Hello from sunny Florida, where it's beginning to feel a lot like summer! Hurricane season officially started this week and the typical rainy season pattern of late afternoon and early evening storms seems to be here to stay. We actually need the rain and, most nights, still get a decent sunset. So, no complaints yet!
We continue to add more pre-pandemic activities back into our lives. Last week I shopped for lamps to go with the new bedroom furniture, went out for lunch, and took in the fiber arts exhibit at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. Each activity brought an unexpected amount of joy... guess I'd missed things like that even more than I'd realized.
Read this week//
This is Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel since The Lowland in 2013. In 2012, she moved with her family to Rome to experience total immersion in Italian culture and become fluent in the language. Her nonfiction debut, In Other Words, written in Italian was the result. It was translated into English by Ann Goldstein. Now, with Whereabouts, she has written her first novel in Italian and then translated it into English herself.
This is a short novel, under 200 pages, and there really isn't a lot of plot. Instead, we have a slowly emerging character portrait of an unnamed female narrator. It's told in the first-person through a series of short chapters... almost vignettes. Set in various locations around an Italian city with chapters entitled On the Street, In the Office, At the Trattoria, etc., the narrator relays instances of belonging and isolation. And she seems torn deciding which she prefers... leaving the reader feeling slightly unmoored as well.
As always with Lahiri, the writing is the main attraction. This novel seems especially impressive since it was written in a relatively new foreign language. Give yourself a few chapters to settle into the short, episodic flow... you will be rewarded.
As expected, my library hold came in last week. When I realized that Marin Ireland narrates the audio version, I decided to use an audible credit and make it a read/listen combination. The Nest was an enjoyable summer read a few years ago and, just over 25% in, this is shaping up to be another.
On the blog// May Wrap-Up and June Reading Plans
In the kitchen//
The big hit last week was Chicken Yaki Udon from Vinkalinka. This Asian-inspired dish really did take just 20 minutes to prepare (be sure to cut the veggies before you start cooking) and was so flavorful! I followed the recipe exactly as written, using Worcestershire in place of the tsuyu/dashi stock. There were no leftovers, although I would have loved to have some for lunch the following day. I will definitely make this again and plan to experiment with shrimp and tofu, too.
I also made a One Pan Roasted Fish with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes from the NYTimes using snapper. You could use almost any white fish, but may need to adjust the cooking time depending on thickness. If you can't get the recipe and would like it, let me know. I'll copy and email it to you.
That's it for my week. How was yours? What are you reading today?