In the High Peaks

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Bookish Thoughts on Thanksgiving Eve

Early tomorrow morning the turkey goes in the oven. It's a 14-pounder. The stuffing is almost prepared and ready for the refrigerator and everything else is in order. We will have turkey, stuffing mashed red bliss potatoes, butternut squash, a medley of carrots, blueberries, olives, celery, red peppers, and dried sweetened cranberries, which is not the salad I was hoping to make. Oh, a special French apple cake, warmed, with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

BUT the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has issued this warning: If you have romaine lettuce in your refrigerator, in any form--as a head or a mix--no matter where it's from--California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, or Florida, get rid of it. A serious E.coli outbreak has been traced to romaine, and currently the source is unclear. The strain of E.coli is one that is extremely toxic. The CDC recommends that if your romaine is in your fridge and is not in a plastic container--scrub the vegetable bins. (Sorry--this is not fun to hear about the night before Thanksgiving.) I had a box of Olivia's Organics Spring Mix, we have had it in salads for two dinners, but it's now in the trash. I visited Olivia's Organics website and they advise trashing it, although no illness has been attributed to Olivia's products.

I promised bookish thoughts.
I'm loving Scottish author Jenny Colgan's Christmas on the Island. Such atmosphere on the Island of Mure, a fictitious island off the coast of northernmost Scotland. I believe it's an island on the east coast--I think it was mentioned, but I could be wrong. The characters are delightful, quirky, and each has troubles. I loved that the characters on the island were introduced in the first chapter, via a very big retired sheepdog named Bramble, who, although he sleeps 20 hours a day, makes a tour of the village during the other four. I have read just enough to get a deep toehold in the book, enough to know that the characters are not super-cozy mush and have real problems that trip them up. Five thumbs up!

Today while cooking and washing loads of dishes, I listened to a New York Times Book Review podcast from just over a month ago. I was fascinated to learn that Lisa Brennan-Jobs has written a memoir, Small Fry, which has just this week been announced as one of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year.  First of all, Pamela Paul, the NYT Book Review Editor,  is an excellent interviewer--so every author she selects for the podcast presents riveting content. As a reader who loves memoirs (how many did I read this year??), I was fascinated to learn how Brennan-Jobs came  to write a memoir, how she went about it, what was really difficult for her, and how she overcame the challenges.
Lisa Brennan-Jobs is the daughter of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, one of the most enigmatic and (quirky? strange?-- Ken, a former software analyst, PC pioneer and enthusiast, and one who loathes the philosophy and gestalt behind the production of all Apple computers just calls him very weird) of American business geniuses, to say the least.
Brennan-Jobs was most concerned, during her writing, that people would relegate her memoir to the genre of "celebrity memoir." The book, she emphasizes, is not that at all, but is the story of her childhood and coming of age, growing up between two household's--her mother's and her father's. At first, her father refused paternity of her.

So I downloaded the audio of Small Fry, but, help!, I'm still listening to Famous Father Girl by Jamie Bernstein (excellent), and In Pieces by Sally Field, which as also been selected as a New York Times Notable Book of 2018.

A Very Happy Thanksgiving to all readers who celebrate the holiday and happy reading to those who actually have the time to read during this time. I envy you!


  1. We heard about the E.Coli outbreak over there and that romaine lettuce was to blame. It's rather frightening when these things happen.

    I've read one Jenny Colgan book, The Little Beach Street Bakery. It was set in Cornwall and was good fun. I have one other on my tbr pile, The Summer Seaside Kitchen.

    I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow.

    1. Hi Cath,
      Sorry to be late with my reply, yet again. I really enjoyed The Little Beach Street Bakery. I read it last December. And, because Cornwall is one of my favorite places in England, I was especially happy to read it. I have yet to read The Summer Seaside Kitchen. I think I'll write the title in my Summer 2019 engagement calendar.
      And thank you for the Thanksgiving good wishes. We did indeed have a wonderful Thanksgiving, even though the outdoor temperate did not rise above 8 degrees F. But it was very sunny. Good company. And all the food came out well, thankfully.

  2. Just a quick, Happy Thanksgiving wish to you and your family. We'll be busy tomorrow but didn't want to miss a chance to send our wished.

    1. Hi Diane,
      And I hope that you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving, frigid though it was.

  3. Hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving, despite the cold. We were below zero this morning... coldest temps EVER recorded in November in our part of the state. The Jenny Colgan novel sounds delightful. I'm listening to essays by Elinor Lipman called I Can't Complain and reading The Girl Who Smiled Beads. Early going for both, but think they may be winners.

    1. Hi JoAnn,
      Thank you for the good holiday wishes! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends, I think the oven and convection oven kept the kitchen warm. Our high temp for Thanksgiving was 8 degrees. Our nighttime temps did not get as low as yours. I had heard that you were likely to be colder. We went down to about 2 degrees below zero on Wednesday night.
      JoAnn, Colgan's Christmas on the Island is not to be missed, IMO. This is the third Colgan novel I've read and I think it's the best one, though there are others I haven't read.
      How Interesting--the Elinor Lipman essays. I know I'd enjoy that.
      Have a good rest of your weekend with family!

  4. Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving Judith. I also hope you like In Pieces, I thought it was pretty good.

    1. Thanks, Diane.
      We had a satisfying and very enjoyable Thanksgiving, even if I was so tired from all the cooking that I couldn't eat much. But did I ever enjoy the leftovers! The whole Thanksgiving meal preparations and work were very much worth the effort.