Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A few books, a game, ribs, an appearance, some begging, etc.

I thought she'd never ask.
Um, did I mention how I'm going to be at this event in Concord, MA tomorrow evening, with the fantabulous Suzy Becker and Nancy Aronie? I did? Oh. Okay. If you want to come, you'll come, I'm guessing. WINE AND CHEESE. Just saying.

via NPR
Meanwhile, I have been on a tremendous and wonderful reading jag. This book. And this book. And this book. And this book. So, so, so good. All of them. Dept. of Speculation was so insanely brilliantly heartbreakingly stunning that I actually read it again right after I finished it. And the Roz Chast. I mean, my God. I think I pre-ordered it in 1987, and it was totally worth the wait. The Curtis Sittenfeld novel is about psychic twin sisters, but along the way there is some of the best and funniest writing about parenting I've read (including the fact that the two-year-old's lovey is a wooden puzzle piece of baloney). And Michael Cunningham's book reminded me a little of his A Home at the End of the World, which is one of my all-time-favorite reads. You won't be disappointed with any of them. (Unless you are, and then I'm sorry!)


There's one other weird book I want to recommend, especially if you have a stop-motion animation fanatic in your life for whom you need to buy a present, and it's The Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox. I'll tell you: the book kind of demystifies why that movie is so good, and it's all in the details. There's even a page that shows all the little swatches for Mr. Fox's ascot fabric. I mean, seriously. We get it out of the library and simply love studying all the sets and props and costumes. It helps the kids understand that stop-motion is an agonizing, snail's-pace labor of love, even for the professionals.


I also have a new board game to recommend! My brother sent it to us, and it's FANTASTIC. Plus, it plays like a long game, but only really takes half an hour or so. 7 Wonders. It's kind of like a cross between Stone Age and San Juan and Dominion. How's that for Dorksville comparisons to other games you've never heard of? Sorry. But it's engagingly strategic without being nail-bitingly stressful, which can be a nice change of pace to, say, the merrily unbearable Agricola. (Plus, we had the excitement of receiving a misprinted card! And getting a new one sent to us in the mail!!! Never a dull etc.)

That's it. Except for my crazy, crazy, crazy good ribs recipe, which was in Relish magazine. Forgive the absence of humbleness. They're too good.

More soon. I hope you are well and LILACS enjoying DOGWOOD the VIOLETS spring.

22 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:19 PM

    Hi Catherine,

    I have been reading your blog for as long as I can remember -- way back when you were on Baby Center.

    I was so excited when I read that you would be in Concord tomorrow night-- and I immediately called and purchased a ticket.

    Last week -- my daugther's school sent out an E-mail that the Spring Concert was being changed from the last week of May to -- you guessed it -- tomorrow night.

    Wah.

    So ... there'll be one less Catherine Newman supporter there in person -- but please know I remain in spirit. And of course my ticket cost -- well I had already paid in advance -- so that's going to be there without me too! I hope it gets a good seat.

    Best of luck! Hope you'll be around another time in Eastern Mass -- so I can meet you in person.

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    1. Alas! Thank you for *almost* going, and enjoy the spring concert. xo

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  2. I have been reading you since I was pregnant with my second child, which I guess makes a little over 8 years. Yikes! Anyway, I am so looking forward to tomorrow night. When I heard you coming to Concord, where I live, on my birthday...well it was like I had died and gone to heaven. I have enlisted three friends to attend. So there will be four Catherine Newman fans in attendance. I am sure the other ladies are just swell, but really we are coming for you. Oh, and the cheese!

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    1. On your birthday? I am filled with preemptive dread. What if it's dull, and you hate it, and that was your whole birthday? Can't wait to see you, Betsy. xo

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  3. I'm so glad to know that Dept. of Speculation is wonderful. I fell in love with the Kindle sample and then was perversely too cheap to buy the whole book. I will mend my ways!

    Anyway, I am yet another huge fan who will be there tomorrow night. I discovered Waiting for Birdy when I was pregnant with my now 5 year old, and it was the perfect thing to read while eating a bowl of Rice Krispies at 3am when I couldn't sleep. (That is pretty much the highest praise I can confer on a book, by the way!) I've lost track of how many friends I've given copies of the book to.

    I'm so looking forward to seeing you, and if I duck out early or don't stay to chat, it's because I'm panicking about getting home to nurse the baby to sleep. She will wait up for me :)

    xoxo

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    1. Hooray, Amber! Can't wait to see you! (Mmm. Rice Krispies.) xo

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  4. I wish, wish, wish I could be there, but, alas, California's a little far. Good luck, I'm sure you will be wonderful!

    -Loren

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    1. It's not *that* far! #sigh

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  5. Anonymous1:59 AM

    Good luck, Catherine! I am envious beyond words of everyone who gets to be there. Like Loren, it turns out California is too far.

    And thanks for another recommendation list- I love 'em, and need 'em. Yay! ~Kelda

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    1. Come anyway! Bring my marmalade! xo

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  6. Good luck at your event - I'm sure it will be wonderful! Thank you for the book recommendations - I have just requested all of them from the library. Hope you are enjoying Spring as well. Always enjoy your posts. Take care!

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  8. Catherine - you should take this show on the road! Minnesota will be wonderful for about the next 5 months! Actually, you could bring your children - Minneapolis is wonderful city with TONS to do, or you could venture northward to Duluth or Ely or the Boundary Waters Canoe area....we'd love to welcome you to Minnesota! Elsiroomom

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  9. I hope the event went well, but I'm positive it must have! I'm envious of all the folks who got to attend. :)

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  10. Perfect timing for these book recommendations! I just finished Cheryl Strayed's 'Wild' - which you've probably already read and likely told us all to read eons ago, but if not: DO!

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    1. I just finished Wild too! It was amazing - I was melancholy when it ended because I liked it so much. I went back and searched Catherine's book reviews as I was sure it was on my list because of her - and it was - thanks Catherine!! I have two of Cheryl's other books requested at the library.

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  11. maxanyamom9:09 PM

    I hope your Concord Reading was wonderful! I wish I had been there. I stopped by just now to share a stop animation short with you and the kids. It features yarn and, and, well, melancholy. I just saw it on the FB, and I immediately thought of you while watching because of the subject matter...and I also thought of Ben because it's stop animation, beautifully executed. I hope you all enjoy. Happy Spring Renewal! I'm in Maine...the quince is about to burst, and I'm still anticipating lilac, my favorite flower. http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/05/moving-on-stop-motion-ainslie-henderson/

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  12. While you're on your reading jag, try Brewster, by Mark Slouka. Heartbreaking, full of melancholy, and one of the best books I've read in years!

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  13. Catherine10:43 AM

    I was at your Concord event, and it was lovely! I read Waiting for Birdy many years ago but was excited to get an autographed copy. I started reading it last night, and it was the image of Michael trying to distract you with a raisin during an argument that started me laughing until tears streamed down my face. So, so funny. Have you considered an event about how to raise children to be ethical, kind, responsible people?

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  14. Your book recommendations are my favorite. Thanks for these! And I reallllly can't wait for your own new book (your last one is my go-to gift for friends expecting their second child; it's so perfect).

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    1. Briana11:15 AM

      Agreed! Just ordered Waiting for Birdy for my best friend.

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