Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Salon-Franklin and Lucy

This week I finished the ARC of Franklin and Lucy, President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd, and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life by Joseph E. Persico.

This is a 5 [***** ] star history book that reads like a novel. Persico is a master of interweaving quotations from other sources as he unravels Roosevelt's deceptive drama as president. Mrs. Paul Johnson was a frequent visitor at the White House, her real name was Lucy Rutherfurd. Lucy was FDR's forever love and Persico reveals the details of the strength and depth of the relationship in his book. Mrs. Roosevelt uncovered the affair when FDR was gravely ill and diagnosed with polio. He would never walk again. Eleanor discovered his packet of love letters and once he was able, she confronted him. Her terms were an immediate termination of the affair, no further contact with Lucy Rutherfurd and she would no longer share the same bed with him. Eleanor was devastated, but carried on by helping others, starting social programs and traveling the world as an embassador for positive change. They saw each other occasionally, but were for the most part married on paper, both living very prominent public positions, but separately.

Persico depicts Franklin as a larger than life ladies man. Yet, he was bound to a wheelchair for life. Refusing to allow the world to think less of him, that he was weak,(his thoughts, not the authors) he contrived braces, and a system of movement to hide his disability from the world. The excruciating persistent pain he carried on always with a smile.
There are only two photographs that are know to be in existence of FDR in his wheelchair.

He had to be the center of attention when he was with women. His mother Sara controlled FDR his entire life. Although he had a lifetime affair with Lucy, she was not the only women of significance in his life. I won't spoil your fun reading this wonderful book. This bookworm has said enough...I need to nibble on another page. See ya next week....

The release date is April 29th. I highly recommend it.

PS: I still love and admire ER for her power, strength and social reform work. However, after reading Persico's book, I have a different opinion about Eleanor the woman. Tell me your opinion after you read Persico's book. Thanks. Happy Sunday!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Salon..I just love Eleanor Roosevelt!!!

Good Morning Saloners!!
I've been reading the soon to be released book, "Franklin and Lucy" by Joseph
Persico. I was reading early this morning about 2:30AM when I finally crashed. Sleeping "in" was not to be on my last day of vacation; thanks to my four feisty fur kids. My rescued greyhounds. Their clock is set on coach potato time and not my time. Which means they sleep whenever their big heart desires. But who cares, they deserve this second life out of a crate and off the track chasing that buzzing bunny. (OK..had to get that little plug in for Greyhound Adoption see below)

Now, I'm awake and they're sleeping again.
So, hi to everyone! It is great to be a part of Sunday Salon surrounded by bloggers who share their love of books with each other. I have been reading many of your posts already and finally decided to be brave.

Back to Franklin and Lucy, subtitle President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd, and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life is an irresistible book about FDR and the women who surrounded him. I enjoy reading about strong women, and have always admired Eleanor. After reading the first half of this book, I have a greater understanding of how she became one of the most prominent leaders for social change in her day. I empathize and have compassion for her position and respect her decision to support FDR despite his continuous infidelity.

The parallels between Eleanor and Hillary are out of the twilight zone. No doubt they would have made great friends with so much in common.
The book reveals the love affair Franklin had with Lucy Rutherfurd and his later relationships with his secretary "Missy" and others. You will have to wait until next week to for any further revelations. As I bookmark my page, FDR has just been diagnosed with polio, a disease which will alter his mobility and lifestyle forever.

The picture I have included is a monument called "Grief" that Eleanor frequently visited after she discovered the affai
r her husband was having with Lucy. The betrayal was just devastating to her and she would go to this place and sit for hours. I can only imagine her thoughts, reflections and possibly the peace she may have reached as she sat in solitude. The artist was Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who was hired by Henry Adams to honor his wife, Marian "Clover"Adams upon her death. She had committed suicide by swallowing photographic acid upon discovering his affair with another woman.

I felt compelled to find a picture of the sculpture, since it appears it wasn't important enough to be included in the book. I think as a feminist, and therefore I was disappointed it was not a visual in the book. (However, the author has not included any photos in this advanced copy.) "Grief" as a piece of stone, a memorial, another betrayal, a different conclusion, a wife's death, was so essential in understanding Eleanor. The picture is from the article in the
(Washington Post) .

Have a great week everyone. I am on to more reading, but not Franklin. This time some required reading for an American History grad course I'm taking called Liberty and Justice. It's actually an awesome course with all books required paid can you beat that? Don't forget about the greyhounds!!!!
Greyhound Rescue and Rehabilitation

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

...and everyone wore a hat...

Dream Lucky, by Roxanne Orgill
in stores April 22nd.

