This past week wasn’t a great one for reading. However, I did finish one book: Wycliffe and the Last Rites by W.J. Burley and I started My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy by Nora Titone on Friday night. The Wycliffe book was okay, though, not great, and the book about the Booth brothers is good so far, although I don’t know if the author will convince me completely of her thesis, as fascinating as it is.
Her thesis is that when John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865, he was motivated not just by the war between the North and the South, but also by the bitter rivalry he had with his brother to become a star of the theater like their father before them. Even though I might not be convinced by the end, so far I’m finding the story intriguing, beginning with Edwin Booth’s death and then Junius Booth Sr.’s coming to America with his mistress and the Booth brothers’ mother, Mary Ann Holmes. If nothing else, I’m learning about a period of history I know little about beyond having a class on the Civil War and Reconstruction in college more than 15 years ago. It also is good becoming reacquainted with an old friend: history, especially American history.
Since this is such a tome, weighing in at nearly 600 pages even on e-book, I probably am going to break my rule of being a monogamous reader and dip into something a bit less hefty at the same time. I’m not sure yet exactly what I’ll read in addition to My Thoughts Be Bloody, but I’m thinking I might continue Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series or Lawrence Block’s Burglar/Bernie Rhodebarr series or maybe even start Block’s Matthew Scudder series. Of course, I’ll let you know by Wednesday’s Midweek Review what I chose.
This past week my wife and I have fallen in love with That Mitchell and Webb Look which we’ve discovered on Netflix. We already were familiar with the comedic duo’s work in Peep Show, but had no idea about this series. I’ll leave you today with this literary skit from Mitchell and Webb:
What’s the last book about American history you’ve read? Do you read nonfiction otherwise? I confess this book on the Booth brothers is my first nonfiction book in quite a while. What are you reading today, this week, this month?