Love story

Friday, November 22, 2013

I have a friend who's always reading and who, when she says she loved a book, I know I will as well. Her latest recommendation was eleanor & park, one of the most moving love stories I've read in a long time.

Eleanor and Park are two 16-year-olds - a redheaded girl and an Asian boy - who are forced to sit together on the school bus. Neither of them fit in in their 1980s high school in a working-class neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. But they slowly realize they share a love of comics and music and, most important, a sense of humor, and their friendship becomes something more.

eleanor & park falls under the category of "young adult," but I'd hope anyone reading would be at least an "old young adult." The language is harsh, and Eleanor's home life, particularly her relationship with her alcoholic and abusive stepfather, is disturbing, to say the least. Yet the relationship between these two teens is innocent and tender and so true, and I was rooting for them from the minute they met until the last page.

"Nothing before you counts," he said. "And I can't even imagine an after."
She shook her head. "Don't."
"Don't talk about after."
"I just meant that ... I want to be the last person who ever kisses you, too ... That sounds bad, like a death threat or something. What I'm trying to say is, you're it. This is it for me."
"Don't." She didn't want him to talk like this. She'd meant to push him, but not this far.
"Eleanor ..."
"I don't want to talk about an after."
"That's what I'm saying, maybe there won't be one."
"Of course there will." She put her hands on his chest, so that she could push him away if she had to. "I mean ... God, of course there will. It's not like we're getting married, Park."
"Not now."
"Stop." She tried to roll her eyes, but it hurt.
"I'm not proposing," he said. "I'm just saying ... I love you. And I can't imagine stopping."

Have a happy weekend.

A Book (or Four)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The books I've read most recently have ranged from memoir to a compilation of advice columns (not what I would typically pick, but one of the most moving books I've read), from fiction to a children's book (by one of my all-time favorite authors, Patricia MacLachlan). What have you been reading? I'd love to hear.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Cheryl Strayed)

'The thing about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the thing that was so profound to me that summer - and yet, also, like most things, so very simple - was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial.... As I clung to the chaparral that day, attempting to patch up my bleeding finger, terrified by every sound that the bull was coming back, I considered my options. There were only two and they were essentially the same. I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go. The bull, I acknowledged grimly, could be in either direction, since I hadn't seen where he'd run once I closed my eyes. I could only choose between the bull that would take me back and the bull that would take me forward. And so I walked on.'

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar (Cheryl Strayed)

'I do know one thing. When it comes to our children, we do not have the luxury of despair. If we rise, they will rise with us every time, no matter how many times we've fallen before. I hope you remember that the next time you fail. I hope I will too. Remembering that is the most important work as parents we can possibly do.'

The Good House (Ann Leary)

'I show homes to a lot of important people - politicians, doctors, lawyers, even the occasional celebrity - but the first time I saw Rebecca, the day I showed her the Barlow place, I have to admit, I was a little at a loss for words. A line from a poem that I had helped one of my daughters memorize for school, many years before, came to mind. I knew a woman, lovely in her bones.'

White Fur Flying (Patricia MacLachlan)

' "He doesn't speak?" asked Alice.
"No," I said.
"Why?" asked Alice.
I shrugged.
"Okay," said Alice. "I can talk."
I smiled.
"You sure can," I said. "You and Lena."
"He doesn't have to talk," said Alice.
"That's what Mama said."
But why didn't he talk? Was he afraid? Was he sad? He must have talked once, maybe when he was a baby. When he was little? Maybe he talked last week. Why not now?'


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One of my very favorite design blogs, Remodelista, has a new book out called Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home, and it doesn't disappoint. It features 12 very different homes, including a loft in Los Angeles, a cottage on the Cape, a bungalow in Pasadena, and probably my favorite of all, a brownstone in Brooklyn, owned by one of the cofounders of Remodelista. What I've always liked best about the blog (and now the book) are the resource guides - where to buy or how to get a similar look.

The house tours are followed by chapters on kitchens, baths, and design ideas (using jars as party glasses, dining tables as desks, or army cots as reconfigured coffee tables). There's the Remodelista 100, the author's favorite everyday objects (and where to buy them), including butterfly chairs, Miele vacuum cleaners, Steele canvas hampers, painters' drop cloths, John Boos cutting boards, sheepskin rugs, and wire flyswatters.

I read the book through like a novel the first time around and then went back and took mental notes. I'm sure I'll continue to refer back, like the manual the author intended it to be. It won't gather dust.

(All photos from Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home)

Beautiful world

Friday, November 8, 2013

A quote for Friday (so late that you may not see it until Saturday).

'The world did not have be beautiful to work. But it is.
What does that mean?' - Mary Oliver

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

(Photograph by Emily Anderson for Rue Magazine.)

Kindness, again and again

Friday, November 1, 2013

I thought once I became an adult, I wouldn't need this reminder so often, but I find I do, almost every day. So a quote for Friday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

"Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Mark Twain

(Photo by Vitaliano Bassetti, Italy 1954)

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