Jimmy Carter's books of homespun reminiscences are far more than Christmas glitter. Sharing Good Times celebrates the act of sharing not as a maudlin moment, but as a process of maturation. This unpretentious book has the warm familial feel of Carter's Christmas in Plains and An Hour Before Daylight.
Former president and Nobel laureate Carter has published several memoirs. His latest heartfelt effort tackles a somewhat abstract topic: how sharing affects the enjoyment of any activity. When he was a boy in Archery, Ga., Carter realized he had to share an experience (seeing puppies born, watching a rat die of poisoning, etc.) with his buddies before they could collectively understand its meaning. As Carter matured, relationships became more compartmentalized, and he learned to act independently. His early married years were the height of his unilateralism; when he decided to retire from the navy and move the family to Plains, Ga., he simply exercised his "dominance as a husband" and announced it to his wife, Rosalynn. Learning to treat Rosalynn and their children as "equal partners" didn't come easily for Carter; it was only after his election as Georgia's governor that he started sharing fully with his wife (although, with characteristic candor, he adds, "I have to admit... that on occasion, I long for the earlier days"). Sharing the planning, the doing and the evaluating of an activity-whether it's running for office, volunteering or taking family excursions-gives it more depth, more meaning, he says. Indeed, as Carter ages and contemplates becoming slightly less active, the pleasure he's found by simply watching his grandchildren's pleasure has been a whole new revelation. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. (Nov. 23) Forecast: Carter-lovers and even a few forlorn Mr. Rogers fans will want to add this literate fireside chat to their bookshelf. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A best-selling author, former President Carter, along with his family, shares life's ordinary pleasures. Read by the author; simultaneous with the S. & S. hardcover. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"What gives Sharing Good Times friction and depth is Carter's sometimes bracing understanding of his own flaws."
The New York Times
"Sharing Good Times is a wonderful holiday gift."
Larry King, Larry King Live
Read an Excerpt
In the past, I have written about history, political science, religion, the technique of negotiation, outdoor experiences, a novel about the Revolutionary War, a book of poetry, and a presidential memoir -- all fairly serious subjects. This book is about the more challenging, relaxing, and enjoyable experiences that I have known -- both at work and at play. I have described personal hobbies, excursions to exotic places, political campaigns, volunteer work, fishing, skiing, climbing mountains, baseball, family vacations, and simply relaxed days and nights with little to do except exchange memories and ideas with family and friends across the years and across generations.
Few of these adventures have been especially newsworthy, and I still enjoy some of them in solitude, but the main lesson I have struggled to learn is that the experiences are more deep and lasting sources of pleasure when they are shared with others.
It has not been easy for me to accept this fact. Perhaps like most other people, I have had to overcome a self-centered inclination to live on my own terms, sometimes obsessed with intense ambition, bringing others into the private recesses of my life only reluctantly. I've come to realize that even my loved ones and I could enjoy the same event without really sharing the essence of it, and that it takes a lot of effort to sense and accommodate the desires of others in a generous way. This lifetime of learning has paid rich dividends, for me and for those with whom I have learned to really share.
I hope that these personal experiences will prove to be a practical and inspirational guide to anyone desiring to stretch mind and heart, to combine work and pleasure, and to reach out to others.
Copyright © 2004 by Jimmy Carter.