My Life in France is Julia Child’s memoir and it made me endlessly hungry.
It really is her memoir of her time in France and of how she came to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking, volumes 1 & 2. It is full of her passion for food, a thing she came to late in life. As a result, she worked all the harder at it, creating what was one of the classic cookbooks. It took more than a decade to complete!
Her passion and total dedication to her subject – food – is as interesting as the Beastie Boys’ passion and dedication to music. The fervor comes through the writing, the way she would recreate recipes over and over to make sure they worked, her dedication to writing everything clearly, the way the recipes were tested by others before they were ever published.
I wanted a good fish meunière by the time I was done. Recommended.
I’ve been feeling my Gen X-hood lately; I’m not sure why, it’s just there. I’ve been listening to the Indigo Girls (their debut album came out 30 years ago) and REM; Welcome to Night Vale isn’t explicitly about Generation X, but it might as well be; if something’s been written about it lately, chances are I’ve read it.
Generation X, the book, was checked out of the library, so I chose Pattern Recognition instead. It’s a book very much of its immediate post 9/11 time. The main intrigue is about mysterious video clips that are posted online pre-you tube on whatever sites they can be hosted on. The internet is a big enough deal that it provides a place for people to come together to obsess about the videos, but not a big enough deal that you tube yet exists. And there’s a general sense of paranoia about the world and not being able to trust your immediate environment that was particular to the post 9/11 days.
But most of-the-moment of all, Cayce, the main character, her job is as a cool hunter. Someone who looks for trends in the real world for companies to make money on. As if that’s not a person who lives on social media or the internet in general these days. As if we could get a whole country to think of the same thing as cool, as if the trends don’t manifest themselves online.
There is an enjoyable underlying weirdness to the characters that I find particularly endearing. The characters aren’t wearing their weirdness as a character trait, not unless it’s a plot point. They just happen to be a bit off from “normal” because of what they enjoy or how they make money or because they just are.
I like Pattern Recognition, but at least part of that is because it is so particular to its time and I want to spend time with the characters in their weirdnesses. Recommended because of these things.