Calendar Girls- July Best Fairytale Retelling

Welcome back to the seventh month of Calendar Girls! It’s a monthly blog event co-hosted by Flavia and Melaine and designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers. Calendar Girls was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl, For more information, about the Calendar Girls community click here!

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Until I started blogging in January, I didn’t know how big of a thing fairytale retellings were. I mean, I knew there were a few out there, but I didn’t know how many, or how great these books were. I have just started my journey into the retellings, and I found excellent books. But this isn’t about all of them, this post is about picking the best of them and showcasing it. So, away we go!

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

30653719 This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but not the version that Disney did.

I listen to the Myths and Legends podcast, which takes stories you think you know and tells you the original stories. I started listening to it because it covered a lot of Arthurian legends however it also covers folklore and myths from other cultures besides the European-centric stories I’m used to. There are stories from Russia, the Greek God Myths, Viking myths, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, he’s done a couple different Native American stories. It’s a great podcast, it’s been around for a while, and I should probably write a separate post on it at some point because I love it so much, but I digress.

In January, Myths and Legends did a show about Beauty and the Beast. It discussed Russia version of the French story by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. For the most part, it’s the same story, but there are little differences. It was this episode of the Podcast that gave me a little extra excitement for this book.

Hunted takes parts of the original Villeneuve story and the Russian story while also tying in some modern elements. Beauty has independence and boldness about her. She searches for her missing father and takes charge of her situation.  Her love for Prince Ivan comes from a different place than, I feel, it does in other versions of the story. She doesn’t fall in love with who the Beast was or the Prince he might be, and honestly, the whole romance aspect of the story isn’t important. I wrote a review of it a couple months ago if you would like to read my full thoughts about it.

Hunted,  at the moment, is the best book I’ve read so far this year. It was just well written and different. I was skeptical about retellings as a genre because how could a modern writer improve upon stories that have such a cultural impact already, but so far, the answer to that is “they can improve them a lot.” The rest of the Calendar Girls posts today will be showcasing the broad reach of retellings and the different stories that writers have taken on.

Do you have a favorite Retelling? Or a Favorite fairytale you would love to see a modern spin on?


The Calendar Girls have a bunch of other really cool things happening besides the group of posts you will see going out today (and the first Monday of every month). If you want to know more about the read-a-long for this month Which is Roseblood by A. G. Howard and the monthly Twitter chat or anything else Calendar Girls related, check out the June wrap up post here. 

 

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

 

Fierce Fangirl Friday! PLL

Welcome to Fierce Fangirl Friday! ❤

Fierce Fangirl Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Jackie over at toomuchofabooknerd where you have the opportunity to do some healthy fangirling on your blog!

Whenever you have something, anything to fangirl about – whether it be a book, TV show, music, celebrities, your pet, the universe, finding your soulmate or just a recent meal that you’ve had – Fierce Fangirl Friday is your opportunity to do so! It doesn’t matter if it’s a recent obsession of yours or something you’ve been loving for a while!

The rules are simple ones, make sure you ping back to Jackie, and whenever there is a Friday that you need to fangirl, about anything, even if it’s not what your blog is usually about, have at it.

This week, it’s saying goodbye to something that was pretty amazing. Pretty Little Liars.

I try very hard to do keep my posts spoiler free, but if you haven’t watched the series finale, which aired on Tuesday in the US, I would proceed with caution for the rest of this post. I will be talking #Endgame and a little about the finale.

As with most good things in my life, I got into PLL through my friend Jen. When I went to visit her last year, we watched some Netflix, as she caught up on Supernatural, and that was sprinkled with a little bit of season 4 of PLL. I had read the first books, which I now know is approximately the first two seasons of the show, but at the time, I thought I knew who A was and although interested in the show, thought I knew the mystery. I did not.

I’m not sure why I didn’t get into the show as it was airing because it’s definitely such a Deanna show, but I didn’t; maybe because it was on ABC Family and then Freeform that it just didn’t cross my radar, but *shrug emoji*.

When I got home from my visit to Jen, I decided to watch the rest of the show and started at the beginning and watched all of it up to the end of season 5 in, like, 3 weeks. Then Jen and I watched season 6 on Itunes. By the time we were done with that, season 7A was starting so I fell right in.

