I blame Thomas Jefferson.
It’s probably the only time in my life I’ll get to say that–I’m no Aaron Burr, after all. But I do blame him. Him and his long-winded, sere, and scholarly biographer John Meacham. Because of them I will be unprepared for book club tonight. For, due to the great density, length and–let’s face it–arduousness of “The Art of Power,” Meacham’s new biography of TJ, I was unable to finish it in time to re-read the Cleopatra biography that my club will be discussing tonight. So, even though I have read the latter book before, and vaguely remember the plot of the Egyptian Queen’s life, I will remain mostly silent as others discuss with lively intensity the minute details of each chapter. When it comes to books I read four years–or even four months–ago, my memory makes a sieve look like an ironclad safe. If I can recall any specifics beyond Cleo’s affairs, her unusual nose, and some doubts about her snake-caused-suicide, it’ll be a miracle.
It wasn’t supposed to go like this. I got the Jefferson biography for Christmas. I should’ve been done with it weeks ago. But no. I have 75 pages to go. My brain is sapping out of my skull faster than water out of a leaking sippy cup. Motherhood does this to all of us. I, however, am clearly on the accelerated plan.
Having said all of that? There’s no way I’m canceling tonight. I don’t get out much. I’ll go, enjoy the excellent food, nod vaguely, encourage digressions, and look serious at the appropriate moments. Any incisive observations I’ll save for the next book. Whose name I can’t even remember. Something about the woods. Definitely no great historical figures involved, which might be a good thing. Their stories tend to run long.
For now? Back to Monitcello. I fear I will die there. Ah, for the temperate breezes of Alexandria!