Monday, September 12, 2011

"The Greater Journey" by David McCullough

Just finished reading The Greater Journey by David McCullough... didn't finish the book, just finished reading close to half-way through.

I had high hopes for it after enjoying a great deal John Adams, Truman and 1776, but never found myself captivated in the same way by McCullough's latest effort. The experience of reading was similar to that I had with the Bill Bryson book At Home... really good author with a new book I was looking forward to reading, and then never could get into. Actually, an even closer comparison would be to another McCullough book that I didn't make it through, The Johnston Flood.

This notion of liking an author, but not having the same level of enthrall with everything they write was something I wrote about in a blog post in relation to a J.R. Moehringer GQ piece. For a reader to really get into a book or story, there has to be a combination of both interesting topic and good writing... with that writing then needing to hit the always elusive balance between sentiment, entertainment and information providing. It's a tough nut to try to crack and even the best writers don't do so every time for every reader... which is ok.

Keeping in mind that again... McCullough is a good writer and my not being into The Greater Journey doesn't make it a bad read, the New York Times book review by Stacy Schiff was a generally positive one (and I probably would have stuck with McCullough's book to conclusion were it not for so many others I want to read).