Jim Harrison, an American author, poet, lover of food and the great outdoors, died this week. He was 78 years old, admired by many, when his heart stopped beating. Some compared him to Hemingway, and some just enjoyed the person he was. Mario Batali, chef and T.V. personality tells the story of reading and loving Harrison's writing. Batali explains that he has followed Jim Harrison "more than I would follow the Bible or Koran." When Batali's restaurant, Babbo, opened in 1998, Harrison stopped in one day and not finding the famed chef there, left him a signed copy on his book, The Road Home. When Batali realized that he had missed him, he immediately called Harrison's agent. The agent was surprised that Batali even knew of the author and decided a meeting was in order. Thus, began a warm friendship, that included many a meal together.
I truly hope that Jim Harrison found "the substantial" in his life. The first time I read that quote of his, I tried to think about the substantial in my life. What did I have that was "of considerable importance, size or worth?" My career was substantial in my life, as was my home, but none of the material things that I had worked for held a candle to the worth of those I loved. My family and friends show me what is important in my life. My sister helped me through the treacherous steps of childhood and has been by my side through every moment of my life. Her family enriched my family and made our experiences richer. I am lucky to still spend time with my dad, and though my mother is no longer with us, I see parts of her in all of us. I saw tomorrow in my children's eyes and felt the greatest joy at the sound of their laughter. I now feel great pride in what they have become and comfort in the sound of their voices. I see my yesterday, today and tomorrow in Arthur's eyes and realize, every day, how lucky I am to be married to a man who loves me as much as I love him, makes me laugh every day and works with me to always find " the substantial" in our lives together.
Everyone who knows me knows that books are a substantial part of my life, and The First Patient by Michael Palmer is a book that I really enjoyed reading several years ago. Since we are living through such a highly charged political time right now, I picked it up and found myself getting lost in it again. It is well written, keeps the reader guessing and introduces very well developed characters both in and out of the political arena. It seemed a perfect book to review for those of you who have not read it.
Petite Confessions: A Humorous Memoirette with Sassy Drink Recipes, by Vicki Lesage is simply a short memoir of a girl who likes her wine. Her memories are touching and funny as she takes us through her college experiences and then off to a life in Paris. We see how motherhood changes her and what life in a foreign country is all about. Anything dealing with Paris gets me a bit nostalgic, so this was a fun book for me to get lost in for a few hours.
I hope you all find the substantial in life, because it is really right under your nose, but while you are looking, I hope you take plenty of reading breaks.
As always, complete reviews of these books follow this blog.