I am ever so grateful for the several Chapter & Verse Book Clubs around the country who have been meeting to discuss children’s and teen books since 2008! (good heavens) We meet monthly and we always have a good discussion, especially when some of us like the books more than others. We’ve learned a lot over the years and we’ve laughed a lot, too. I love each and every one of you! Anyone is welcome to join us. Start a group in your area—we’ll help.
I have had three Carl Larsson prints hanging in my home since I first lived on my own. I love his intricate line, his colors, but most of all his subjects: home, family, and everyday life. The book Carl Larsson’s Home was first published in the 1890s and there are still versions of it in print! He had a rough childhood, but he persevered, creating a lovely home life for their children with his wife, artist and interior decorator Karin Bergöö. His art helps me recognize when I am content.
I’ve written before that my grandmother was a wonderful cook. One of her specialties was peach pie. She left us without a recipe. When I asked her to write it down, she was reluctant. I don’t know why. I would watch her make it, using pinches and handfuls to measure. She used tapioca to thicken the sauce, nutmeg, and she cut fresh peaches. I’ve hunted for a recipe that is similar. I have been unable to replicate her pie. Do you have a beloved food that you’ve been hunting elusively? I’m grateful to people who write down their recipes for posterity.
Are you guys aware of the astounding digital resources available at the Library of Congress website? I am SO grateful for access to a plethora of research possibilities. Yesterday, I needed information on Alan Lomax, the folk musicologist.Here’s a short paragraph:
“This presentation contains more than 500,000 pages of Alan Lomax’s personal papers and office files from his time at the Library of Congress (1932-1942) and from his post-Library career through the 1990s. Featured are Lomax’s writing projects such as Land Where the Blues Began (1993), the unpublished Big Ballad Book, as well as documentation of his extensive work in radio for the CBS and BBC networks. Also included are thousands of pages of field notes and correspondence associated with his field projects beginning in the 1930s.”
THOUSANDS of pages. And this is only one collection in the vast holdings that are increasingly being made available to all of us. I LOVE Libraries.
I need all the inspiration I can get to pursue our commitment to cooking our food from scratch and eating at home. Now it’s becoming something of a mission for me to encourage other people to do the same … but I recognize the need to be very subtle about this. Someone who is not subtle at all, but provides me with tremendous encouragement, is Trisha Yearwood with her show Southern Kitchen. She is ebullient, loves cooking, shares her efforts with humor, friendship, family, and love. For me, those elements have become the reasons for preparing good food. Through her show, I have discovered that southern recipes involve LOTS of sugar, so we adjust. I suppose sweet tea should have been my first clue. I am grateful to Trisha Yearwood for sharing her camaraderie and her love for cooking. [below: Trisha Yearwood and her sister Beth Bernard]
After living in a succession of apartments, each of them facing west toward the sunset, Steve and I moved into our first permanent home 20 years ago. The house sits on a lot that is cattywampus. One corner is oriented north. another corner faces west. This, and a forest of trees, makes it difficult to see the sun setting.
When my father-in-law was eating supper at our house, I mentioned that we miss our daily sunsets. On his next visit, he arrived with this framed photograph he’d taken across a beautiful Minnesota lake. It is displayed near my desk where I can see it every day, reminded of his thoughtfulness, and the healing beauty of a sunset.
It is very cold outside. It’s going to get colder. And it will snow. It will snow a great deal tomorrow. My thoughts turn, without help, to spring and gardens and planting. Seed catalogues are filled with color and dreams, the scents of soil and flowers and greens. The tenderness of sunlight and shade. It is gratifying to know that people have sought a winter lifeline in seed catalogues for more than one hundred years. The artwork is an inspiration.
Last night, a group of teachers and children’s literature enthusiasts gathered to place good information in the folders each attendee will receive at the 2019 Books for Breakfast. The 25th anniversary of this event will take place at Rush Creek Golf Club on Saturday, Feb 2, 2019, from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. I am so very grateful that this event is continuing–this connection between educators, librarians, and children’s book authors and illustrators is vital for the mental and emotional health of our children. My heartfelt thank you to Maurna Rome for organizing the event and to all those good-hearted people who worked together on a Minnesota winter evening. I hope you’ll be able to join us at the Breakfast!
Here at The New Yorker by Brendan Gill was one of my best book finds in 1975. This delicious history was a page-turner for me. It began my collection of books about the magazine as well as books by regular contributors to The New Yorker. In 1995, when Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross of The New Yorker, written by Thomas Kunkel, was released, I couldn’t put it down. The Years with Ross by James Thurber (1959) is told from another viewpoint, equally fascinating. Writing this has helped me realize I need to re-read these books! I am grateful to Harold Ross for crafting a magazine that has sharpened the minds of generations of readers. Today, I read their articles daily online, thankful for the journalism that keeps me informed about the world.