The Godfather

“A man who is not a father to his children can never be a real man.”

One of the many quotes attributed to the man to whom the title’s moniker refers, Mario Puzo’s ‘The Godfather’ depicts his protagonist as in possession of a fierce familial loyalty – often in conjunction with elements of ruthless cunning and ugly violence that too make up his character. For those familiar with the story, be it through the novel or the biopic released three years later, each element is as integral to the tale as the other. Though the concurrent existence of such antithetical sentiments in one man may seem contradictory – who could possibly approve of robbing another family of a loved one when they value their own so dearly? – through Puzo, the Don’s motives have always been clear: protecting and providing for his family in the perceived absence of America doing the same.

Is it this concept that secured the franchise’s place in both popular culture and cinematic history?

(Spoilers within.)

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Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

“Now, if the enumeration of so many edifices, brief as we have tried to be, has not shattered in the reader’s mind the general image of old Paris as fast as we have endeavored to construct it, we will recapitulate it in a few words.

Have you ever read a book that’s changed you in some way? I talk not of powerful biographies, or religious scripture here, though admittedly both have the potential to evoke great personal change, but the humble novel. Perhaps it’s a stupid question. Most people, after all, would answer yes; literature carries with it that special sort of magic which, on its smallest scale, can move a reader from apathy, to elation, to abject grief, and to all manner of sentiment in between. Some pieces go further than just triggering a cascade of changing emotion through their course, and have the added ability to elicit a change in outlook by their close as well.

But what about challenging the type of reader you are though, and changing the way it is you read?

(Part discussion, part book review. Spoilers within.)

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Poetry’s Echo

“I love life; I love each day, // I love when sunlight starts to stray // Through swaying trees, then pirouettes // Enhancing dancing silhouettes.”

I first encountered JM Robertson’s poetry a little over ten years ago, when I found myself in possession of his book ‘Words of an Edinburgh Lad’. It was, amongst others, and in particular, his poem entitled ‘I Love Life’ that somehow made a home amongst the clutter of a teenage mind, vivid imagery determined to remain unforgotten despite the years that went by.

What was it about Robertson’s poetry that made it more arresting than its prosaic counterpart?

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A Personal Tale of Bibliophilia

“I am simply a ‘book drunkard’. Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.”

Never has a truer word been said about a bibliophile and their relationship with books than these by Canadian author L.M. Montgomery (for those of you trying to place her, Montgomery’s rise to literary stardom began with the publication of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ in 1908).

How many of us have told ourselves we’ll stop after one more page, before somehow managing to reach the end of the chapter? And how many have promised the same for one chapter but have gone on to finish the entire book, sleep be damned? I know I for one fit into both camps, and it is that ‘irresistible temptation’ that is to blame.

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