Let me just say that this show is the most ridiculous. I love it, but it’s so silly. There is so much drama. It’s a great teengirl show, the cast is a group of talented people, but it’s ridiculous.

Firstly, you cannot take you high school English teacher to prom, Aria. Even if that teacher has now lost their job. No school would ever allow that. Also, stop dating your High school English teacher, you are 15 years old.

Secondly, 2.5 seasons of the show take place between Halloween and Christmas of their senior year of high school, which I think should be addressed, because a lot of stuff happens, and the seasons change like 45 times.

Anyway, I think that there were some real issues discussed and betrayed so beautifully in the show. Starting with Emily. Her character arc, her coming out story, was so well done. In 2010 when that arc was playing out, things were different. I think that having Emily’s coming out and the acceptance and love that her friends and family show her and that fact that nothing changed in anyone’s relationship was huge. I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of an impact that could have had on the young people who watched this show.

The other big thing was bullying. I think that the show showed online bullying and clique fighting in an interesting way. Ally, especially first 5 seasons Ally, was a terrible person. I think that each of the girls realized this in their own way. Maybe not Emily, but the other girls did. Although that’s not really how it was shown in the show, I think that might have had an impact on way Ally disappeared at the beginning of the show. She was trying to insert that control over her friends before she lost all of it. Mirroring that in the series finale, with Addison, showing this girl who is so much like Ally was trying to manipulate adult throughout the last season was a great way to show just how obnoxious teenage Ally was from a more adult point of view.

I think the characters on the show, so wonderfully portrayed by the actors on the show, and so well written by Sara Shepard in the books, show different demographics of people. The mean girl, the smart one, the sporty one, the fashionable one, the artsy one, the ditzy one, and on and on many of these traits shown in more than one girl (Even the moms, oh do I love the moms show these different qualities and personality traits) Yet they are all friends and stay friends despite their differences. Yes, they do have this crazy person threatening to kill them that keeps them close, but they are friends, and their bond is what helps them figure it out and fight back against A and AD and all the other threats over and over.

Female friendship is one of those things in media that for whatever reason is always shown as catty and like the characters are never really friends. The Liars show a different side of that. Yes, there is drama and cattiness and in fighting, but at the end of the day, (episode, season, series) the girls are there for each other, would do anything for each other, love each other.

When it comes to the characters that I related to most, I am torn in many directions. There is something in me that looks at hopeful, optimistic Aria and falls in love with her every episode, but there is also something about smart and quick witted Spencer that draws me to her. I think that was a strong point of the show, the way each character makes you feel something. I watched Hanna grow, and I rooted for every step she took. I wanted Emily to succeed, I wanted Mona to get better. I wanted Paige to drown in the pool.

I rooted for the ships. Even Aria and Ezra even though you can’t take your high school English teacher to prom. Also, the Christmas episode with the Santa underwear scene is super inappropriate because you are their teacher, Ezra. It really doesn’t matter that he’s a young teacher it’s so weird and kind of creepy. Maybe because I’m 30 watching this show and my flashers of “Omg no!” Kept going off. It’s so weird. Please don’t date your teachers while you’re in high school. But in the jump, I rooted for it. (I mean, I always rooted for it because it was cute, but it still gave me weird feelings. And I was kind of hoping Ezra would fall off the ski lift and die when Aria discovered his creepy plan with the book and his alternative motives but *shrug emoji*)

I loved Hanna and Caleb, and Toby and Spencer, I hated Emily and Paige because I hate Paige and Emily can do so much better than Paige (and Ally. Emily, deserved way better but whatever).

Overall, I found the Pretty Little Liars finale satisfying. I wasn’t as emotional as I would have been if I had been glued to the TV every Tuesday for 7 years or had gotten into the show more than a year and a half ago, but I found the ending satisfying. It had everything that’s needed to put a period at the end. The loose strings were tied in a bow, but not in a super cheese way. Including the very important “How did the moms get out that basement” plot point that was never brought up again after it happened. I could literally write a whole other post just about the PPL moms. They are so great.

The two-hour finale had all the drama and twists that we have come to expect from the show. I enjoyed every last moment of it.

