My Life in France, The F Word, Embroideries, The Last Unicorn, Two Hearts
Who doesn’t love Julia Child? Well, pre this book, I would have said me. Before the food police drag me off, I’ll just say in my defense that I’m not a huge fan of her recipes, and I admire her historical role in cooking, and disclaimer disclaimer I don’t really hate America.
But in any case, I just never found the the Art of French Cooking a book that I wanted to cook out of. Mostly because the food I cook tends to be more modern Americna - ingredient driven, clean, etc. However, after this book, I love Julia - her voice is so superb. It’s the story of her cookbooks and her TV show and her life in France, behind the scenes, and it’s great. Even if you don’t care about making the perfect omelet.
The F Word was an interesting book to read now, mostly because it’s so clearly a product of the time it was written (2004). It’s a lament about women letting go of the feminist label, but it reads oddly 10 years later, now that the Internet is a thing. More annoying than the dated nature of the arguments is that it’s not a great explanation of feminism. The author nods in the direction of alternate viewpoints but is clearly motivated by her own particular definition of what makes a feminist - AKA, voting and participating in the traditional political process. Yuck. Even though it was sitting on my shelf at my parent’s house, and thus free, I kind of wish I hadn’t read it.
Embroideries is by Marjane Satrap,i the author of Persepolis. It’s in the same style, but instead of being autobiographical, it focuses on the gossip of a number of Iranian woman, and what they talk about in their free time. (Spoiler: mostly men and sex.) I loved how this book challenges the outside narrative of Muslim women. In this book, certainly there’s an expression of religion’s effects on their lives, but veil or no veil, there’s some hilarious gossip, some trashy sex talk, and all kinds of other taboo subjects being discussed in more private settings.
The Last Unicorn and Two Hearts are two fantasy classics that I had somehow missed. Apparently The Last Unicorn belongs in the Tolkien (in importance, not subject material) category, but I didn’t know about it. It was good - classic fantasy, well told, good world, but nothing especially out there or amazing. Definitely would put it on a list for children/young adults who tear through fantasy books, but if you haven’t read these, you don’t need to be in a hurry to go back and read them.