Thursday, January 30, 2014
Close to Nowhere
Almost too cold to read
I read a lot. I love books and I love my Kindle and I love audiobooks. I read cereal boxes at breakfast and at lunch, here at work and at home, I always have a book open.
I’m reading a fascinating book right now. My hands are often too cold to hold a book or whatever though. I’m reading this book on my iPhone and when your fingers are really, really cold, the touch screen doesn’t work and it’s hard to “turn” the pages.
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818-1907) published her autobiography in 1868, Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House.
Written about her life as a slave, how she earned her way to freedom and became the modisté to many famous women in Washington, D.C., especially Mary Todd Lincoln, I thought at first I was going to be bored. But, I’m not.
Several quilting friends had recommended the book and I value their opinions. I am not a big fan of autobiographies though. But, I got the book free from Amazon (you can too, just go to the Amazon site and look in the free books). I got it a couple months ago and have been ignoring it since.
After finishing a 12-book series of murder/quilting mysteries, I’ve been at a loss for a couple of days. It’s hard to finish a long book or a series and then move on to another book while you’re still living with the just finished books.
For the first couple chapters in “Behind the Scenes,” I kept thinking, “oh, she’s just too nice.” But as I got into the book I realized that I was getting into her life also.
Lizzie or Lizabet is just now becoming the dressmaker and confidanté of Mary Lincoln, wife of the newly inaugurated President. She describes Abraham Lincoln as a “normal” man, not as the solemn, sad man that I usually think about.
Mary Todd was quite jealous of Abraham and apparently, if he was caught conversing with another woman at a state dinner or whatever, he was given what-for.
Seems strange to think of Abraham Lincoln as just a husband and father, not as the imposing figure in the Lincoln Memorial.
Keckley’s book was considered quite scandalous at the time and very intrusive into the life of the First Lady.
But Lizabet and Mary Todd became good friends, and so far, about halfway into the book, I’m finding it very kind instead of invading Mrs. Lincoln’s privacy.
If I just lived in the desert somewhere, so my hands could turn the pages...
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