This book was first recommended to me about a year ago by a very good friend of mine. He knows my taste in books and quirks of geekiness better than probably anyone thus far. So when he said that I would love it, I took him at his word. Unfortunately, it has languished on my shelf for longer than I would like to admit, but I finally picked it up on January 1st to my inaugural (no pun intended) book for this year’s quest to read 50 books in 365 days.
Sarah Vowell writes the way I wish that I could write and inspires me to once again put pen to paper. She revels in her love of presidential death and assassination and the other quirks of history that make the hair on your arms stand up. She interconnects the events of the nineteenth century in and out of the tales that she is telling while discussing her journey to each and every landmark associated with the last days of the three Presidents she writes about. The anecdotes from the road are just as vivid and well-told as the historical ones. Reading this book makes me want to meet her in Chelsea for a cup of coffee, discussing the geekiest of geeky American history minutia as the cooler-than-cool New Yorkers walk past.
It took me 14 days to get through this book, not because of its density, but purely because some days I was too lazy to pull a book out on the train. So, I am a tad bit behind my book quota for this year. But unlike last year, when I didn’t finish a book until February 5th (mostly because I got bogged down in a supremely dense, but lovely, biography of John Adams during January), I feel positive about my progress so far. Here’s to reaching and exceeding the goal in 2007!