TV is less rich without Pretty Little Liars. Their depiction of female friendship and female characters leaves a whole in television now that it’s gone. Here’s to hoping that somewhere that slack is picked up. Because we need strong independent girls being friends with other strong independent girls on our screens.

Happy Birthday Harry Potter

Monday was the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Since so many people have been sharing their Harry Potter stories, I figured today I would too because Harry Potter has been such a huge part of my life for most of those 20 years. I am almost positive I have discussed a great deal of this before, but I can never talk about Harry Potter enough, so here is it: Deanna and the Adventure with the Orphan Boy Under the Stairs.

I was introduced to the wonderful world of Harry Potter in six grade. As part of book day, which I think had something to do with Dr. Suess’s birthday we all brought in our favorite books and talked about them in a mini presentation. I brought in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, my friend Jess brought in a book about a magical bespectacled orphaned boy. I was interested. So I asked my parents for the book because I was eleven. This was the spring of 1998, shortly after the US release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

I remember sitting in my parent’s friend’s living room reading the last pages of the book, learning that Voldemort was back, the revelation of Quirrel and what he did. I remember thinking that this was the best book I had read in my whole 11 years. Before I knew that books could change lives, I knew that this one had permanently changed mine.

The Harry Potter books connected so much with me, maybe because I was eleven too. Maybe because I felt like I didn’t really belong where I was. Maybe because I was bullied for being different. There is something about discovering you really are different and being swept away to someplace where there are people like you, that you really are special that connected so deeply with me. Maybe there was a world outside that small town, maybe I should be a part of something bigger.

I got the next two books for Christmas that year from my Uncle. Escaping again into that magic, escaping my middle school life. Figuring out those mysteries, learning about the Chamber and the Marauder’s, these stories were becoming more and more important to me. Harry Potter was becoming more than a book.

My grandmother bought me the 4th book while she was visiting from Wisconsin. I remember thinking that it would take me a year to read it, it took probably a week. I wanted to devour every last bit of Harry Potter and his adventures. I knew that seven books would never be enough. There had to be something that kept this story, these characters alive after the stories were over.

I was in a cast when the 5th book came out, so that book gave me something to do as the summer went on while I could do nothing because I had fallen off the side of the road (I was totally pushed) and broke my ankle.

The sixth I bought at the grocery store I worked at and read part of it behind the register when I had a moment. It was through my friend Tracy’s LiveJournal that I learned what “Do not click this if you don’t want spoilers” meant. As I clicked and got *the spoiler.* I thought it was a funny joke– you know because people would make jokes about the Potions teacher murdering the Headmaster– and then it happened.

The seventh book, I bought it at the mall and read about half of it before I had to go to work. I remember reading about Fred’s death in parking lot of Kmart. I remember being so numb reading that passage, thinking that I was making it up, thinking it couldn’t be true. Fred wouldn’t die. But war, which is what those characters were fighting, doesn’t care.

When I was in the height of my Harry Potter reading, it wasn’t cool to read, let alone read Harry Potter. Now, maybe because I’m older or maybe because of Harry Potter, reading isn’t seen as something that only nerds do. I mean, I’m a nerd, but reading Harry Potter wasn’t the main piece of evidence. There are plenty of other things to make fun of me for, please don’t get stuck on the fact that I read. These books were like a secret, I mean, like, everyone read them, but the people who were outwardly Harry Potter fans were seen different than we are now. I remember finding out that someone else at my high school read the books and it felt like a secret club. I don’t know how to explain it, maybe you just had to be a high school kid in the early 2000’s.

Harry Potter Merch wasn’t everywhere then. As popular as it was and as much a people talking about it, you had to search for your stuff. Maybe only Hot Topic, but also, Google early 2000’s Hot Topic if you are unfamiliar with it. There was a time when I was in high school where I went to the mall with my friend Patty and we were going to go into Hot Topic, and we felt like we would be too out of place there because Patty’s flip flops matched her polo shirt. It wasn’t the store it is now. It’s still not cool to match your flip flops and your polo shirt, but you won’t get weird looks in that store anymore.

