I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Mine was great, I really enjoyed the good food and time with my family. My big Christmas present from my parents is a trip to New York this week for New Year’s! One of my dear friends from undergrad now lives in Brooklyn, and I’m flying up there (hopefully, if the weather cooperates) Wednesday and coming back Sunday. I am incredibly excited about getting to experience NYC for the first time, spending New Year’s there, and getting to spend time with an old friend! My choice song for the week is a classic, “Auld Lang Syne.” I really love the version featured in the Sex in the City movie. In addition to being a traditional NYE song, it’s also a beautiful reminder of how important it is to cherish family and friends.
This year has brought so much change for me. I graduated college and dove right into a challenging one-year Masters program. I found love and lost it, made new friends while finding myself distant from others, and have learned so many things about myself and life in general. This year has been so valuable to me. I have grown so much but stay amazed at how much I have yet to learn.
I hope all of my readers have a safe and fun time this New Year’s Eve. Take some time to reflect on what 2010 has taught you and stand in awe of all the wonderful possibilities 2011 brings. Cheers!
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab
and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yaws over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
When I did a Google search for The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, one of the first things that caught my eye was a quotation from a review of Aimee Bender’s 2010 novel on NPR: “The characters in Aimee Bender’s latest novel could be modern-day descendants of J.D. Salinger’s Glass family.” Anyone familiar with Salinger’s work, particularly the Glass family featured in Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam, and Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction, is well aware of the intelligence, alertness, and neuroses suggested by the comparison. This comparison is fitting for the characters in this novel. The main character and narrator, Rose, is an extraordinary young woman and perceptive narrator who can taste in food the emotions and thoughts of the person who prepared it. This turns out to be both a blessing and a curse for Rose. The story focuses around her and her family. Her brother is a socially inept scientific genius, her mother a free (and lost) spirited novice carpenter, and her father an attorney. As the story unfolds, the entire family reveals itself to be much more complex and interesting than they appear to be at first glance.
I was surprised at how taken I was by this novel. Bender’s writing is spare and simple, but I was always excited to turn the page. The story’s twists and turns took me by surprise, and its ending caught me totally off-guard. This is a novel I can see myself re-reading and would suggest to anyone and everyone. It is equally pleasurable and worthwhile.
This is one of my favorite feel-good songs.