winter_solise: (vala-daniel farscape lol)

 I usually stay far away from Bill O'Reilly. I can't really stand those Fox News right-wing extremists,but as this is a biography of sorts, and on a rather fascinating topic, I thought I'd give it a try. That, and I had just finished reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, so I was in the mood to read more about President Lincoln.

The beginning deals a lot with the end of the Civil War, which I found interesting, but not entirely relevant. It helps you to understand the US' position at the time, and the fact that the South could very much have won if things had turned out just a little differently, but I didn't think it was really entirely relevant to the end of Lincoln's life.

There's quite a bit of speculation going on, but it's a well-known fact that Lincoln's assassination is shrouded in mystery in some places. It's well-known that John Wilkes Booth hated the late President and that he was an ardent supporter of the Confederacy, but the book goes into what Booth was thinking at the time, which no one can really know.

Killing Lincoln is written in the style of a thriller, so it doesn't sound like a history book or even a real biography, which I think makes it more interesting.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, as someone who was interested in knowing more about Lincoln's assassination and not having read much else about Lincoln, aside from a fictional biography of his life.
winter_solise: (nice person)
 I happened upon this listopia list on Goodreads yesterday. 'Books I will never read.' The list is of popular books that your friends insist you simply must read, and included books like the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, and a lot of what most people consider great "classics." In fact, I was surprised I didn't find Game of Thrones on there, especially because it's become a hit T.V. series, just like Charlane Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books, which were on the list. Maybe I just didn't get far enough.

There were quite a few books on there that I can very comfortably say I'll never read. Like biographies about Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber and a lot of those political books that bash people just because they don't agree. I'm far beyond the age of caring about them. There was also Pride and Prejudice. I've tried several times, unsuccessfully, to read that book and I just can't bring myself to care about it. The first time I tried reading it, I was a teenager. I thought maybe I was just too young. The last time I tried reading it was last year. I don't know, maybe I'm still too young, XD Maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance. Who knows?

But the thing that bothered me was that there were so many great books on that list. I read Harry Potter at least once a year, even though I've read some of them at least ten times. (The first three XD) Even so, I still find a lot to enjoy in them, and I think I'll be reading them once a year until I die. They're really a modern classic. I don't know if that list was meant to be a personal list, to say the author will never read any of those books just because they're popular, or if it's there just to get people to vote on the books they never plan to read, but I say never is a long time and refusing to read a book just because it's popular isn't a good reason not to read it.

I actually refused to read Harry Potter when it first came out because it was so popular, and once I read it, I discovered something. Maybe some things are popular because they're really that good.

I've resolved that I won't refuse to try something just because it's popular. Someday, I might even read Twilight. I hear they get better around the third book, and I do think Stephanie Meyer has some decent ideas. Although why the vampires sparkle is still beyond me.

Anyway, I guess the TLDR version of this post is, if you refuse to even try something because it's popular, you're limiting yourself and having a very closed-minded attitude.
winter_solise: (aeryn in the rain)
For the longest time, I swore I wouldn't read this book. 'It's dumb,' I thought. Just as dumb as Seth Grahme-Smith's other book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But I happened across a free copy and while it sat in my Calibre library for a while, I happened across it the other day and thought, 'Well, maybe Halloween wouldn't be a bad time to read about our sixteenth president being a vampire hunter.'

The premise is that Abraham Lincoln kept a series of secret diaries from the time he was a boy, shortly after his mother died, killed by a vampire. These diaries were to chronicle Abe's ventures hunting and killing vampires.

Young Abraham swore that he would kill every vampire in America. A very lofty goal. The book is very much a biography of the life of Abraham Lincoln, with vampires scattered in for good measure. Grahme-Smith does a very good job with his facts, and making it seem plausible that one of the most popular presidents of the United States was indeed, a vampire hunter.

Grahme-Smith's vampires are also very convincing as well, appearing as normal people until such a time as they drop the facade and attack. I actually wish there had been a little more detail about Lincoln's vampire hunts. He's lauded as one of the greatest vampire hunters of America, and yet you only get to "witness" a few of his hunts. Although this is likely because Grahame-Smith uses Lincoln's diary entries as a major part of the narrative.

The book follows Abe's life from birth until his untimely death at the hands of John Wilkes Booth. One review I read on Goodreads said they didn't like how they used slaves and the Civil War as a plot point for vampires, but I thought this made complete sense. The vampires of America would very much like an almost unlimited food supply in the form of slaves, and for Lincoln, what better way to drive off the vampires than cutting off their food source? It was also quite clear that Lincoln still despised the idea of slavery, of a group of men being superior to another solely because of the color of their skin.

I found the book very interesting, and indeed, as with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought having Abe be a vampire hunter was a clever ploy to get people to actually read about one of America's greatest presidents and to learn about his life. It's amazing that Lincoln had such a humble birth, grew up on the American frontier, had very little formal education, and still became one of the most revered presidents through sheer tenacity and self-education.

Lincoln's life serves as a reminder that you don't have to be born to great means to become a great man.

November 2012

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