There was a part of me that was worried that when the last book or last movie came out that it would be over. Maybe if we didn’t live now it would have been, but we live in the time of the Internet.

Harry Potter became cool with the popularity of Youtube. Like, being a nerd became cool because of Youtube really. Remember early Youtube? Remember one of the super popular videos of 2007? It was released the Tuesday before Deathly Hallows came out.  The video that launched the Vlogbrothers into super internet stardom: Accio Deathly Hallows. Hank’s song is far from the first wizard wrock song. I think Harry and the Potters celebrated their 15th anniversary recently. I was on the edge of Wrock, but Hank’s song propelled me into the different bands and the different youtube channels where people talked about Harry Potter.

I fell into the Harry Potter internet fandom through the Vlogbrothers, which I’ve talked about on this platform more than once. I joined the forums and started to read the fanfiction, become more involved. Discovering fandom, people who loved what I loved, read what I read, Harry Potter became something that will never no be important in my life.

Harry Potter is more than a book. Harry Potter is a movement. The books are about so much more than an orphan boy. It’s about overcoming, fighting, standing up for injustice. I’ve read so many articles about how reading this series teaches our generation empathy that the ones before us don’t have. We see the world around us and can point and something and relate it to something in Harry Potter. We are able to see things happening in real life and compare then to things that happened in those books and know what we have to do to change it. We know that maybe the Minister of Magic won’t listen, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t stand up and shout over and over again that it’s really happening, evil is really out there.

Because of what Ginny goes through in Chamber of Secrets, we learned to listen when people and don’t ignore what they are saying because they are a kid or a girl. We’re taught to look for signs that things aren’t right. Through Luna we learn not to take things at face value, just because it’s a little odd doesn’t mean it’s not worth getting to know or understand.

Through Goblet of Fire we learn creative problem solving, and for many of us, the death of Cedric Diggory was the first time some of us dealt with death. Cedric was an innocent victim, but someone that throughout that book we get to know and love.

The deaths in these books were hard to accept and deal with. Rowling did that on purpose. She built these characters, these people up for ten years, seven books and then in the horrors of war we lost important people. Remus and Tonks, Sirus, Dumbledore, Fred, Dobby (which as much as Fred is the character I loved the most, the death of Dobby is the one that hurts the most. Dobby was very brave, a true hero, and he died so so others could live) and so many other deaths. They hurt because we care about these characters. They’ve become part of our lives in ways that make them real.

I recently became a part of the Harry Potter Alliance, which I will talk more about in a different post at some point I’m sure, but basically, what The HPA does is takes the lessons that Harry Potter taught us and uses them in real life situations. We see the fictional plights of characters like Lupin and turn that into a way to fight for the rights of people who are seen as less than for something they cannot control. We use the name of Neville Longbottom to stand up when it seems difficult like Neville did time and time again. We give girls the tools to be just like Hermione and Ginny and Luna.

Harry Potter is more than a series of books. I doubt there will ever be anything else that has such an effect on culture the way that Harry Potter has. It’s a movement, it’s a feeling, it a way of life. There has never been anything like it before. Harry Potter sparked a revolution. Harry Potter changed a generation of people and will have an impact on the one coming up behind us– our children.

Nothing will ever be what Harry Potter is.

How has Harry Potter changed you?

Until next time Internet,

 

Deanna

 

WWW Wednesday- June 28

WWW Wednesday is a meme currently hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s very simple – answer the three questions and leave a link in Sam’s post.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?

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I started reading Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray over the weekend. I’m only 50 pages in, but so far I’m enjoying it. I think that Able has an interesting story. I have heard that there is some romance in this book, and I’m worried that there is going to be human/robot love. I’m not the biggest fan of this idea, but I’ve also read that it’s not a big part of the story. I like the idea of people from opposite sides like– Able and Noemi are– teaming up, so it has that going to for. This was an Uppercase book, and I haven’t been let down too much by one of their books so far, so I think I will enjoy it.

 

 

I am listening to Stephen Fry reading the Sherlock Holmes stories. I’ve listened to the first two novels, A Study in Scarlett and  The Sign of Four. I am currently (meaning literally right now) listening to the first story in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It’s all in one audiobook, which I got for a credit on Audible. So if you have an audible account and are looking for something to use a credit on, I would suggest this. It’s 60 hours of Stephen Fry reading. With forwards by Stephen Fry about the different stories. If you like Detective Stories you can’t do better than this. I will write a long Thursday Post about it and my admiration for Holmes when I finish the book.

