10 June 2010


Shelf Share Thursday 4
(A weekly meme hosted at Bippity Boppity Book)

This week's letter is M.

For some reason, I thought it was "L" week! I guess I wasn't paying attention last Thursday.

Then again, I only have two unread "L" books in my bedroom right now, so it's probably best that I skip that letter and dance over to the "M" reads . . .

3 "M" Books
That Are Making Pleading Eyes at Me

Mary, Mother of the Son (Volume III: Miracles, Devotion and Motherhood) by Mark P. Shea

After reading the first volume in this set of three (and reviewing it on my old blog), I decided to skip the second book and go straight for the third. Volume II is all about the four essential Catholic teachings about Mary, translated into language which Evangelicals (my funny "Fundie" friends!) shouldn't really have any problem with--which means that I would have a problem with it.

Volume III, on the other hand, is about the different forms Marian devotion has taken over the past 2,000 years of Catholic Christianity. The whole premise puts me in mind of the special tours of Corregidor designed for tourists from Japan: they are in Nihonggo, of course, and they try not to rub anyone's noses in the the atrocities committed by Japanese troops in the Philippines. I actually have no problem with that: Corregidor is beautiful precisely because she is now an island of peace when she was once an island of war, and I want everyone who visits to take home a sense of that. And if I spoke Nihonggo, I wouldn't mind tagging along on that special tour. =P

Now, I may not "speak Evangelical," but I am ready to be fascinated by what form a "tour" of the Marian corners of Christendom would take, if it were specially designed for Evangelicals.

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

I bought this book a few months ago, when I wanted to write a "Top 5 Governess Novels" post and thought I should do a proper survey first. I might still get around to that, in a few more months, when I am once more surrounded by tutees and strongly identifying with these genteel and educated but completely under-valued women of the nineteenth century.

One of my friends has said that she will never read a Mary Poppins book because she loves the Disney movie so much that she doesn't want anything to spoil it. Apparently, the original Mary Poppins is very strict and stern--very little like the snappy but sunny Julie Andrews.

Oh, I wouldn't be so narrow minded. (I save that for lay apologists who are younger Catholics than I am, because I'm an insufferable pharisee like that.) Strict and stern "child handlers" have their own charm, don't you think? My own style of dealing with children begins with the assumption that they are wild animals escaped from the zoo, and yet they really seem to like me!

Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins

This must be one of my sister's books, left behind after she moved out, because it's not one I'd ever buy for myself. Indeed, the only thing that might convince me to read it is a nuclear holocaust that wipes out all other books in the world--and even then, I might not want it to have the distinction of being the last book I ever read on earth.

Seriously, ChickLit has enough stacked against it already, don't you think? So when a ChickLit a writer gives her first chapter the title "What Makes Me 'Me'?", she only reinforces what is possibly the worst prejudice readers have against the genre--which is that it's all about some self-absorbed woman who can talk about nothing but herself.

"Oh, come, come, Enbrethiliel," you might be saying, "isn't Shelf Share Thursday all about '[giving] the books that have been on your shelf awhile a little love'?"

At which I just chuckle cynically.

Image Sources: a) Mary, Mother of the Son (Volume III: Miracles, Devotion and Motherhood) by Mark P. Shea, b) Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, c) Mates, Dates, and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins


Salome Ellen said...

Mark Shea is always good (this said by an evangelical married to and mothering a bunch of Catholics.) But please, Please, PLEASE read Mary Poppins! She's not Julie Andrews, but she's wonderful. And her sterness has a twinkle in the eye if you choose to look.

Enbrethiliel said...


You didn't have to ask! =D I'll definitely be reading Mary Poppins very soon. It's my Disney Baby friend who needs a push or two in the right direction! But I do know that characters who can pull of some form of "mean" with a twinkle in their eyes must be very special. =)

Paul Stilwell said...

"The only thing that might convince me to read it is a nuclear holocaust that wipes out all other books in the world--and even then..."

