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Archive for the ‘Monday Review’ Category

The Badass Biker Gets Taken Down a Notch

In Life Lessons, Monday Review on May 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm

The idyllic scenery of these roads almost negates it's treachery. Almost

So…I will preface this blog from a remote location by saying that Scott was right. I should not have ridden to the bakery. It’s only an eight mile ride– four there and four back. After my ten mile crucible earlier this week, I thought to myself eight miles? pshaw. But I forgot that the four mile stretch in question was made out of volcanos. I had to stop four times up one hill in order to not die of cardiac arrest. Then, on the next hill, I had to get off and walk. This is not badass behavior! My spirit is crippled. But, on the plus side, I’m eating a delicious almond croissant.

The other day I came to this bakery, called the Madrid Bakery, because it was my stepdad’s birthday and I needed a cake.

Wait– let me ask you something. Have you ever read the book “Chocolat?” Its one of my favorites and its about this woman and her daughter who move to a little French town and open a chocolate shop. The woman can tell what kind of chocolate will fix what ails you as soon as you walk into her shop and her chocolate is magical. I read this book years ago while in Cancun so some of the details escape me….but I think she added something Mexican to her recipe, or maybe it was tears. Anyway, I have always wished for a chocolate shop like that to come to magical Framingham. Why not? So the other day after i purchased the chocolate and vanilla ganache cake at this little Spanish patisserie, the woman said that I needed to come back on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday and try her fresh croissants because they were the best in the world. Naturally I made the connection. A magical shop in which people can cure me with delicious food has arrived! Being pragmatic, I realized that I should ride my bike to negate the calories in the croissant.
“Not a good idea,” said Scott. “it’s all uphill and full of treacherous and windy roads.”
“Oh dear,” said my mother. “I will pray for your safety.”
“you have certainly earned your croissant,” said the little Spanish lady behind the counter when at last I arrived.
She could tell because my face was the color of a bad rash, my hair was sweaty and plastered to my cheeks and I huffed into the shop like I was going to either eat something or blow the house down. So she prescribed an almond croissant for me.
“Next time,” she said, while I handed her my cash, ” you try this.” she pointed to a mysterious, angel sprinkled cake with a name I couldn’t pronounce that looked like the name of a saint. “Its my personal favorite. And every morning before I work, I have a slice.”
I will take her up on that offer. But next time, I will drive.
Now for the ride home.

Read These Books and Live Forever*

In Monday Review on May 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Oh God I love books. Stories…. Plots….characters I can bury my face inside…I need not say more. You get or you don’t simple as that. I wanted to say that much, though, because I’m in the middle of a self-indulgent moldering gloom thanks to the weather and the tragedy of the last few weeks and the fact that I quit drinking. I didn’t see that coming. Anyway, as we escapist readers do, I have, this week (give or take a day), read three novels which I love. The first was “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” by Jennifer Egan. The second, “The Girl Who Chased the Moon,” by Sarah Addison Allen and the third, which I am actually not quite done with yet is Chris Bohjalian’s “Secrets of Eden.” I chose these three because the bookstore had Goon Squad on the table of buy-two-get-one-free’s and I’ve wanted to read it since I first read a review…what? Last year? And therefore I should also buy two more books. What can I say? I’m a slave to the red sticker.

So, what I want to tell you is that Goon Squad is one of those books that make you stay up past Craig Ferguson reading. It will make you fake Montezuma’s revenge just to get a little time to yourself with the door locked. It’ll make you leave for carpool half an hour earlier just so you can have an excuse to sit somewhere and finish another chapter. It’s a novel made up of stories told by a handful of characters whose lives intersect at some point or another. The story doesn’t go from point a to point b, despite the section headings, however. Or maybe it does but in the convoluted f*cked up way that time and memory really work.  I remember reading that Egan had screwed around with the construction of the novel at the last-minute because she didn’t think it worked as a linear story.  She nailed it in ways that are going to be analyzed by future lit undergrads.

But, clever construction aside, Goon Squad is an overall smart novel. People should be falling all over themselves the way they did over Frantzen’s “Freedom.”   

*just kidding