Sunday, June 19, 2022

Solstice - Food, Love, and Friendship

 It's almost the long days, cool mornings, and color everywhere. My garden is doing well. The peonies were splendid as were the irises, and the lilacs were robust this year. I have lots of perennials that are coming back and baskets of annuals and a deck full of containers. I am loving succulents lately and playing around with different textures. I have a bed of red onions and a bed of yellow onions, and today I am picking the first of the spinach (I planted it rather late). I am excited about the bed of sunflowers I planted, and I can't wait for the tomatoes and peppers to make my August spicy and delicious.

A view of my terraced garden

Oh right, I was supposed to be talking about what I've been reading.

Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love, by Kim Fay -  a super enjoyable epistolary novel recommended by Joann of Gulfside Dreaming. Set in the 1960s, 20-something Joan is living in Los Angeles and writes a fan letter to Imogen Fortier, a much older woman, who is a columnist living in the Pacific Northwest. They strike up a long-distance friendship and share recipes and adventures in food exploration. I particularly like Joan's discovery of Mexican food and how she shares her growing knowledge and passion with Imogen. I also loved the nostalgia of reading about the 1960's of my childhood. A perfect summer read.

Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate Dicamillo - one of my favorite essays in Ann Patchett's These Precious Days was about her discovery of Kate Dicamillo, Newbury award winning author of YA novels. Since I have never read Dicamillo myself, I got a few titles and promised myself that I would read them this summer. First up was this first published novel of Dicamillo and winner of the Newbury Honor. I absolutely loved the book. The main character, Opal, is a wonderful child, and her dog, Winn-Dixie, is everything a dog should be. Like Love & Saffron, this is a book of friendship, food, and love. At one point, I found myself with tears absolutely streaming down my cheeks. Dicamillo knows what she is doing.

Happy Solstice, everyone! And, as always, happy reading...writing, working, and playing!


  1. Your terraced garden is beautiful! :D

  2. Yeah I remember Patchett writing about Dicamillo but I haven't read her either ... though I have heard of the dog Winn-Dixie. Looks like a lovely warm story. Wow your garden is nice .... much planted!

  3. I've put Love and Saffron on hold at the library - sounds very appealing. I liked Because of Winn-Dixie and recently read one of her other books. She is very brave and does not hesitate to write books that are very different from each other (which publishers usually find very annoying).

  4. Your garden looks amazing. I have a fairly brown thumb and really admire those who garden. Feel free to post more pictures at any time.

    I've never read Winn Dixie. I wish I had kids/grandkids so I could be more aware of Children's/Middle Grade/YA fiction. I worked briefly as nanny in the '90s and loved reading The Babysitter Club and Goosebump books with my charges. Love and Saffron sounds great too. I totally remember when Mexican food was an unknown in other parts of the country.

  5. Jane, your garden is beautiful!! And I'm so glad you enjoyed Love & Saffron, too. It really is the perfect summer read. Ann Patchett got me to add Because of Winn-Dixie to my reading list, but I haven't gotten there yet. Thanks for the nudge.