There are all kinds of things self dredges up from the nooks and crannies of son’s room.

While other empty-nesters of self’s acquaintance quickly converted their college children’s rooms into guest rooms, not self.  She has preserved every scrap of paper, every poster, every letter.  Son’s room is like a Museum, the Museum of Childhood.  Nothing has changed, except that now self uses son’s bookshelves to array her own books, which would take over the entire house if she let it.

There was the time, several years ago, when she stumbled across a card that said:

A, Read the rest of this entry »

The Short List: Most Helpful Reviews, NYTBR 4 March 2012

Self is determined to make serious inroads into her pile of unopened mail and unread journals, this week.  Ah, so much to read, so little time!  (Apologies for skipping around, dear blog readers:  She realizes that it is confusing to read a post about the Mar. 25 NYTBR before the one today on the  Mar. 4 NYTBR)

  • Sarah Lyall’s review of Craig Taylor’s Londoners:  The Days and Nights of London Now —  As Told By Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It (HarperCollins):  “What is London?  How do you define a city so sprawling, so changeable, so varied?  The answer, of course, is that there is no one answer.”
  • Garrett Keizer’s review of Katherine S. Newman’s The Accordion Family:  Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition (Beacon Press), and Eric Klinenberg’s Going Solo:  The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press):  Newman “acknowledges that different cultures define adulthood in different ways, with Americans tending to see it as a ‘process of self-discovery’ and Europeans as ‘a station defined by the way one relates to others.’  She also appreciates that 76 percent of American parents of 21-year-olds say they feel close to their child, as opposed to a mere quarter of their own parents saying the same.”
  • Brenda Wineapple’s review of Natalie Dykstra’s Clover Adams:  A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt):  Not only does Wineapple make self want to dash out and start reading The Education of Henry Adams (Clover was the wife of Henry), she also helps us understand the factors that contributed to Clover’s emotional instability:  “Crazy as coots, was the way Henry Adams’s brother described” Clover’s family.  “Clover’s sister would later walk into the path of an oncoming train, and her brother would fall or throw himself out of a third-story window.”

BTW, what’s with the very very veeeery long subtitles?  This must be a new trend!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Spring Garden: Happiness

Today was hot, but this evening is cooler than yesterday.

The warm weather set all of self’s flowers to blooming.

Early this morning, self noticed one gorgeous bloom on her Sunflare.  Finally, in the late afternoon, she went for her camera and took this picture:

Sunflare, Backyard

Self loves orange flowers, but has never successfully grown an orange rose (Her one orange rose, a Fragrant Cloud, died last year). Self has to make do with this abutilon, blooming in her side yard. (She knows the picture is blurred. Apologies!)

Changing gears here:  self is currently reading Jennifer 8. Lee’s The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.  So far, Lee  has written about:  a) a dynamo who revolutionized the restaurant industry when she introduced Chinese food delivery in New York City; and b) the history of the fortune cookie.  Self is finding the subject difficult to get into.  Lee is witty and all that, but perhaps self wants to read a really dark, wrenching memoir, and not a light, frothy essay on the misconceptions that surround the origin of the Chinese fortune cookie.  The next book on her list is Nicholson Baker’s first foray into nonfiction, Human Smoke:  The Origins of World War II, the End of Civilization and it has created quite a rift among Amazon readers,  some calling it “muddled” and “a hodgepodge.”

Self has read two short books by Mr. Baker, both novels.  She liked them both, especially A Box of Matches.  It’s interesting to her that when Mr. Baker tackled nonfiction, he wrote a book that was about five times as long as his novels.  (She does commend him for his very intriguing title.  Self wishes she had written a book called Human Smoke.  Lately, all her story titles have been bad:  “Sleuth,” “The Cooking Lesson,” “Emergency” — yucch, yucch, yucch)

Switching gears yet again:  today, self went to the Menlo Park Farmers Market, could not pass up the baklava.  Then she went to Pampelmousse in downtown Redwood City and purchased four caramel salt macaroons.  Finally, because she feels so sorry for the husband because he is an engineer and not something cool like a writer, she went with him to the Dairy Queen on Woodside Road and even though she was not at all desirous of having a sundae, she went ahead and had a caramel sundae.  L’Fisher Chalet laundrywoman, the next time self is in your presence, she already knows what you are going to say:  You are sooo fat!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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