Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Year of the Project - Travels with George + Hark the Herald Angels Slay

I do love a good list.  It gives a nice sense of order and focus and I love making lists about the books I want to read.  Last year I focused just on series I was behind on.  The project went great and I caught up on a ton of series but I felt like I was neglecting other books on my shelf and books at my library.  This year I have a few lists going - Series, Library, Clear Off My Shelves, and a random TBR Bingo where I pull books off my Goodreads TBR.  Here are a few of my most recent reads.

Goodreads:  Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy by Nathaniel Philbrick

Project:  Library List

Blurb:  Does George Washington still matter? Bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick argues for Washington's unique contribution to the forging of America by retracing his journey as a new president through all thirteen former colonies, which were now an unsure nation. Travels with George marks a new first-person voice for Philbrick, weaving history and personal reflection into a single narrative.
When George Washington became president in 1789, the United States of America was still a loose and quarrelsome confederation and a tentative political experiment. Washington undertook a tour of the ex-colonies to talk to ordinary citizens about his new government, and to imbue in them the idea of being one thing--Americans.

In the fall of 2018, Nathaniel Philbrick embarked on his own journey into what Washington called "the infant woody country" to see for himself what America had become in the 229 years since. Writing in a thoughtful first person about his own adventures with his wife, Melissa, and their dog, Dora, Philbrick follows Washington's presidential excursions: from Mount Vernon to the new capital in New York; a monthlong tour of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island; a venture onto Long Island and eventually across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The narrative moves smoothly between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries as we see the country through both Washington's and Philbrick's eyes.

Written at a moment when America's founding figures are under increasing scrutiny, Travels with George grapples bluntly and honestly with Washington's legacy as a man of the people, a reluctant president, and a plantation owner who held people in slavery. At historic houses and landmarks, Philbrick reports on the reinterpretations at work as he meets reenactors, tour guides, and other keepers of history's flame. He paints a picture of eighteenth-century America as divided and fraught as it is today, and he comes to understand how Washington compelled, enticed, stood up to, and listened to the many different people he met along the way--and how his all-consuming belief in the union helped to forge a nation.

My Thoughts:  This was an interesting listen and Philbrick and his wife (and sometimes their dog) retrace George Washington's footsteps during his presidential tour of the country.  Philbrick discusses Washington's complicated legacy including his feelings about slavery and the pressure he was under to not just establish exactly what the role of a president was but to keep the recently united colonies together.  He also discusses the varying receptions that Washington received during his travels and his feelings about his time in the public eye.  This is an interesting read and while I don't think I learned anything groundbreaking I do feel like I got a better and fuller picture of Washington as a person with flaws and strengths.  My Rating: Liked It

Goodreads:  Hark the Herald Angels Slay (Year Round Christmas Mysteries #3) by Vicki Delany

Project: Clearing Out My Series

Blurb:  The town of Rudolph, New York, has the Christmas spirit all year long—but when homicide heats up a summer holiday, it’s up to shop owner Merry Wilkinson to wrap up the case.

In Rudolph, Christmas in July heralds Santa’s arrival by boat to begin his summer vacation at the lake, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is looking forward to a busy weekend. But she’s caught off guard when her ex-fiancĂ©, Max Folger, unexpectedly arrives with a team from a lifestyle magazine wanting to do a feature on the July festivities.

It’s clear that Max’s visit has less to do with business and more to do with winning back Merry’s heart. Merry has too much on her plate to deal with an old flame, but when Max is found strangled to death in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, she must find out who wanted him dead—and stop a killer from ruining the summer holiday cheer.

My Thoughts:  While there are two more books left in the series this was the last book I had to read to finish up the series and I'm sad to see the end of my time with Merry and the town of Rudolph.  This was a bit of an interesting one as Merry's past collides with her present as her former fiancĂ© and former coworkers come into town for a magazine shoot.  It was interesting to see Merry trying to balance her past and present and added some depth to her character.  The mystery was interesting and had a surprising ending.  The Christmas in July was also a fun bonus.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!


  1. Both books look so interesting. I think it would be interesting to know more about George Washington and what he thought and how he started this nation.

  2. I'm going to look for the second series. I love the cover too!
    Mary @Bookfan