There’s this thing that we do, we modern people who maybe don’t have the opportunity to go and do Big Things like travel the globe or discover new islands or new species of animals in the depths of the Amazon or wherever. We take a year, and we turn it into a project- read 100 books (which I’ve done), or read the encyclopedia, or visit every state capital in the US or something of the sort. And we write about it on the way, the disasters we’ve encountered, the lessons we’ve learned, how we’ve grown- or not grown. Or whatever.
Julie Powell decided to make every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year, and blog about it while she did so. This was all the way back in 2002, when blogging was new and the trope of “My Year of _______ ” wasn’t the thing it is now. She didn’t do it for the hope of a book contract (which ended up happening) or for fame (which ended up happening, too). She did it because she was in a dead-end job, staring 30 in the face, and desperate to do something Else.
So she started cooking. A lot. With a lot of butter.
Through the whole process, Powell is wonderfully candid about her failures- at cooking, at housekeeping, at keeping her cool- as well as her successes. And she is quite down to Earth about the minor fame that grew out of her little blog. She was interviewed by the New York Times and CBS, had dinner with major food critics, and through it all she says things like, “I’m not sure why they found me so interesting. It’s all very surreal”. I imagine it was.
So if you like quirky memoirs and yearlong projects, I recommend this book. Just be prepared for a lot of vivid descriptions of things like cow brains and the fact that Powell really likes the word ‘f*ck’.
At long last, I’ve finally received the digital copy of Robert Galbraith’s third Cormoran Strike novel, Career of Evil. I only requested it back in February after I raced through the first two books. I’m ten percent of the way through the book, and am quite drawn into the story so far, even if the thought of poor Robin receiving a woman’s leg is pretty gross.
I’ve also started watching season 2 of Starz’s Black Sails. I thoroughly enjoyed season 1, but hadn’t watched season 2 until I found the set at the library. It’s a period piece about pirates, has complicated interpersonal relationships and politics, amazing production value, and doesn’t stray into the sort of melodrama I don’t care for. It’s always interesting when the characters you’re rooting for are Bad People, and the ones you are hoping will fail are the ones who are meant to keep peace and order.