Monday, May 4, 2009
Reading Is Sexy
Every once in a while, it's good for a writer to put her pen away and just enjoy the pleasures of reading. And I don't mean reading emails or Facebook status updates or pretentious newsletters you love to mock with your friends. No, I mean real reading. The kind you do with books.
It's no surprise that I love books. Every writer loves books. We like talking about our favorite books and authors the way cartographers like talking about contour lines and cloropleths. We also love libraries and the old card catalog system. Ok, maybe that last one is just me, but you get the point. Books are good, and we should read them.
That is why I'm going to start recommending books, and to kick things off I begin with my favorite one of all time: The Gastronomical Me, by MFK Fisher. I'm willing to bet that at least half of you are familiar with the remarkable Ms. F., but for those of you who aren't, I direct your attention here. It's impossible for me to describe her brilliant work, but words like passion and heartbreak feel appropriate. I read my first Fisher novel ten or so years ago and I've since fallen for Russian, Norwegian, and Indian authors, but only her stories consume me completely. She writes from the darkest and brightest corners of her heart and can make you cry and laugh out loud. Her life was rich and complicated and I find her totally spellbinding. The Gastronomical Me is autobiographical, so if you read it you'll see what I mean.
This is one of her many food-themed novels, but "food-themed" sounds ridiculous and is an inadequate description because MFK Fisher's food writing is magnificent. I love how she gives the topic of eating as much importance and attention as the topics of joy, romance, and loss. In the forward to The Gastronomical Me she writes, "It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others."
This woman speaks to my soul. You have to read her. Oh, and congratulations if you get the reference in the title of this post. I believe Ms. Fisher would have approved.
Posted by Catherine