Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mitford on Italian Men

Do any of you enjoy the Mitford books? I started reading this series by Jan Karon about the time my oldest started school. The only reason I remember that is because I kept seeing them in the homeschool catalogs I was frequently perusing at the time. One of them referred to Karon's books as candy reading for tired homeschool moms.

At some point I ended up purchasing the first one, At Home in Mitford. I really enjoyed it, but was too cheap to buy the rest. I have read some of them from the library. For some reason, I never did finish the series. But because I really do like them, I've decided to start over and reread the ones I had previously read and go on to finish the series.

Ah, what comfort reading! I have not ever read one of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books, but When I think of what kind of things are just a pleasure to read, reading which brings me solace in some way or another, these books fit the bill. They are set in an old-fashioned community, a small town with an intact main street. The characters are colorfully drawn and for the most part, the kind of people you would want as neighbors. There is always some mystery or difficulty the main character, Episcopalian rector, Father Tim, has to surmount. There is humor in how the characters address each other's idiosyncrasies. And there is a love story which evolves throughout the series. But it is a good clean love story.

In the second book, A Light in the Window, Father Tim is in a pickle about his hair. While he is a faithful customer of the local barber, there comes a time when he really needs a haircut but barber Joe Ivey has his closed sign up. So Father Tim is forced to try out the services of the new "unisex" hairdresser in town. As it happens, hairdresser, Fancy Skinner, has had too much caffeine that morning, so is extra chatty. Here is one of the ramblings by which Father Tim is entertained while getting his hair trimmed.

Well! What do you think? See how it slenderizes your face? You ought to let me give you a mask sometime. No, I mean it. Men in Los Angelees (sic) and New York do it all the time. It cleans out your pores. Oh, and Italians, they do masks. They even carry handbags, did you know that? Italian men are different. My girlfriend used to date an Italian. He was so macho, you wouldn't believe it. How can you be macho and carry a handbag, I wonder? I don't have the slightest idea.
Since I am a diehard Stephanie Plum fan, I couldn't help wondering if Morelli carries a handbag and gets his face masked. Italian Americans must be exempt from that.

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