We were ready for a lake adventure last Sunday. It was a beautiful day, neither too cool nor too sunny. We had visited Dale Hollow Lake State Park a few weeks before for a hike overlooking the lake and knew that we wanted to explore it more on a boat. As the lake lies on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, one can traverse the state line to go back and forth between these two states while floating on this enormous, enclosed body of water.
Last Sunday afforded me a satisfying morning because I finally finished a condensed biographical novel about John and Abigail Adams by Irving Stone called “Those Who Love.” He is considered the father of the genre of biographical novel. I first knew about this author and his works through my condensed book about Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln called “Love Is Eternal.” Weaving into the story about the relationship between Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln is the historical narrative of the American Civil War. Interlacing with the events in the courtship and marriage between John and Abigail Adams are historical accounts of the Revolutionary War and of the formation of the new Republic as well as the ordeals of its founding members. I greatly enjoy learning about history in this manner. Irving Stone also wrote biographical novels about Andrew and Rachel Jackson, Vincent van Gogh, and Michelangelo. His novel about Michelangelo won him an award of merit from the Republic of Italy.
I had David read the book’s epilogue about the Adams which gives a glimpse of his integrity, moral convictions and political ideals as well as New England’s puritan characteristics and way of life at the time. Afterwards, at breakfast, we discussed how much the way of life in this country has changed since then because of World War II, commercial success and industrialization. We also talked about how the politics of this day still resembles the political struggles of those who founded the principles of the new American republic back then. It was certainly interesting for me to learn that at the time of John Adams’ vice-presidency, Vermont was a new territory and Kentucky was not even a state. In American politics since the day of its birth, issues such as taxation, individual legal rights and state rights have always been hotbeds of contention.
After finishing this condensed book for my independent reading, I was free to move on to my next two books for book clubs. For Learner’s book club, I am supposed to read An American Childhood by Annie Dillard, one of my most beloved authors. This non-fiction is about her childhood in Pittsburg in the 1950s. For Classics book club, we are reading Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, a satirical novel about 19th-century England. Both have been a tremendous joy to engage in. Annie Dillard writes her proses spellbindingly — magically even– like a wizard, and Vanity Fair has been such rollicking fun!
At Dale Hollow Lake, David and I took turns driving the boat. We explored this vast, magnificent lake for many hours. We stopped the boat at one point for the boys to swim and for me to lay there and read Vanity Fair.
We hope everyone enjoys the deep blue sky, wonderful weather and beautiful colors of Autumn, my favorite season.