I am pleased to report that Stephanie O’Dea, author of Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, has had a brush with a famous person, i.e., me. If you look at my book review of her cookbook, you will see in the comments that she responded to me.
This news, while exciting for Stephanie, is not actually surprising; astute readers will recall that celebrities regularly seek to bask in my glory. And of course there was that time that Neil Gaiman shook my hand. And also the time I was on a plane with Cokie Roberts. Oh, and once I was at a concert of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and this one dude in the audience (who had plastic dinosaurs in his pocket, or else he was just happy to see me), after grooving along for a few charts, hopped up on stage, took out a trumpet, and jammed with the band for a while. (I discovered later that he was the trumpet player with the Squirrel Nut Zippers.)
Astute readers will futher recall how I mentioned my award-winning chai recently. (It was a subtle aside, which is why readers of the non-astute variety have no idea what I’m talking about.) The award-winning chai is derived from a recipe in Make It Fast, Cook It Slow. As of this writing it has 68 reviews on Amazon and is selling at #288 in books. This is impressive, especially when compared with— oh, let me pick a title out of thin air—um…. here’s one: Women’s Nonfiction: A Guide to Reading Interests, which has zero reviews and is selling at #1.3 million in books. Whichever poor sap wrote that book will not even be able to cover two weeks’ rent with her royalty check when she finally gets it in December.
On Saturday somebody up the street decided to attack an electricity pole with a car. The use of a car as a weapon was a very effective choice, because the power went out for several blocks for most of the day. Good thing I didn’t have anything going in the slow cookers! With computers, cooking devices, and vaccuum cleaners out of the picture, I curled up with one of my favorite novels, The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis.
Connie Willis is my favorite science fiction writer. I’ve liked all her books, but I am most especially fond of the time-traveling universe she’s created, of which The Doomsday Book is the first. Somewhere in the later part of the twenty-first century, the study of history has been transformed by the introduction of time travel. Our hero, the Oxford student Kivrin, is making the world’s debut trip back to the fourteenth century, a cozy little era in which people routinely died of violence, childbirth, plagues, and infection. And being burned at the stake.
The story is just brilliant, and on top of that the characters are wonderful, the humor is wonderful, the plotting is wonderful, and everything else you could possibly look for in a book is wonderful. Re-reading it has been… what’s a good descriptive word, um… has been wonderful, and also necessary, because I need to refresh myself on the details in anticipation of the just-released book Blackout, set in the same time-traveling universe.
And now, with the electricity safely back, I need to go vacuum, or else I need to finish up the last two hundred pages of my re-read. Anyone care to place bets on which option I’m going with?