Ilivetolearn's Blog

December 30, 2010

the other half books

Filed under: books/authors,food/groceries — ilivetolearn @ 12:12 am

At long last, I’m getting around to the other half of the “half” books. Years ago, I read this:

I remember liking it and finding it meaningful at the time, but I’m way past the halfway point now and not yet ready to really grow up, as suggested (ungrammatically) in the subtitle. And I think there was plenty of meaning in the first half of my life, thank you.

Just finished this one:

Very good writing, about a pretty crazy family (the best kind, for memoirs) in which a set of three siblings systematically denies their Jewishness, each marrying into, and then converting to, Catholicism. I grew up knowing Jews who converted to Quakerism, or became Ethical Humanists–but Jew to Catholic seems a strange leap. The author did not know her father was born Jewish until she was in her twenties. She interjects a lot of history of anti-Semitism in the Ivy League, among other august institutions, and her biographical information about family members, even truly nasty ones, is always sympathetic and moving.

Last but not least, this caught my eye even with “half” only in the subtitle:

Since I am a half-shell lover married to an oyster farmer, this was right up my alley. It’s just enough history and biology about oysters, combined with the best kind of travel writing (food-based) and lots of humor. I was fascinated to learn about all the species of oysters cultivated in different types and temperatures of water, but even more taken with the culture about oysters–I especially liked the description of the annual Colchester (UK) Oyster Feast, full of pomp and circumstance but with fewer than half the participants actually eating oysters.

After finishing this, right around Thanksgiving, I was inspired to put on waders and slog around in the creek for an hour or two, picking up a few dozen oysters so I could test some of the recipes thoughtfully provided. Walsh even suggests appropriate drinks to accompany them. My kind of book!


1 Comment »

  1. I agree about the first half of life. For introverts, the second half is better….or so Jung said. You have less to prove and if you’re lucky less smoozing with people you don’t particularly care for. More time for harvesting oysters and intentional living.
    I recommend THE POSSESSED by Elif Batuman. and only in part because the cover is by Roz Chast.
    the subtitle reads…..Adventures with Russian books and the People who read them……..

    Comment by Faith Catlin — January 6, 2011 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

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