Monday, August 16, 2010

I love my books, which never lose their power

This time, I think, I'm online for good. The great experiment to save me some cash failed to stabilize. So I have bundled through the phone provider I decided I needed after all.

Having not had my computer, and having little love for television--just spent an hour politely but firmly explaining (well, most of that time I was on hold) that I don't like to sit by myself and watch movies so yes, I was certain I had not ordered HBO and Showtime. They took off the charge, and I can blog, and it's a pretty good day.

What I did do was read a bunch.

I'd like to tell you about a few, starting with the one I finished this morning, "The Butcher and the Vegetarian," by Tara Austen Weaver. Yes, she's a West Coast liberal, and grew up vegetarian. Due to health problems in her thirties, she was advised by several doctors to eat meat. Already an established writer on food, she researched a lot about meat, and goes extensively into organic beef, chicken and pork offerings. She visits Prather Ranch in northern California, within sight of Mount Shasta, which I saw last summer from the Oregon side while in Bend. Gives me a good idea where this is. She meets the author of Meathenge, "Biggles", who barbecues a hunk of bacon with the rind on, and she comments, "Bacon is the gateway drug." It's a good read, thoughtful, and it seems to me, balanced. I once interviewed a cultural anthropologist who explained that historically, men did eat the red meat because the heavier fare was sustaining for cutting down trees, cutting firewood, laying down miles of fence, etc., etc., etc. Women and children were relegated more to the chicken and lots more vegetables.
I really think a lot of male folks could get into it. It fills in some corners for me. Not so many venetarians in Texas, although I do know a woman who raises organic beef here. She's a vegetarian.

I hope this isn't made into a movie. I understand "Eat, Pray,Love" is a whiny film, notwithstanding Julia Roberts. The book isn't whiny. A friend who points me in wonderful book directions sent me this, and I confess I didn't finish it. Not, however, because I found it superficial. I think, in books, maybe especialy in non-fiction, the reader and author need to converge on a common path of discovery for awhile before each goes on in individual directions.

A book that would make a good movie is a chick read, "The Christmas Cookie Club," by Ann Pearlman. Pearlman has been nominated for a Pulitzer for a previous book, and the writing is excellent. Twelve women between their early thirties and early sixties bring cookies they have made to share with the group, and to tell their year of passage to the others.

Oh, yeah. Each chapter starts with some excellent cookie recipes (in fact, she has co-authored a cookbook as a spinoff from this.) There are essays on baking ingredents between the narratives. That it is cold and starts to snow as the book progresses made it perfect for me, hibernating in the air-conditioning on a 100-plus degree day to read it. I can see this being a beach book, too.

Another chick read by a favorite author, Anne Quendlin, is "Every Last One." It isn't a fun read, but it engages and invites thought. No one gets out of life without tragic consequences from time to time. Some events just happen. And sometimes--did that misstep in the past weave through, loop around and contribute to this? And now, how do we live with it? How do we go on? And most of us do.
It ends on a hopeful note, and I was satisfied.

There were a bunch of other books too. At the library, I was surprised to find two Robert Parker books I had somehow missed. I read them with both pleasure and sadness. He keeled over on his computer at age 88. Boy, that sounds good. All of it.

Read a new Lee Childs paperback featuring Reacher, the caring guy who can fight so bloodily, and never keeps ties or owns possessions. An impossible anomaly, I think, but a fascinating concept, and I enjoy most of them, even though oldest son tells me disgustedly that Childs doesn't know his firearms.

One movie detour. The grandkids wanted to see "Despicable Me," so we went. It was okay. I was disgruntled to spend $27 for a matinee for three tickets when I can't see 3-D. (Poor kids didn't get any popcorn this time around.) I kinda maybe got a hit or two in "Avatar." But something has changed in the technology. As I say, the cartoon was okay. BUT! I could see almost all the 3-D effects, especially the cute antics during the credits at the end. And I cracked up to see the voice for Gru's mother was Julie Andrews.


Deb from WhatsInMyAttic said...

Thanks for the reading tips; reviews are good for me as I love to read but hate to wander searching in bookstores or libraries!

Glad you're back. I've enjoyed your posts!

Fay Akers said...

I loved that movie. I laughed so many times.