29401441I also was lucky enough to get a copy of Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis from NetGallery (I feel like an official book blogger now)! According to my Kindle app, I’m 15% of the way through. I’m liking it. Flora is sort of a Problematic Fav at the moment. I’m interested to see how her new school changes her.

The format is neat. I’ve seen books with journal entries and stuff mixed in, but this one is a little different. There will, obviously, be a review of this when I finish it up that will explain this point a little bit deeper.

 

What did I recently finish reading?

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I finished reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I loved it! I wrote up a review and posted it on Monday. (And spelled Ms. Garber’s first name wrong in the title which I have fixed now but I just want to apologize for making such a ridiculous mistake).

I loved the world building in the story, and I greatly look forward to reading the sequel when it comes out.

 

 

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Last week I also finished reading this great  Lincoln Biography, which I wrote about last week. This was a well researched interesting take on America’s nerdiest, best pun telling, most Midwestern President. Abraham Lincoln was such a dad.

Also, honorable mention to Tad Lincoln (the youngest son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln) and is pet goat Nanny as the best First Child and Best First Pet in American History.

 

 

What will I read next?

28818314Starting next week, I will be reading Roseblood by AG Howard as part of a read-a-long with the rest of the Calendar Girls. Read more about that here! I’m very interested in this book. I’m completely unfamiliar with The Phantom of the Opera, so I have no idea what to expect.

I have a couple other books that I’m eyeing as my next book, but I can only read one physical book at a time. So Roseblood first and then Onward!

For my next Audiobook, I was leaning toward the Anne Rule book The Stranger Beside Me which is about the serial killer Ted Bundy and her unique relationship with him or a book on Jack the Ripper, but I think after the Sherlock Holmes books I might have to back away from the murder. Which is never something I thought I would ever say.

So What are you guys reading?

Until Next time Internet

Deanna

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

The Details

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Published:  January 31, 2017
Genres:  YA, mystery, romance
My Rating: 4.75 Stars

27883214GoodReads Blurb 

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless, she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

My Review

I wasn’t sure about this book when I first heard about it when I started blogging earlier this year. I’m a fan of fantastical TV shows, but I usually have a hard time getting into fantasy books, but there was something about this one that dragged me in from the first page. Maybe it was the letters, it was different than anything I had read before. I was transported to this different world quickly. I learned enough about Scarlett and her family within a few hundred words through those letters.

I loved the synesthesia, how Scarlett feels colors. How she would say that things felt purple or how people radiated different colors. The thread of purple throughout the whole story was interesting too. From her grandmother’s purple dress, to how her father smelled like rotten plums, and there many any other examples. The metaphor and the thoughtfulness that Garber used in creating this world is beautiful.

I, also, really enjoyed the sibling relationship. I don’t think I’ve read too many books that are about sisters, definitely few that are about sisters that actually like each other. Positive female relationships and friendship are for whatever reason are rarely shown in media, so I think that the love Scarlett and Tella have for each other is so deep and pure. I try very hard not to give spoilers in my reviews, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that their love is very important to the whole story.

The world of the Caraval, was so cool. I would love to read about a person who was playing while not so personally involved in the game, just a casual player to see how the world is different for them. This may be a stretch but, the Caraval world reminds me of  GisHwHes and the world that that creates for the players of the hunt. In that week reality is suspended. Nothing is normal. GIshwhEs has strange little riddles and messages from a Misha Collins, who at times in the scavenger hunt, becomes a person much like Legend: a mysterious, somewhat insane, somewhat cruel puppet master. All of a sudden you are out trying to get permission to be on a Nuclear submarine with a hammock while the rest of the world looks at these people wearing pineapples for shoes and lettuce skirts and wonders what the heck. That’s how reading about Caraval felt to me. I was the person looking at the people in the cheese dresses wondering why on Earth anyone would do that. Caraval had that same feel. A feeling of suspended reality, if only for a few days. The biggest difference is the suspension of reality in the book is real, separate from the rest of the world. GisHwheS co-exists with the real world.

