Friday, November 14, 2014

This week in obsessions

Just in time for the holidays: I may do all my shopping on The Grommet this year. Whimsical and clever gifts for all your whimsical and clever friends and family members. Unfortunately the very clever Sorta notebook is out of stock until 2015. It's a notebook that lets you rearrange the order of its pages--a cross between a three-ring binder and a Moleskin. I try to keep a notebook for each writing project I'm working on, a place to work out plot problems and keep track of the color of each character's eyes, that sort of thing, but as you can imagine, inspiration doesn't always come in sequential order and so I'm forever flipping back and forth through the pages. I'm dying to try out the Sorta to see if it might be the answer to my problem.

(I am looking for suggestions for holiday gifts! Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment section.)

I love the HBO series Game of Thrones and so I find it amusing that the Turkish military is banning its troops from watching the show. This show is too intense for Turkish soldiers to watch? Like they can't sort out the issues presented on the show for themselves?

Speaking of HBO, did you watch the miniseries Olive Kitteridge? I did and I loved it (so did this woman on Jezebel and she explains why here). It reminded me of my childhood growing up in New England, the hardbitten unapologetically curt people, the accents, plaid car coats. I made hot dogs and beans for dinner tonight after seeing the characters have it for dinner on the series. Only I didn't remember the story all that distinctly which means I will need to reread the book.

Recipe of the week: No, not hot dogs and beans. Even I can make that without a recipe. This week's recipe is pickled cabbage slaw from Smitten Kitchen. The reason I picked it is because it is on the healthy side (cruciferous vegetables like cabbage are very good for you), and we're about to enter the long season of bad eating what with Thanksgiving and the holidays. And because I am half-Asian and like all Asians, I grew up on pickled things. I had the pickled kind of coleslaw for the first time a few years back at a deli in NYC and you know, it's better than the mayonnaise kind. So whip up a batch of this to eat with your sandwiches at lunch instead of potato chips and feel good about yourself.

Does this look like a fun place to read a book? (Thanks, Bookshelf Porn!)

Friday, November 7, 2014

This week in obsessions

Funny, last week's posts got quite a few more hits than the previous weeks. . . I wonder if it's because it had "IEEE" in the text? or big data analytics? If that's not your cup of tea, here is this week's recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake (recipe from Food52, one of my new favorite food sites because I like to give edible gifts for the holidays).

Book of the week: Michel Faber wrote The Crimson Petal and the White, a historical novel set in Victorian England. It came out about the time I was in grad school and working in earnest on the book that would become The Taker. I had an assignment for class to interview an author, and after a reading at a bookstore that no longer exists in downtown DC, Michel and his wife Eva kindly agreed to be my guinea pigs. We went to Kramerbooks so he could sign stock and then we got some cake and sat in Dupont Circle and I interviewed him. His wife Eva stands out in my memory, not only because she was obviously so proud of him and so supportive, but because she was just a wonderful person and after we parted, there were actually many times I thought of Eva and wondered how she was (I, too, am the wife of an artist, though in my case, a musician). Faber's latest book, The Book of Strange New Things, just came out and he's saying that this is the last novel he will ever write because Eva passed away this past summer. Having met her and seen the two of them together, I can completely understand why.