Friday, September 25, 2009

What are your favorite books?

Now, I didn't say earth shatteringly experimental or earth shatteringly important either. I said your favorites--you don't have to explain/defend yourself. Let's just assume we all have good taste!

My favorites, you know, the ones that sit on my nightstand always are:

1 & 2: Gilead and Home by Marilynne Robinson
3: The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
4: Plainsong by Kent Haruf
5: Tracks by Louis Erdrich
6: Owls and other Fantasies by Mary Oliver
7: Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
8: Servants of the Map by Andrea Barrett
9. Eva Move the Furniture by Margot Livesey
10. Solar Storms by Linda Hogan

(If I'd had 11, I would have added Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, but you're right, must I inch closer to stalker status?)

What are your favorite books?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's Pie Time

That's right, I'm making a raspberry pie this afternoon. Few things are more pleasing to me than making pies, specifically the dough. So I thought I'd share with you the world's greatest dough recipe care of our dear friend Martha Stewart. The trick is that you must make this dough the old-fashioned way, meaning with a bowl and your hands. No food processors, no forks, or pastry knives. Feel your way to the perfect consistency. Use your senses. Enjoy.

Henry Beecher on the art of excellent dough:
"Let it not be like putty, nor yet rush to the other extreme and make it so flakey that one holds his breath while eating for fear of blowing it away. Let it not be plain as bread, nor yet rich like cake. Aim at that glorious medium in which it is tender without being too fugaciously flaky; short without being too short; a mild, sapid, brittle thing that lies upon the tongue so as to let the apple strike through and touch the papilae with a more affluent flavor..."

Double Crust Batch of Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Yum. Yum. Milly and Twiss, the bird sisters, would be proud! At least Milly would (Twiss would just eat it).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reading at Penn State!

All right folks, it is a bit early to say this, but I think I am going to be doing a Bird Sisters reading next year (spring, I believe) at Penn State in State College for their reading series sponsored by the MFA program. I have my wonderful old (well, not so old actually!) Fiction/Non-Fiction professors to thank there: Charlotte Holmes, Toby Thompson, Bill Cobb, and Josip Novakovich. They are the ones that made this book possible.

Thank you! Thank you! I am extremely excited about the prospect of returning to my alma mater and to Happy Valley, the one and only.

p.s. I want a latte from Saint's! I want the Victorian Manor! I want Mt. Nittany and Boalsburg! I want it all, every last drop!

"These are the days when Birds come back/a very few/a Bird or two/to take a backward look."

"These are the days when Birds come back/a very few/a Bird or two/to take a backward look."