Personal Great Books · Reading

Completed: Silence

Cover: Silence by Shūsaku EndōSilence
Shūsaku Endō
Japan, 1966
William Johnston, translator
With a forward by Martin Scorsese
(Picador Modern Classics, New York, 2016)

Nearly the last book I finished in 2016, Silence was certainly among the most powerful I’ve read in the last few years. It is the story of two Portuguese Jesuit priests, desperate for word of their mentor and disbelieving that he could have apostatized, who sneak into 17th century Japan only to find a world vastly different from anything they have previously experienced. Told in the form of letters, 3rd person narrative, and diary entries, Silence is a powerful and thought-provoking investigation of faith and its testing.

I suppose I should simply cast from my mind these meaningless words of the coward; yet why does his plaintive voice pierce my breast with all the pain of a sharp needle? Why has Our Lord imposed this torture and this persecution on poor Japanese peasants? No, Kichijirō was trying to express something different, something even more sickening. The silence of God. Already twenty years have passed since the persecution broke out; the black soil of Japan has been filled with the lament of so many Christians; the red blood of priests has flowed profusely; the walls of the churches have fallen down; and in the face of this terrible and merciless sacrifice offered up to Him, God has remained silent. This was the problem that lay behind the plaintive question of Kichijirō. (Ch 4)

There are no easy answers here, and while it is clear that the Portuguese are out of their depth, tossed into a culture and mindset so different than that they have previously known and a persecution they were not truly prepared for, it also allows the reader to interrogate their own response: in the position of the priest or the Japanese Christian peasant would you act the same? What does it mean to renounce a belief outwardly but inwardly keep it; is this still an apostasy? Is there a penalty for faith hidden rather than professed? Endō does not tell us; in the end we are left to decide for ourselves.


Personal Great Books · Spanish Language Lit Month · The Classics Club

Completed: The President [El Señor Presidente]

Cover: The President by Miguel Angel AsturiasThe President [El Señor Presidente]
Miguel Ángel Asturias
(Guatemala, 1946)
Frances Partridge, translator

It’s been months since I read The President and yet I find it still lingers. Parts may be fuzzy and vague, but details still stay sharp—elements of the plot, of the natures of the characters. Even scenes that seemed but loosely tied to the main line of the story still clank around my head. It is a powerful novel.

Señor! Señor! Heaven and earth are full of your glory! The women felt the divine power of their Beloved Deity. The more important priests paid him homage. The lawyers imagined they were attending one of Alfonso el Sabio’s tournaments. The diplomats, excellencies from Tiflis perhaps, put on grand airs as if they were at the court of the Sun King at Versailles. Native and foreign journalists congratulated themselves on being in the presence of a second Pericles. Señor! Señor! Heaven and earth are full of your glory! The poets felt they were in Athens, so they announced to the world at large. A sculptor of saintly figures imagined he was Phidias, smiled, rubbed his hands and turned his eyes to heaven when he heard the cheering in the streets in honour of their eminent ruler. Señor! Señor! Heaven and earth are full of your glory! A composer of funeral marches, a devotee of Bacchus and also of religion, craned his tomato-coloured face from a window to see what was happening in the street. (Chapter XIV, “Let the Whole World Sing!”)

The titular President shows up but little directly—just a scene here or there—but his presence haunts every moment, every interaction. He is authoritarian, a tyrant, and the poisonous atmosphere his government engenders enables those beneath him to be just as cruel and petty and vindictive. It is such cruelty that sets the plot in motion, as a group of homeless taunt one of their own. His instability will lead to an unexpected murder, which event enables others of more power and position—seeking to consolidate wealth or favor or power—to go after personal enemies, dragging along many innocent citizens in their wake. But there is one ray of hope in the story, in an unexpected romance between a favorite advisor of The President and the daughter of one of The President’s political enemies. Indeed, while The President is an illustration of how fear and lust for power or influence makes monsters of men, it also offers us the redeeming power of love.

The President is a novel set in a county never named, but imagined by many to be author Miguel Ángel Asturias’ native Guatemala. Perhaps Asturias left his setting unnamed to keep distance between himself and the politics at home, but leaving the country anonymous allows the reader to imagine any number of possibilities. This tyranny by man is non-specific, it is possible anywhere, everywhere, in anyone.

