Posts Tagged ‘memoirs’

Booth’s Sister by Jane Singer

As you know, I like reading historical stories based on the lives of women, especially if they’re from different cultures.  This book kind of falls into that category, but it’s based on a true story.

Booth’s Sister” is based upon the memoir of Asia Booth, the older sister of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.  It starts out right after Lincoln was killed; Asia had some visitors come to her house asking where her brother was, convinced that she knew details that could help the investigation.

The story then reverts back to Asia and John’s childhood.  To be honest, this part of the story was realllllly slow to me.  I almost put the book down (well, I didn’t have the actual book, so I guess you could say that I would have just moved onto the next book on my Kindle book list).  The story is told from the first person perspective of Asia.  As a child, she envied her brother, who was going to follow in their father’s footsteps and become an actor.  I guess back in that time, women could not be actors/actresses.  The family is really into Shakespeare, and his quotes are peppered throughout the dialogue.   From the get go, it seemed to me like Asia had more than just a jealousy or admiration of her brother, it almost seems like she is in love with him – it’s kind of odd.

Finally, after learning about Asia and John as children and teenagers, we get to their young adulthood when John becomes a pretty famous stage actor.  Asia tries to go see his plays as much as possible and is in awe of her brother just like everyone else.  When Asia gets married and invites her brother to dinner, a huge argument ensues between John and her husband (also named John) and the other guests regarding Lincoln, slavery, and the government.  That’s when you start to see the signs that he has a bone to pick with the Prez.  Next thing you know, men are beating down Asia’s door looking for John and hold her captive for about almost two weeks before they finally find and kill him.

Coincidentally, at the same time I was reading this book, my boyfriend is reading a book called “Manhunt” about the search for Lincoln’s killer (which he says I “must read”, which I will, eventually).  ”Booth’s Sister” was interesting; it wasn’t exactly what I expected.  The beginning parts about their childhood didn’t seem entirely relevant to the rest of the story of their lives (some thing did, but not all), but maybe I was just missing something.  Maybe it was because this book was BASED on the true story, so perhaps some things were “fluffed” for entertainment value.  For all of you men out there (okay, probably only a few who actually read this), this is a book that you could read – it’s not targeted specifically toward women, even though it’s told from the woman’s perspective.  You’d probably like “Manhunt” better, though.

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously/365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

It seems as if there are several different subtitles to this book – not sure if they are all the same or have minor differences.  The one I read on my Kindle was the “365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” version, however the main one for sale on Amazon is the “Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously” version.

Everyone keeps telling me how cute the movie is.  I haven’t seen it yet, but I just read the book over Christmas.  I much prefer to read a book rather than see the movie version anyway.  I like envisioning the characters and situations in my mind the way that I want to and when I see a movie based on a book that I’ve read, I’m always disappointed.

When I had first seen the trailer for the movie, I thought it looked kind of silly and I had no interest in seeing the movie or reading the book.  Well, I got curious.  I really enjoyed this book; it was much better than I expected.  The way that Julie Powell writes makes it very easy for the reader to identify with her as an average person and makes it totally believable.  I’ve personally never read any of Julia Child’s cookbooks and I’ve never seen her on TV (although I do know who she is).  I actually found myself laughing out loud at some of Julie’s descriptions of her cooking situations; she wrote honestly and candidly and it doesn’t hurt to throw some curse words in there too for emphasis (even though I guess a lot of people didn’t like that).  I found what appears to be her original blog: The Julie/Julia Project and plan on reading through it to get a better feel for what she really went through during that year of cooking.  Her adventure of blogging back before it was popular was also inspiring.

One thing that I wasn’t crazy about was the incorporation of Julia Child herself into the book; the letters/journal from her husband seemed a little detached from the story and I found myself skimming over those parts pretty quickly.  I wonder if that was different in the movie; in the previews, it seemed like Meryl Streep was incorporated more into the movie.  I would have liked to see more detail about Julia Child’s life and experiences.  That was touched on in certain parts, but I didn’t really learn anything new about her that I hadn’t known before.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes a fun, easy read, and if you like to cook, I’m sure that’s a plus (I didn’t understand some of the cooking terminology but that’s not important to the actual story).  However, I don’t think I’d like to actually eat any of the recipes that she made… most of them sounded pretty gross but apparently tasted better than they looked.

I found another book by Julie Powell called “Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession” which is a follow-up to “Julie and Julia” that focuses on Julie’s new hobby/obsession of butchery.  The reviews on Amazon aren’t very good but I might give it a read anyway.

Bon appetit!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.

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