Concession

There are a lot of fears involved in preparing to be a parent, I’ve discovered. But the Romgi and I tend to have very different types of fears.

He is afraid our baby will have two heads.

When he first brought this up, I promptly told him what a ridiculous and unlikely thing this was, so he sent me a link to a 1912 New York Times article about a two-headed baby. I figured if the best argument he could come up with was almost a century old, I could dismiss it.

Well, today the Romgi has politely pointed out that recently a two-headed baby was born in Bangladesh. And that it died soon after birth.

Ok, fine. I’ll admit that two-headed babies exist. But I will also vouch for the fact that our baby has only one head!

And, to be fair, here’s my biggest fear (equally ridiculous, I’m sure): the baby won’t like me.

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The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas

Can I just say how proud I am of myself for finishing this book in only a year and a half? And especially for getting through 900 of the 1400+ pages in the past week?

Yes, it was an excessively long book. The longest I have ever read in my life. Since I enjoyed the abridged version (about 500 pages) so much, I promised myself I’d someday make it through the entire unabridged book. It’s been several years since I read the abridged, so it was usually hard to tell what story lines were left out; I did finally find a few parts that were completely new to me this time, and they were really enjoyable. In all fairness, the book could easily have been 300 pages shorter simply by reducing the amount of tedious description; however, I get the impression that books were written differently in the 1800s (Moby Dick, anyone?).

Wasteful descriptions aside, The Count of Monte Cristo is an amazing story of a man who feels it is his duty to punish the wicked and reward the righteous – but who discovers that such punishments and rewards don’t always have their intended effects, and the wicked and the righteous are not always so easy to distinguish.

My only other complaint with the book is the Count’s odd relationship with his Greek slave. Suddenly realizing that you’re in love with the girl you’ve adopted as your daughter (and who is plenty young enough to be) is just kind of weird. I suppose there is one other thing I disliked, and that was the Romeo & Juliet storyline at the very end.

However, the faults are fewer than the strengths, and I feel it was worth my time and energy to understand the Count and his sufferings. Dumas does an excellent job of demonstrating that only God can fairly punish and reward; the best efforts of man are usually misguided.

If you feel up to it, by all means, read the unabridged version. For a much shorter read, try the abridged; if you just want a story with a few of the same characters (some bearing only the same name and no other qualities), please watch the movie, which is excellent in its own right.

Hey! I finished a really long book! Hooray for me!


Peter and the Shadow Thieves

by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

The second book in a humorous re-imagining of Peter Pan, I found Peter and the Shadow Thieves quite a bit more interesting than its predecessor (Peter and the Starcatchers). Hard to go wrong when the book begins like this:

“A mango,” thought Peter. “The perfect weapon.”

Although the entire idea of starstuff is still utterly ridiculous to me (and really makes me think of the movie Stardust), I was able to ignore that premise for most of the book – even though it’s a key plot element. Nice to be able to not focus on it, though. I did like Peter’s “translation” of what Tinker Bell said; being a somewhat vicious and jealous fairy, she didn’t usually say anything nice. Peter always managed to make it sound acceptable, even if he had to say something opposite of her true sentiments.

It was also fun to see George Darling make an appearance. I expect the authors will write another book, where everyone else has grown up (Molly and George will be married, and have three children – Wendy, John, and Michael) but Peter is, of course, the same age. If not, at least we found out how the Darlings got together.

Not the best book ever, but definitely fun, quick, and better than suffering through Robert Jordan. Try it!