Monday, November 2, 2009

When Friends Write Books

It's always cool when friends get books published. I have a shelf of books by people that I actually know, some of whom are actually kinda sorta semi-good friends.

Today was a big week for friends writing books. Only in this case they aren't exactly friends. One is a lady I sat next to at a Says You taping two years ago, and the other is a blogger whose blog I've been reading for awhile.

Harriet Reisen is the wife of Says You panelist Tony Kahn. Tony isn't exactly a friend either, though he feels like one since I've been listening to him on the show for years, did typing for him on the Morning Stories project, was interviewed over the telephone by him, and have actually had a couple of brief face to face conversations with him. And I sat next to his wife at one of the Says You tapings. We got along so well during the first half of the taping, that she found another seat for the second half of the show!

AlcottSm.jpg (30669 bytes)BUT, she's a huge Louisa May Alcott fan. Like me, she was taken in at a young age by Little Women (a book I read numerous times...and of course, like every other little girl, I identified with Jo). But she went further and immersed herself in all of Alcott's life and all of her works, even the pulp fiction penned under another name (A.M. Barnard).

And now she has written a book about the woman who brought the March family to life.

Reisen has so immersed herself in Alcott's world that it makes me want to visit Jeri in Boston again, so I can make my own little tour of the homes in which she lived and try to visualize the New England world of the 1800s which shaped the life of such a prolific and eclectic author, who was truly the J.K. Rowling of her day.

It seems to me that on one of our trips to Massachusetts and driving around the countryside we passed the home where Alcott lived when she was writing Little Women (or it may have been another author writing another famous book...I just thought I remembered it was Alcott). Now I want to tour the house with that thought in mind.

Reisen's book is not one that you rush through to find out whodunnit, but rather one to be explored, savored, and studied, as you allow yourself to be inspired by the lively Alcott. (In reading about the difference between her and her older sister, I am very much reminded of how our life changed when Ned arrived as the second child and the relationship he had with Jeri when they were the only two children in the family. And just reading the first few chapters and watching Little Women when the puppies woke me at some ungodly hour this morning made me realize how semi-autobiographical that story is!)

As for the second "friend" book, Ree Drummond isn't a friend. She doesn't know who I am from Adam, but I was introduced to her blog, The Pioneer Woman, by my friend Joan. She's the kind of blogger you love to hate, or at the very least feel extremely jealous of--she can do anything. She takes gorgeous photos, creates amazing foods including canning, baking and pickling. She keeps an immaculate decorator-worthy house, raises beautiful children (whom she home schools), and lives on a ranch with beautiful cows and horses and other four-legged critters. In addition to all that, she's a terrific writer who tells wonderful stories. You go to her blog to learn how to use PhotoShop, to find an idea for dinner, to see the beautiful animal photos, look at the pictures of her kids, read the story of her love affair with her husband, "The Marlboro Man," or be inspired to improve your own writing.

And the thing about her is that I've read other SuperWomen bloggers before, who do a lot of what she does, but they all seem so arrogant, but I don't find Drummond to be arrogant at all; in fact, she comes across as quite likeable (which is why I continue to read her blog).

And now she has written one of the nicest cookbooks I've seen in a long time.

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I don't buy cookbooks any more, as a general rule, because I can always research a recipe on the Internet for free, but I love the way she explains recipes, and I also wanted to be supportive of a fellow blogger.

The book is set up beautifully, a little bit country, a little bit cookery!

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As on her web site, the recipes are easy to follow with gorgeous step by step photos to guide you along the way.

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And every so often you come across something you least expect in a cookbook.

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But then it takes you right back to the purpose of the book.

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This book is more than a mere cookbook and I look forward to not only checking out some of my favorite recipes and discovering new ones, but also delving into the narrative sections as well.

Ree Drummond will probably never know who I am, but I'm glad to have her cookbook on my shelf.

4 comments:

jon said...

I really don't know anyone personally who wrote a book. I communicated with a few people who have written books through email like Patrick Mcmanus, who has written a bunch of books and Sarah Elder who wrote "crash" about the flight of Eastern 401.
This book is a very easy read considering the complexity of what happen. It is very well written.
It was her only book. She wrote it with her husband Rob, who was the editor of the Sacremento Bee. She is now a successful real estate agent in the bay area.

Roni said...

Bev - glad you liking the book so far. I enjoyed sitting with you during the first half, and moved because a couple of the Says You coterie were making a big fuss during the intermission saying Jeff Daniels was there. Others disagreed. I spotted a seat behind the person in question and moved in order to decide for myself. He looked a lot like him, but I'm positive it wasn't him.

Best, Harriet

Bev Sykes said...

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I am so shy and socially inept that I always assume people would rather be with anybody else but me!

Anonymous said...

Glad you're liking the book, too, Bev. Hope you get a chance to see the movie Harriet and her friend Nancy Porter produced on PBS' American Masters December 28.

You sure feel like a friend to *me.*

Tony