A Few Things I'm Excited About: Summer Delights Edition
Eating: Because one of great pleasures of a day at home is hot lunch, I just cooked and consumed this lentil recipe, and wow. It's fussier than my normal lentil scenario, but it's so complex and savory-- almost meaty (I know this last characterization outs me as a carnivore). I subbed in broccoli, zucchini and a handful of radishes for the carrots and celery, because that's what I had lying around, and I added a teaspoon of "French Soup" herbs (chervil, parsley, thyme and marjoram, I think) at the veggie simmering stage). Make this now-- it's that good.
Reading: At my first monthlong Virginia Center for Creative Arts residency in 2012, I was lucky enough to have a standing afternoon swim date with a group of ridiculously kind, talented women. We'd write all day in our studios, then meet before dinner for a dip and some gossip. It was a hard life.
Among this crew was Alena Graedon, who I really should I met before, because we have the same hometown and a bunch of friends in common, and because she is just lovely. Watching Alena push through the last stage of writing her novel taught me so much about the dedication, resourcefulness, and sustained curiosity that goes in to make a book happen. It was so cool to watch.
And lo, just as my second residency at VCCA began this past May, Alena's novel, The Word Exchange, appeared to great acclaim from Doubleday. I spent my pre-dinner idyll this time around reading The Word Exchange, and I loved every page. The New York Times calls is a "dystopian thriller" and, ehn, I don't really agree with that description. I think it's simply a fantastic piece of literary fiction that thinks deeply about the interplay between humans, technology, and language. I think it's twisty, turny, immensely inventive, and thoroughly intellectual in the best sense of the word. Even better, it's filled with complex, intriguing characters and build on gorgeous prose. SO much fun to read and say over and over to myself, "My FRIEND wrote this!".
Watching: So I just finished a huge Sports Night kick, and I loved it just as any Aaron Sorkin acolyte should. I loved it DESPITE the laugh track in the first season, and DESPITE the fact that it serves as a prime example of Sorkin's sometimes rut of writing women as unbearably SCREAMY all the time. I loved it BECAUSE he pulled together a great cast of actors, and BECAUSE it's also a prime example of his knack for writing about people doing something they love to do with feverish intensity. Maybe you will like it as much as I did, but I can't say for sure. Let me know!
Treats: I just had the CRAP spoiled out of my for my 30th birthday, and one of my favorite gifts was a super-snuggly sheepskin rug from Black Twig Farms. I met the owners at the Nelson's Farmer's Market, and they are very nice people who love sheep. If you are looking to buy a sheepskin for your baby or for yourself, go no place else: the skins are so gorgeous and thick, and they cost less than those from factory farms. My feet are snuggled into mine right this very moment.