Thursday, December 19, 2013

Two for the New Year

Ray Stannard Baker
AKA David Grayson

I am on the verge of finishing three books-in-progress before the year's end: Cross Creek by Majorie Kinnan Rawlings; What's the Worst That Could Happen? (ninth in the Dortmunder series) by Donald Westlake; and The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith, the latest in his No. One Ladies' Detective Agency series. 

I am hoping to start with a clean slate as I just bought The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin and One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson. 

I recently watched an interview with Ms. Goodwin from 
C-SPAN's Q & A program archives which introduced me to her
latest book. (You can watch it here.What caught my attention was the fact that one of the journalists featured in the book is Ray Stannard Baker who wrote for McClure's magazine, the muckraking monthly, along with Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Ray Stannard Baker (1870-1946) is better known to me as David Grayson, the name he used when he wrote a series of books that have found their way onto my bookshelves through discovery at used book stores. These include Adventures in Solitude (1932), Adventures in Friendship (1910), and Adventures in Contentment (1907). I wrote about Mr. Baker/Grayson and these books here.

The Bully Pulpit is a huge, 900-plus page book and Mr. Bryson's One Summer runs over 500 pages. I am making quite a commitment here with these two books and one I hope I can keep. If I read just four pages a day, I will be finished with both by the end of 2014.


  1. I am anxious to read Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest, Belle, and will interested in your thoughts on "The Bully Pulpit . . . ". I, too, watched the C-Span interview, and she has, of course, been making the circuit promoting this. I'm a great admirer of her.

    1. I actually have never read anything by Ms. Goodwin although I have seen many interviews with her and find her to be a fascinating woman. I have a copy of her "Wait Till Next Year" about her love affair with the Boston Red Sox. It was a gift. As I am a huge Yankees fan I just haven't been able to bring myself to read it.

  2. Good luck!! The longest book I read all year was only 703 pages...and I spent ALL year reading it. Hope you finish up these before the end of the year. Happy Reading!

    1. Lark, I have a feeling it will take be all of next year to begin and finish these two books. And I also want to read David McCullough's "Truman" which will add another almost 1000 pages. I am not sure I am up to this!