Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mixed grill: too many vampires and vegetables

A mixed grill today,along with hearty thank you for the inquiries as to the status of the missus and RR.
It has been a hot unhealthy spring. I am looking forward to a hotter but healthier summer. Cancer has been discovered in mother-in-law, so we will be dealing with that. As to what is on the grill, this must be brief as once again my computer is down and I am stealing time---

Work-- working with 65,000 new volumes in a new branch is swell for this bibliophile. The plethora of vampire novels, zombies, and manga, the insidious Japanese reading level destroying book form which is killing fiction for teenagers, is not swell. More on this trend in the future. Unfortunately, my energy levels do not match my hopes for service.

Reading-- as an antidote to all this supernatural fiction, I have returned to an early interest, American realist and naturalist novels. I am currently reading Upton Sinclair's Oil! , a novel which served as the "inspiration" for the (unseen) film "There will be blood", starring Daniel Day Lewis, whose work I enjoy. Frank Norris's McTeague, never read I am ashamed to say, is in the batter's box. His Octopus, the first of a proposed trilogy on wheat which Norris did not live to complete, was read many years ago, and will be read again. So much for fiction: I find as I get older I am less interested in it, preferring non-fiction for my casual reading. I am also doing much re-reading except Thomas Wolfe: no one over the age of 19 can re-read Thomas Wolfe.Do your reading habits mirror these?

CSA/veg challenge-- the greenery is winning, even with my preparation for the challenge. Kohlrabi, a heretofore unknown and unused veg was the first gauntlet. I made empanadas with it and squash, also on offer with our share.They are easy to make, even for a tyro like me. Here is the recipe.On the bright side,I have re-discovered the smoker. Sap that I am, I bought a 4-plus pound brisket of grass fed beef. Grass fed meat demands slow, low cooking because of the lower fat content; otherwise one might as well be gnawing on a boot. Smoking it is the way to go. My last smoker adventure, because of technical difficulties, made me gun shy on using it.The beef came out well, and missus RR and I will be finishing it up this weekend. Just in time for my next protein adventure: smoking a chicken which I plan to purchase when we next pick up our CSA.


The Crow said...

Well, hello, there, RR - and Missus! So very glad to find you here this evening, but sorry to read of your MIL's cancer.

I love books, and don't know that I would get much work done if I worked in one, but your job sounds great. I can only imagine the prep work which had to be done before the new branch with all those new books could face its public.

I look forward to reading more from you on the subject of the decline of reading in America.

Thank you for the recipe - sounds good enough to try ay home!

Again, so glad you're back.

Relucent Reader said...

Thank you. Just haven't been in the right mood to blither on as I usually do, but will get it back.
Politics is too easy a target these days, what with Ms Palin driving 'round the country in her Scooby-Doo bus, solving historical mysteries like Paul Revere....

Barrett Bonden said...

Just back from France. Walking back from the street market to the car park I came upon a young lad with what I assume to be a French translation of one of those Japanese comics in his hands. He was flicking through it listlessly and no wonder. Page after page consisted of merely two heads with talk bubbles; no point at all in converting the thing from fictional dialogue (or for that matter a play in book form) into something visual.

However, I note with interest the Upton Sinclair novel. I'm assuming this is out of copyright as was Sinclair Lewis's Babbit which I downloaded free from Project Gutenberg and re-read on my Kindle a few weeks ago. I think one can make a case for reading such works as non-fiction: the plotting is shockingly casual, the interest lies in the factual detail which to some extent resurrects the time in what can only be described as a period piece. I share your diminishing interest in fiction (other than re-reading) and tend to prefer well-written definitive non-fiction as with The German Genius.

Although I am no veggie I am a sucker for the more exotic type of vegetables. Kohlrabi is available in supermarkets here in season and Mrs BB and I both eat it with enthusiasm. Our brief stint in the USA brought about the delight of being able to treat asparagus as a day-to-day green rather than a luxury and now the UK has caught up; it is regularly on our plates. Globe artichokes too have come down in price and the leaves go well dipped in hollandaise sauce. Samphire can be found at fishmongers and at stalls at the side of the road in Brittany. Jerusalem artichokes make the best veggie soup ever.

Jumping back re. your post you are of course right about Thomas Wolfe. At the time (ie, about fifty years ago) I knew I was never going to Look Homeward Angel again. However, in reading Maxwell Perkins autobiography (well worth a punt) it was fascinating to read his account of re-shaping TW - a truly heroic project.

On a personal note I am not given to enquiring about individuals' health unless they volunteer the information. I am aware that there have been problems but I have not sought to pry; if you want to say something I know you will. What I can say is I have eschewed automated systems and I click on your blog most days of the week knowing your posts will be few and far between. But knowing too that they will always be worth reading. And so it has proved. I was flattered beyond belief that you took up German Genius. Since I have seen There Will be Blood I will download Oil some time and let you know about any overlaps. Good to have you back.