*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"No. I am your father . . ."
Chip, my loyal manservant, and I had just returned from the gaming halls of Monaco to find your latest parcel perched near our security fence at the villa. Chip shlepped the box inside and cracked open a bottle of 1978 Romanee-Conti Grand Cru before perusing its contents. Chip, surprisingly, made an astute observation about your title selection. He declared, "Guv'ner, there is a Father's Day theme attached to your former ward's presents."
His comment, of course, sent me to reminiscing about The Colonel, my own father. You know most of his story; he was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium who had low-grade narcolepsy. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the exclamation mark. When I was insolent, I would be placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. It was tough love. At the Battle of Shiloh, he saved Ulysses S. Grant from a stray bullet, and subsequently received a battlefield commission as a colonel on the spot.
But enough about my idiosyncratic past, so on to the books! The first one is Because I Am Your Dad (9781423147749) 15.99 by Ahmet Zappa, who I believe is one of those rock 'n' roll hooligans. It's a kid's book, so I suspect you were being ironic or you simply wanted us to share this one with the street urchins of Napoli. I was a bit flummoxed by Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat (9780385349079). If I had ever said that to The Colonel, it would have been a quick, "And back in the burlap sack with you!" And quite possibly, also for good measure, he would have tossed in a viper or two.
Chip is a bit of a fan of the thriller, English or otherwise, so he was extremely excited to see I Am Pilgrim (9781439177723) 26.99 by Terry Hayes. Although the author is Swiss, I know this title has been getting a lot of 'buzz' in the trades. I have nothing against the Swiss. They do make exemplary watches, passable chocolate, and I am fond of the occasional Ricola candy, but name one good Swiss author . . . I'll wait. (Editor's note: Terry Hayes is English-born.)
Your last choice hit a little closer to home. Earl Swift's Auto Biography (9780062282668) 26.99, which is about the 13 owners of a '57 Chevy, but primarily the most recent owner, who appears to be a bit of a cad. He may own a car I tried to restore in the 1970s. Every morning I would put on my dungarees, walk out to my 14 car garage, and work on the 'beast' for a couple of hours. It was good for the soul. Thank you for your care package.
Charles Edmund Wilson III
Odds & Sods
Maya Angelou passed away at the age of 86. Working in the book business for most of my adult life, it appeared as if she had been around forever, and for some strange reason I just figured she'd be cranking them out long after I'd gone. She just seemed, well, timeless. Her best known title, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (9780345514400) 6.99 will be read for generations to come. Maya made the world a better place and she will remain an icon . . .
Tom Powers' Michigan State and National Parks: A Complete Guide 5th Edition (9781933272436) 15.95 is finally here and I think it qualifies as a potential Father Day gift if he likes to camp. This title is a prerequisite for any Michigan bookstore . . .