We met last evening to discuss Walter Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo Da Vinci. Nine members of the club were in attendance. Several members were absent but sent reviews and scores to me before the meeting. Kyle also returned to the book club after a bit of a hiatus and it was good to have him back.
Dinner last night was an Italian theme. I made Lasagna, Salad and Garlic bread. The drinks consisted of Italian beers and some very nice Chianti all supplied by Damian. To finish off the evening we had a great Tiramisu.
During dinner we discussed the possibility of distributing the responsibilities of hosting and providing dinner and drinks across more than one member for a meeting. Damian and I split the responsibility this month in that he supplied the drinks and desert and I supplied the house and the dinner. It was a nice division of labor. The reason we were thinking this is that are book club is growing ( 15 members ) and as such not every member is able to host ( due to size ). So this allows for everyone to contribute. To this end I will create a web page that the members can sign up for hosting or providing other parts of the meeting for the nine months that we meet. Once I get it finished I will send everyone an email with the instructions. That doesn’t mean a member can’t take on all the obligations of the meeting if they so choose, but if you would rather work together with another member it will give you the option.
The discussion of ‘Leonardo’ started with the obligatory introduction of the author. My first comment of the night was how accomplished Walter Isaacson was. He and I are the same age and it made me wonder what I have been doing all my life 😊.
One of the first ideas we explored was the question of how all these talented individuals ended up in the same areas at the same time. Leonardo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Reubens, and many more all in Florence, Milan, and Rome at the same time. Was this chance? What we came to decide is that, like the current Silicone Valley, that the patronage doled out by the Medici’s, Borgia’s and the Sforza’s must have been what drew and fostered the talent in the area.
We spoke many things from the book. Leonardo’s obsessions, his paintings and how he was never able to finish a project. While we all felt that Isaacson was able to give us an understanding of Leonardo and his life in Renaissance Italy, he also filled the book with minutia that distracted and made parts of the book plod along. Most members said they skipped parts that went on and on. Both Jeff (Steve Jobs) and Damian (Benjamin Franklin), who had read other Isaacson book’s said that ‘Leonardo’ was not as good.
I heard from both Craig, who liked the book a lot, but thought it was to long but gave it an 8, and Wayne who said ‘good book but although interesting it was a little lengthy and too much detail about brush strokes, light, etc. I learned a great deal but it was more a course study than entertainment . I had to put the book down a couple times and read a couple quick action fictions between finishing Leonardo. Good author that added extra interest to otherwise tedious descriptions. Even though it was a long, hard, and academic read it shows a quality and professionalism in its updated research and authors style. Rating = 7 .’
The ten members who rated the book averaged a 5.7
See You in October