A Cold Mountain for Varina Howell Davis

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matthew mckeon

Retired Moderator
Oct 3, 2005
Today's Boston Globe had a short interview with Charles Frazier. He's working on a new book centered on Varina Howell Davis. He's cagey about it, saying only that he had to do a lot of research. He found a request for books by Varina to the Library of Congress, including Confessions of an English Opium Eater. She sometimes read to Davis when he wasn't feeling well.

Frazier admits he's getting leery of reading books "with a certain heft" They have to be worth while for him to invest the time. "I always could reread Anna Karenina. I know I like that."

He had some interesting recommendations for readers we well.


Banished Forever
-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
Aug 17, 2011
Birmingham, Alabama
Interesting. Got a link?

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater - Wikipedia

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) is an autobiographical account written by Thomas De Quincey, about his laudanum addiction and its effect on his life.​

Jefferson Davis had some painful afflictions.

I found this.
Opium in the Civil War - The 4th US Civil War Association
The women of the Jefferson Davis family, treated by a Dr., liberal in his dosages, became dangerously addicted." Most people using opiates did not become addicted. Confederate society figure Mary Chestnut, writing in her diary in Richmond, Virginia, during July 1861, told of her refusal to take laudanum, a tincture of opium​

O' Be Joyful

Sergeant Major
Interesting. Got a link?

FRAZIER: I’ve just started “In a Lonely Place” by Dorothy B. Hughes. The Humphrey Bogart movie is based on it. It’s got that Raymond Chandler feel to the writing.

BOOKS: Do you read a lot of noir?

FRAZIER: Yeah. I love Raymond Chandler and other writers like James M. Cain. My favorite first line of a book is from his “The Postman Always Rings Twice”: “They threw me off the hay truck about noon.” That’s a lot better than “Call me Ishmael.” :smile:
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