Roxanne Orgill breathes life into the lines of a historian’s notes. I can see the influence from her children’s historical picture books, but this helps to enhance her book. Dream Lucky is a wonderfully imaginative way to convey the culture, the community, and most importantly, the color barrier that had yet to be broken during this period of history prior to WWII.
This book reminded me of sitting at the dinner table with my parents, sharing stories of their life growing up, “in the olden days.” They always laughed when my siblings or I would call it that. But looking back and reading this book, I’m so glad to have gleaned those memories. Dream Lucky presents snapshots in time of the way it was, the way people who lived it, saw it. Anyone, who is a baby boomer, even a late boomer like myself can relate to the short vignettes in the book and recall what they were told as a child. If you lived during that time, Orgill will make you sway to the sounds of swing. Count Basie, Bennie, Billie, Ella and all the marvelous musicians of that era will echo in your ears as you read. The author periodically placed black and white photos throughout the book, which enhances your presence in that moment in time. You also hear the radio and see the family huddled around the box. Even though they can’t see anything, they stare listening silently so no sentence is missed. There was something for the whole family, Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats, The Lone Ranger, Burns and Allen, Orson Wells, and more.
What Orgill understands, from any teacher’s perspective, is that history doesn’t have to be an outdated, inaccurate textbook with facts, dates and dry content. That is assuming the schools have enough money to purchase textbooks for every student. We are alive when we are making history. Her approach to history is enjoyable, believable and readable, as it can and should be. You gain the knowledge from the point of view of a ubiquitous insider, who is witness to the events as they unfold during 1936-1938. You stand with Count Basie, Joe Louis, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Jacob Lawrence and so many other African American people who worked where they couldn’t eat, shopped, where they couldn’t work and who had to put up with the laws of Jim Crow, who was alive and active in the south. The social reform movement for racial equality was just beginning to emerge under the leadership of Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Jr. No matter who you were during this period of history, there was tension and turmoil worldwide, and no one stateside including FDR wanted another World War. What everyone had at that time was their dreams and so they hoped they would “Dream Lucky.”
Roxanne Orgill is unique in her approach to historical writing and understands how to make it real. I highly recommend this exceptionally entertaining history and I know as you read it you will believe you are there.

If I Only Had a Horn (story about Louis Armstrong) I have read this book to my students in elementary school. They have also taken it out of the library to read independently. They really like it. It is enjoyed by all ages, but primarily grades 2-5.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A bookworm's dinner "Give-a-way Winners!!!!"

Congratulations to the Winners!!!

jessleigh is the winner of The Princes of Ireland
Melissa V-D is the winner of Peace Like a River

Thank you all for participating
jessleigh and Melissa, please send your address or email to

tekey girl @ gmail dot com (note: tekey girl has no space)

Monday, April 7, 2008

A bookworm's dinner give-a-way

My little bookworm friend has two books to give away to a new friend. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and The Princes of Ireland, by Edward Rutherfurd. You have until April 11th, 5:ooPM (EST) to post a comment. If you leave a comment on the review for "Shades of Gray" by Jessica James, I will enter your name twice. Sorry, but this is open to US locations only. Good luck. Donna Thyme

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Must Read....Shades of Gray by Jessica James

I feel I must start off my new blog with one of the best books I have read in years!! Shades of Gray, by Jessica James takes place during the Civil War, an historical novel of difficult choices. The Civil War pitted brothers, sisters and whole families against their own relatives. Passion was intense on the battlefield we know, but Jessica James creates a series of smoldering skirmishes and competitive contests of wit between the two main characters, Andrea and Alex Hunter.
Andrea, a southerner disguised as a man (Sinclair) is an expert equestrian who spies behind Confederate pickets. The battles from her past drive her over enemy lines to fight against her southern homeland. Hunter, a true southern Confederate from well-healed Virginia bloodlines, would rather die than surrender. When circumstances force Andrea and Alex to live at his southern plantation, the true battles of this book begin.
Ms. James has such an incredible flowing style of writing, that her dialogue between the Andrea and Alex was so entertaining, I felt I was there, in the next room. I felt like I was the spy lurking in the living room, like I shouldn't be listening. I actually found myself belly-laughing, giggling, sobbing to the point I had to keep tissues next to me. I'm not kidding!!! Listen to this quote from her book,

"Is that what you call the midnight mischief created by your mob of marauding miscreants? Lord have mercy on the Confederacy if you serve her through the unchristian and atrocious acts that are plotted and perpetrated by your band of highway-robbing heathens and hell-deserving henchmen." (p.195)

I have to admit I have red stickies all over this book where I wanted to go back and read portions of the text again. This book is much more than a book about the Civil War. The war is just the setting. If you want to read a book you will never forget and will think about for months after reading it. Read Shades of Gray. I challenge anyone not to cry, even the toughest among us.
This book took my breath away. Jessica James is a master of storytelling and suspense. Honestly, you will not sleep.

Spring...thyme for a new post

It’s Spring and with time passing, I wanted to celebrate this year's new life with the sprouting of my new blog. I am not new to blogging, and have used blogs as often with students and colleagues. Blogging at the elementary level does create some strict guidelines and protective in-house district services. Blogging for my personal pleasure has been a random, scattered, totally right-brained event that I was never happy with. Yes, I am a perfectionist at times. (Yuck) Anyway, I really wanted to join Sunday Salon to share the fun and writings from this group. What a fun way to relax and rest on Sunday morning, with copious cups of coffee and that great book for food. So here is my first post of many.