LOL. I have a friend (Baptist pastor) who collects such books (when they happen into his hands by free) simply so he can have a stack of crap he can flip through once in a while for anti-quotes, that is, quotes he can use to prove his point in the negative. They also just provide good laughs.

And Enbrethiliel, always remember: make hay while the sun shines!

Belfry Bat said...

how'd that spam get around the captcha?

well, anywho... I have vague recollections of "Mary Poppins' cookbook" or some such thing. I don't remember the series opener at all! I suppose you've mentioned Madeleine already somewhere --- would have been nice to have three "Mary" books...

Sullivan McPig said...

I read the Mary Poppins books way back and can't really remember much about them except that I really liked them.
Have you ever read 'The Virgin Blue' by Tracy Chevalier btw? I think that's a book you might like.

r said...

The textual Mary Poppins is entirely reasonable, and the book contains none of the father issues that form the plot of the movie, so it's not like the kids need any coddling to counterbalance that.

The Broadway show that I quite enjoyed is somewhere in between. (I live near New York, though, and I can go see Broadway shows without any trouble, not that I often do.)

Holly said...

Don't you love when you run across one and are left wondering why oh why do I have this? I had a bunch my hubby's granny gave me that fell under the "embarassing titles I'll never read" category.

Enbrethiliel said...


Paul: Oh, my! Such a collection would depress me! I'm already wondering how I can "get rid" of that last book without actually tossing it on the rubbish heap. (Would leaving it on a bench in a public place--the way some people kindly leave newspapers they've read, so that someone else can enjoy them--count as littering?)

Belfry Bat: I wish I could find the article I read which reveals that people are actually hired to leave those spam comments. They actually paste the text into one combox at a type, and then type in every captcha they come across! They're paid much less than minimum wage, of course, and the turnover is enormous.

(Of course, I can't vouch for the investigative journalism behind the piece, as I have no hope of finding it again--but it's as good as an urban legend, don't you think?)

Sully: I've never heard of The Virgin Blue, but now that you've mentioned it, I'll keep an eye out for it. =) The author's name does sound familiar.

(It seems that Mary Poppins is more popular than I thought it would be!)

R: No father issues sounds great! Is the mother in the book a suffragette, too?

Holly: I can't say that I love it, but it certainly spices up my posts! LOL!

A few years ago, when an aunt emigrated to the United States, she thought she'd do me a kindness and leave me a bulging shopping bagful of her old Harlequin Romances! Now, I've read a few good Category Romances in my day, and I wouldn't rule them out completely, but most of my aunt's books were titles I wouldn't have chosen for myself if I had come across them in the store!

Salome Ellen said...

I thought you'd be entertained to know that when I came back to read the rest of the comments, the Captcha "word" was "bilexual." Able to read two things at once?? I'd go for that!

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, yes, I am highly entertained! =D Thanks for sharing that. I'm quite a fan of the "captcha oracle" and the "captcha commenary." ;-)

My favourite is from a post that originally told a certain media figure to "STFU." When I visited the blog again, the blogger had decided that harsh language wasn't necessary and changed the request to read "please shut up." And the captcha was . . . "outstfu"!!!

Sullivan McPig said...

Tracy Chevalier also wrote 'The Girl with the Pearl Earring' Which is quite famous, but I must confess I myself think 'The Virgin Blue' is her best book.

Belfry Bat said...

On the captcha subject, I've also heard tell of usncrupulous folk selling unspeakable horrors to, well, insatiable men let's say, for the easy price of unlocking a few captcha pictures thus enabling more spammery. And I heard of this ruse from an expert on secure communications, at a math conference about closed symmetric monoidal categories!

Enbrethiliel said...


Well, one can't beat experts on secure communications who attend maths conferences about closed symmetric monoidal categories for credibility--so it must be true!

(I don't even have to look for these stories; they just drop into my lap . . .)