February 8, 2010

Dear Blue:

So we’re still wading through Wayne Johnston’s The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Surely you’ve sensed my frustration with it by now, but I just keep reading. I get so far into these books and feel like I have to keep going. It seems shameful to stop after I’ve invested so much. I know you disagree. Sometimes while I’m pulling my sweater tighter, I see you cast your little circle of light over the small stack of books on the nightstand that you are eager to help me read, but you have to be patient, my little blue friend.

The friendship/romance between little Joe Smallwood and Fielding is just not captivating or believable-they seem only in love because they feel they should be, and not because they are. I do like the character of Fielding-with her cane walking, troubled past, journalism career, and drinking habit, but instead of seeing the story through her eyes, we see most of it through the small-scale vision of Joe Smallwood. Which, as you know, since I seem to fall asleep lately after just a few pages, is wearying. (At this pace, I’ll finish this book in about 5 months…)

I think I’m enjoying the little excerpt histories of Newfoundland that begin every chapter more than anything. I loved learning about how the fishing admirals were the law and that they exacted laws that only benefitted fishermen and not the settlers. So interesting! These bits of history remind me of the little pieces of history I learned in Cod by Mark Kurlansky. Remember that little gem of a book? Fascinating information all gleaned from the history of cod fishing! So far, I cannot say the same for Colony. However, last night Joe took the boat back to Newfoundland and I thought his father (and his obsession with the book on the history of Newfoundland) was a delightful scene stealer, so I’m hoping we see more of him soon…perhaps I need to head to bed a bit earlier for a few nights, then we can slog through this one quicker. Maybe it will improve once we are reunited with the land of Smallwood boots?

Now Nigella’s book, Nigella Express, was fabulous! I added little post it tabs for recipes to try and have so far worked my way through her Maple Glazed Chicken, Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce, and several others. I’ll be making her glitzy chocolate puddings on Wednesday this week for my brother-in-law and his family, and then the last one to make before I return to the library will be the Margarita Ice Cream. Can’t wait! The Peanut Butter Sauce was amazing, the Maple Chicken SO tender, and the Brandied-Bacony Chicken delish. The Goujons were out of this world good. I can’t fathom ever ordering chicken fingers from a restaurant again-not when I can make them so easily and wonderfully at home.

Not only did we get to enjoy full-color, page-sized photos of each recipe (why don’t other cookbooks do this? It’s SO helpful), but the recipes were super easy and Nigella’s prose was charming and oh-so-readable. I rarely read cookbooks cover to cover, but I couldn’t help myself when we tackled this one together.

Until tonight,

Your ReviewQueen