Sunday, October 2, 2022
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Sunday, September 11, 2022
Sunday, September 4, 2022
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
On a rare, warm day in mid-March, when the snow was melting into mud in New Hampshire, I travelled to Boston, where everyone was strolling along the harbor or sitting on benches licking ice cream cones. But I quit the blessed sunlight for the moist, dim sanctuary of the New England Aquarium. I had a date with a giant Pacific octopus.
Sunday, August 21, 2022
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Two Reviews: The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff and The Pedant in the Kitchen by Julian Barnes
Motivation for reading: Taming the TBR! This book has been on my shelf since 2008.
In the wake of a disastrous affair with her older, married archeology professor at Stanford, brilliant Wilhelmina Cooper arrives back at the doorstep of her hippie mother-turned-born-again-Christian's house in Templeton, New York - a storybook town her ancestors founded that sits on the shores of Lake Glimmerglass. Upon her arrival, a prehistoric monster surfaces in the lake, bringing a feeding frenzy to the quiet town. And Willie learns she has a mystery father her mother has kept secret for Willie's entire life.
The beautiful, broody Willie is told that the key to her biological father's identity lies somewhere in her twisted family tree. She finds more than she bargained for as a chorus of voices from the town's past, some sinister, all fascinating, rise up around her to tell their side of the story. In the end, dark secrets come to light, past and present day are blurred, and old mysteries are finally put to rest.
This was just an okay read for me. It's well-written and clever, but hard to follow at times... especially while listening.
The town of Templeton is actually Cooperstown, NY, thinly disguised, where Groff grew up. It's also close enough to our former NY home for me to recognize local landmarks and lore. The Temple family in the novel is supposed to represent that of author James Fenimore Cooper.
Groff's text features many old photographs, drawings, and family trees... things I tend to love in a novel. Unfortunately, as a read/listen combination, I missed being able to refer back to the convoluted Temple family tree. The story itself was interesting enough, but the local references really kept me engaged.
The Pedant in the Kitchen is a perfect comfort for anyone who has ever been defeated by a cookbook. The Pedant's ambition is simple. He wants to cook tasty, nutritious food; he wants not to poison his friends; and he wants to expand, slowly and with pleasure, his culinary repertoire.
Who knew author Julian Barnes likes to cook? Ever since Audrey mentioned this book years ago, I've kept an eye out for a copy. Libraries, book stores, and used book sales repeatedly turned up nothing. This short collection of essays has been around since 2003 but an audio version (narrated by Simon Vance, no less) was just produced last year. I was shocked to discover it available for download via hoopla!
Barnes discusses everything from cookbooks (how many is too many?) and the size of an "average" onion to approved culinary shortcuts and his tendency to hoard kitchen gadgets. I recognized my own culinary tendencies and hang ups in nearly every essay and often found myself nodding in agreement or laughing out loud. I highly recommend this short collection and am certain it's every bit as good in print.
Sunday, August 7, 2022
Hello from hot and sunny Connecticut. Are you sizzling today, too? It seems like no matter how early I get out to walk, it's never early enough! I've stuck with a more shaded route on neighborhood sidewalks for the past week, but they seem to be getting shorter and shorter.
Heat aside, it's still been a good week. I had a quick solo overnight trip to NY to see my parents, with the added bonus of having dinner with my sister, brother, and cousin! The rest of the week was pretty low key, so no complaints here.
Finished last week//
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
I've had a signed first edition of Groff's debut novel on my shelf since 2008. (Has it really been 14 years?!) I added in the audio version and listened on the drive to upstate NY. Look for a mini-review later this week.
I've wanted to read this short essay collection for years and never managed to find a copy. An audio version was finally produced last year and I was surprised to find it available on hoopla. I loved this collection and recognized myself in many of Barnes stories. Look a brief review later in the week.