Originally intended as a Spanish Lit Month/August Classics Club Spin read, The President counts for the Back the to Classics Challenge as a title which has “been banned or censored”—although written in the 1920s and 30s it was delayed from publication until 1946 by the censorship of the Guatemalan government. It is also on my Classics Club and Libros Españoles project lists.

Once Upon a Time · Personal Great Books · Reading · The Classics Club

Completed: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Cover: A Midsummer Night's Dream A Midsummer Night’s Dream
William Shakespeare
(c. 1594-1595, England)
Bantam Books, 1988
David Bevington, Ed.

Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Puck, 3.2.114-115

My overwhelming impression of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, having finished it just in time for the start of summer (it’s taken me a bit extra time to write about), was that it is absolutely delightful! I don’t think I’ve ever thought that word, “delightful,” in connection with the works of Shakespeare before–there are plays I’ve enjoyed, adaptations I’ve revisited many times, but none I’ve experienced before this have provided for me quite the wonderful impression of magic and fairy tale that this one brings.

No doubt this is largely due to the plot thread involving Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the fairies. They are feuding, and in spite, Oberon decides to use a potion to cause Titania to fall in love with the first creature she sees–no matter what it may be. But he also decides to play Cupid for two pairs of young Athenians–Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius–that their loves woes  may be solved (at play’s start, both young men are in love with Hermia, though she loves Lysander and Helena loves Demetrius). Of course it doesn’t quite go to plan when his mischievous accomplice, Puck, applies the potion to the wrong young man. On the other hand, Oberon couldn’t be happier with the results with Titania–the first creature she should see on waking may be a man, but a fool of a man, Nick Bottom, whom Puck has only too appropriately just provided with an ass’s head.

Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgement taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.

[Helena, 1.1.232-239]

Interwoven with all this are the threads of the marriage of King Theseus of Athens with Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, and the theatrical production that a small group of local laborers–Bottom among them–wishes to put on as part of the wedding celebrations. The wedding story serves primarily as a framing device for the rest of the action–it is with this background that the young Athenians flee (or chase) into the forest, and it is later at the wedding celebrations that the “tedious brief scene of young Pyramus/And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth” (5.1.56-57) is performed by our hapless players. I do feel in part that these last scenes, all of Act 5, feel out of place compared to the magic of the middle section. But on the other hand, as I watched the 1999 adaptation some days later (Michael Hoffman, dir.), this was the portion of the play that was most laugh out loud funny; the full effect of the haplessness of the amateur players is best seen rather than read. That does seem to be often the case with Shakespeare – I read the play, understand it, but finish feeling I still want more. At least with A Midsummer Night’s Dream it was not just a production that I wanted to see–but to experience more of the magic and delight that the forest provided. Thank goodness, there are always plenty of bookish solutions to that problem!

I read A Midsummer Night’s Dream as one of my Classics Club titles and for Shakespeare 400.

Personal Great Books · Reading

Completed: New Testament

BibleNew Testament
1st century

This was not the first time I’ve read the New Testament complete through, nor will it be the last, but I did want to keep a record here as part of my The Original Classics project list, and because of the literary heritage of the New Testament. I’m not sure of which section of the Bible—Old or New—is more commonly referenced in later literary sources. It does seem (going on my familiarity only) that direct quotations come more from the Old, but some of the stories of the New—the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the crucifixion—recur again and again, not just in literature, but as general cultural touchstones.

Then there is the history side of things. Whether or not you believe that the stories of the Bible (Old or New Testaments) have any factual basis, it is undoubtedly a product of the Middle East, and watching world events unfold to this day, there is sometimes a stop when reading either section of the Bible—hey, that city is still in the news. As a current example, the apostle Paul spent a good deal of time in the present-day capital of Syria, Damascus.

