Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders

There has been a lot of discussion about this story, with people either loving it, or hating it. I myself seem to be stuck somewhere in the middle. I loved the story, and the whole idea of it, but the way it was written made it a difficult read for me. There are spoilers below, which I normally try to avoid, but they are necessary in this instance.



Lincoln in the Bardo Cover image
cover image property of 

The premise of the story takes place on the night of young Willie Lincoln’s death, and the subsequent days that followed. Unable to bear the loss of his son, President Lincoln visits the crypt where Willie has been placed; several times.

The President is unaware that in this cemetery are many souls who have chosen to not move on, including his son. Only one of these souls is aware that they are all truly dead, while the others are all waiting for their loved ones to come back to get them, believing they are only sick. This place where the souls are lingering is what is known as the bardo.

The initial visit of the President has the others all hopeful that their loved ones will indeed come back for them.

The reason I had a hard time reading this story is the way the chapters are written. I literally was over two chapters in before I had any idea what was going on. The first chapter was of conversations between souls stuck in the bardo. I had no idea this is what I was reading. An example is below. Hans and Roger are lost souls, and I thought I was reading a normal conversation between two persons, such as you would read in any other story. I had no idea they were dead.


The other chapters in between were all cited excerpts from many, many sources of stories that had been written concerning the Lincolns, the night Willie died, and the party that was taking place down stairs. The Lincoln’s had been assured Willie was indeed on the mend, so President Lincoln opted to not withdraw the hundreds of invitations to the dinner that had been sent out. Below is what these chapters look like. (I apologize for the blurriness of this page, I could not get a sharp photo for some reason, although I took it right after the photo above 😦 )


As you can see (I hope!) after each excerpt is the source of what book, newspaper, conversation, or diary the information came from. I hate to admit, but I am the type of reader who cannot skip over reading something, so I found myself reading Every. Single. Citation. After a few chapters of this, I just let it go and ignored all the rest of the citations. If I hadn’t, I never would have gotten through it.

I loved the story, the true emotions expressed by not only what the President was going through as he continued to visit and hold his deceased son, but the emotions of those souls stuck in the bardo. The felt hope that their loved ones would also finally come for them, fear in moving on as happened to very few throughout the story, and the final realization that they were indeed dead.

I am curious as to what anyone else who has read this story thought! Did you realize right from the beginning what you were reading, or were you confused like I was?

What I’m Reading…

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders.

It took me two short chapters to get what was going on, and although I love the storyline; I am still trying to get my bearings.

Much of this book is written using excerpts from other books, and the rest is the various persons stuck in the “bardo”, including Willie Lincoln who died at 11 years old.

I will post a full review when I finish; and those of you who have followed me know I love everything Abraham Lincoln. I read a great review of this book: now I just need to get my feet under it.

And honestly; I am questioning why I haven’t written my own Lincoln book yet.

Have you read this, and what did you think?

The Lincoln Conspiracy – Timothy L. O’Brien

I found this book while I was wandering up and down the aisles of my library looking for a different book. Most of you probably know I am a HUGE Lincoln fan (I may have a problem!), so I always like to read books that revolve around him, his family, or his presidency.

The Lincoln COnspiracy Cover Image 1

This one did not disappoint. Temple McFadden is a Detective in Washington D.C., and happens to find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. From the beginning to the end, Temple, his wife Fiona, and their friend Augustus are doing everything in their power to protect two diaries. One is Mrs. Lincoln’s; the other belonged John Wilkes Booth.

They have assistance from some other friends, are double crossed, and every day seems to bring a new battle. It is believed that both diaries contain information on the possible real reason Mr. Lincoln was assassinated. Many want to see the diaries destroyed, in order to protect themselves and their business interests.

I always try to avoid spoilers at-all-costs, so I will have to leave this review here. If you enjoy history, this book is a must-read!

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum – Part II

So I promised to let you know the thing that moved me the most on my whole vacation. There were so many things that were emotional for me, including seeing Lincoln’s Tomb, and touring the replica of his Funeral train. But I have to say the museum has some of the best, most realistic displays I have ever seen. And when I walked around the corner after seeing a sign for the Ford Theater, it felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I literally had to take a minute and compose myself, take a couple deep breaths, and tell myself I could get through this.

You would not expect something about a person you never met, and an event that happened 150 years ago, could personally affect you. It certainly did for me.

It seems innocent enough
It seems innocent enough
The realistic details on not only the settings but on the people is unbelievable. This is what I saw immediately after walking past the sign, and I lost my breath.
The realistic details on not only the settings but on the people is unbelievable. This is what I saw immediately after walking past the sign, and I lost my breath.

President and Mrs. Lincoln; Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris were their guests.

President and Mrs. Lincoln; Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris were their guests.
President and Mrs. Lincoln; Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris were their guests.
It only takes a second for everything to change.
It only takes a second for everything to change.
President Lincoln lying in State.
President Lincoln lying in State.

The Lincoln Museum and Library

Another wonderful day in Springfield. Being a research library, there was not much to see 😦 The museum, however, was amazing!

