Happy Martin Luther King Day and Inaugural Weekend! As I prepare to watch Barak Obama’s Inauguration with my family on Tuesday, I remember my parents letting my stay home from school on a January morning in 1977 to watch Jimmy Cater’s inauguration (after the inauguration, I went to school for afternoon classes :-)). This year I’m planning to watch the inauguration live in the morning and then again in the evening at a family party. So many historic moments only seem historic in retrospect, but this is undoubtedly a time to stop and remember (and, at least for me, a time to savor).

Last night, my cousin and I watched a movie that seemed particularly apropos on the weekend of the Martin Luther King holiday. Something the Lord Made, about breakthrough heart surgery at Johns Hopkins and the role played by a brilliant African American lab technician who never went to medical school but was probably a better surgeon than the doctor he collaborated with (both men made indelible contributions to medicine). Highly recommended as a film and a piece of history.

With history on the mind, I thought I would post a video clip about a very different sort of historical perspective, the historical context of Beneath a Silent Moon.

Do you like a sense of historical context in historical novels? Do you think the story of Beneath a Silent Moon is linked to the era in which it is set? How would the book be different if it was set in a different era? Do you think about historical context when reading? Any novels to mention in which historical context plays a particularly strong role?

Any special plans for inauguration day?

I just posted a new letter in the Fraser Correspondence–from Oliver Lydgate to Charles, commenting on a (real, historical) treat with Spain concerning the slave trade.