"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is than it is to buy them the whole world . . ."Dearest Mick--
It is so good to be home. Chip, my loyal manservant, and I had a horrible experience on your side of the pond before we left for Napoli. We were guests on a television show about books with two idiotic hosts named Droner Bill and Dummy D. I was so upset by their uncouth comments that I nearly had Chip unclip my microphone, throw it down in disgust, and wheel me off the stage without so much as a how-do-you-do. Truly wretched business.
In fact, their questions were so farcical that I never had a chance to expound on what I found to be some of the most disturbing trends in the book industry. First of all, I find titles with the F-word in them to have grown quite tiresome. Granted, it was clever the first time in Adam Mansbach's Go The F**k To Sleep (9781617750250) 14.95, but by the thirtieth title it is not that particularily amusing anymore. In my day, one would only hear sailors and football coaches use that kind of language on a regular basis.
The other trend I find abhorrent is the explosion of 'erotica' in the marketplace with the success of E.L James' Fifty Shades of Grey (9780345803481) 15.95. When I was your age, the only people advertising their own sexual proclivities were Masters & Johnson. And we liked it that way. But now you have books like Reflected In You (9780425263914) 15.00 by Sylvia Day pushing their own degenerate agendas for all the world to see. I am sure these books will sell once again for Valentines Day, but as Roman Consul Laenas once said to King Antiochus IV, "I am drawing a line in the sand." By gum, it is just common decency.
Chip and I were taking a break from trying on our matching dog and dog catcher costumes when your Christmas package arrived via the parcel post. I would like to thank you for your gift of wine; Chip assures me that our cats will enjoy it. Unfortunately, as a Liberal, you probably believe that Boones Farms' Country Kwencher is a good vintage. It is not. However, your choice of books for me was much better. I will enjoy Jared Diamond's The World Until Yesterday (9780670024810) 36.00. In the fifties, you may recall, I mentored Jared at Harvard. Also, I see my good friend W.E.B. Griffin has written a new book with his son called Empire and Honor (9780399160660) 27.95. I do love his spy books. You may not know that I worked with 'Wild Bill' Donovan at the OSS during WWII. Thank you again, Mick.
Charles Edmund Wilson III
Odds & Sods
Personally, I did get a couple of great titles for Christmas. On Bill Cusumano's recommendation, I asked my wife for David Potter's Constantine The Emperor (9780199755868) 34.95. I know, I can see your eyes glazing over even as I mention it, but it makes me happy and it really is safe to have around the house as long as you store it in a humid room, so it won't spontaneously combust due to its inherent dryness. The other book Santa brought me was Dan Wakefield's Kurt Vonnegut Letters (9780385343756) 35.00, which I must admit is a bit more fun. But then aren't all of Kurt's books -- except for Galapagos (9780385333870) 15.00. For some reason that one was tough sledding.