Friday, November 5, 2010

Revelry Review: Great House

This was one of those novels that is so good, you need to wait some time before telling others about it. It requires a bit of internal processing before you can verbalize that way that it affected you. It is one of very few books that I ever wanted to go back and read more than once, if only to revisit the way the beautiful prose made you feel. This is a novel that I wish I had written myself, especially since I have always been interested in its main themes. I highly recommend that you read Great House by Nicole Krauss.

Not wanting to give anything away, I will say that Great House is a novel made up of several people's stories, all of which revolve around a single desk. The stories intertwine as the reader is carried along a journey through many years, many countries and many lives. It explores themes of loss and memory, as well as people's relationships with each other, with history and with time.

The prose is so beautiful that at times I found myself reading and rereading lines, each time having them take my breath away. One quote I liked in particular was, "We search for patterns, you see, only to find where the patterns break. And it's there, in that fissure, that we pitch our tents and wait." She also writes that the characters "bend...around the shape of what they lost, and let everything mirror its absent form."

Unlike The History of Love, which is another of Krauss' fantastic works, this novel is a not as optimistic and rather quietly reveals the tragic melancholy, longing and loneliness that each of its characters has lived. You can read reviews of Great House here from NPR or here from the New York Times. It is no wonder why the New Yorker named Krauss one of its "20 Under 40" writers to watch this past summer.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On being a healthy foodie.

I love to cook. Love it. I find it meditative and relaxing. There is nothing I love more than making sure my boyfriend (and friends, family, etc.) is well fed. I also like the challenge of finding a new recipe and creating a great meal or dessert from scratch. There are so many dishes that I still want to learn how to make, from spinach empanadas to homemade pies. I think these are great skills to have. However, I hate having delicious sugary desserts or an overload of calorie-heavy meals in my apartment because I will eat them.

Luckily, my boyfriend also likes to eat lots of veggies and healthy meals, so that helps. I may start trying my hand at things like homemade granola bars or veggie-filled stews instead. I think my problem is that it makes me grumpy that I can't cook, bake and eat like a "normal" person. Portion control is not something that comes naturally to me.

How do you balance being someone that loves to cook and bake with someone that wants and needs to get healthier and lose weight? Has anyone else experienced these same feelings? Does anyone have any good healthy vegetarian recipes or resources they can share?

{Photo credit: Lara604}