Recent Reads

[Edited to add: don’t forget to contribute a new or recent post to the Carnival of Homeschooling by Monday! I will be soo happy and grateful!]

Way back when, I made a 2008 reading list, inspired by Angela’s cool reading list. Not much has come of it, except a little more sympathy for my husband. You see, whenever I recommend something to my husband, I have insured that he will never read it.

(By contrast, if I just start reading it and abandon it around the house, he’ll steal it, start reading it himself and keep it from me until he’s finished. Unless he really likes it, in which case he’ll give it to a visiting friend who will take it back to New York and I’ll never see it again. Hey honey, how ’bout getting my copy of Master and Margarita back next week?)

Likewise, I have read few things I commended to myself earlier this year. They are on a to-do list now, and nothing is so tedious when you have time to lie on your belly under the ceiling fan and just read than to work on a to-do list.

I am a sucker for a good memoir, however, so I picked up Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone when I saw it at the library. Reichl tells the story of her childhood and young adulthood mainly through the lens of food and eating, but also with a recurring motif of her mother’s mental illness, which is both comic and sad. There are recipes intermixed — a surefire way to get me to love a book — but honestly I didn’t need them at all. I loved reading about her sudden transportation to a French school and the food discoveries she made as a result, and I loved reading about her arrival in Berkeley just in time for the food revolution about to happen there. (She doesn’t write about it so much as set the stage.) She wins love and earns respect by tasting and cooking with great curiosity and a burning desire to please. She’s very easy to relate to, even though the book is set firmly before my time, with lots of 60s and early 70s history, from riots in Detroit to a commune in Berkeley.

I have just picked up Comfort Me with Apples, which I am less sure about. She writes a lot more about her love life, including multiple affairs. The affairs are hard to take after the first book, when she gets you to fall in love with her first husband. I don’t find myself so closely tied to her as I did in the first book, and I get kind of grossed out after a while. Was it really that central to her development as a food writer?

I wonder if I just prefer memoirs about coming-of-age more than adulthood? Looking at Amazon I see that some readers agree with me, but professional reviewers seem to prefer it to the first.

I am slowly re-reading Tristram Shandy. It’s a really funny and really fun-to-read book, but I seem to have developed some kind of Pavlovian response that whenever I start reading it I immediately get very tired. Given that I have some ongoing fatigue issues, I have taken to reading the novel mostly when I need to get to sleep but I’m not feeling really tired yet. Which means that I have not read it at all in the last 10 days!


Filed under Cooking and Eating, Love This, Love this Book, Oh Mother, Remedial Domesticity

9 responses to “Recent Reads

  1. Shaun, have you ever read Julia Child’s memoir? I put it on my iPod a while back and it was absolutely fascinating. There’s something deeply absorbing about someone who is so obsessed with food. I too liked Tender At The Bone – but her other stuff was more, err, uneven.

    I just finished Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories. Have you ever read her stuff? She wrote Behind The Scenes At The Museum (the audio book book version is read by a British actress and is absolutely hysterical).

    Where’s the Carnival? I’m not familiar with these, but I’d be happy to contribute. Clue me in.

  2. Oh, please do contribute. A blog carnival is a collection of posts on a particular topic — the blog host for each week links to posts submitted on the topic. When it comes to homeschooling, the scope is pretty wide. People post about what they’re doing, about their philosophy, about curriculum, about unschooling, about dealing with difficult relatives ;), whatever. You can submit a new post or a fairly recent post.

    My most recent carnival contribution was the old Shabby Chic homeschooling post but it doesn’t have to be that long or that general.

    I will have to look for your book suggestions — I am in a library exploration mode lately.

  3. Angela, MotherCrone

    Don’t feel badly! My reading petered out in May , after a good start. I am finally getting back to it, but I definitely have lost steam. Here’s hoping we both can pick it up again!

  4. Gotcha. And I post it on my blog and link you – is that it?

    Another writer I used to love (she’s gotten more uneven lately too) is Jeanette Winterson. The Passion is just plain gorgeous.

  5. Oh that is funny about your husband taking your books. I will be looking for one of mine and find out he has taken it on a business trip.

  6. Hmm, I don’t know if that one went through or not. I’ll resubmit this carnival submission for you, Shaun. And if I’m just repeating myself, put it down to eating too many cherries yesterday…

  7. alchemista2

    Hi Shaun,
    I am a new blogger and not-so-new homeschooler. I have never submitted to a carnival before, but you’re free to use this if you like! Love your blog, btw!

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