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January 12, 2022

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I’ve been reading John Le Carré spy novels. I love the gray areas he explores. I’m not really a spy novel person but the characters and their struggles with the morality of their chosen career are interesting. I also reread the Out of Hitler Time trilogy by Judith Kerr after watching the new When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit with my kids. I had never read the last book in the trilogy from her adult years and it was so interesting. Her portrait of her mother who she clearly loves but who can also frustrate her is quite lovely and so thoughtful. It really showed how her family’s experience as refugees left deep scars. You can see how she appreciates how her mother held the family together and kept her safe physically and emotionally and also how she comes to understand the toll doing that took on her mother.

The Weekday Vegetarians is actually a good cookbook. I was so surprised, but I’ve made 5 or so things from it already after I got it for Christmas. The braised cabbage over mashed potatoes is perfect winter food.

Other than that, Graeme Stimsion books to try and keep it light.

So many opinions about Art vs Privacy! The first thing I think of is Sharon Olds' book "Stag's Leap" about her marriage's dissolution (after many books chronicling aspects of that marriage). There's a wonderful poem where she writes about making a fire out of something she finally realizes is her ex's old easel, and it turns into a meditation on the potential costs of her 'turning their family into art'—though their kids were a little older and I read that she waited ten years to publish the poems she wrote in the aftermath of the split. (Here's a link to the poem: https://www.thehairpin.com/2015/08/sharon-olds-the-easel/)

And then this outrageous story about Robert Lowell's appropriation of his ex's letters for his own art: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/12/16/marriage-betrayal-and-the-letters-behind-the-dolphin

And finally that recent NY Times piece "Who is the Bad Art Friend?" (The more I read, the less I liked either of them.)

I admit to taking voyeuristic pleasure in reading things that expose so much, but the cost to family seems high. (And not just to kids! So many memoirs feature adults writing about their parents in ways that make them sound whiny or petulant—even when they have clear causes for complaint.)

I am fond of dill, but pretty averse to parsley, which my husband likes a lot. It's a running joke that can tip over into mild irritation in either direction, depending on who's cooking :)

Reading a Flavia de Luce novel (that's the protagonist, not the author) when I'm in the mood, because I like it, but I kind of have to be in the mood.

I like dill, but no matter how I try, I can't seem to like mushrooms. Different kinds don't help much. Chopping them up small doesn't help much. I'm just anti-fungus, I guess.

(Except yeast for bread, I guess. I'm not against that fungus.)

Dill tastes like turpentine? Wonder if that's where the comment about Aunt Bea's kerosene cucumbers came from...

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