Just as I did with the Old Testament a few years back, I used a semi-chronological approach to reading the New. This meant a lot of skipping back and forth among the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), and then some alternating between Acts and some of the Epistles. The chronological order reading is only approximate, as scholars aren’t always certain and/or don’t always agree as to when the various Epistles were written. As with the Old Testament, reading in this order helps give some context to the various parts of the New Testament. The book of Acts covers the early church period (starting with Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven), and much of the rest of the New Testament was written during this same time. We can trace the progress of the early theology, including the early debates as to how this new faith should or shouldn’t incorporate establish Jewish law (e.g, requirements of male circumcision or dietary laws).

Order I read NT:

  • Matthew/Mark/Luke/John (concurrently)
  • Acts, interspersed with:
    • James
    • Galatians
    • I Thessalonians
    • II Thessalonians
    • I Corinthians
    • Romans
  • Colossians
  • Philemon
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • I Timothy
  • Titus
  • I Peter
  • Hebrews
  • II Timothy
  • II Peter
  • Jude
  • I John
  • II John
  • III John
  • Revelation

(Reading order source [pdf])

Although the Christian Church combines the two Testaments into one book, the Bible—and they have many strong relationships, with countless textual references in the New Testament back to the Old—it is interesting to note the differences between the two. While much of the Old Testament feels like “story”—Genesis, parts of Exodus and Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Esther, parts of the Prophets, etc.—only the first five books of the New Testament (and perhaps Revelation, depending on your take) really have that element in the New. And the first four books, the Gospels, are frequently overlapping, as they tell the same overall story, that of Jesus, but tailored for different audiences. The bulk of the New Testament is made of the Epistles, letters written by the Apostles (or perhaps by later church leaders, depending on which scholar you believe) to various early churches. These touch on matters of Christian living and Christian theology, and can be more tricky to follow—especially if reading in the King James Version as I did—than a story. However, I noted this time the importance of repetition, familiarity, and study aids—those books I’ve read more often, or come across in Sunday School, were more readily accessible, even when my memory was of difficulty. This is a good lesson to apply, not just to the Bible but to any difficult book. Repetition, repetition, repetition! No wonder that some readers/writers advise reading the “great books” many times.

Of course, considering the length, societal importance, and complexity of the Bible, it’s not possible to take the whole thing in on one go anyway. There’s simply too much there, and just as any great book, it rewards many readings and every time a reader approaches it, they will take away something new. Add to this the multitude of ways in which it informs so many other works of literature, both sacred and secular, one understands why despite its status as a religious book, it continues solidly in the Western literary canon and why it continues to be taught even in secular context.

Personal Great Books · Reading · The Classics Club

Completed: The Piazza Tales

Cover: Herman Melville: Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, The Confidence-Man, Uncollected Prose, Billy Budd, Sailor (The Library of America)The Piazza Tales
Herman Melville
1856*, U.S.

I have been fighting with Herman Melville, off and on, since the spring. He’s won, of course.

One of my Classics Club titles, I started The Piazza Tales as part of a “spin” back in April. The Tales are a collection of short stories and novellas, only a few hundred pages in total length, and didn’t seem too intimidating at first glance. But I wasn’t through the first story before it was readily apparent to me that I’m very out-of-practice at reading 19th century American lit. Or maybe more specifically, American Romanticism. (Come to think of it, I’ve previously struggled with Romanticism in literature…) Melville proved far more of a challenge than I had expected, reminding me how much I still have to learn and to struggle with in my reading of well-regarded texts.

It’s been a while since I read some of these—my reading spread from April until just two weeks ago—so I’m largely relying on my notes for this post.

“The Piazza”

And beauty is like piety–you cannot run and read it; tranquility and constancy, with, now-a-days, an easy chair, are needed.

I wasn’t more than a page in when I was bowled over by the amount of allusions Melville packed into this short little sketch. I call it a “sketch” as that seems more apt than “story.” (True also for “The Encantadas.”) There is little in way of plot—the narrator sees a glimmering on the mountain, searches it out, and is disappointed in what he finds. I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it. (An indication here, how much I have grown to rely on plot.) It seems one of those mopey sorts of stories that feel obligated to remind us that what we imagine things to be is always more magical than what they are. Darn reality.

