40My Life in Franceby Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme (Alfred A. Knopf, New York; 2006. 302 pages, including 79 photographs)
A delightful read. I mean, really. Julia Child is equal parts innocent and savvy dame. Her relentless work to bring cooking confidence to the American masses while maintaining a sharp wit and romantic view of the world makes for enjoyable reading. At times, my heart hurt for this woman who speaks plainly about her complicated relationship with her dad, the U.S. government and close friends alike. Her memory of the world centers on two sturdy legs: her husband Paul and delicious food. Thus paragraphs that weave the sorrow of her husband's illness with the menu from one of the last parties they gave. It was oeufs en gelee', roast leg of lamb, haricots panaches', and cheeses, in case you were wondering.
Our book club selected this title for November. My only hesitation was that the story is a prequel, written more than 100 years after it's sequel, one of my all-time favorite stories, Jane Eyre. While I wouldn't put Rhys's imagined backstory for the Jamaican madwoman locked in the attic of Mr. Rochester's British manor house. As you might expect for any backstory for a madwoman, the story is sad. It's also really well-written. Through her choice of language, setting and dialogue the author pulls us into a sort of dream world from the very first word to the last. Well, sometimes dream and sometimes nightmare. And, yet, somehow still worth the read.
"Have you seen this yet?" My sister asked on my Facebook wall. Not only had I not seen it, I hadn't even heard about it. I'm a Joss Whedon fan in theory, but haven't actually watched many of his projects. "Watch the special features first. You'll love the movie for sure, after you hear how it was made." My sister knows me well. Even better, she flew to Austin to spend a week with me and we got to watch it together. Half way through trying to watch the black-and-white film with a house full of people, keeping the volume low so as not to wake the baby, we hit pause. I didn't love it yet. Then we watched special features and I was in all the way. I won't spoil it for you. Watch for yourself.
p.s., I can't stop listening to this song Whedon co-wrote for the film.
This film I'd heard about, but forgotten until our friend Peter reminded us. Brian and I watched it on a Friday night when we're often too tired to stay engaged. We both sat up straight through the entire thing and couldn't stop talking about it afterwards. You don't even have to be a documentary fan to enjoy this (although, both of us are). Sarah Polley manages to pull in the best of both worlds -- documentary and fictional filmmaking -- to captivate viewers. Granted, her family cooperates with the storytelling on a heartwarming level -- much to their own discomfort, at times. The story is dramatic, yes. The family full of actors, writers and filmmakers, so that helps. But if you engage with the story, you'll find yourself thinking about your own family story. How your family and friends would tell it. Why that would even matter. Jeffrey Overstreet writes a brief, but great review here. (Coincidentally, the same post contains his review for Much Ado About Nothing)
In my ears
I'm a fan of this group, Ordinary Time. I think they make good music around strong lyrics from times past. Their new album, Joy Brand New is no exception. I love their harmonies, their emotional range and unique instrumentation. I've been playing on repeat all month.
In the kitchen
Kale and Quinoa Soup via Vegetable broth from scraps via