Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Reviews "Killing Lincoln" and "Many Ways To Say I Love You"

Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly

This book tells the details and workings of John Wilkes Booth and his manipulations behind the assassination of President Lincoln.  As a group we all agreed the book started a bit dry, with battle scenes and details that felt very text-book like.  As the book dives deeper into the mind and life of Booth, however, it picks up steam and intensity.

Booth was definitely motivated and definitely delusional, and the violence around this act, with the other murders planned to clean up the leadership of our nation, feel haunting at times.  While the writing may feel weak to some and at times be over simplified,  readers not familiar with the events around this assassination will most likely find this book is a great place to start that journey.

Out of our 9 members 2 did not finish the book.  A couple of readers would have rated it higher if the 'war chapters' had been better written, or skipped altogether, and one reader noted she loved the 'present tense' style of the book, as the format added to the intensity. Great photos add a touch of reality and put faces to the names you are reading about.

Book average by group 3 1/2 stars.

*Book is ideal for the reader who loves history but is short of being a history buff - may appeal to the YA student and teen crowd*

Many Ways To Say I Love You by Fred Rogers

This is a sweet little compilation of various quotes, poems, and song lyrics by Fred Rogers noted over the years.  This is part of a series, and they have been published since the death of Fred Rogers.  For readers who grew up watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood this book is a cozy little reminder of a gentler time, when TV was soothing and we all had a friend on TV. 

The quotes are thought provoking and insightful, however this isn't really a 'pick up and read cover to cover' type of book.  It is probably best enjoyed bits at a time, but also, for our group this was sort of a 'bonus read'.  We pick little side books every once in a while to add to what we are reading, and that is what this book was.  One of our former group members had mentioned she enjoyed reading this book as a mom and thought we might like it too. 

Personally, I enjoyed it, but I sort of wonder where a book like this fits in our world of reading today.  A lot of members didn't really have time to get to it, and because it isn't a driving story I do think this type of little book gets overlooked sometimes.  Here is our group breakdown:

5 of our 9 members finished the book
average rating 3 stars

*Book would great as a gift to new parents or grandparents*

Coming up : Book Store and dinner field trip - discussing Wolf Hall by Hilary Matel