Monday, January 31, 2011
Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu (1865) - Told from the perspective of a naive, isolated young woman, this gothic novel has it all: dark family secrets, eerie mansions, a fortune at stake, and a thoroughly despicable governess. It was sumptuously descriptive and vivid, almost unusually so, which made getting into the pace of a book written almost 150 years ago much quicker.
Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg (2010) - This was a powerful book for me. It may be the fact that I am currently going to school for library science, so that Steinberg worked in a prison library particularly resonated with me in a vocational way. But regardless of that, his experience with the different types of people he met and worked with was incredibly moving -- people who want to change, those who that can't, and those who have no desire to change at all. More than just a memoir, it was also a discussion about the role of prisons in our society, both historically and currently.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (2003) - A touching story about a woman who begins working for a former mathematics professor who has a memory of only eighty minutes. Beautifully written, it reminded me of how much power there is in the small gestures and personality quirks that make us human.
Devil's Trill: A Novel by Gerald Elias (2010) - My mystery for this month (it seems like I need one every couple of weeks). Enjoyable, but not affecting. More than anything, this book made me wish I knew more about classical music.
at 12:36 PM
Friday, January 28, 2011
Heavier dishes somehow seem more prevalent and appropriate during the winter. It's cold, you're cold, and all that you really want to do come meal time is feel comforted, curl up and hibernate. It's often difficult for me to eat rich foods though (as in, I often get horrible stomach pains after doing just that. I'm not anti-cream sauce, I assure you), so I've been trying to accumulate a number of recipes that can still give me that cozy feeling without turning me into a pathetic lump on the couch.
This chickpea and mushroom dish from Wrightfood more than seems like a worthy addition. I will probably cut down the butter content in favor of olive oil, but the bones of this recipe are just too awesome to resist. Chickpeas + mushrooms + black truffle = I'm sold.
at 10:26 AM
Thursday, January 27, 2011
A round of applause and a bouquet of peonies to the excellent team over at Matchbook Magazine, who launched their premiere issue yesterday! It features all sort of wonderful people, like Haley Boyd of Marais shoes (above) and my artistic girl-crush/heroine Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co (seriously, she is so inspirational to me. I even wrote her a sort of fan letter sometime last year and she was extraordinarily sweet and wrote me back!). It is just delightful all over.
Go read and get inspired!
at 12:09 PM
Given the good eight inches of snow that are piled on top of the air conditioner outside my window, it's going to be a frosty, puffy-coat kind of day. This obviously means I will be fantasizing about staying indoors all day, particularly in this kind of room with good light, books, and a giant flannel blanket to cocoon myself in. Yes, I do believe some cocooning is in order.
Photographed by Patrick Cline for Lonny Magazine, via Welcome Home, Honey.
at 9:21 AM
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
— Ira Glass
Via a note on design.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
What are you up to this weekend? Anything as exciting as this? Mine will probably involve a lot of bundling/hibernating as it is supposed to get super mega cold. The low on Sunday is 4 degrees. 4 degrees! Yikes. I predict there will be a lot of mugs of hot liquids in my future.
Photograph via Corbett.
at 4:12 PM
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
These paintings of books by Stanford Kay feel so timely. We've been talking about the role of books as physical objects in my classes lately. Does the fact that people can now store and read hundreds of books on a single, portable device mean the end of paper-based books? In my opinion, absolutely not. While I think that the digital advancements and e-readers are fantastic in many ways, I am far too attached to the object to ever give it up. The books I've read have become a part of my personal history and growth. That's why I will won't part with the stories I read a kid, or why I will never get rid of shelves (and shelves...) of books even though I have no intentions of reading them again. Kay's paintings seem to hold books in the same nostalgic, emotional light:
"Both paintings and books are vessels for ideas, experience and memory. The books we read and the paintings we love and choose to live with, define us. A book requires the reader to assemble images and ideas out of its signs and symbols. Likewise, a painting asks that you translate its strokes and drips into reason and emotion."
From top to bottom: My Back Pages (Zen Mind) (2009), Blue True (2007), Box #2 (2008), and Blues Section (2008)
Via Emily Jolly's Pinterest.
at 1:09 PM
Good morning! If you've been here before, you may have noticed some little alterations over the past few weeks. A different font, a change in color here and there, and (most importantly!)... a sparkling new banner! After being here for a few months, I decided to really settle in and freshen up the place a bit. You know, rearrange the furniture. Get a couple throw pillows. Hang the art, change my mind, and rehang it again another way. I hope you like it, and thank you so much for visiting!
Also, Lauren Bacall. The original Look.
Via Modern Nostalgic.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
It is positively despicable outside - slush, rain, and icy stairs all culminating into one giant day of ick. Good graphic design always manages to perk me up though, and this piece by Andrei D. Robou is just that. Lovely and cheerful, it even incorporates one of my favorite motifs: anchors.
at 2:17 PM
Monday, January 17, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
My list for the weekend:
- finishing Running the Books (oh man, it is fascinating so far)
- drinks and catching up with people I haven't seen since being away
- taking photos for my engaged friends' "save the date" notes
- homemade tuna melts
- yet another episode of Foyle's War and needlework
What's on your agenda?
Photograph via killyourgrief.
at 3:47 PM