Conversation Pieces

I just realized that I have not blogged about one of my most enjoyable summer reads: "Read My Pins - Stories from a Diplomat´s Jewel Box", by one of the world´s most impressive women, Madeleine Albright.

This is what might be described as a coffe-table book. It´s a light-hearted memoir, centered around jewellery, inherited, bought by, and gifted to Albright, and she clearly has a lot of fun with her brooches. They became a diplomatic tool for her in 1994, when she served as American ambassador to the United Nations. She had criticized Saddam Hussein and the government-controlled Iraqi press published a poem refering to Albright as an "unparalleled serpent". Soon after, she was scheduled to meet Iraqi officials, and she decided on wearing this:

And in 1996, when Cuban fighter pilots shot down two civilian aircraft over international waters, she wore this brooch on the left at the press conference, to illustrate her feelings.

I particularly like her approach to the preciousness of her items. She does not care if it´s gold or silver or plastic. She´ll go for fun and expressiveness first, and I admire her for that, as I´m sure she meets a lot of posh people on a regular basis. How can you not like a person who´ll wear this whimsy thing on the right?

A few of mine.

I bought the book because I have lately become something of a brooch collector myself. I´m a humble beginner compared to Albright, but she is certainly an inspiration and a reminder not to ever take myself too seriously!

(I have also, by the way, walked pass the house in Prague where Albright was born.)

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