I didn’t feel like the romance with Julian was exactly necessary, but I do understand it’s purpose. The idea of choice, which is so huge in the story. This book is just a giant story about choosing what is right for you, taking a leap, running outside your comfort zone.

I would most definitely recommend this book widely. Although there are fantastical elements, and magic does play a large part of the book, it is so rich with metaphor and symbolism. I am going to re-read it before I read the sequel when it comes out next year, I know have my first got to read book of 2018.

Garber has created an amazing world with Caraval, and I anxiously await the second book of this series.

Have you read Caraval? Were you dazzled by the world?

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

President Lincoln: The Nerd President.

This week I finished listening to the Biography of Abraham Lincoln by David Herbert Donald.

I mentioned in my WWW Wednesday post last week, that while being super into history, I don’t know all that much about the Civil War and President Lincoln. I mean, I know the basics, the big battles, the Gettysburg Address, the assassination, but I didn’t know much else.

This book was really good. I have read a couple different biographies of famous political people, and this one is pretty par for the course of what I’ve read, but what I really loved about this one is that it didn’t talk too much about the other people around Lincoln, it focused on the President.

For example, in the Alexander Hamilton biography, there were large pieces about Aaron Burr, a half chapter each about Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, a bit about Eliza’s family, and Hamilton’s father. This book focused almost entirely on Lincoln. It doesn’t focus much on Mary Todd Lincoln, or his parents, it’s all about Lincoln, which I loved. It was 30 hours of Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln reminded me a lot of my dad. My dad is also from the Midwest, and also tells super random stories. Lincoln had a very dry sense of humor that many people in Washington didn’t get. Lincoln came across to me as just a Midwestern man who said amazingly Midwestern things and loved his family. He was awkward and weird and loved to read and greatly enjoyed being a lawyer. He worked hard and tried to keep to himself, for the most part, but that’s a little hard when you’re six foot four and like to wear top hats, you stand out a little.

Lincoln was a strange man, but also a person who struggled with what we, over a hundred years later, would recognize very quickly as anxiety and depression. He while engaged to Mary Todd, he wrote her a letter breaking up with her because he got nervous and felt that she would never be happy with him. This sent both of them into deep sadness, and depression, but it worked out in the end. Mary Todd, what little I learned about her through this book, was the perfect counterpart to the weird, nerdy, Abrabram.

This couple lost two children at a very young age, Eddie (at age 3 in 1850) and Willy (at age 12 in 1862). Willy while they were in the White House. Although it was not mentioned in the book, after President Lincoln died, Mary lost another child, Tad, when he was 18 in 1871 after the assassination. Only Robert lived to be an Adult.

Tad, by the way, was probably my favorite character in the book. He had a pet goat named Nanny that basically ruled the White House. He was just a kid and silly and enjoyed himself.

Robert Todd Lincoln, oddly enough, I know a bit about. Robert Todd Lincoln attended a prestigious private school in New Hampshire near where I live, Phillips Exeter Academy.  The Academy is a huge part of that town, which is the town my grandmother lived in most of my life. Phillips Exeter students are known for running in front of cars while going to different buildings on campus because “the streets are our corridors.” They also make giant messes of the all the retail stores they go to in groups and are a general nuisance. I’m sure they weren’t like that in 1860, although if they were, my opinion of Robert Todd Lincoln changes dramatically. Anyway, Robert Todd Lincoln read the Declaration of Independence at a park near the school, and there is a rock monument. If you know where this rock is at Stratham Hill Park, which is half way up a very very steep hill in the middle of the woods, you remember it.

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Because I enjoy conspiracies, I also know that Robert Todd Lincoln was near two other assassinated Presidents: Garfield and McKinley. He wasn’t, like, there, I don’t even think he was in Ford’s theater, but he had either just met or was planning to met the other two Presidents shortly before they died. And that’s weird.

Lincoln didn’t really want to be President, he wanted to be a Senator, but through a series of unfortunate events, he wound up in the White House. An accidental President who ended up being one of the greatest and most influential men in the history of our country.

