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Archive for December, 2008

Pondering Ovid

I finally read The Love Artist by Jane Alison.  It’s been on my bookshelf for awhile.  For some reason, I have an interest in Ovid, thought I’ve only heard of him and haven’t read much by him, in Latin or English, except the occasional poem or excerpt.  This book had a startling originality in places, especially in the description of the Black Sea when Ovid first journeys there.  After that, the author tries to hard to force events to fit her pattern, and it doesn’t always work.  Still, Ovid is well done and his ravenous creativity, detached vision contrasting with his human appetites, longings and weaknesses gives us a complex, breathing portrait of a man and artist.  Xenia is utterly original and the lightly brushed in glimpses of the absolute authority and ruthlessness of Augustus are convincing and chilling.  I must read some Ovid at some point.

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My signature salad

It’s been awhile since I posted a recipe.  Here is my new favorite salad:

Pear Salad

Use Bosc pears, two, diced.  Combine with 4 cups mixed greens and/or baby spinach.  Add toasted walnuts and crumbled gorgonzola.

For the dressing:  combine 1 T Balsamic vinegar and 1 T honey with 1/2 T fresh lemon juice, 3 T olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. 

That’s it! This is a fresh and light salad that goes well with heavy holiday meals, especially in the Fall when the pears are perfect.

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Another from down under

I’ve been thinking of trying a Peter Carey novel, especially since I so like his fellow Australian Peter Temple’s mystery novels, so I picked up His Illegal Self from the library last time I was there.  I also seem to recall that John Updike is a fan, and while I don’t really  like Updike’s fiction (except for the one about Hamlet’s parents), I think he is unrivalled as a critic and essayist.  This book is pretty good, the writing borders on excellent most of the time.  Like Temple, is it an Australian thing? – he doesn’t always keep you clued in to where the characters are, how they got there, whose speaking, etc., but I actually like a novel that leaves a bit up to the reader.  The set-up is great, the characters – from Grandma Phoebe Selkirk of the Upper West Side to her radical hippie daughter, Susan, to the hapless hippies living in the outback are all well -rendered, if not always sympathetic.  The central characters, Che (Jay) and Dial are well-drawn, complex and interesting.  Even Trevor grows on you!  It got a bit slow in the middle, but I was never not-engaged.  I will definitely try another by Carey.

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