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Before the movies- came the book- The Godfather by Mario Puzo was released on this date- Monday March 10, 1969- 50 years ago today. Mario Puzo had written a few previous novels which got critical praise but didn’t sell well. After writing The Fortunate Pilgrim in 1965 his publisher remarked to him that if there had been more Mafia in the book that it would have been more successful. Puzo wrote an outline for the story but was rejected by the publishers. It wasn’t until he just told a few stories about the kind of thing he had in mind that he won approval. Also at this point Puzo would later admit- he had 5 children to support and that was tough to do on a government clerks salary. He was looking to write something that would appeal to a lot of people. The Godfather would go on to sell 9 million copies in the first two years and remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for 67 weeks. The novel was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. The book would of course be the basis of two of the greatest movies ever made- Godfather and Godfather II. I think it is safe to say Mario Puzo was able to put food on the table for that big family he had. Puzo died in 1999 at the age of 78.


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  1. I read this at between age 14-15, as I was in the doubleday book club and bought a lot of books with babysitting money. It was a riveting story at the time. The bonus was I was able to talk my mom into taking a friend and I downtown to the old Michigan theater to see it, even though it was rated R. Happy memories from a childhood that often wasn’t happy.

    • Thank you. I have my 5th grade teacher to thank for giving me the confidence to read big books. I was a new student at the school, as when my parents divorced mom and us kids moved across town to the poor side. Not sure what the teacher saw in me, but she assigned, “Men of Iron” by Howard Pyle, a giant of a book. From then on, no book was too daunting.

    • Sometimes all it takes is one spark like that. She must have saw something. I always liked seeing students who carried around books to read if they had some spare time- once in a while there would be a student who read classics which was always impressive and encouraging to see.

    • Did you used to work for the schools? That book has been bugging me. The elementary school I attended has been repurposed — like so many of the public schools have been — so I wondered if the books in the library were put back into circulation with the district library. I found a 1919 copyright copy with 327 pages. I borrowed it. When it gets here I’m going to see if it is THE book. I guess Pyle illustrated the book also. I’m on the case šŸ™‚ Hans, if I hadn’t had books as a kid I probably wouldn’t have survived.

    • I taught for 30 years. .. I am glad that teacher had an influence on you in promoting your reading- I think the sad thing today is I have seen schools close and the books go into the trash- one high school just did away with their books and library to make room for more computers- terribly short sided i think and instead of having some big book sale or whatever just threw the library in the dumpster. Can you believe that?

    • I commend you for teaching for 30 years. It is one of the most difficult and the most important jobs out there. The overlords are determined to dismantle public education and replace it with profit-making charter academies, at least in MI. With Betsy DeVos at the helm (from Grand Rapids, MI!) we are doomed. I am struck with disappointment and sorrow at the dumping of books. At some point Farenheit 451 may become reality.

    • The reasoning [and this school was just down the hill from the middle school i taught at] they hadn’t been spending any money on books at the library and a lot of them were old– they needed room for computers. i don’t see why they didn’t at least have a sale or a give away- throwing them into the dumpster- seemed idiotic.

    • bottom line- the principal who i know very well- is not a reader. i think it was just a quick snap decision- it did come under a lot of criticism.

    • p.s. I just looked for Men of Iron at amazon and goodreads and it’s listed at 192 pages. This must be a children’s adaptation to the original, as the book I read was at least 300 pages of very small print. Will do research and see what I discover!

  2. It seems unbelievable that someone would consign a whole library to a dumpster – I don’t care how old the books were! Here in Bundaberg, Australia, there is a growing attendance at our local library. This is mainly done to young parents bringing their youngsters and immersing them into the wonderful world of books. It’s nice to know that in a fast digital world there are some people who still delight in the languidness of an analogue one.

    • I agree there are libraries I would think that would have taken them- or have a big sale or something but they did none of that it was like into the dumpster- as quietly as they could do it but people did find out. There were people dumpster diving.

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