“Bartleby, the Scrivener”
I’d some indication before starting this what to expect—Bartleby’s “I would prefer not to” seems to pop up regularly in the bookish internet. But it is an odd story, narrated by the lawyer who has hired Bartleby as a scrivener, and is increasingly perplexed by Bartleby’s unusual and stubborn behavior. I have in my notes the phrase “non-confrontation to an extreme” in reference to the lawyer, but Bartleby himself seems to be an extreme. I only read it once, but I think it one I should revisit.

“Benito Cereno”

In armies, navies, cities, or families, in nature herself, nothing more relaxes good order than misery.

Although this novella seemed to start slowly, it soon turned into a suspense story, perhaps even a 19th century thriller. The level of suspense depends on the reader’s ability to recognize what the American captain Amasa Delano does not—that he is being deceived, and perhaps not by whom he is most likely to suspect. Apparently, “Benito Cereno” is based on a real story, but whether the historical Delano was as easily deceived as Melville’s, I do not know. The Benito Cereno of the title is the captain of a Spanish ship, carrying cargo of slaves from one port to another, and his tale of woe is extreme. Though the American captain does not feel entirely at ease ever, he is so good natured that he is unwilling to entertain suspicions for long, always shoving them aside in favor of other, seemingly more “rational” explanations. The reader is propelled forward, not for uncertainly as to what has happened, but rather for the urgency of knowing what will happen.

Reading “Benito Cerano” from a 2015 perspective, one does sometimes squirm at the portrayal of the slaves. We see them through Delano’s eyes, and he sees what we might call stereotypes, racist portrayals. But Melville gives them a leader of great intelligence, able to outwit the naïve Delano. Perhaps Melville’s 19th century readers were as uncomfortable as we are, but he never says precisely what he intends. It is left open for interpretation.

“The Lightning-Rod Man”
I don’t know quite what to make of this one. A lightning-rod salesman—a pushy one at that—shows up in the middle of a storm. It seems it might be an allegory? But if so, I don’t know for what. It is really quite beyond me.

“The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles”
I suppose these ten sketches must be fiction, but they seem non-fiction narratives. Sketches of what the “Encantadas,” which I understand to be the Galapagos, were like. Reading them, I often forgot that they weren’t essays. (I think!) I was slightly worried to read “The Encantadas”, as I was afraid Melville’s descriptive phrases (such as in “The Piazza”) might get the better of me, but they ended up as among my favorite of the tales.

  • Sketch First: The Isles at Large: Describes the general character of the Isles.
  • Sketch Second: Two Sides to a Tortoise: Describes the Isles’ gargantuan and ancient namesake residents. And that they became soup. (It is amazing to consider the difference between 1850 when eating such creatures was commonplace and today when we gasp in horror that we might so endanger an ancient beast.)
  • Sketch Third: Rock Redondo: Describes the view from the water of the rock tower and all the various waterfowl thereon.
  • Sketch Fourth: A Pisgah View from the Rock: Describes the islands visible from the rock, and those un-visible but with a relation to it.
  • Sketch Fifth: The Frigate, and Ship Flyaway: Tells of the ship Essex and its relationship to the isles.
  • Sketch Sixth: Barrington Isle and the Buccaneers: Describes the use of Barrington Isle as a buccaneers’ (pirates’) resting/restocking place
  • Sketch Seventh: Charles’ Isle and the Dog-King: Tells of a Creole who made himself king and the revolt of his citizens.
  • Sketch Eighth: Norfolk Isle and the Chola Widow: The story of Hunilla, found alone on the island (with her dogs) after her husband and brother both died in a fishing accident.
  • Sketch Ninth: Hood’s Isle and the Hermit Oberlus: Tells of a hermit, Oberlus, of the criminal rather than religious nature, and some of his ill deeds
  • Sketch Tenth: Runaways, Castaways, Solitaries, Grave-stones, etc.: A round-up of the sorts of “humanity” found on the isles. It reminds me that, in that era before easy communication, how often must families have said goodbye to their men, not knowing if they would ever see them again, or even know their fate.

