The holidays are nearly here, and I don’t know about you, but I have some major gift wrapping to do yet.
Thanks to all of you who reached out to me about my newest book coming soon, Southern-Fried Woolf, (out January 2023), being longlisted for the Page 100 Competition. I’m happy to share that it has now been shortlisted. I’m one of six remaining on the list. Winners will be announced in early January. Fingers crossed!
What I’m Reading:
November is my birthday month, so as you can imagine, my birthday brought several fun books into our cozy house, courtesy of my dearest husband, Barry.
- Susan Orlean’s On Animals. I read this over Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t help but note that the essays have a very New Yorker feel to them, which makes sense, since she writes (wrote?) for them. She’s an author whose books I nearly always buy, and if you are an animal lover, you’ll be mesmerized by her tales of military mules, chickens she has loved and lost, and much, much more.
- Vincent Price’s Cooking Price-Wise. Did you have any idea that Vincent Price was, besides being an actor of all things creepy, also an art lover and gourmet chef? Barry and I spent an enjoyable hour Thanksgiving Day looking over this book first published in 1971. The back section of it contains copies of Price’s 1928 culinary journey through Europe, and it features dated recipes alongside a few I might just try, such as mulligatawny soup. Let me say, Price liked his bacon. Not there’s anything wrong with that.
I wanted the book because I remember Price acting in various Edgar Allen Poe adaptations, and because he was just campy enough to not scare me when I was a child. I’m delighted to have discovered this cooking facet of him.
- Taylor Jenkins Reid’s After I Do is about a couple who loses that loving feeling. They spend a year (no spoiler here; it’s said right up front) apart to see if they can remain together forever. I want to tell you one of the most intriguing parts about it, but I can’t without spoiling it. (Yes, I still have a literary crush on Jenkins Reid. I think I’ve about made it through all of her books now, and I want MORE. Think I could get her to agree to write her next book in installments on Patreon for her fans?)
The next two I haven’t had an opportunity to read yet, and one isn’t pictured here because I think it’s still in my suitcase.
- The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606, by James Shapiro (not shown) is one that’s been on my list for a few years, since I heard an interview of him by Terri Gross, I believe. I’m eager to read it, but I feel it deserves a snowy day and a mug of tea. So, a January read?
According to the Washington Post, “(In)The Year of Lear, James Shapiro takes a closer look at the political and social turmoil that contributed to the creation of three supreme masterpieces.” Those masterpieces being Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra.
- Look at that cool cover on Mary Beard’s Confronting the Classics. Those sunglasses! I suspect this one will require a mug of coffee rather than tea – I will need to be alert and take notes. I wanted this one because of its premise: “A provocative tour of what is happening now in Classics – learned, trenchant, and witty,” the cover proclaims. Irresistible. I also suspect that my hubby, who minored in history, will steal this from my bedside table some evening soon. I’m more than willing to share.
That’s not too many books, is it? I’m always hungry for more good books. What are you reading? What do you recommend? What was the best book you read this year?
Even if you’re not into gifts for whatever reason, give yourself the gift of plenty of reading time this year. Perhaps practice Jolabokaflod, the Icelandic tradition that you have no doubt heard about of reading all of Christmas Eve in front of the fire with your family and a mug of hot chocolate. My introvert self couldn’t imagine a better evening.
What I’m Watching:
Another winter, another go-round of Gilmore Girls. They are simultaneously charming and annoying me once again. Then again, all humans are flawed, so why shouldn’t they be? I’m glad they have an edge.
Also, not to brag (okay, to brag) but one of the characters, Andrew, on the show (Mike Gandolfi) is married to writer Stephanie Storey, who interviewed me about my first novel a couple of years ago. She’s a darling.
This next tidbit that I am obsessed with watching is pretty embarrassing, but you might like it, so I’ll take a chance. Have you heard Meghan Trainor’s newest song, “Made You Look?” Did you know she is married to Juni (Daryl Sabara) from Spy Kids? This short video features the couple and their adorable little guy, Riley. There are a few seconds where the couple is dancing and embracing, and I could watch that bit on a loop. It’s one of the most romantic things I’ve ever seen. Just the way his hand lingers on her waist, and how he looks up as if he can’t believe he’s doing this for her, and yet he knows he will because he loves her. They’re so cute together.
I put the song on repeat yesterday while I was cooking lemon spinach ricotta ravioli in my birthday All-Clad skillet. (More on that beauty another time; I told Barry I feel as if it and I were meant to be. It’s perfect.)
Speaking of music, I wish you could hear the classic rock my honey is practicing right now for the weekend. He’s filling in at a Christmas party on keys and vocals, and the house is ringing with the sounds of Barry: Drive by The Cars, Dream Police by Cheap Trick, and one of my favorites ever, You May Be Right by Billy Joel. Ah, Billy Joel!
What I want to watch: Netflix has Lindsay Lohan in a gorgeous red pantsuit and an enviable hat in Falling for Christmas new this year. It’s on my list. Here’s its logline: After losing her memory in a skiing accident, a spoiled heiress lands in the cozy care of a down-on-his-luck widower and his daughter at Christmastime. Christmas is a time for junk food of all kinds, even fluffy movies. Have you seen it yet?
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