Monday, January 2, 2012

I'm Reading

I was intrigued over learning that Christmas celebrations were once banned in Boston so I am reading Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates.  I am learning more about the country's Puitan heritage.

Usually, I am a nonfiction kind of reader, but I do try to expand my horizons.  Speaking of which, I suggest checking out these resolutions for readers.

Virginia Heffernan's New York Times book review called the book and its author annoying.  She said its cocktail mix of paraphrase, topical one-liners and "blogger tics" made the book the literary equivalent of Long Island iced tea--"festive, but bad."

Of course her review title was "Mayflower Power" and the book was nothing about the Pilgrims at all so I question whether she even read the book.  Although Heffernan did say that, while she kept being annoyed, she did keep reading.

Another blog review also seemed to find the book annoying.  Quoting:

Perhaps the best way to pinpoint my problem would be to say that it's not what Vowell says, but rather how she says it. She's hilarious and witty and fills the stories about the Puritans with pop culture anecdotes and modern day comparisons. For instance she compares the differences between the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies to both the rift between the Sunni and Shia and a love for The Godfather Part II while having an equal amount of disdain for Part III.

That exactly states why I am liking the book.  It's a serious topic, but it is funny.  The author jumps from primary source writings to current events to her peculiar and personal life events, but I find myself entertained as well as informed.

Roger Williams--I remember him as the founder of Providence, Rhode Island, champion of religious freedom.  What I didn't ever contemplate was that that did not mean he thought all religions were acceptable, he just thought people have the right to be wrong.  You just can't force everyone to be right-thinking. 

There were lots of little tidbits and insights into the religios debates of the 1600's that have to make one stop and think about our "National Character."

I consider it a book worth reading.


  1. Thanks for the review. I will have to check out the book. I like historically-based fiction as well as non-fiction.

  2. It does sound interesting. It would probably she some light on why we are still in the dark ages about so many things in this country.

  3. After my . . . bout . . . with Sarum, I might be ready for this. People seem to have been people, for better and for worse, since forever. Hence, the Roger Smith belief doesn't surprise me. I wonder what political party he'd belong to now.

  4. Thanks, I will check this out. I always read the worst reviews along with the best to make a decision.


I appreciate readers' comments so much. You don't even always have to agree with me.