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October 8, 2009

I picked up a copy of Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia yesterday. [At the library, just to make that clear. I don’t want the Federal Trade Commission to come after me] and I’m enjoying it immensely. And yet I suspect it’s a pretty lousy book. Powell can write. There’s no doubt about that. Hers was one of the first blogs I ever read religiously and I kept at it because her voice was so entertaining. I’ve probably read every blog post she ever wrote. And long before I was a fan of Powell’s blog, I was a fan of Julia Child. I’ve read both of the recent biographies of her. And long before Powell cooked her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I cooked my way through my mother’s old paperback copy of Child’s The French Chef Cookbook, a sort of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Lite (The book is lite, that is. Definitely not the food.) based on some of its recipes somewhat simplified for her television programs. In short, I come to this reading of Julie and Julia with a hell of a lot of background information. And I’m really enjoying the book, which is not, as I had suspected, just a rehashing of her blog posts, but a retelling of the same story with more backstory. I recognized key details, but they are approached differently. And it’s fun to read.

That said, it seems disorganized and elliptical to me in places. I wonder if I hadn’t read her blog if it would make any sense. I’m not sure. But Powell is still entertaining. I’m curious if any of you have read it and what you think.

As this has been at least my fourth post about Powell and or Child of the last few months, I promise I will try to let it drop. Clearly I don’t get out much.

I have not much else to report here. The day is cold and wet and my urgent plans to repot the herbs to bring indoors for winter before frost are suddenly seeming not so urgent. AJ has a day off of school tomorrow (why, I don’t know). Perhaps I can convince him to help me. A four day weekend and nothing but football on the schedule. What should we do?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2009 3:36 pm

    I was hugely entertained by Powell’s book and I had no background on her, Julia Child, or French cooking, for that matter!

    This weekend we’re going to the Ohio Renaissance Festival with my relatives from your area, so I’m guessing you don’t have those up there. We have lots of what Ron and I call “agri-tainment” this time of year–corn mazes and whatnot.

  2. freshhell permalink
    October 8, 2009 3:47 pm

    I haven’t read the book or seen the movie or read her blog. Maybe I should read the book and let you know if it makes any sense. My mother was a HUGE Julia Child fan and watched her show religiously. Did a lot of JC cooking. I have not because it’s so meat-based and butter-based but I have a fondness for her if not her brisket.

  3. October 8, 2009 3:55 pm

    I keep planning to read/watch but haven’t.

    I suggest some long bike rides among fallen leaves. Take a frisbee and the football and have a picnic. We are headed to the beach this (long) weekend! Haven’t been there in ages. CD and I will be celebrating anniversary #11 while there.

    btw, you’ve got a weird underline/italics thing going on today Check your HTML.

  4. October 8, 2009 4:21 pm

    Jeanne, we do actually have a Renaissance festival not too far from here, but it’s only open in the summer. Corn mazes are big around here and actually not a bad idea for tomorrow. AJ was disappointed when we didn’t do the corn maze with his Cub Scout pack last weekend. Freshhell, it’s true that it’s not the best book for vegetarians. And believe me, I have cooked every single vegetarian recipe in there many times (especially the champignons farcis). Jill, the html’s already fixed, but thanks for letting me know. I’m not sure if the picnic is going to work — it’s supposed to be 50 and possibly drizzly (although this is better than the weekend, which is supposed to be in the low 40s and raining) — but maybe a letterbox hike in a forest preserve would. And happy anniversary to you and CD. I can’t believe it’s been that long already.

  5. crankygirl permalink
    October 9, 2009 8:45 am

    I have heard speculation that the elliptical nature of the book comes because of the disastrous state of her personal life at the time the book was written. I have a “friend of a friend” situation and they say much on the topic.

  6. October 9, 2009 9:06 am

    That makes sense, Cranky, after reading the stuff she’s written after this (blog, beginning of her latest book).

  7. readersguide permalink
    October 9, 2009 9:57 am

    I read the book after having seen the movie and not having read her blog. (I tried once and found it annoying — perhaps I was envious.) I liked the book. I guess I would describe it as “fluff,” but it was entertaining. I didn’t feel like parts were missing (although I didn’t read it all that carefully — or maybe I didn’t know what was missing, so didn’t notice.) But it falls into a genre that I’m partial to — the “how I figured out what I’m going to do with my life” genre. I read once that Kafka only really liked to read biographies and this comforts me.

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