Sunday Book Review, by Wacky Mommy, including… Obama: the Historic Journey; Paul Newman: A Life; The Mother-Daughter Book Club
“Whenever I do something good, right away I’ve got to do something bad, so I know I’m not going to pieces.” — Paul Newman
You know what my husband is doing right now? Vacuuming, cleaning the house (nervous energy, I suppose) and otherwise getting prepared for the hockey game that starts at 5. Finally it’s the real Stanley Cup playoffs. Since it is two Eastern teams — Detroit and Pittsburgh — GO PENS! — silly me. I thought we were still in the pre-pre-playoffs, like we have been since last September.
I’ve heard that some are still watching NBA games but no sir, not over here. With all this free time on my hands, I have been liberally drinking pinot grigio, vodka lemonades and mojitos, admiring the petunias and watching the children jet around. Where do they get the energy? It’s been so hot here. Also… reading. Reading, reading and reading.
“Paul Newman: A Life” (Harmony Books, $29.99, 490 pages), is one of the best biographies I’ve ever read in my life, and I’m not just saying that because I used to work with the author, Shawn Levy. (Not the director, the writer.) He was always a decent guy to work with, plus a good reporter and movie critic, to boot. He did an outstanding job on this book, go buy two copies — no, three. Because you’ll need one for yourself, one for your mom or auntie, and one for your girlfriend. Men, you’ll need three copies, too. Because you know you secretly wish you were Hud, or Brick, or Chance, or Butch, or the hottie (literally) from “The Towering Inferno.” So, chop-chop, already.
And speaking of chop-chop? You know what he loved? Salad dressing (you already knew that. Red wine vinegar, olive oil, herbs, garlic, onion and ground mustard seed) over a bowl of chopped celery, or perhaps over a nice Caesar with romaine hearts, homemade croutons and sliced tomatoes. And popcorn. Dishpan after dishpan of hot, delicious, freshly-popped popcorn.
Even though he drank (like a fish), smoked (like a chimney) and raced cars (like a madman), I am convinced that he lived into his 80s because of all the salad and popcorn. I will continue to drink, but I will eat more popcorn and veggies. Chop-chop.
My only wish is that there would have been more pictures in the book. Even though Mr. Levy included two generous spreads of photos, c’mon. He was Paul Newman. We needed three or four sections of photos. Sigh.
“Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.” — Joanne Woodward
And now… a little review for MotherTalk. The New York Times is just coming out with a Young Reader’s Edition of “Obama: The Historic Journey.” Oh, good. Lots of pix. (Maybe we need a Young Reader’s Edition of the Paul Newman book? Mmmm…) Great book — also available in an adult version. (Viking Children’s Books, $24.95, 94 pages.) My favorite quote:
The weekend before the inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama and his family had stopped to visit the Lincoln Memorial, studying the words carved into the marble. Considering his inaugural speech, ten-year-old Malia turned to her father and advised, “First African-American president. Better be good.”
My daughter and I are considering starting a mother-daughter book club at her school, so I turned to “The Mother-Daughter Book Club: How Ten Busy Mothers and Daughters Came Together to Talk, Laugh and Learn Through Their Love of Reading.” (HarperPerennial, $12.95, 296 pages.) (Tips include how to start your own club, reading lists and discussion guides.) We’re thinking “Twilight,” “Inkheart,” maybe an Edward Eager book, from the olden days? Any ideas?
And now, a funny YouTube clip of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward on “What’s My Line?”: