Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

My Hardcover Holiday was quite the lively party of page turning indeed

For this Labor Day weekend, I went on a Hardcover Holiday which meant reading only a select number of hardbound books to see how many I could finish within that four day period.

Well, most of my time was well spent with Life of the Party by Bob Kealing, that tells the true story of Brownie Wise, the woman who made Tupperware a household name. She was a single(divorced) mother in the 1950s with a savvy can-do spirit that made her a top saleswoman at Stanley, a household cleaning products company.

The company,however, had no interest in putting a woman into top management, so when Brownie was recruited by the folks at Tupperware to become their home party planning manager, she and her son Jerry moved down to Florida to set up shop. Not before long, Brownie was one of the top people in the company who proved to head honcho Earl Tupper that direct sales was the best route to high profits for all concerned.

By the mid-fifties, Brownie Wise was made into the public face of the company known as "Tupperware's First Lady", a position that brought her fame and fortune but also a few enemies ready to tear her down.

One of those enemies was Earl Tupper, who grew jealous of the attention she was getting(despite the fact that he shunned publicity and agreed to put her in the spotlight). Before the end of the decade, Tupper pushed her out of the company and took great pains to remove any mention of Brownie Wise within the official Tupperware history.

Author Bob Kealing not only tells the story of Brownie's rise and fall, he also details the beginnings of the Tupperware company as well as highlights the many people who had their lives changed for the better by being part of the "Tupperware family."

Kealing does not gloss over the errors that Brownie made in dealing with certain things(a particular jubilee celebration that went very wrong, for one) and handling folks, including Tupper himself. However, none of those flaws justified the highhanded manner in which she was dismissed without due severance pay or credit for all of the hard work she put into the company.

The book(which has been updated from it's first publication under the title Tupperware Unsealed) is now due to become a Sandra Bullock film and it should make for a great movie. Don't wait for the movie, however, to enjoy this readable and relatable tale of a woman who made great strides in the business world for others to follow. To me, Kealing truly succeeds in giving back to Brownie Wise the respect and honor that she deserves:

While I did finish Life of the Party, my introduction to A Gentleman in Moscow was most satisfying and clearly more time is needed to fully engage with the richness of this novel.

 Amor Towles' leading man is Count Rostov, who is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol hotel in 1922 by the Bolshevist leaders of the time, due to a poem he wrote during his college days. Rostov is moved from his guest suite to the attic with what is left of his family's goods and forced by necessity to make the best of his situation as time goes by.

So far, Rostov's tale is elegantly engrossing but like a fine meal, should not be rushed through. The supporting characters that Rostov encounters during his extended hospitality stay are adding great dimension to his emotional journey, such as the charmingly precious Nina, a nine year old girl who show him the hidden depths of the hotel and Anna Urbanova, a renowned actress in need of his assistance in more ways than one.

A Gentleman in Moscow is a solidly old fashioned novel in the best sense of the term and I shall be delighted to continue onward with it. Seeing what interesting adventures Count Rostov will get into(and perhaps get a few special guests out of) in such a closed set ought to be stylish entertainment indeed:

I was also able to get a good start into Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, a book that has such a lively pace that I had to force myself to stop reading in order to get some sleep.

The novel takes place in seventeenth century Amsterdam, where young Nella arrives at the house of her new husband,Johannes. During her first few days, she's greeted by a cold natured sister-in-law Marin, servants who know more than they're willing to say and a spouse who barely stays home or pays attention to her.

In an attempt to make his new wife feel at ease, Johannes gives Nella a miniature replica of their home, which requires her to buy specially made objects to fill up the tiny rooms. While Nella does find an expert in such work, she is puzzled by the extra items added to her order that suit the model home all too well.

At this point, there is a dark fairy tale tone to this story that makes me want to turn the pages even faster. However, patience must and will be rewarded:

All in all, I think that this was a good Hardcover Holiday and if anyone else out there joined in, I hope you had a wonderful reading time that keeps on going. As much as I do like paperbacks, there is something about hardcover books that makes you step back in awe, especially if you stumble upon a full library of them.

A true collection can have a healthy mix of both yet a huge stack of shelves clustered with hardcovers is a dream come true for book lovers everywhere:

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