"Tolstoy lied!" has become a kind of code phrase around my house for "life is good." Tolstoy (and others) seem to think that misery is the only state of being that's interesting and authentic (have you ever read Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy? Desperate unhappiness for 800 pages - I loved it when I was in high school).
The phrase is the title of the novel by Rachel Kadish and I love it: the phrase and the novel. The main character in the novel wants to prove that happiness is interesting, worth knowing about, and real. So the novel does not just end with a happily ever after, but gives details about the happy part. And there is plenty of unhappiness and complications in the novel, too. It is the best character study and plot I have come across in modern realistic fiction ever. No murder or creepiness, either.
Now, on the other hand, I read The Undertaking by Thomas Lynch for a book club. Essays from an undertaker about his vocation. Interesting and tender at points (not nearly as well written as Tolstoy Lied), and tickled my funny bone when Lynch called the baby boom "a demographic aneurysm."
Here I was reading while eating Pumpkin Cornbread, a recipe my friend Crystal recommended to me from Recipes from the Old Mill to use up some pureed pumpkin in the freezer. I did not like it for breakfast, my original plan, but with afternoon tea it is fabulous: cornbread gussied up with dark brown sugar, pumpkin pie spices, pumpkin, and pecans. I want to remember to make it in crisp autumn weather.
What are you reading? Using up from the freezer?