Remember the charming Persephone Secret Santa? Well, mine was delayed because of the horrible snow in England, so it was waiting, nice and cosy, in my mailbox when I returned from my Christmas travels. My Santa was Helen Kestle, of the wonderful blog Lovely Things (a sampling of recent topics: Dylan Thomas, Christmas Ornaments, cheese: I think I like this lady!), and she sent me Plats Du Jour by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd (I'd read it for their names only!) Plats Du Jour was a very influential cookbook in England--published in 1957. It heralded the return to home cooking after the war (and subsequent obsession with canned goods and TV dinners) (which, frankly, I don't know was as powerful in England, though rationing was worse).
She also sent some lovely Lavender and Rosemary soap, that smells precisely like heaven, and fun kitchen sticky notes, which I will use all over my cookbooks. I am always looking for ways to write notes in my cookbooks. I love it! Thank you, thank you, thank you Helen! It was well worth the wait!
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Since we're talking about books, I thought I'd do this little meme which I stole from Emily Hale...though she didn't put it up on her blog...Anyway, I loved it, and thought it would be a fun way to jump back into blogging:
Best Reread: The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. The first time I read this I thought "Meh? What's the big deal?" This time I was overwhelmed by the sense of renewed innocence in our old friend the Whiskey priest. It seemed to be all about childhood: his mean daughter, the boy who sees him die, the captain's daughter--approaching womanhood--and his own final surrender to the will of the Father. Favorite re-read runners up: The Girls of Slender Means and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark. Six Word Synopsis: Whiskey priest becomes child of God.
Longest/Hippest: A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Phillip and Emily Stead was not longest, but certainly the hippest since it is likely to win the Caldecott this year--and deserves it. Beautifully illustrated, delightful story. Plus, a penguin, and elephant, and turtle! Six-word synopsis: Zoo animals visit sick friend Amos.
Silliest: Shine on, Bright & Dangerous Object by Laurie Colwin. I fell in love with Colwin's work last fall, devouring Happy All The Time and her short story collection, The Lone Pilgrim. But this one was a flop: a young widow falls in love with her brother-in-law, tries to find herself at a music camp, has an affair with a fellow musician, and somehow this confirms in her heart that she must be with her brother-in-law, and damn the world if it thinks otherwise. Very silly, and not in a good way. Self-justifying junk, wrapped in lovely prose. Six-word synopsis: Widows won't despair [if] they sleep around.
Most Inspiring: A Child in Winter: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany with Caryll Houselander edited by Thomas Hoffman. I basically skipped all the editorial stuff, and just read these short excerpts from some of Houselander's larger works that deal with Christmas. I clearly loved it: I quoted it all Advent. Six-word synopsis: Treasure every word; each is golden.
Gut-Rippingest: Will you all laugh at me when I say Dorothy Sayer's Gaudy Night? Ok, ok, it wasn't gut-ripping, exactly, except that I could not put it down and I was in agony about whether Harriet would ever come to her senses, and what was up with all that freaky destruction, and oh, why-o-why can't I live in Oxford?! The real gut-ripping moment came, however, when Whimsey proposed again and my latin failed me. Six-word synopsis: Mystery, Romance, Oxford: it pleases me.
Still Haven't Read: War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky . Six-word synopsis: I KNOW its a good translation.
Just Plain Best: The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt was fascinating, deep, engrossing, charming, sad, rich, historic, surprising, shocking, and all these words seem lame describing Byatt's masterful prose. I am still thinking about it, almost daily, 8 months after having finished it. Six-word synopsis: Hey! The kids are all right.
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+ Julie has a wonderful review of the new book on Mary, as well as a new fiction podcast!
+ My Caldecott Predictions are up on LLB. Check them out, and tune in Monday to see if I'm right.
By the way, my new year's resolution, book-wise, is to only read books recommended to me (or given to me, which serves as a recommendation). I find that I am always giving recommendations, but I am rarely getting them. First on the list: Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald. It won the Booker Prize, and I love her other work, so it won't surprise you that I am almost done. So, quick, give me recommendations!
|From Book Lovers Never Go To Bed Alone|