We love a good read. And by the length of today’s posting – I hope you do to! When it comes to good books, here at Connecticut Country House we’re all over the map in subject matter of what we love to read.
Murph is all about delving into the history of people, places and things. Why did that happen, and what made them tick? Me, I love a good read with a historical angle on architecture, interiors, gardens, and recipes – just to name a few.
So for President’s Day, Murph and I are recommending our favs. Wish I could have shot the covers of these fabulous books for you – but as usual, when we finish a really good book – we go on and on about it – only too happy to pass it along. And more times than not, we lose track of when and who we lent them out to.
In honor of George Washington, Murph highly recommends David McCullough’s ‘1776’. We love and truly appreciate his craft of storytelling. He makes Washington so human – so relatable. For example, there are letters written to his brother regarding building plans for Mt. Vernon, and that he was such a great and natural born leader – people were so drawn to him – yet he made such amateur mistakes in battle. (Who knew?!) The first chapter you may find to be a tad slow – but please stick with it – a great read guaranteed. I just know you’ll be lending out your copy as well.
In honor of Abraham Lincoln, Murph also highly recommends Doris Kearn’s Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln’. First of all, if I may chime in here – love her. She is a phenomenal historian of our time. This book is so impressive. It is the complete biography of Lincoln and his genius at recognizing the depth and talent in others – especially some of his harshest critics. As a 6 year old boy, he was left with his 10 year old sister to fend for themselves in a log cabin in the wilderness for several months while his father was away in search of a new mother for them. (Crazy.) In his 20’s he was a traveling lawyer, who became so well known – that entire towns would congregate where he was staying just to hear his stories. And then reading the description of this loving and doting father’s grief after the loss of his oldest child – well let’s just say it was impossible for Murph not to cry. You loved the movie – you’ll go nuts for the book.
In honor of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (as well as John Adams and James Madison) one of my favorite books I am still in the midst of reading is Andrea Wulf’s ‘Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation’. I just adore this book. While these 4 presidents were shaping our new United States of America, they were also preoccupied with something else that was so very near and dear – their passion for gardening. For example, in 1775 George Washington left Mount Vernon as a wealthy Virginia colonist with a plantation that was planted beautifully in perfect geometry and symmetry, only to finally return in 1784 as a landscape gardener of the revolution; very hands-on and completely involved in tearing it all up to liberate his land from any former rigid plan (wow – what a parallel). If you love early American history and gardening – this book’s for you.
Happy President’s Day and good reading!