I was so emotionally moved by the displays here, it is definitely something everyone should experience once in their lives. It will be more than once for me, because I will be back!

Tomorrow, a post about what moved me the most in this museum.

Some of the amazing displays:

Abe courting Mary Todd
Abe courting Mary Todd
One of many debates
One of many debates
Mary being helped getting ready for an event
Mary being helped getting ready for an event
Saying goodbye to your child
Saying goodbye to your child
A Mother's love; a Mother's sorrow :-(
A Mother’s love; a Mother’s sorrow 😦

Day One of my Crazy Busy Weekend!

Daughter #2 has her prom tonight, and I know she is going to have a great time!

Kendall Junior Prom 4-24-2015 022

Daughter #1 is graduating from college tomorrow; Grand Valley State University, anyone? So another busy day.

And daughter #3 was supposed to be getting confirmed at our church on Sunday, but that seemed to have fell through (much of the fault is mine and my daughter’s), but the lack of communication has me really, REALLY upset.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library 1

So, as I get through this weekend, and then 2 and a 1/2 days of work next week, I am packing up 3 of my 4 girls, and heading to the land of Lincoln! So beyond excited to get to be a part of the Lincoln Funeral Train, and I will definitely be keeping you all updated. (If it bores you, just ignore me for a few days!)

I have 2 dinner tickets for next Saturday night to meet the man who has been building this train for several years, and be one of the first people to actually go inside the train!

Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train 2015 map-from-brochure

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

For those of you who may not know, I am a huge fan of Abraham Lincoln. Okay; slightly obsessed, but in a good way! I could not give you any one specific reason why this is, it just is. I have adored him for as far back as I can remember; meaning, I did a speech about him in kindergarten or first grade! I think one of the things I admire about him more than anything was his quick wit, and ability to reply to any comment or question with a brilliant quip; many of which are still repeated today. I will be making my first ever visit to this library, as well as Lincoln’s Tomb, and so many other historical sites, in three months!

I have 3 months until I will be here!
I have less than 3 months until I will be here!

At 98,000 square feet, this library holds over 12 million books and publications. 47,000 of these are part of the Lincoln Collection, and is the largest collection of artifacts for Lincoln in the world. The library also holds numerous documents and artifacts for all things Illinois. I have a feeling when I step foot in that library, I am going to be telling someone to ship all my clothes, and my cat, because I will not want to leave!

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library 2

The library contains what is called the “Whispering Gallery”; a dark, crooked hallway full of pictures and actual political cartoons and articles demonstrating the difficulty and hatred that the Lincoln’s faced both during his elections and his terms. While walking through, you hear whispering of actual things that were said to Mr. Lincoln throughout his political career.

Abraham Lincoln whisperinggallery2

2015 is the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and my boyfriend, my children, and I will be in Springfield, Illinois for “The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train”. They are currently constructing a replica of the Lincoln funeral train, which will be travelling from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. Obviously there will be some detours and reroutes happening due to the limitation of the railroad system compared to the 1860’s, but it is making several stops in major cities along the way, identical to the original route of President Lincoln’s funeral procession.

2015 Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train Brochure Map
2015 Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train Brochure Map

To learn more about this remarkable undertaking and event, visit the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train website here:

I am beyond excited to be a part of this amazing event, and I know it is an experience I will never forget.

You can visit the Presidential Library website here:

Better Than I Hoped, and Not What I Expected

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Book Cover

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter – Seth Grahame-Smith

Being a huge fan of all things Abraham Lincoln, I was a little worried when I first picked up this book that it was just going to be horrible, and ruin my penchant for Abe forever. Boy was I wrong!

Even persons vaguely familiar with Abraham Lincoln are likely aware of the love he had for his mother. Her passing was devastating to the young Abe, and although he loved his step-mother very deeply, no one could fill that void.

That is where this journey begins. It begins with Abe finding out a vampire is responsible for his mother’s death. He discovers a vampire colony that is responsible for numerous unsolved deaths. And then he meets Henry Sturges. Vampire extraordinaire, Henry has the same goal as Abe. Henry teaches Abraham the ins-and-outs of vampires, and Abe is a willing student.

What did the vampires have to do with the Civil War and the reshaping of our nation? More than you would ever believe. This story is told from the 3rd person perspective, with the journal entries of Abraham Lincoln dispersed throughout.

We all know who won the war, and what became of Abe, so I will not spoil the story any more. But if you like history, Abraham Lincoln, or vampires, you definitely need to read this book!

Another Abraham Lincoln Book I Need to Read! (Oooops)

Another Abraham Lincoln Book I Need to Read!

Boy did I goof. I know that Sarah Bush was Abe’s Step-Mother, and Nancy Hank was his birth mother. Hence, my post below is completely incorrect; although Abe did love his mother very much (and his step-mother) and I think I am going to read this book regardless. It is fairly small so although it smells like old books tend to, it should be a quick read. I apologize for my inaccurate information!

This book is about Mr. Lincoln and the relationship he had with his Step-Mother, whom he grew to love very dearly. He had a difficult time when his Mother passed away.