“The Bell-Tower”
I read this before I read “The Encantadas,” actually, as, in searching out interpretation of “The Lightning-rod Man” online (unsuccessfully), I read the opinion that this is the weakest of all the “Piazza Tales.” That might be true—it certainly seemed less like the others, less “Melville,” I suppose. But it is not unreadable, just with little enough to say about it. It is a bit of a Gothic horror tale, actually, telling of a great artist who overreaches in his aims.

Although on finishing these stories, I think that I have started to learn how to “read” Melville, and that subsequent visits will be smoother, I feel as if I would have been better to have a guide to lead me through these. Whether in the form of annotations or background material, or even a lecturer. So much of my reading is easy on me; I do not have to work at it. Melville challenges that and reminds me that the greatest rewards come with the greatest work.

* All but “The Piazza” originally published in Putnam’s Monthly between 1853-56.

Personal Great Books · Reading

Completed: Northanger Abbey

Cover - Northanger Abbey, An Annotated EditionNorthanger Abbey: An Annotated Edition
Jane Austen
1818 (posthumous), England
Susan J. Wolfson, ed. (2014)

“And what are you reading Miss——?” “Oh! It is only a novel!” replies the young lady, while she lays down her books with affected indifference, or momentary shame.–“It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda;” or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language. (Vol I, Ch. 5)

Here I am, sneaking in at the very last minute a post for “Austen in August.”

This isn’t because I’ve been avoiding Austen, or a lack of enjoyment, no, the tardiness is entirely of the busyness type; I barely had time to read this month, alas, and so only finished my reread of Northanger Abbey late yesterday. And enjoy it I did. It has been years—at least ten!—since I’ve read the entirety of an Austen (longer for one of the “big six”), and my memory of how delightful they can be didn’t fail me, though I admit to a bit of surprise at how quickly and easily the reading moved along. Which makes the following seem a bit of an odd statement: rereading Northanger Abbey made me feel, as I have so often of late, that I am still not that good of a reader. But this is perhaps not so unexpected once it is known that I read an annotated edition, which was only too happy to point out all the tricks and twists of language that I surely would have missed otherwise. The play of the words “fortunate” or “misfortune” to hint at the high importance of a fortune to so many of the characters. The shifts of meaning in words such as “awful” from the 18th to 19th to 21st centuries. It was obvious, indeed, that Henry Tilney is a pedant, too-overly precise in choice of word or phrase, but the annotations began to make me feel as naïve and ignorant as Catherine Moreland!

But here I’ve run on ahead, tossing out names without so much as a one-line plot summary.

Northanger Abbey is perhaps best known as a parody of the Gothic romances which were greatly popular at the time of its writing (c. 1798-99). Many such are mentioned (including Castle of Wolfenbach, which I confess I only read for its connection to the Austen), and the late-mid section of the novel provides the most direct satirization, in the form of Miss Catherine Moreland, our heroine, letting her overfed-by-Gothic-romances imagination run quite away with her. Yet, setting this section aside, the novel is not unlike any of the other of Austen’s primary novels: more realistic than not, with much of the focus on romances and relationships and characters. As alluded to above in mentioning the wordplay on “fortune,” the marriage market is of utmost importance. While Catherine may be content to let her fancy run free–whether in a Gothic novel or a more mundane romance–many of the surrounding cast are laser focused on marriage as investment and profit-making venture. What chance has a naïve country girl? And indeed, though this is Austen and we may know what to expect of the ending, we discover that the extremes of the Gothic romance Austen so fondly teases may have found appeal in the very real dangers that could befall an unprotected–or unmoneyed–young woman.

Even had I read this without annotations (which despite my inferiority complex, were actually quite helpful), I would have concluded much the same as I recently did with Beowulf: I don’t know enough of the context. I’ve only read two of the Gothic novels Austen might have known, the aforementioned Wolfenbach, and The Castle of Otranto. I think perhaps a wider reading–especially of Ann Radcliffe–would give me a better context. For that matter, reading more of Austen’s near-contemporaries–Richardson, Burney–must surely be helpful as well. As I’m finding so often of late, every book I read seems to pull me into a more complex web, with many strands leading to and from it. But surely, these are the best books to read, the ones that intertwine so that the richness of the experience can only grow the deeper we venture.

