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September 2010 BOTM: My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Tue October 5th, 2010, 3:42 pm

I am glad that I was able to visit the cottage now, when it's still relatively unknown to tourists. I think that may change, which is what I am sure the trustees are hoping for, but I'm afraid it will then it will lose some of its charm.

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Brenna
Bibliophile
Location: Delaware

Postby Brenna » Tue October 5th, 2010, 5:35 pm

I hope you had the fantastic tour guide that we had, because he really made the time Lincoln spent there come to life for us! The told us a story of how Mr. Lincoln was riding back to the cottage from visiting with troops when he was shot at. The shot went through his top hat. Facinating!
Brenna

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Tue October 5th, 2010, 5:47 pm

There were two young men running the place when we were there -- one guided the tour and one ran the gift shop. They were both very enthusiastic about the place, as well as very friendly and helpful. Thanks to them we managed to catch a city bus just in the nick of time to make our metro connection!!

I have actually found that to be the case with DC both times I have visited the city; everyone I have encountered from tour guides to museum employees have been extremely friendly and helpful. They seem to appreciate tourists rather than regard them as a nuisance. ;)

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue October 5th, 2010, 6:20 pm

Also, I had learned a little about Dorothea Dix from my friend who took the trip with me. She is an R.N. who knows quite a bit about the history of nursing, and it was seeing Miss Dix's portrait at the National Portrait Gallery that triggered the conversation. Apparently she was a real dragon. But she did a lot to further nursing and help it become a serious occupation for women.


IIRC, Dix also makes an appearance in The Glory Cloak, a fictionalized take on Louisa May Alcott. LMA spends some time in DC nursing.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
rockygirl
Avid Reader
Location: Upstate New York

Postby rockygirl » Tue October 5th, 2010, 11:13 pm

"Misfit" wrote:IIRC, Dix also makes an appearance in The Glory Cloak, a fictionalized take on Louisa May Alcott. LMA spends some time in DC nursing.


How is this book, Misfit? I've been thinking about ordering it.

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Tue October 5th, 2010, 11:51 pm

I enjoyed it. Louisa isn't the main character and Louisa's cousin(fictional) is. From what I remember I enjoyed it. But I'm an Alcott fan.
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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue October 5th, 2010, 11:57 pm

"Divia" wrote:I enjoyed it. Louisa isn't the main character and Louisa's cousin(fictional) is. From what I remember I enjoyed it. But I'm an Alcott fan.


I liked it as well and I'm not a LMA fan. Not because I don't like her, just because I never read her. Or if I did in my childhood I've forgotten about it.

That said, The Glory Cloak was a library book for me, very good, but not one that needs to stay on my shelf for perpetual rereads. If your library doesn't have it, don't forget about ILL.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
rockygirl
Avid Reader
Location: Upstate New York

Postby rockygirl » Wed October 6th, 2010, 1:12 am

"Misfit" wrote:I liked it as well and I'm not a LMA fan. Not because I don't like her, just because I never read her. Or if I did in my childhood I've forgotten about it.

That said, The Glory Cloak was a library book for me, very good, but not one that needs to stay on my shelf for perpetual rereads. If your library doesn't have it, don't forget about ILL.


Even my ILL doesn't have most of the books that people talk about here. It's a big library system of a lot of small, rural libraries. The better libraries are on the other side of the Hudson River from me.

I found The Glory Cloak for 10 cents, so I have decided to chance it, being a LMA fan.

Thanks for the advice!

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Wed October 6th, 2010, 1:32 am

"rockygirl" wrote:Even my ILL doesn't have most of the books that people talk about here. It's a big library system of a lot of small, rural libraries. The better libraries are on the other side of the Hudson River from me.

I found The Glory Cloak for 10 cents, so I have decided to chance it, being a LMA fan.

Thanks for the advice!


Ten cents is good. As for ILL, there is a nationwide program - not sure how it works - but I've received books from Alaska, New Hampshire, the midwest, small colleges, a Benedictine Abby and more from all over the US. Small small town libraries and big ones. Maybe you should go knock them over the head and find out why they aren't in that program.

And only once have I paid a lending fee, and the book was so rare I'd have paid quite a bit more to purchase it so I didn't mind.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Wed October 6th, 2010, 4:44 am

"Divia" wrote:I enjoyed it. Louisa isn't the main character and Louisa's cousin(fictional) is. From what I remember I enjoyed it. But I'm an Alcott fan.


I am not an Alcott fan as much as I'm a Jo March fan. I have absolutely loved Jo from the very first time I read Little Women as a kid (about 9 years old, I think?). And every time I re-read it I re-connect with Jo all over again (and even now as an adult).

Ok, back on topic.... I am almost finished with Mary Sutter -- only about 40 pages to go. Yes, I know I should just finish it tonight. But Wednesdays are very early mornings for me, and if I don't get to bed shortly I'll never get up on time. So I'll have to finish Mary tomorrow.

I'm still enjoying the book. Some of the digressions into the politics are helpful, since they help set the context for what was going on medically. But a lot of the digressions -- the infighting among Lincoln's cabinet and generals, the illness and death of his son, his contemplation of the Emancipation Proclamation -- I find to be more distracting than anything else. Not that all of these aren't worthwhile topics, it's just that I don't think they add anything to this particular story.

I did start to feel some emotionalism in the scenes involving Jenny's childbirth and afterwards (I'm being careful here since I don't know if Brenna has finished the book). But gradually I'm starting to feel more distanced, again. But perhaps that's a good thing. Given the subject matter, this book might just be way, way too overwhelming if I felt emotionally connected all the time. Even so, the last 100 pages or so have been riveting.

I have heard several times that more lives were lost in the Civil War than in both World Wars combined (that may just be American lives, not total lives, I'm not sure). That's never made sense to me, until I read this book. Now I understand. Medicine and sanitation were still so primitive in the 1860s (in the US, anyway) that thousands and thousands died of sickness and disease, forget battlefield injuries. That is why there were so many more casualties in the Civil War. In fact, after reading this, I think it's amazing that any men survived the war at all.
Last edited by Michy on Wed October 6th, 2010, 4:47 am, edited 1 time in total.


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