Is it really the last month of the year? Ack! Where the hell did the time go?
Anyway, for December, I got inspired from the book club's theme for our annual Christmas party, which is Mario Puzo's The Godfather. The novel is actually one of my favorite books, as I fell in love with all the members of the Corleone family: brash Sonny, wimpy Fredo, smart Mike, and, of course, the godfather himself, Don Vito Corleone. I think there was a time when I wanted to join the mafia. They're so filthy rich, and so fashionable, and so kick ass (literally and figuratively).
But I know I'm romanticizing the mafiosi when I said that I want to be one of them. I can never be part of that. They may be rich but they get there by dirty deals, sometimes at the expense of human life. They may have all the money in the world, but all the world's governments are after them. They may be very influential, but the influence they exert is brought about by fear. They command loyalty, but only if it comes with a price.
That's why I recommend 2 books about the mafia in the modern world. These books are eye-openers, showing the reader just how brutal the underworld is. In Misha Glenny's McMafia, we get to read about the criminal underworld of today and how it plays a dirty role in global economics. It's not just about Italians this time; we now have Eastern Europeans and other nationalities who control prostitution, drug trade, and illegal arms. It's quite a scary read though, but the book's something that I would call "essential reading" for people who want to be in the know.
Another great read about the criminal underworld, which takes us back to Italy, is Roberto Saviano's criticall acclaimed work of nonfiction, Gomorrah. It focuses on a specific organization, the Camorra, a ruthless and powerful group. The book's an exposé of sorts about the shady business dealings of the Camorra, which resulted in several death threats to Saviano. Read it, read it, read it!
So December is totally mafia reading. And I leave you with my favorite line from "The Godfather" movie: Leave the gun, take the cannoli.