Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Kindle is... just a Kindle

I like my Kindle…sort of. I like that I can download enough books to get me through every plane ride I will ever take. I like that, in just a few seconds, another book waits for me at the click of a button. I like that my Kindle is small, light-weight, non-bulky and that it fits easily into a purse or briefcase. I like that, for an additional charge, it comes with a made-to-order cover, complete with travel light. I like that it isn’t backlit so I can read in the yard in brilliant sunlight. For me, that’s about it. I’m keeping my Kindle. I’ve even written a book specifically for Kindle e-readers, WITCH WOMAN, but I don’t love my Kindle.

 I do LOVE my books. I love the smell of paper. I love the page numbers in the corners. I love the colors of the covers and the teasers on the back.  I love knowing I’ve read 126 pages and that I have 250 more to enjoy. I love metaphors so diamond-edged, so breath-stealing, so authentic that I simply must highlight the words and go back again and again to reread them. I love doodling my questions and comments in the margins and coming upon them later to relive the place where I was at the time. I love the books authors have personalized for me,…Dear Jeanette, etc. etc. My favorite signing was completely unexpected: Ray Bradbury in the last years of his life, had come to the opening of his play in a wheelchair. When I told him I was a fan he quizzed me on his works. I must have passed the test because, not only did he sign my program, he kissed me. Ray Bradbury kissed me and I have his wonderful, one-of-a-kind scrawl as a souvenir. I love going into bookstores and seeing my name on the spines of books I've written.

A Kindle reader will never replace my stash of books. I can do without a Kindle. I frequently delete the books I’ve downloaded. I have no idea where they end up. I have never thrown away a book. I lend my books and I donate them, but I never throw them away. I cannot do without a book, not now, not ever. I like my Kindle, but I love my books.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pomegranate Soup

I really enjoyed this unique novel, Pomegranate Soup, by Marsha Mehran. The contrast of two cultures, Ireland and Iran, kept me turning the pages.

From Publishers Weekly     

Beautiful strangers bring exotic recipes to town in Mehran's foodie-lit debut. The Irish hamlet of Ballinacroagh is the unlikely new home for three Iranian sisters and their new Babylon Cafe. Twenty-seven-year-old Marjan, the most skilled in the kitchen; Bahar, the tentative middle sister; and Layla, the charming teenager, fled the Iranian revolution and, after some years in London, have arrived determined to succeed. Initially wary natives soon fall under the spell of the cafe's cardamom- and rosewater-scented wonders, with kindly Estelle Delmonico (the stereotyped Italian widow who formerly owned the storefront) and friendly Father Mahoney leading the pack. But town bully Thomas McGuire, who loathes "feckin' foreigners," and gossip Dervla Quigley, who thinks "they're all sluts," will do anything to drive the sisters away. As Marjan cements alliances through her recipes and Layla falls in love with McGuire's son, Bahar continues to be troubled by the violence in her past. Can the provincial Irish welcome the "foreigners"? Will the sisters triumph? But of course! Mehran's mauve prose gets especially purple sometimes (Layla feels love "like the ecstatic cries of a pomegranate as it realized the knife's thrust"), but fans of Chocolat and other cooking-overcomes-cultural-differences stories will savor the tale, not to mention the 13 recipes, including one for pomegranate soup. (Aug.)
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