Thursday, November 16, 2006

First Thoughts on Mayflower: Winter Reading Challenge: First Book

I really love all of the seasons and relish their changes every year. And like many people, I love to do seasonally related things, i.e., apple picking in the fall, taking pictures of all the flower buds and bees in the spring. etc. And this year we tried Alton Brown's popcorn recipe where you use a large silver bowl over the stove instead of a pot with a lid (or the microwave). And M. thinks we'll be able to do it over my parents' chimenea so, of course, I'm all gung-ho to do it over Thanksgiving weekend so it'll feel closer to authentic Native Americans and Colonial people. And this is all why I chose to read Mayflower first for the Winter Reading Challenge. How much more timely can you get?

So first of all, I'm excited about the History Channel's "Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower", airing on Sunday night at 8 pm, because this book is also an untold story. You get all the "behind the scenes" of what the Native Americans went through in the years before the Pilgrims showed up. Let's just say they were not unfamiliar with Europeans. And Europeans in general had not proven themselves to be friendly, reliable, or respectful. But we knew that.

Another cool thing is that the dates of 1620 happen to match up with the dates of 2006. So when Philbrick refers to the Pilgrims' arrival in America on Saturday November 11, that date falls on the same day of the week this year, too. So last night I was reading and he mentioned Wednesday November 15, and lo and behold, it was Wednesday November 15 for me, too.

And my final first thought is that Philbrick gains credibility with me (not that he needed to) because astronomical and geological information he includes to add depth and detail to the Pilgrims' story jives with information I just read in A Short History of Nearly Everything. For instance, Philbrick says that the Pilgrims saw a comet in 1618, and I remember reading about it in the Bryson book, although I need to look it up to remember the details. Also, when we read about the Pilgrims' first winter in Massachusetts, we always read about how cold and harsh it was. Well, it really was colder and harsher than winters there now because they were in the middle of a mini ice-age until about the early 19th century, I think. Again, I remember reading about the mini ice-age in the Bryson book. It's so fun to be able to connect books like this.

So I'll continue reading and give my opinion at the end, and at the Thanksgiving table, too, I'm sure. (We'll have an Englishman there, too. My sister's new boyfriend is from Brighton.)

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3 Comments:

Blogger BettyBetty said...

How cool does that book sound? I love that stuff especially since my ancestors date back to 1635 in Massachusetts. So now I have to add that one to the list.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Camille said...

Oh wow, that's so cool. Did they go straight to Boston? Because it seems like that's where most people were starting to settle at about that time and then branching out around Massachusetts. I know both sets of my great-grandparents and one grandfather all came from Europe and the UK so we're recent, but my husband's family must have been in America for centuries, so I'd really like to research them. I already started, but then quit. Maybe I'll take that up again. Yet more dabbling to be done!

7:32 AM  
Blogger BettyBetty said...

Yeah that is big time dabbling as you well know. That is where I am stuck. I have records for my ancestor being in the Charlestown area--actually Rumney Marsh--he settled estates-- but I don't know how he entered America since I can't find the ship. I am assuming Boston since that was an obvious port of entry. He has to be my immigrant ancestor since it was so early. I have ancestors buried in Bunker Hill and the Granary Buriel Ground in Boston. Once Mass and Maine separated they all headed to Maine. The vast majority of them in the Presque Isle area.

10:34 PM  

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