03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Life in Books

For me, it is almost impossible to imagine a life without books. I grew up with books all around -- books lining the walls of the living room, books in boxes because there weren't enough walls, books before bedtime and books given as gifts on every occasion. My father is a writer, just like his father and his father's mother, Dorothy Kunhardt, who changed the way people thought about children's books when she wrote Pat the Bunny during the Depression. My life is seeped in writing just from living with this sort of family: the smell of my grandparents' house is, in my mind, the scent of musty old books; when other kids brought our teachers cookies or gift cards at Christmas, I always lugged a copy of my dad's heavy book on Lincoln to present to them.

So it's not surprising that everything that I do in life ends up having something to do with books, whether I mean it or not. I became an English major in college when I chose not to take an English class my first semester, and couldn't stand the hole in my life where literature had been. I've never really been able to imagine myself in a job that didn't have something to do with books, which is how I ended up as the HuffPost Books Intern.

Tied up in this life of books is Abraham Lincoln. Somehow, he works his way into everything my family does, informs our ways of thinking, is always in the background. High school friends who came over to my house alerted me to the fact that it's a bit unusual to have a portrait of Lincoln above our fireplace, where other households have family pictures or works of art. He shows up everywhere, in part because of an extensive family photograph collection, and in part because he is one of the family's favorite writing subjects.

My dad, Philip Kunhardt, along with Peter Kunhardt and Peter Kunhardt Jr., my uncle and cousin (seriously, it's a family thing), has a new Lincoln book out on November 3 called Lincoln, Life-Size. Because I'm all about supporting my family, and because the book is wonderful, and because we've been spending all this time encouraging authors to get the word out about their books via blogs and other online venues, it seemed like this would be a good time to introduce myself and tell you a little about it. Lincoln, Life-Size is their third Lincoln book, following 1992's Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography and, more recently, 2008's Looking for Lincoln. Like their other books, this one is a totally new way to think about a popular subject (and popular Lincoln is -- just read Tom Alderman's advice about the surefire bestseller, Lincoln's Doctor's Dog). The book features pictures of Lincoln's face enlarged so that they are the actual size of his head, revealing all sorts of strange insights into his inner life. You can watch a video that shows some of the more extraordinary examples below.

I don't really know what the future holds for me, but I have a feeling that I won't ever be able to escape the pull of the book world and the "family business," and that works for me. I also know that I'll be at the party when Lincoln, Life-Size launches, cheering on my family and maybe planning for the next meeting of my cousins' and my new book club.


You can get Lincoln, Life-Size online at Amazon or IndieBound.

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