I couldn’t have read A Fine Romance at a more perfect time. It was the perfect book to read while cooped up in a hospital room waiting for Robert to hI couldn’t have read A Fine Romance at a more perfect time. It was the perfect book to read while cooped up in a hospital room waiting for Robert to heal. I sailed right along with Susan Branch and her husband, Joe, as they journeyed to England via ship and explored the country for two months. This book is not only Susan’s diary during their vacation in England. It is also a very informational and exhilarating guide to both well-known and hidden places in England, many of which belong to the National Trust. Above all else, this book is a journey of the senses, using a mixture of her characteristic font that looks like handwriting, gorgeous watercolors and real photographs to describe, with incredibly absorbing detail, two months of smelling, tasting and sight-seeing springtime England.
The beginning chapters quickly but romantically describe how Susan and Joe met and fell in love. It’s an ordinary love story bedecked with remarkable details like the illustration of Joe with an enormous bouquet of flowers - an illustration I cannot help but keep revisiting. After enjoying their first journey to England in 2004 Susan and Joe decide to visit again in 2012, this time documenting their adventures. Susan’s diaries wholly reflect their love for history, food, gardens, art, and old-timey movies and music.
I was mesmerized by the beauty of this book, often spending several minutes examining pictures and illustrations - their messy ship room, or rather, ‘cocoon,’ strange English curiosities such as the magnetic soap holder, gorgeous illustrations like Susan’s black teapot drawing, and inventive mixed media techniques such as the watercolor tea being poured into a picture of a real teacup. It took me at least an hour to carefully comb through the Beatrix Potter pages. Because of Susan’s excellent attention to detail I felt like I was exploring Hill Top as Beatrix Potter herself.
I could smell the ‘raw celery’ smell of the air, taste the bangors and beans and feel the petals of each flower. My heart danced with joy each time Susan listed all the springtime flowers, the accompanying illustrations so perfectly lush it looked like the flowers were growing from the pages of the book. Ordinary details such as eating hot milk cake while knitting with a friend, wood pigeons cooing ‘my toe hurts Betty,’ and hillsides ‘dotted with lambs’ made me fist pump the air in elation.
This book is balm for the spirit. Whether you are looking for a magical retreat, a helpful and incomparable England travel guide, or inspiration to write a memoir or scrapbook of a special moment in your life, this book has something for everyone. Artists of all varieties - chefs, painters, scrapbookers and gardeners – will be regaled nonstop with inspirational daily passages rich with recipes, gardening and artwork. Anyone who is a fan of old-timey movies and music, especially Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, will find snippets of songs and scenes on nearly every page. Adding to all this excitement are many tranquil moments like relaxing by a fire in a centuries old pub, walking ancient footpaths and indulging in afternoon tea. As you read A Fine Romance don’t be surprised if your heart metamorphoses into fluttering watercolor and unexpectedly takes flight. ...more
This is a very simple, informative and colorful slice of culture and religion. I knew very little about the connection between food and faith before rThis is a very simple, informative and colorful slice of culture and religion. I knew very little about the connection between food and faith before reading this and have always been overwhelmed by the explanations from others. This book made it fun and easy for me. I am ready and curious to read more!...more
With interwoven recipes and memories, Molly Wizenberg divulges her story, a memoir that blossoms from a blog she created in the aftermath of her fatheWith interwoven recipes and memories, Molly Wizenberg divulges her story, a memoir that blossoms from a blog she created in the aftermath of her father’s death.
While the stories are splotchy little essays that capture only fragments of Wizenberg’s life, they are immensely powerful. After reading the chapter “La Boule Miche,” I immediately scurried to the kitchen and scrounged up a piece of salted dark chocolate and a leftover hunk of a baguette. I suspect that I am not the only reader who has done this.
I found myself reading entire paragraphs of this book out loud just to hear the delicious names. The word ‘crumb’ is used here and there and always with a beautiful flourish. You mustn’t scold yourself for being so moved by such a small word! During the chapter “Pickling Plant,” Wizenberg speaks of her husband’s pickling passion. If you are a pickle fanatic and have not already made the leap into brine, this chapter will inspire you to take up pickling.
If you wake up each day for the splendor of breakfast or have flown to Chicago just for a slice of pizza, or if you find yourself using the business card of a revered sausage maker as a bookmark, this is your kind of book. If you like a well-crafted essay with generous pats of strong adjectives and a sprinkling of well-placed commas, or are the type of person who is easily wooed by pickles, you will find a treasure in this splendid read. ...more
I am going to try every apple they mention at the front of the book. It has become my one of my goals in life! This book is very informative, conciseI am going to try every apple they mention at the front of the book. It has become my one of my goals in life! This book is very informative, concise and inspiring. I love how they set up the recipe, with a blurb about the recipe, followed by the tips, notes & equipment. I love when they tell me what I need before I become too attached to the recipe. ...more
Surely I am not the only one who double blends their smoothie just so they don't have to eat it? Chunks should be reserved for vomit : ).
I got two thiSurely I am not the only one who double blends their smoothie just so they don't have to eat it? Chunks should be reserved for vomit : ).
I got two things from this book - laughs and info. The way this woman writes a quart of slime a day can wipe out all kinds of problems. Maybe the people from Stephen Dobyns' poem "Bowlers Anynomous" should drink this shit. Maybe the bicycle seat sniffer will be driven to smell something better if he would drink some slime every day.
I am all about cleaning out the gut and making the poo smell like daisies, so I might give this a whirl. For maybe like a week. ...more