The Sunday Salon: Giving (Bookish) Thanks

For us Americans, this past Thursday was Thanksgiving. I finally was able to convince my mother to let me “help” (i.e., take over) with Thanksgiving dinner, and we had a fantastic time brainstorming a menu and executing it. And it was so nice to spend a few days at home, tending to things, like trying new recipes, interviewing librarians for grad school, and finally return my friend Natalya’s The Mighty Boosh DVDs. It’s a nice bit of decompression before the final push, so I’d thought I’d extend the holiday a bit and share what I’m (bookishly) thankful for.

Tom Wolfe

Fronteiras do Pensamento - Tom Wolfe

The day after I finished The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, I wrote a poem as soon as I woke up. If you’re not familiar with my problems with the form, the fact I actually sat down and wrote one is astonishing. It’s in Wolfe’s voice (as near as I can appromixate it, of course), and his voice has been sticking with me ever since I finished it. And that’s extravagantly wonderful, to me. I recently attended a reading by my friend Paige; she was reading her own poetry, and mentioned how she had always thought she’d be a fiction writer, but found herself more of a creative nonfiction writer. While I’m still very much a fiction writer, having written this blog for three years has proven that this whole nonfiction gig is something I like doing, and Wolfe, in a single book, has become an inspiration.

The Song of the Lioness

Songs of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce

I didn’t want to mention specific books in this post, since my year-end wrap-up is essentially just around the corner (yikes!), but Alanna: The First Adventure and In the Hand of the Goddess aren’t even vaguely in the running for the best books of the year for me. They’re just not particularly good, and I keep wanting to smack Alanna for not being down with warrior nuns. Warrior nuns. The Catholic inside of me is always for warrior nuns. And yet… there’s something about the wish fulfillment, the wacky eye and hair colors, the talking animals, the awkward dialogue, and classic fantasy action that utterly delights me, the same way thumbing through the manual for Warcraft II did when I was a little kid. Even as I’m aware that they’re just not that good, they’re still supremely comforting.

Elementary

I won’t get around to reviewing it until the season wraps up sometime in the spring, but I’ve grown awfully fond of CBS’s Elementary, given my initial distaste for the project. While I’m bitterly disappointed that Joan Watson apparently never served in the military (it’s such a core part of the character!), I’m still fond of her cool head and inability to take any crap from Holmes. And Miller’s Holmes is a very interesting take on the character—for one thing, he’s compassionate, even as he can be alienated from other people and incredibly poorly mannered. Holmes wants to help. Most Holmes or Holmes-based characters value the puzzle over humans, so it’s fascinating to see one that isn’t. Also: there’s no indication that Holmes and Watson are remotely interested in each other romantically, I keep getting over-excited I see anyone who could remotely qualify as Joan’s Mary, and they took a total left turn on Irene for me, so I’m interested to see where they’re going with my beloved Reenie.

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit LEGOs

On the march

There have been Harry Potter LEGOs over the years (as I’ve detailed at length), but I was never enough of a Potter fan to really pay attention. But when The Lord of the Rings LEGOs dropped, I perked up, and ended up rediscovering the Danish playthings in the process. I ended up inventorying my old LEGOs, tossing some out, and rebuilding some pieces, like a wonderful Sphinx. (In fact, it was only a few days ago that I realized my Sphinx has teeth marks on it. I was less of a child and more of a angry little badger.) There’s plenty of Tolkien merch floating around, of course, and I love having little totemic pieces of stories I love, such as my Dernhelm action figure. But action figures, especially in the face, can be so hit and miss, so it’s nice to see Tolkien LEGOs that marry the film licenses with their own aesthetic appeal.

Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

bittersweet chocolate and pear cake
I realize this is not bookish, but I made this for Thanksgiving. I made it the day before, so I had to wait to even see if it would work, after I had stupidly used a too small pan and the batter crested over the sides. It was agonizing, but it was so worth it. As in, it totally shifted my consciousness. It’s less a cake in the traditional sense and more of a cobbler deal; get a spoon. But you should make this for a special occasion and wonder at the sheer capability of your own two hands. Oh my sweet Lord. (We still have a little bit left. It’s incredibly tempting.)

This week has been a break from school, but I’ve gotten no work done, which really bothers me, and Friday was a particularly rough night. I got no reading done as well. But back to the grind today, and I couldn’t be happier.

What are you bookishly thankful for this year?

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