Monthly Archives: September 2009

Book Stacks

One of my blogger friends posted a picture of her book piles today. I realized that I love this sort of picture because it is a quick version of a browse over more extensive book shelves. It reminded me that I have similar piles around here. This first pile is the books I gave up on this summer, and will be shipping out. I’m still trying to find time to write about why I didn’t finish them. Several of them are by writers I know are good, but I am not equal to them, or I don’t have time for them, or something.

The second stack I just purchased at the library used bookstore yesterday. I went in with my eyes narrowed to paperbacks or very small hardcovers, because that is the category of book I am mostly limited to these days, as I read while lying in bed under the covers. There are already plenty of heavy hardcovers waiting on the shelves for me for those times when I am on vacation or sick or on a long car trip.

So I managed to find quite a range of authors and genres. My California is subtitled Journeys by Great Writers, but the only names I recognize are John Steinbeck and Dana Gioia. The Churchill book is a short biography published by The New York Times at his death in 1965. One of my teachers in junior high recommended the Thomas Wolfe book to me, and Annie Dillard is a longtime favorite. Perhaps some of these will end up starting a new reject stack, but in the meantime I feel prepared for some cozy times this fall.

Fewer Read Books at All

Is it still Banned Books Week? I might not have thought twice about it but for a couple of bloggers I check in on, each of whom sheds a ray of light from a different direction than the typical articles on the subject.

Semicolon writes briefly about how librarians complain about parents “censoring” reading material, while they quietly skew the contents of the library collections.

And Orrologion explains how the mainstream press is ignoring their own reluctance to publish a certain strain of unpopular works.

The most disturbing thing in my mind is that more and more people probably don’t care whether books are banned or censored or whatever, because fewer and fewer people in our country read books at all.

When Dana Gioia was still Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, the agency undertook an extensive study of the reading habits of the nation, which I heard him speak about recently. It’s a topic that is always current with me, and I hope to post here later about some of the interesting things I learned.

But for now, I must get back to my books….

Slow-roasting going on here.

In the last week I’ve had a few new adventures in the kitchen. What with the need to use the products of my garden yet-unharvested, I can’t stick around here very long, so I’ll be brief, and just now give you the link for the wonderful slow-roasted cherry tomatoes everyone seems to be talking about. You might have some little tomatoes around you could try this on. They are just as delectable as “everyone” says. If I had discovered them earlier in the summer….well, I didn’t. But next year!

I still have all three types and colors of cherry tomatoes, which is why my end result includes some very babyish ones. The smaller ones I took out of the oven after 3 1/2 hours, but the large red ones I left in all 4 hours.

The original recipe creator, I think it was, said that she likes a good amount of fennel in her seasoning, so I used 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds and 1 1/2 teaspoons of an “Italian seasoning” mix for my seasoning. The finished tomatoes were just perfect, so I’ll do the same thing again tomorrow with what I picked today.

I can see why households with children wouldn’t have any of these left over, but as there were only two of us, I put some in the freezer for later. If I hadn’t exercised such discipline, though, I’m sure they would have quickly disappeared.