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Book 42 of 80

July 13, 2010

A short little jaunt to Russia. Just up and back — quick, painless, no biggie. I’m going to read The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean. This was borrowed from my friend Toni.

And since we’re back in the European region (temporarily — it ISN’T CHEATING!!!), why not read something about World War II. I don’t feel as though I adequately immersed myself in WWII literature the first time around. 🙂

The basic idea of this book is that a woman, Marina, is hiding in the Hermitage Museum as the German army approaches Leningrad. The book goes back and forth in time between her life in 1941 and her current life, with her children and husband, suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s. Art is big in this book — the pieces that Marina has been charged with keeping safe are a big part of who she is and who she grows to be during her time in the museum.

I like art.

I do.

I appreciate artists. I can’t really draw/paint. Although, who doesn’t look at a Pollock painting and say, “Whatever. I could do that.”

Two summers ago, I stood next to a woman at The MET who was weeping at a van Gogh painting. And I just kind of looked at Matt like, “Should we take a picture of this lady?” During that same trip to The MET, I also (being pregnant at the time) sat on a couch for thirty minutes in the Modern Art wing, nursed my swollen feet, and listened to a family with thick New Jersey accents swear at each other because someone forgot to bring sandwiches. “Why’dja fuh-get? And I ain’t gonna buy a wahr-der here either. Fukket. Like our entire mort-gage to buy a wahr-der.”

I guess the closest I’ve come to ever being a true art aficionado is when the Shermans gather around to play the game Masterpiece — an art auction game, complete with replica paintings and the opportunity to sell them for one million dollars! Or, of course, you could end up with forgeries. NEVER play this game with my sister-in-law Attie. She might pee her pants giggling the moment she lands herself a forgery and somehow, despite knowing this, I almost always allow her to swindle me. “That’s not the forgery,” she’ll announce, turning purple in her attempt to stifle a large guffaw. That game can turn anyone into a connoisseur of fine art.

Leave it to me to seamlessly work in a board game reference!

All right, to Russia I go…

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