6.02.2014

Recommended Reading

Lately I've been gravitating toward short stories and biographies. I love getting a glimpse of different perspectives and particularly the powerful influence of one's childhood.
What has piqued your interest lately?


Recommended Reading No. 3

Here are snippets from all four:

1. “Goodbye, My Brother” (John Cheever) – "I have grown too old now to think that I can judge the sentiments of others, but I was conscious of the tension between Lawrence and Mother, and I knew some of the history of it. Lawrence couldn't have been more than sixteen years old when he decided that Mother was frivolous, mischievous, destructive, and overly strong. When he had determined this, he decided to separate himself from her. He was at boarding school then, and I remember that he did not come home for Christmas. He spent Christmas with a friend. He came home very seldom after he had made this unfavorable judgment on Mother, and when he did come home, he always tried, in his conversation, to remind her of his estrangement. When he married Ruth, he did not tell Mother. He did not tell her when his children were born. But in spite of these principled and lengthy exertions he seemed, unlike the rest of us, never to have enjoyed any separation, and when they are together, you feel at once a tension, an unclearness." (P. 16)

2. Blue Nights (Joan Didion)
"I continue opening boxes.
I find more faded and cracked photographs than I want ever again to see.
I find many engraved invitations to the weddings of people who are no longer married.
I find many mass cards from the funerals of people whose faces I no longer remember.
In theory these momentos serve to bring back the moment.
In fact they serve only to make clear how inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here.
How inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here is something else I could never afford to see." (P. 46)

3. Grace: A Memoir (Grade Coddington)  "Yves Saint Laurent was one I never skipped. He was modern. He proposed an entirely different couture, one that reflected the influences of youth, popular music, and what was happening in and around the streets of Paris's Left Bank. It was not at all for little old ladies. Cardin and Courr├Ęges were modern too back then, but theirs was a different kind of modernity: It was futuristic, and I don't usually "get" futuristic, because I think it's just an effect. Dior I found a bit shocking. There was always one point in the show where they sent out three exotic fur coats together in a group for les petites bourgeoises and they were usually made from some extremely endangered species like snow leopard. I considered it rather disgraceful and didn't care for Dior at that time." (P. 100)

4. Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection (Gordon Ramsay) – "We spent a lot of time practising our menus. We always trial new dishes over and over until they are perfect. As a result, the menu at Claridge's was, and still is, exquisite. You can start with a beautiful dish like a smoked eel and celeriac soup with crushed ratte potatoes and poached quail's eggs; follow it with a roast cannon of new season's Cornish lamb served with confit shoulder, white bean puree, baby leeks and rosemary jus; and finish with a classic carmelised tarte tatin flavoured with cardamom, and vanilla ice cream. Or, if you fancy something a little lighter, you could start off with a chilled Charentais melon soup served with a Cornish crab vinaigrette, followed by baked baby sea bass served with roasted fennel and confit garlic, and finish with blood orange semi-freddo with an Earl Grey tea sorbet and glazed pink grapefruit." (P. 177-178)

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