Saturday, April 9, 2011

Read-A-Long: John Adams by David McCullough

The site Unputdownables is hosting a wonderful read-a-long.  I am a little behind I was suppose to post this Friday, but hey, better late than never!!!  LOL!!

Before I start discussing what I had to read for the week, here is a funny side story.  As I am paying for the book, the cashier looks at me and says, “Don’t you hate when you have to read something for school because I know you not reading it for leisure?”  Excuse me!  SMH….  I guess I didn’t “look” like the type to read books like this for leisure.  After informing her that I was in fact reading for pleasure, she turned red and apologizes.  She of all people (since she works at a book store) should NOT judge a book by its cover!

Back to John Adams…..

The first week was dedicated to Chapter One – The Road to Philadelphia. 

The chapter begins just like the title suggests, John Adams was on his way to Philadelphia.  During this travel the author begins telling us about Mr. Adams.  The first thing that caught my eye was this:

He was John Adams of Braintree and he loved to talk.  He is a known talker.  There were some, even among his admirers, who wished he talked less.  He himself wished he talked less, and he had particular regard for those, like General Washington, who somehow managed great reserve under almost any circumstance. 

That so describes me!!!!

It seemed right off the back that I related to him.  It is not coming across that he is some perfect being without any flaws.  In fact, he himself it seems is his worst critic.  However from reading the first chapter, the person who stands out is not John Adams, but his wife Abigail!  At the very start, I am very intrigued by her.  I love the way he met her and it not being love at first sight.  He genuinely got to know her and developed a love for her.  What I do feel is that it shows what kind of man he really is because he truly had a partner and not just some property as women basically were in that period.  I think after reading this book I am going to and find a book about Mrs. Adams.  

I am not one for giving blow by blow details of a book (then you would have no reason to read it!), but I would talk about what parts stand out to me and had to be highlighted. 

Abigail had pondered whether it could be God’s punishment for the sin of slavery.

After reading this passage in which she is talking about the reason they are suffering so in her town when the British invaded it, made me want to know just how did she feel about slavery, as well as John, and if they felt that it was something they just had to deal with or was she just feeling guilty now because of the predicament she and the country was in. 

Even mighty states and kingdoms are not exempted.  If we look into history, we shall find some nations rising from the contemptible beginnings and spreading their influence, until the whole globe is subjected to their ways.  When they have reached the summit of grandeur, some minute and unsuspected cause commonly affects their ruin, and the empire of the world is transferred to some other place.

This passage could be out of the mouth of someone today and still be relevant!!  If we knew this back then, how are we, as a country, in the predicament we are in today?  I feel that we are might state/kingdom that is on the verge of ruin if we do not get our act together!!

I am resolved to rise with the sun and to study Scriptures on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, and to study some Latin author the other three mornings.  Noon and nights I intend to read English authors…I will rouse up my mind and fix my attention.  I will stand collected within myself and think upon what I read and what I see.  I will strive with all my soul to be something more than persons who had less advantage than myself……But the next morning he slept until seven and a one line entry following week read, “A very rainy day, Dreamed away the time.”

In his young days (after graduating from Harvard) he reminds me of myself and the mental struggles that he is going through, I am currently going through as well.  I do the exact same thing he did, I schedule everything because like him, I feel myself very fortunate to be in the circumstance that I am in and do not want to lose sight of it or take advantage of it.  Which causes me to make all these plans to do “this and that”, but I end up getting overwhelm and spending the watching mindless TV or daydreaming.

The true source of our suffering has been our timidity.  We have been afraid to think…Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.

 I am taking this passage as a challenge to myself.  Never being one to run away from a good book, I have ran away for my passion to write, truly sit with my thoughts and express my opinions/thoughts verbally with others.   So I challenge myself and YOU to do the very thing John Adams did, DARE TO READ, THINK, SPEAK AND WRITE!!

So there we have it, chapter one of the book.  When I first picked it up I was intimidated by its size and thought that it would be a hard read.  I thought I was going to need a dictionary beside me in order to read it.  However to my surprise, it is the total opposite.  I am getting through the book with ease.  It actual feels like I am reading a novel instead of an autobiography.

So have I made you want to read along with me?  I hope so…  There is plenty of time to come aboard and join us.  Click the link and sign up and I will see you for CHAPTER TWO!!!

1 comment:

Wallace said...

Yikes about the bookseller. She's missing out!

Agreed -- intrigued by Abigail, can't wait to learn more about her!

Love how you got encouragement for your own writing out of this chapter about Adams. I, too, should heed this advice!