SHARING GOOD TIMES
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.