At least, that's what I'd take.
Me and Moxy, my traveling buddy. We have very serious conversations.
But, yes: my sister, Mom, and I spent about eighteen days driving through Georgia (stopping with my cousins at this awesome doughnut place) and then hanging out with my little sister and my niece. We had a fabulous time, of course. Lots of conversation, cooking, and playing games with my amazing little niece.
it's been a corn salad summer
When we did get home, I was so exhausted (though happy) that I just moved really slowly for two days. (Not missing Florida itself--our two weeks in Florida set the record for "most times I've been leered at by old men." What a weird place! I mean... seriously.)
I spent the weekend looking through all the great photos from the trip, watching that one movie--the one where my niece lets loose her contagious laugh--over and over.
And then on Sunday, I had a wonderfully indulgent crafty moment: thanks to Elsie's blog, I found this. Made myself a pair late on Sunday, and have been tromping around in them since.
(The careful observer will notice that the pattern is for Mary Jane Slippers, and, well--it just doesn't look like I'm wearing Mary Janes. I guess I was using a big crochet hook, and I have tiny feet. So... it's not exactly a Mary Jane, is it? Still cute.)
Otherwise, this week I'll be plaguing my librarians with interlibrary-loan requests, helping plan a culinary tour of St. Louis, knitting new things for our store's fall season (I know, it's been ages since a real update!), and planning a new feature for this blog!
And of course, I'll be back tomorrow with a new idea for your I just have to read this next! list. (You have one of those, right? Me too.)
If Amalfi were a man, I thought, he'd be dressed by Calvin Klein and reading Tom Clancy. Positano would wear Armani and carry a book by John le Carré. But if Ravello were a man--ah, Ravello!--he would be in chinos and a fresh white oxford shirt with no tie, buried in a book by Graham Greene. -- Alice Steinbach, Without Reservations
I'm not a big fan of nonfiction, in general. (That is actually a massive understatement.) I will, however, stay up terribly late at night reading travelogues. If I can't be touring the world myself, I'm very happy to read while someone else does it.
But even then I could tell he was funny. Really funny. He has the ability to render my whole family helpless with laughter. So I feel like he's like an honorary uncle. Yes--that feels about right.
Because, after all, finding someone else who loves Wodehouse is like finding a long lost cousin. You realize that you share the same stories, have the same people in common. "What? You know Bertie and Bingo? Lord Emsworth and Uncle Fred? Honoria and Stiffy?"
Hang on to these Wodehouse cousins. They have wonderful senses of humor.
I can't pick a single book of P.G. Wodehouse's to recommend. He's just so overall brilliant that I can't narrow it down. The Blandings trilogy is fabulous--start with Something Fresh and go from there. Or, track down the Mulliner stories. Or find a compilation of the Jeeves stories. (Right Ho, Jeeves is pretty fabulous.) And for goodness' sake, get a copy of "Uncle Fred Flits By."
But for now, just to start, this is one of my favorite Wodehouse short stories.
Recommendation: I understand that Bertie Wooster drinks Darjeeling and Earl Grey. Why don't you?
So, if you've recently posted a comment and it never appeared... it isn't because I was offended! I really can't explain why Blogger swallowed it.
I hate losing anyone's writing. It's like a miniature version of my worst nightmare. ... Hopefully those friendly comments are all getting acquainted with one another in their own little comment netherworld. A place which is full of good coffee and kind conversation, even if it's otherwise a little like purgatory.
Anyway. If one of them was yours... sorry!
I'll admit it: I'm nervous to talk about this book. I'm half-certain that as soon as I get started, my second grade teacher will come out of nowhere and say sternly, Inside voice, Jennifer!
And she'd be right. Every time I recommend this book to someone, I'm pretty sure I deafen them... BUT I LOVE IT SO MUCH.I was at the dentist's last week, and when the hygenist found out I was a writer, she asked for book recommendations. My brain went absolutely blank for a moment, lost in the land of fluoride. She went back to work as I thought, and then the cover of this book came into mind.
Forgetting that anything was in my mouth, I blurted, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!" nearly harpooning my tongue on that sharp hook that dentists use.
So. I could have bled to death in my earnestness to talk about this one, but it would have been worth it, it's just that good.
It has all the makings of my favorite sort of story: it is, once again, a book about books and about people who love them. It's also an epistolary novel--a story written in letters... which makes me so giddy I could just fall off my chair... ahem.
But I love letters. I believe in letters. And this is a book full of them.
The characters are brilliant. Juliet Ashton is a writer living in post-World War 2 London. She begins corresponding with a group of people on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. And as I got to know Juliet, her London friends, and the people of Guernsey through their letters and stories, I really wanted them to be my friends.
No, I mean really. Could someone please teleport me into this book? Right now, please?
I don't know what I was expecting when I first read this, but it blew me away. I wasn't expecting to love a novel that deals with World War aftermath--I usually shy away from war books of any kind. Not sure why--if I'm just spineless, or if I'm stressed out enough that I don't want to read anything with "gripping!" on the cover.
But I couldn't call this a war book really. Maybe because it's the characters that are front and center. The warm, wonderful characters, not the ugliness of war. It serves only as the backdrop for these amazing people.
And I really did adore every single character. The quiet ones, the suave literary one, the crazy outspoken ones... especially them. (If anyone meets Isola, please let me know.) A few times, they had me in absolute hysterics. And then several pages later, a letter would stun me with another haunting story from the war.
As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again. I also wanted to write letters to everyone I knew, as well as everyone I didn't know. I most definitely wanted to get back to England, to see the Channel Islands this time, to get my own cottage, to befriend a child as amazing as Kit, and to read and discuss books with other dear people.
It is, altogether, one of the most perfect books I've ever read. There.
Recommendation: Well, I suppose you could make a potato peel pie... yeah, it doesn't do it for me either. Maybe an apple pie instead? With coffee, of course. Or tea, if you'd like to be properly British. Pie, tea, and a sunny window seat.
- "Tell me ... do you play cards?"
- "Not with strangers," said the young man pleasantly.
- "I just wondered. I had never met the perfect poker face until now, and I should be sorry if it was being wasted."
Have you read Josephine Tey's work yet? She's fantastic, one of those masterful British mystery writers of the early twentieth century. Brat Farrar (it's the main character's name... bizarre, I know) was my first and favorite book of Josephine Tey's, and I can't think of a better introduction to her style.
There's an estate, known for its horses. There's a family, with a few tragedies in its past. And there's an impersonator, poised to step in and inherit the estate... but on his way, he begins to wonder: what really happened to Patrick Ashby, the boy he's pretending to be?
And it's good. Because--if you're like me--you can't help liking Brat, the impersonator. And you can't help loving the family that he's lying to. And you can't really put it down until you get to the end...
It's perfect for when you want a good, quiet sort of mystery to puzzle over. Brat Farrar is also one of those rare mysteries that won't be harmed by a sunny day: stunning, but true. In fact, it might be read best on a cloudless day. From a hammock, I think. Yes. That's perfect.
Recommendation: Earl Grey tea and some high quality toast, with the best strawberry jam you can find. Period.