreciated an afterward that talked about what strides baseball has made in racial discrimination in the past 40 years. Robinson seems very bitter (and I won't judge his feelings as right or wrong) and sensitive, and I didn't realize how outspoken he was when it came to race relations in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Some people would love this book, I'm sure. I just didn't. My rating: 2 stars.

Alonzo Field's My 21 Years in the White House was a quick read originally published in 1960. Alonzo was a butler at the White House under four presidential administrations (Hoover, FDR, Truman, and Kennedy). His name comes up in other books about White House staff, so if you read those books, you'll recognize the name. He talks breezily about how the different administrations approached family meals, luncheons, teas, and state dinners. He gives his honest impressions of presidents and other heads of states he served in his 21 years. It you're interested in first-hand accounts of White House staff, this one isn't bad, but it doesn't have the breadth or depth of, say, The Residence. My rating: 3 stars.

This week I continue with:

I'm still loving the poems in Show and Tell. There have been several poems about his father that have blown me away. I'm a sucker for a father poem.

I'm also still loving The 50 States. I'm up to South Dakota.

And my adoration of Delicious! continues. I actually look forward to getting up at 5:40am because I get to see what happens to Billie and the secret letters today.

Next up:

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