Ralph Truitt is a wealthy Wisconsin widower who places an advertisement for a wife. Catherine Land is the woman who answers the ad and arrives in a small snowy Wisconsin town to begin a new life. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick is very well-written and keeps your interest and attention. This is a book with something for everyone — deception, depravity, subterfuge, attempted murder, forgiveness and redeeming love. Well worth your time to read.
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell was a fun read. I enjoyed it so much that I have purchased two copies as birthday gifts. And I am sure you have seen the movie previews with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. After reading this, I placed a request for My Life in France by Julia Child. With Powell’s book and the pending movie release, I am sure there will be a rekindled interest in Child’s cooking shows, her books, and French cooking in general. One of my favorite parts of the book is the first time Powell searches for a marrow bone for one of the recipes. She sends her husband and brother out to scour New York City for the marrow bone. They finally score it and bring it home for her. Julia’s instructions are to use a cleaver to split the bone. Julie does not have a cleaver and tries to do it unsuccessfully with the biggest knife she has. She then writes, “Julia must have had the strength of ten secretaries…” Then she and the husband attempt to split the bone with a jig saw. I found the marrow bone episode to be very funny.
I am nearly finished with The Last Supper, A Summer in Italy by Rachel Cusk. It has been an interesting read. Lots of descriptions and pictures of the works of art she saw in Italy. Lots of history and biography of the artists.
More digression from my summer reading list. I have The Girls from Ames at home and need to read it soon. I got more books from the library yesterday — Six Months in Sudan which is about a young doctor with Doctors Without Borders who spends 6 months in Abyei — I believe it was in 2007; The House of Lost Souls by Francis Cottam; The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa; and several books from the Inspector Montalbano mystery series written by Andrea Camilleri. I don’t read many mysteries anymore, but these are set in Sicily and since I lived there for 2.5 years I enjoy them.
I actually knit a dishcloth this week. I have hardly knit anything all summer. On Saturday I met my friend Nancy for lunch and we talked about our Sudan experiences and things we would/will do differently if/when we go again. Later that day while I was in the kitchen making eggplant parmagiana with my farm market eggplant, I was musing about different things and I remembered something Nancy told me a couple of years ago. That if you give an African woman a bar of soap you have given her a precious gift. So I am knitting dishcloths — well, actually to be used as wash cloths. It occurred to me that brightly colored cotton knit cloths — and I have a large quantity of dishcloth cotton in my many tubs of yarn — and bars of soap would be great gifts for the Sudanese women when the next team goes. My plan at this point in time is that I will be on the team that goes in the fall of 2010 — but who knows?
I have been feeling creative since the end of last week. Now I need to put that creativity into action. The knit cloths are one thing. I have been reading books about mixed media art lately. The fashionista has dabbled in mixed media art off and on. I have never considered myself to be much of an artist, but I have worked out a piece in my head that I want to create. A cathartic piece. So after I went to the farm market on Saturday morning I headed over to Michael’s and purchased a stretched canvas and a bottle of gesso as a start. I need to find a few small things that I want to use for this piece — I have some of them and I need to do some thrifting for the others. I plan to do some thrifting this evening while running a few errands. When I have all the items I want to use, then I will start mapping the piece out on paper until it suits me and then go to the canvas.