Classic Children's Literature · Personal Great Books · RAL · The Classics Club

Completed: The Adventures of Pinocchio

Cover: Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, NYRB ed., trans. Geoffrey BrockThe Adventures of Pinocchio
Carlo Collodi
(1881-1883, serialized; published 1883, Italy)
Translated Geoffrey Brock
Introduction by Umberto Eco
Afterward by Rebecca West

After walking half the day, they came to a city called Chumptrap. Entering the city, Pinocchio saw that the streets were full of mangy dogs yawning from hunger, fleeced sheep shivering from cold, hens with no combs or wattles begging for kernels of corn, large butterflies who could no longer fly because there had sold their beautiful wings, tailless peacocks who were ashamed to be seen, and pheasants who toddled quietly about, mourning their glittering gold-and-silver feathers, now lost forever.

From time to time there passed, through that throng of beggars and shamefaced poor, opulent carriages containing Foxes, or thieving Magpies, or nasty Birds of Prey.(Ch. 18)

This sight filled poor Pinocchio with such great and unexpected happiness that he was just a whit away from becoming delirious. He wanted to laugh, he wanted to cry, he wanted to say a mountain of things. But instead he whimpered confusedly and stammered out a few broken and incoherent words. Finally he managed to let loose a shout of joy, and, opening his arms wide and flinging them around the little old man’s neck, he began to yell, “Oh, my dear daddy! I’ve finally found you again!” (Ch. 35)

Had I actually put any thought into it at all, I would have realized that 1) January means snow (= much lengthier driving commutes = less reading time) and 2) I had two crazy-making work deadlines to end January and so I really should have started The Adventures of Pinocchio in December, so that I, the RAL host, wouldn’t be the last one to get a post written. (Eeking it out the last day of January!) Had I had any foresight I would have read The Adventures of Pinocchio last June, mulled it over for a while, and then reread it again for the RAL.

It was, in short, rather nothing like I expected. Different than Disney, yes, that goes without saying, but such a collection of the fantastic and bizarre and wild and religious and didactic and satiric (I think) and the cruel and dark and comic and heartwarming! I do not quite yet begin to know what I think.

Does it help me to know that Collodi originally ended the story at chapter 15, with Pinocchio’s death? Or that children’s literature as separate from adults’ was a relatively new form of writing in a relatively recently unified Italy? In the Afterward by Rebecca West, I learn that Collodi was “basically suspicious of any programs that codified conformity, seeing them as a threat to individuality and personal freedom.” No wonder we can’t make up our minds: is it a didactic book, teaching children obedience, or a subversive one, teaching them that rebellion might have a price but it’s a heck of a lot more fun? Maybe it is not children he is teaching, but rather their parents.

Then the allusions–it seems there are many. Religious, certainly. And West’s afterward points to Pinocchio‘s indebtedness to the great Italian literary tradition: Virgil and Boccaccio and Dante, and so on. I am not convinced I have read a children’s book. But I am not convinced that I haven’t. Maybe it goes over my head because I am not still a child. Maybe Collodi was still writing in an older tradition, one that didn’t separate the children and the adults.

But on the way he felt ill at ease–so ill at ease, in fact, that he took one step backward for every two steps forward. And all the while he was talking to himself: “How can I ever show my face to the good Fairy? What will she say when she sees me? Will she forgive me this second escapade? I bet she won’t forgive me! Oh, she certainly won’t forgive me! And it serves me right! Because I’m a rascal, always making promises to change my ways and never keeping them!” (Ch. 29)

Is Pinocchio fundamentally a religious text, reflecting humanity’s sinful nature in the image of a puppet who wants to do the right thing, who promises to do the right thing, but continually fails? Or is it a story of growing up, a bildungsroman? Is it neither? Amateur Reader (Tom), in his first post, posits that Pinocchio is “murdered” in the end. I am not entirely convinced that the puppet is alive at all in the final chapters of the story, or his friends for that matter. But I am perhaps reading that all wrong. Maybe it goes over my head because I am not still a child. I make it what it is not.

Many thanks to all those who joined me on this journey through The Adventures of Pinocchio. Not only the book, but your posts have given me plenty to think on.