I enjoy reading about places and people before I visit somewhere. I don’t always get to, because I can get a tad swamped, but with enough planning and foresight I can usually at least get a bit of reading done. Other trips, where I had months to prepare, I completed more extensive reading, like when traveled to India.
This fall we are planning a family trip to Boston. The itinerary so far includes the Boston Aquarium, Freedom Trail, art museums, a trip to Concord, JFK Library, the Boston Symphony, and Blue Man Group. This has been a really fun trip to plan! If all goes well, I will definitely be blogging about Boston in the near future.
Here is my probably-too-extensive-pre-Boston reading list.
1. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
It has been ages since I read this book. I think I was 14 years old, so it is time to revisit it. I am sure my perspective will be quite a bit different now, and perhaps I can begin to understand it. Since Hawthorne was one of the many authors frequenting Concord I think now the time is right.
2. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
This is another book I have not read since I was a child, but it was one of my childhood favorites. I think it is a rite of passage for every young lady to bawl, laugh, and think through this book. Since we will be visiting the Alcott home in Concord, I would love to read this book again.
This pulitzer prize winning biography explores the life and relationship of the Alcotts. My husband and daughter have already read this one, and they loved it. In fact, my father bought is for my daughter on a trip they took to Concord about four years ago.
4. Revolutionary Summer: the Birth of American Independence by Joseph J. Ellis
This book is getting rave reviews and is only 240 pages long , written by a Pulitzer prize winning author and historian Joseph Ellis.
5. Bunker Hill, A City, a Siege, a Revolution, by Nathaniel Philbrick
This book is new this summer and highlights the events leading to the beginning of the American Revolution. Since we will be visiting Bunker Hill I am thinking this is a must read!
6. 1775: A Good Year for a Revolution, by Kevin Phillips
Many people are familiar with David McCullough’s book 1776 which is an American History classic, but this book is more specific about Boston and what happened there. This book is another new one this year.
7. Walden and Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau
We will be visiting Walden pond, and it would only enhance the experience to hear about Walden first hand. I keep thinking I need to do a Walden like experiment in my own life.
8. John Adams, by David McCullough
Apparently a well written, enjoyable biography about an infinitely interesting person. There is also mini-series that I have heard great things about–I may be watching this instead of reading for the sake of convenience.
9. The Pleasure of His Company, by Paul B. Fay, Jr.
I wanted to read more about JF Kennedy, since we will be visiting the Kennedy Library and since I visited the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas recently. But since I have some heavy hitters on this list I thought that a lighter read would be better. This is not a biography, but a memoir by one of Kennedy’s closest friends.
I picked this little book up at Barnes and Noble. It appealed to me on several different levels. It is comprised of short one page essays on different talks about American History. While obviously it is not comprehensive, it would give a concise overview. Not all of the topics are related to early American History, but many of them do, and on days where I am really swamped I could read a few of these and still feel like I am working on my goal.
Since my background is in the Humanities, with an emphasis on music, my knowledge is mostly European based. I feel very comfortable with 20th Century world history, but I could really deepen my knowledge of early American History since I haven’t focused on it much since the general ed courses I took in college. Definitely time to amend that knowledge gap. I am excited for this trip to Boston, and I hope I can make it through most of these books by then!
Please…..any recommendations from readers? I would love to hear them.