Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Staircase by Ann Rinaldi

Ann Rinaldi (1934 -2021) was a prolific and award winning writer of historical young adult novels.  Her books focus on American history and The Staircase published in 2000 is set in 1878 and centers around the Loretto Chapel and its beautiful spiral staircase located in Santa Fe New Mexico which tourists continue to visit to this day.  No one really knows who built the staircase but the legend says it may have been St Joseph himself.   Regardless the staircase remains a marvel of architectural design.

Ann Rinaldi decided to write a fictional account of how the staircase came to be built.  Her novel is well written and has received fine reviews but it's possible I am not the right age for this book.  It is geared for young adults and certainly I am no longer in that category.  I will say that one of the characters in The Staircase, Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy was the actual Bishop of Santa Fe back in the 1870's and he must have been a memorable man because Willa Cather used his life as the basis for her classic novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop.  

Ann Rinaldi passed away in 2021 but her well written books will continue to attract young readers and inspire them to learn more about history.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

My February 2022 Reads

I have decided to read four books in February and three of these books, I am embarrassed to say, were on my list to read in January but I didn't buckle down and so this month I am carrying those three books over to February and adding a fourth book.  My reading plan is:

                        Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

                        The Girl of his Dreams by Donna Leon 

                        The Staircase by Ann Rinaldi 

                        Freedom Summer by Bruce Watson 

I am excited about these book choices.  They are not very long and so I should have no problem completing them and posting my thoughts and then in March I can choose a whole new crop of books to read.  I think four books a month suits me.  If I aim for five or six a month I run into trouble.  

I also plan each month to choose one non-fiction book and the subject this year will be American history.  Somehow I have arrived at the age I am without knowing all that much about American history and I want to learn more as a way to navigate these times.  We have to know where we have been as a country so that we can make sense of what's happening now.  Maybe there are answers in America's past, lessons to be learned and historical figures to guard against but also historical figures to nspire.  In any case I need to know more.