As one would imagine, quite a bit of the book is the Civil War. Little is about battles, but more on Lincoln’s thoughts how he tried to fight a war that seemed like it would never end. How the accidental president struggled with future of the country and how to deal with the end of slavery. It discusses Lincoln struggling with the group of men he chose as his cabinet, very few of whom actually got along or similar political beliefs. It was interesting, he had high hopes when he took office that having the different opinions would help guide him since he was unfamiliar with war and strategy.

John Wilkes Booth is discussed twice. The first, which was my favorite part of the whole book, because it was hilarious, was in a section about 3/4 of the way through where the book is discussing the ways that Lincoln relaxed during while the War was winding down. He loved going to the theater, and the narrator starts listing the actors in the different plays Lincoln enjoyed. At the end of that list, in a voice much more dramatic than was necessary, he said “John Wilkes Booth.” It felt as if there should be the classic DUN DUN DUN! Music after he said it. It was great. The second time was in the second half of the last chapter, a very quick background of the assassin was given. His father’s name was Julius Brutus Booth, which I think should be discussed at length– because wow. John Booth was apparently an amazing Shakespearean actor and quite the Hamlet. He also did this cool thing during some plays where he jumped 12 feet from one of the balconies and was an excellent acrobatic actor.

I was expecting the book to have a little bit of an epilogue, like the Hamilton biography. A short chapter that tells us, the reader, what happened to everyone else. However, the book ends when Lincoln does. If I want to know more about Mary Todd Lincoln (which I do) I have to look it up on my own. At the start of the book, it is stated that this book is about Abraham Lincoln, and it was very true to that message.

If you enjoy biographies, this is one to add to your TBR. It is well researched, and I greatly enjoyed the narration. The voice was a little bit like the voice that does the voice over on the old TV show The Waltons. It’s not that guy, but to me the voices are similar. It’s a good reading voice– calming.

I recommend this biography highly. It’s not war or battle heavy, it’s the story of a man. A very tall, weird, nerdy, man who ended up being the President of the United States (or really the un-united states) on accident.

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

 

 

 

One Lovely Blogger Award

Hello! I’ve been nominated by the wonderful Max at Maxxesbooktopia to be a part of the one lovely blogger award. Thank you very much, Max, for the tag!

And away we go!

 

 

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  • Post about the award.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate (up to) 15 people.
  • Let your nominees know you’ve nominated them.

Seven Facts about Me

1. I really love baking. I am a cupcake person. In my head, I have a cupcake company called Wheelwright’s Cupcakes. It’s called that because if this John Irving novel A Prayer for Owen Meany that I love. I make cupcakes for my friends’ children’s birthdays, wedding showers, and possibly baby showers. I have also made a great deal of money for charity by making my French Toast and Bacon cupcakes for bake sales at one of my previous jobs.

2. I am a 5th-year GisHwhEs veteran. I will be participating in my 5th hunt in August with my wonderful team: Team Banana Ninjas. This year I am a co-captain. I’m excited and nervous about the extra part of the hunt, but I know I have a great team. Believe me, you will be hearing all about it when the time comes.

3. I had a Beta Fish in college named Brisco, after Detective Lenny Brisco from Law and Order, that lived from the second week of Freshmen year until the day that all the underclassmen left my senior year. This is despite the fact that I was a terrible fish parent.

4. I could take 4th President of the United States, James Madison in a fight. Like if I ever time travel, I could beat him up. I mean, like, he enjoyed dueling with guns, probably because he was five foot four and 98 pounds. But if we dueled with fists, I would win.

5. I really love Batman.

6. I love doing research, and probably spend a lot too much time researching unimportant things that will probably never come up in regular conversation (see fact number 4).  On the other hand, I know a lot about Edgar Allan Poe and the travel schedule of the Marque de Lafayette when he returned to the United States in 1826.

7. I volunteer for the Harry Potter Alliance. This hasn’t come up on my blog yet, but I’m sure I’ll write a post about how great it is at some point. I really enjoy the work I do there and meeting and working with the rest of the crew. It’s been fun promoting change through fandom. I’m always busy with cool new things there.

I am not nominating anyone, however, if you would like to do this, and have not been tagged, consider this me tagging you.