Friday, July 3, 2009

Heaven on Earth



Ingredients:

1. The company of cherished loved ones
2. Peaceful, beautiful surroundings with good weather
3. Simple, home-cooked, country fare (today for lunch, a salmon terrine with a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots, then home-made sorbets from fruit growing in the garden; for goûter, some chocolate and French bread...)
4. A relaxed pace
5. A great book to read (see below)

***



The Help by Kathryn Stockett is one of THE BEST BOOKS I have EVER read (I haven't quite finished it yet, but part of me doesn't want to - I just want it to go on).  I have not felt this excited about a book since Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer.  This is Stockett's debut novel, and it is an absolute tour de force - amazing characterizations, gripping story, compelling themes, marvelous voice.  HOW DID SHE DO THAT?!  I say to myself every few pages.  I cannot put it down.

The book is about three women in the 1960's in Jackson, Mississippi - two African-American housekeepers and one young white woman who longs to be a writer and wants to write about them.  It's also about stories and storytelling, truth and lies, having a voice and keeping silence and secrets, writing and how it transformers both writer and reader, and the true meaning of dignity and significance.  Don't miss it!

5 comments:

Becca said...

Now that sounds good.

Do you have a sorbet recipe you'd be prepared to share? I'd really like to have a go as am now on a soft diet and sorbet sounds neeeeeearly as good as nice cold peach slices fresh out of the fridge...

If you like Barbara Kingsolver, have you read The Bean Trees? One of my all-time favourite books. I'd be willing to bet that you'd enjoy a lot of Alexander McCall Smith's work too, especially the now deservedly famous Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.

/random lurky ex-musician reader fading back into the ether

T. said...

Becca - thanks for stopping by! I'll have to put The Bean Trees on my list. I've read and enjoyed some of McCall Smith's writing.

I will ask my husband's uncle, who is hosting us this weekend, how he works his magic to make the family sorbets. Will gladly share a recipe if I can get one, but I have a feeling he's the "A little bit of this, a touch of that" type of glacier-sorbetier! :)

T. said...

Update: I just asked Oncle G. how he makes his marvelous sorbets, and he said it was very simple:

-extract pulp and juice from desired fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or Bartlett/Williams pears apparently work best)
-make sugar into a syrup (amount = 80% of weight of fruit)
-add juice of 1 lemon or orange for every 500g of fruit pulp
-mix till homogeneous and freeze immediately

It does seem simple, but I don't know if I'd be brave enough to try. I'd be afraid of messing up some perfectly good fruit! :)

Northwoods Baby said...

Okay, honestly, did you not find the voice distracting, at least at first? I can't decide if I hate it or not. I don't know if I can get past it to finish the book.

..mmm sorbet.

T. said...

Not at all - I didn't find Aibileen's voice distracting at all. In fact, I think the author did a brilliantly job of it, and now that I've finished the book, I honestly think it was one of the best I've ever read.