"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, hether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"Dearest Mick--
--Gandhi, Non-Violence in Peace and War
Chip, my manservant, was just wheeling me out the door to catch Richard Branson's personal spaceship when your package arrived via the parcel post. Chip was planning on piloting my helicopter to Roma since the runways in Napoli are much too short to accommondate SpaceShipTwo. Its arrival was actually very timely. I find Richard's bombastic narcissism to be tedious at best. I know some affluent friends find hunting homeless people on a deserted sub-tropical island extremely exhilarating, but with my limited mobility-- it has become quite a chore.
So instead, I had Chip crack open a bottle of 1792 Madeira and we sat down to explore your latest care package. I see my good friend Caroline Kennedy has constructed a new collection of poems called Poems to Learn by Heart (9781423108054) 19.99. I commented to Chip, "Hasn't she already done this book a couple of times already?" Chip nodded, but he noted that April is National Poetry MonthTM. I may not have mentioned to you that I was a frequent visitor to both the White House and Hyannisport when her father was President. Now those were some rollicking parties! You have not lived until you have seen a very intoxicated Robert McNamara stumbling around with a 'Kick Me' sign on his back and a lampshade on his head.
I was pleased to see the new reprint of Gloria Whelan's Farewell to the Island (9781882376926) 8.95, which features a new cover, in Chip's hands. This title is the second in the series, which began with Once on This Island (9780064406192) 6.99, and unfortunately, the concluding volume in the trilogy, Return to the Island (9780064407618) 6.99 is now out of print. Not only did I teach Gloria in one of my classes at the University of Michigan, but in the time period of these books, my paternal grandfather was a fur trapper in northern Michigan. In those days he was known as Wolverine Wilson, and he was so successful that he became the original owner of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
I was also pleased as punch to see that another of my students, Joyce Carol Oates, who would later teach at the University of Detroit with me, has just released her gothic masterwork The Accursed (9780062231703) 27.99. In fact, during the ongoing spat between Upton Sinclair and Jack London featured in the book, I make a cameo appearance. Stephen King has just given it a smashing review in a recent New York Times Book Review. I am so glad that you sent this one; Chip will be reading it to me tonight.
Charles Edmund Wilson III
Odds & Sods
Jonathan Rand may be laid up, but this has given him an opportunity to write. We have received American Chiller #37: The Underground Undead of Utah (9781893699557) 5.99. You better order your copies before they all get eaten . . .
It's only April and I think I've already found my favourite book title of the year. How can you resist Amy Stewart's The Drunken Botanist (9781616200466) 19.95? And I will leave it at that . . .
We've been having a run of Michael Moss' Salt Sugar Fat (9781400069804) 28.00. I would recommend that you keep an eye on this one . . .