Thursday, January 29, 2015


This was an interesting week. I’m pretty sure these two books are as opposite as you can find in terms of just about everything measurable. It made for a nice contrast. Cookie season is still upon us, so I can’t waste my weekend snuggled under the covers next to a roaring fire while the kids do, well, who cares, really, because I’d be warm and reading. Alas, responsible parenting is still required for yet one more weekend. So I ask you all, in my stead, to stay indoors and do what I want to do, while I stand outside and try not to freeze my bits off doing what my daughter wants me to do.

#14 – The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams
Recommended by: MF

I have never read this book. Somehow, it slipped through the cracks of my childhood and that of my own children. So the other night, I read it to my son. He sat next to me, entranced, listening to every word. He is still very much attached to his lovey and while reading the story, it made me think of all the stuffed rabbits, lambs, mice, and pigs that are now grey, tattered lumps with bits and bobs missing that have been so well loved that their gender, color, and even species have long since been rubbed away. It also made me think of Toy Story and how all those toys want is to be loved. I’m not sure what my son thought of it. He has a lovey of his own and while a blanket can really only ever be a blanket, for him, it has always been so much more. His blanket has always been Real.(As an aside, the person who recommended this is an old high school buddy, who back then, dressed in head to toe black. I'm amused that the hard outer shell hid a softy, gooey interior.) 

#15 – The Family – Mario Puzo
Recommended by: AR

For whatever reason, I am drawn to the history of the Borgia family. He was a 14th century pope who enjoyed women, wine, and using his three children as pawns in the game of politics. I can never get enough of them. This was pulp fiction at its finest. The author wrote The Godfather so he knows about families that deal in deceit and deception. Pope Alexander was not your modern religious leader. In fact, there is a hilarious section where the pope seeks to reform the church and is horrified, I mean, downright aghast, that anyone would even think of making the clergy give up their concubines. The nerve! I believe the logic was that if clergy can’t have wives, then surely they should have whores. “What joy will God feel if we feel none?” What a clever way to excuse overindulgence! This book is overwrought, overdramatic, and over the top in ways modern fiction isn’t – and while it takes a bit of getting used to as a reader, it does allow for some howlers of dialogue. 

For example,
“You have ripped the heart from my chest and severed a bond that was tied to the heavens.”

This great line was how Lucrezia Borgia yelled at her father (the pope) for allowing her brother (with whom she has an incestuous relationship) to murder her (second) husband. 

This is not serious literature; this is a paperback at its finest. There are lots of fiction and non-fiction books about the time of the Borgia’s and even a miniseries (which may well have been filmed in the 1400s, the lighting was so bad), but I say start with the classic interpretation as told by the master of family intrigue.

(While I am slightly worried that one of my darling SILs recommended this book, I will sleep well knowing that I never drink the wine anyway.) 

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