My cousin (thanks Karen!) sent me a link to an article with the recommendations of 22 foreign ambassadors to the US of what one book people should read before visiting their country. Only seven of these were already on my list, so I got to add a few new titles. After the jump, what I added and what I didn’t, and why.
After my last post (an excerpt from Peter Thomson’s Kava in the Blood extolling the virtues of Fiji’s national drink) my mom drew my attention to a recent article in the New York Times: Counting on the Trendy to Revive Kava, a Traditional Drink. Apparently Kava bars are sprouting up all over the US; there are apparently 4 in the Bay Area (according to this very helpful website which lets you search for your nearest Kava bar). Unfortunately I can’t find any research about the safety of Kava consumption while breastfeeding, but 6-12 months from now I will definitely give it a try and report back.
While researching my post on Dreams of a Rainbow I read a fair amount of poetry from around Polynesia (both to try to situate Kauraka’s poetry more firmly in the Polynesian tradition and figure out whether it was objectively mediocre or whether I was just missing something). This is a bit of a long one, so links after the jump.
I have discovered a new (to me) internet niche that I absolutely love: blogs about the intersection of food and literature. Here are some of my favorites:
Imik Simik: Cooking With Gaul: Mostly a recipe blog, but often with a decidedly literary bent (Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace Walk--a book which is on my list and which I should get to around 2033–sparks a search for the perfect Circassian chicken recipe), this beautiful collection is the work of Anny Gaul, a PhD student investigating “the emergence of the modern domestic kitchen in early 20th century Egypt and Morocco.”
The Little Library Cafe: A gorgeously-photographed blog with recipes inspired by specific meals described in books (Sole with White Sauce from A Room of One’s Own, for instance, or Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate cake from Matilda). I haven’t tried any of these recipes so I can’t vouch for their deliciousness, but they’re beautiful to look at and the discussion of books is thoughtful and extremely readable.
Paper and Salt: A blog devoted to “recreat[ing] and reinterpret[ing] the dishes that iconic authors discuss in their letters, diaries, essays, and fiction.” Meticulously researched and full of fascinating literary gems–such as Ibsen’s stringent writing routine, or the fact that Keats was possibly the first person in the world to mention roast beef sandwiches in writing.
Paper/Plates: Recipes by a collection of contributors, loosely inspired by literary works (The Goldfinch, for instance, largely revolves around the narrator’s relationship with his mother; on this blog it is represented by an Egyptian bird’s tongue soup that reminds the blogger of her own mother). [update, 5/28/16: This website is being overhauled and archived posts are no longer available; poor timing on my part! It should be back up and running soon and I’ll take this note down then]
There’s been a lot of stuff lately that I’ve wanted to share, but that doesn’t necessarily fit in with my around-the-world reading project. So I’m introducing a new, (approximately) weekly post, the Monday Miscellany, wherein I pass on whatever I’ve been reading or researching or thinking about. Here are a bunch of very short reviews of the books I’ve read this year that fall outside of the scope of the project (with links to goodreads just in case you want to know more about them than can be gleaned from a three-word blurb).
- Blood and Water, Eílís Ní Duibhne: Good. Dark. Irish.
- Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler: Sadly, eerily prescient.
- Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari: Kind of meh.
- Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories, Angela Carter: JUST SO AMAZING.
- Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit: Eye-opening and harrowing.
- Death on the Cherwell, Mavis Doriel Hay: Not Dorothy Sayers.
- The Nine Tailors, Dorothy L. Sayers: Better than remembered.
- Beside Myself, Ann Morgan: A nice page-turner.
- Murder Must Advertise, Five Red Herrings, and Have His Carcase, Dorothy L. Sayers: Good old favorites.
- Strong Poison, Dorothy L. Sayers: Harriet Vane 4ever!
- Quarantine in the Grand Hotel, Jenő Retjő: Delightfully, manically silly.
- The Bright Side of Disaster, Katherine Center: Fluffy but ok.