So today I went with my mother to the town of Fiesole, which overlooks Florence from the north side and is generally a cool place to drop things off of, if you're in the mood for that. It was lovely! My favorite part of the visit was the local monastery, apparently the one-time haunt of Saint Bernardino of Siena--looking him up now, he preached against "gambling, witchcraft, sodomy, and usury," so I'm not sure how many interests we have in common, but his cell was interesting. My mom and I went in and took a picture of ourselves standing in front of the horrible plank bed and I called it a CELLfie. And she said she would lock me in there, which was very cruel.
...okay, I'm severely out of practice with macroblogging, but let me try on a transition. The other thing about Fiesole is that, because it is very high up and you can see all the way down to the city, it reminded me of a favorite book I had not read in a very long time--Dr. Seuss's esteemed The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.
Which as you literati will know begins with a description of a view from a considerable summit. Not the point! The point is, after being reminded of that
, I began to reflect on the mystery that is my enormous affection for Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall
, not only as a feat of revisionism and prose styling, but as an object to drag around rereading constantly. I mean, I don't exactly have high standards for that category! I will reread anything. I have made countless treks through David Clement-Davies' masterwork of Christian wolf iconography, The Sight.
But still, Wolf Hall
is probably the one I've come back to most of recent reads, and it's definite comfort food at this point, I just find it soothing to nestle down into its luxurious descriptions of taxes and death. And today I also realized that it is basically a retelling of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
! Where the hats are "skillsets mastered in Italy," or "feelings of despair and a desire for vengeance against the cardinal's murderers," or "possible women for Henry to speed-date." You know?
I kind of like the last one because it captures the end-game love interest swap that occurs between Cromwell and Henry and Jane. The mental images, though, are a little precarious. (Bring Up The Bodies, subtitled: Bartholomew and the Adultery.)
WAIT. DON'T LEAVE. I have so many more absurd comparisons to get through. No, actually, the last thing I told myself I would talk about in this embarrassingly premeditated blog post, as I strolled down the Tuscan mountainside... well, it is a set
of absurd comparisons. Specifically, I've been thinking about this issue in fiction of Tradition Vs. Progress, or ( fate and free will. )