I'm trying to recall the last novel I read that left it's mark on me in the recent past. I've read many that I've liked just fine, and were entertaining enough to keep me turning the pages, but nothing that's lingered with me for days or weeks or months after the final page. I remember many years ago finishing To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time and I immediately wanted to start reading it all over again. What was it that made me want to do that? I should read it again and see if I feel the same way more than 20 years later.
One character that has stuck with me is Enzo from The Art of Racing in the Rain. This book is told completely from the perspective of a dog. I'm well aware that this sounds really hokey, and I'm not sure a non-animal lover would get very far with it, but I found the dog-narrator (dogarrator?) extremely endearing and I think of him often. I have found authors that have descriptive or storytelling styles that I like. Richard Russo and Geralidine Brooks come to mind. I also will turn to Anita Shreve if I'm in a reading rut and looking for a story to get me on track.
I recently joined a book club, and so far I've been to two meetings. I finished both books, one of them being one I recommended, and they both fell in the category of "meh". Two or three stars out of five. The books were Breakfast with Buddha and Little Bee. Again, entertaining enough that I finished them and it didn't feel like a chore, and in Little Bee there was some descriptive language I enjoyed, but I didn't like any of the characters in either book. I am, on the other hand, enjoying the book club itself. It's a great group of women, and if the book isn't a winner, then we move onto eating and chatting.
The way this book club works is whomever is hosting is responsible for making dinner or getting takeout for everyone, and we meet mostly on Sunday evenings. We meet monthly-ish, but cut back a bit in the summer. We've decided our next meeting will be a Friday night in a bar with outdoor seating to shake things up a bit. I hosted our last meeting and had a really evening. There were only five of us and I made Mexican Rice Bowls (see previous post) and a spinach, mango, pepita salad to go with it. I made this dressing which was a good companion to the salad and I will definitely make it again.
Honey Lime Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black (or white) pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1. I put all ingredients besides the oil in a jar with a tight lid, shook it to blend it. Then, added the oils and shook it up again. You could also use a blender.