The Week in Books 2009, No. 28

So Brave, Young and Handsome is Leif Enger’s second novel (after Peace Like a River, which I reviewed here) and it’s good, although it took a while for me to get into it. Frankly, I disliked the main character so much that I almost put the book down half way through. I kept reading because I think Enger has an interesting way with language, and the ending of the book redeemed the character enough that I can still recommend the book. About the language: Enger writes in a way that is unusually evocative of place. Going beyond the usual description, Enger’s word choices have the feel and sound and cadence of the areas in which his story takes place. You might have to read it to see what I mean, but I was intrigued by it.

Amy Butler’s In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects seemed to have more useful projects than the other Amy Butler books I recently read, but honestly I just read them to enjoy the pictures and colors. I did like her idea for adding fabric edging to towels, although I wonder how that would really hold up under everyday use. The book includes a set of patterns, and has instructions for things to make for living areas, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, offices, and personal style.

Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials caught my eye because I’m really into this whole repurposing thing now that I’m addicted to pillowcase dresses as I’ve mentioned before here, here, and here. Although I liked the premise and enjoyed reading this book, I really only found one project that I thought I might undertake myself, and that was the suggestion to make one of those shoulder pillows you put in the microwave to soothe tired muscles and fill it with buckwheat. Apparently buckwheat holds heat for 45 minutes. Who knew?

I am still burdened with a gigantic bag of buckwheat kasha that I bought in my first wave health food craze shortly after we got married. This bag is still filling my pantry over five years later because, as you may know but I did not, buckwheat has a decidedly peculiar aroma. We can not force ourselves to eat it in any form. I did attempt buckwheat blender pancakes recently, and the children tucked into them with great gusto, but the smell was about enough to kill me and I am pretty sure that recipe is what put my blender over the edge into full out rebellion.

Anyway, I have this buckwheat. Perhaps I will make it into soothing shoulder pillows and give them to all my friends and relations. One wonders if microwaving the uncooked buckwheat will give off the same noxious odor. And yet, said odor would not be permeating MY house, and perhaps other people wouldn’t find it as offensive as we do…better yet, perhaps I could make the pillows and sell them on Etsy and then total strangers would be stuck with the buckwheat, and might even pay me for the privilege. That would also preserve my relationships and prevent me from becoming a social and familial pariah.

See why I read this type of book? The good ideas just keep on flowing.

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