This book took me months to finish. I got a copy of it from the author and then, later, another copy from his publisher. Not sure what that was about. I wrote Chris an email to tell him that I’d finished his book, seemed like the decent thing to do, and since I’m terribly lazy about getting reviews up, I’ll paste some of it here. If you’re a bookish sort, you’d like this book....
“Hey I finally finished this!
...It was slow going at times because even though your story is... sort of narrative there are a lot of big ideas that are tied up in it and it’s not an airplane read -- both owing to it being hardbound but also because it’s worth attention.I’ve been going through my own family health stuff this year [not me personally] and the story of Mimi and her role in the family and the time you spent both with her and reminiscing about her and thinking about her were a particularly poingnant part of it for me.
I’d be lying if I said I read every excerpt or if I can even remember some of the earlier chapters [I started reading it about when you sent it to me] but my favorite parts were the parts where your personal life was sort of mirrored in what you were reading. Some of the Darwin stuff and the explorer guy before him who was in California [tempting to look it all up just to feel like I have some memory left :)]. I also liked the storied of your family’s place up north since I live in rural Vermont and that idea of a family homestead is one that is sort of foreign to me.
Also the subtext of class that goes all through it -- this is just my personal sociopolitical lens -- the arts and letters aspect, the Harvard aspect the club you could stay in in the UK because of some reciprocal arrangement with whatever club you and/or your family are associated with in New York, I liked how that sort of bounced off the original ideas ofhaving books that were for everyone... and how it seems in a lot of ways maybe that isn’t how they turned out...”