One Year In: What We’re Reading (2)

Allene Gutin, Museum Educator: My Favorite book to read and read again is Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.  When I first read this book back in the mid 1980’s, I could not put it down. “A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize— winning classic, Lonesome Dove, the third book in the Lonesome Dove tetralogy, is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America.” (

What is it about Lonesome Dove that I love?  Well, there is the dialogue.  It is authentic, funny and fascinating. I love the “palavering” that goes on between the characters.  And speaking of characters, each one in the book is beautifully written and developed.  I felt as if I knew them well. What really touches me about this story is the relationships between characters. The friendship between the two main Characters, Gus and Call, is built on respect, loyalty, trust, sacrifice and most of all love. We should all be able to have a friendship like the one between Gus and Call.

 One time I read the book while watching the miniseries based on the book.  It was fun seeing the story play out visually.  But if you are not a fan of that, don’t worry.  This book is so beautifully written that you will see every scene in your imagination. 

The eastern sky was red as coals in a forge, lighting up the flats along the river. Dew had wet the million needles of the chaparral, and when the rim of the sun edged over the horizon the chaparral seemed to be spotted with diamonds. A bush in the little backyard was filled with the little rainbows as the sun touched the dew.” Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

Wendy Davis, Volunteer Coordinator: I am hooked on reading Louise Penny’s murder mystery series.  The main character is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, and most books are set in the town of Three Pines, an Eastern Township of Quebec. 

Each book in the series can stand on its own, but I recommend reading them in order (a list is available on the internet), as the multidimensional characters and their relationships with each other develop through the series.  Penny weaves multiple plots and characters together and keeps me engaged until the last page.  There are a total of 16 books in the Gamache series. I just finished #12 and have already placed a request for #13 at my local library.

Laura Grant, Program Assistant: After watching several interviews with the author, I recently purchased and started reading The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee. McGhee writes on the intersection of race, class, and politics about the ways in which racism not only harms its primary victims, people of color, but also white people.

One of the most striking examples in the book so far, is the history of towns draining their public pools when they were forced to integrate. While white people benefited from and supported public pools prior to integration, they ultimately lost this resource due to racism. McGhee argues that change is only possible when we come together and reject the zero sum notion that progress made by one group must come at the expense of another’s. I appreciate the unique perspective McGhee brings to this issue and the way she combines honesty and pragmatism with a sense of hopefulness. I’m looking forward to reading more of the book.

Sol Davis, Executive Director: Lately, it seems I have spent most of my reading time reading emails and calendars. This week on the calendar, I see two major one year milestones: on March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and two days later, on March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor (z”l) was fatally shot in her apartment by members of the Louisville Metro Police Department.

I have a practice of reading calendars for the reminders, prompts, and provocations that they provide and the ambience they create. This weekend, when I join friends and community by zoom for Havdalah to mark Shabbat HaChodesh and welcome in the month of Nisan, I will light a yahrzeit candle and reflect on the tremendous, persistent, catastrophic, tragic, and unnecessary losses that are the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism.

Trillion Attwood, Director of Programs and Visitor Experience: I love to read with my kids, especially when I have a chance to read something that isn’t based in the Marvel universe. One author we always seem to be able to agree upon is Brad Meltzer, specifically his series Ordinary People Change The World. The books are essentially biographies that are written to inspire the next generation.

So far we have collected the Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln books, but we hope to add to our collection, especially the latest in the series about Frieda Kahlo. Both books speak to the childhoods of these men and how moments in their youth inspired their actions as adults. They have proved great to both continue the conversations that are started in the classroom, plus think about our own actions and the ways in which we can try to help others in our community. I am also a little excited to see, and encourage, my sons growing interest in history.

Continue to What We’re Reading Part 3!


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