I don't get much time to read these days so, when I do find a few minutes, I want to read something good. Something that will grab hold of my soggy brain and hang onto it! Something that will overcome my fruit-fly-focus. Most of the time, I am not successful (see Bad Read). But every so often, I come across a book that I just cannot get enough of.
The Good Read
Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell
Joseph Mitchell was a journalist in New York City in the 1930s. This collection (published, I believe, in 1993) includes stories from the New Yorker and from four books he had published over 30 years. The stories give you a peek at New York City's crotchety, peculiar, special inhabitants in such a straightforward, but endearing way - it's fascinating! There's a bearded lady, a child genius, a seafoodatarian (even then!), and an array of codgerly characters. There is one passage that I was going to include verbatim, but it's too long and some of you might fall asleep while doing something dangerous - like pressure canning....it starts on page 409, if you are so inclined. I have been reading it at every spare moment. If you can get your hands on this book, I would highly recommend it.
The Bad Read
How many times do I have to repeat the same poor judgement? Many times, it seems. I was one of the early followers of Mary Janes Farm. As a matter of fact, I met my friends Marianne and Rosie through the forum on her site, some six years ago. Then, as all things Internet seem to go, she became an industry. She became a frilly Martha Stewart, an organic Pioneer Woman. When she first launched her magazine, it was charming. Then it became cloying and downright silly. In my opinion (all opinions stated here are mine and darn opinionated I am), her use of the term "Farm Girl" has completely lost touch with any farm reality. Given, there's the caveat: "of the Heart" attached to Farm Girl, included, I assume, so that every girl of every age (and with deep pockets and a penchant to gluing lace on everything) can be the farm girl they dream of. Why, for a yearly fee, you can belong to the Farm Girl Sisterhood! Geez. While she did reintroduce handcrafts, and gives "merit badges" to her numbered Sisterhood members, paying for it? Just figure - you hand over $25 a year and get a number. In order to hang onto that number, you keep handing over money every year. Cha-ching! MaryJanesFarm. (I am now stepping off my orange crate.)
I have not read the magazine for years. I tried to like it - I kept my subscription going but, after a while I just couldn't justify spending money on it. Years later, along comes an offer in the mail to try it for free - no obligation. What the heck?, I asked myself. Maybe they've come to their senses. NOT. It is worse than before, if that is even possible. It is cover to cover advertising and self promotion, with articles designed to disappear into the advertising. The invoice (which I received BEFORE the magazine) was promptly sent back with "Do Not Continue" and "Not Vaguely Interested" written across from it. Needless to say, I would highly recommend not reading MaryJanesFarm Magazine.