June, 2013: Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

(Book #38) My daughter Frances helped me host this event and we invited the girls to her apartment rather than my home. They all took a peak at the nursery and then those naughty girls staged an impromptu shower for Frances, using the book’s theme of vacation.  They packed a suitcase full of baby travel items!  Susan gave him a stuffed animal from the zoo!

The menu was a combination of some of the favorite dishes of our assassinated presidents in a red, white and blue setting.

Both Geri and Melissa commented that the book was difficult to read at times because of the abundance of facts (we’re used to fiction) co-incidences and I understand that, but it is also what I love about the book. I love Vowell’s writing style and the overlap of details. We talked about monuments, and we were horrified that the T. McVeigh t-shirt sold out. We discussed whether we thought Mudd was an intentional participant and we had to raise our hands if this is where we learned the reference “Your name is Mudd.”  Geri read a favorite moment when Sarah makes fun of anyone preparing her for entering and embalming museum:

The Museum of Funeral Customs is on the edge of Oak Ridge Cemetery, a five-minute walk from the tomb.  Supposedly the fellow who swoops over to greet me is the museum director, but he speaks in the hushed low voice of a funeral director.  He warns me about “the sensitive nature of our exhibits.”

Please.  I actually giggle when he tries to steel me for seeing the re-created 1920s embalming room, as if I’m not wearing Bela Lugosi hair clips; as if I didn’t just buy a book for my nephew called Frankenstein and Dracula Are Friends; as if I was never nicknamed Wednesday (as in Addams); as if in eighth-grade English class, assigned to act out a scene from a biography, when all the other girls had chosen Queen Elizabeth or Anne Frank, I hadn’t picked Al Capone and staged the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre with toy machine guns and wadded-up red construction paper thrown everywhere to signify blood; as if I’m not the kind of person who would visit the freaking Museum of Funeral Customs in the first place.