Sunday, August 19, 2007

Thoughts on a rainy Sunday afternoon

We are having unseasonably cool weather here in August with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees and the rain has been coming down for 2 days straight. We are having some leakage issues here....

I have been busy all weekend with company (the in-laws) and cooking almost 20 pounds of tomatoes. I bought an enormous box of Roma tomatoes yesterday at the farmer's market and most have been combined with heaps of carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in the oven at 450 degrees. I then pureed them all into sauce. I still have my last batch to package for freezing, in all around 18-20 meals worth. I have also made ratatouille which will also be frozen. I still have a heap of tomatoes left over which will be turned into salsa and a wonderful Mexican rice dish later this week.

In bookish news, I have finished my second Adele Geras novel, Made in Heaven. I enjoyed this very much, though I think I enjoyed Facing the Light a bit more. Made in Heaven is the story of an engaged couple and the various situations that arise when the two families meet and begin planning the wedding. I did have my suspicions throughout the book about how it might end, and it turned out I was correct. I can only say how happy I am that I did not have such meddling families when I was planning my wedding. This is a big, cozy read and that was just what I was looking for when I picked it up.

Some bookish news in a different vein:

I went to see Becoming Jane last week with one of my coworkers, another Jane Austen fan. We did enjoy the film, an unpopular view, I know, she more than I. We went into the experience knowing that the movie does not have much to do with the real Jane Austen and found it entertaining, romantic, and bittersweet. There was quite a bit of dialogue and situations that came straight from Pride and Prejudice. I think it's actually pretty brave for movie makers to make a romantic film that does not end with the characters coming together in the end. There just cannot be a huge market for that sort of film.

In any case, I came home and picked up Claire Tomalin's Austen biography to read what she wrote about Thomas Lefroy. I really enjoyed this book some years ago - but if anyone knows of a more definitive or enjoyable biography of Austen I'd love to know about it. The film pushed me to finally order Jane Austen in Context which I've been reading about for weeks over at Of Books and Bicycles. Dorothy has written a few lovely posts about this book which have included all sorts of interesting tidbits from the book. I have also ordered Lesley Castle which Bookfool wrote such a lovely review of.

In other Austen news, apparently Masterpiece Theater will be having an Austen festival of sorts in 2008. I will be looking forward to that!


Cath said...

Funnily enough I have Made in Heaven waiting to be read on my library pile right now. I've not read anything at all by Adele Geras but have been hearing such a lot about her that I thought it time I did. Glad to hear it's a good read.

I missed Becoming Jane in the movie theatres so will buy the dvd as I love all Jane Austen dramatisations. We had several good TV productions here a few months back including Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. This winter I believe we're to get Sense and Sensibility though they'll have to work hard to better the Emma Thompson one, imo.

kris said...

I just came over from "letters from a hill farm" when I saw you're from Minnesota. Me too.
I like your blog - lots of interesting stuff. I'm sure I'll find many book ideas - thank you! Your photos from "up north" in an earlier post are beautiful.

BooksPlease said...

Tara, the weather here is not good either. we spent yesterday at our son's where we had a barbecue - in the rain. Still good fun though.

I've also finished Made in Heaven a few days ago and I also guessed the end, what an awful mess they made of everything.

As for Jane Austen (one of my favourites)have you read Carol Shields's "Jane Austen"? It's good. It's much shorter than Tomalin's biography, which I haven't read, so can't compare the two.

nutmeg said...

Oh, it's been raining absolute buckets her too! It has calmed down this afternoon - but the best thing it has filled up our water storage bladder under the house!

I really liked Becoming Jane - I think I went in with very few preconceptions. Mostly, I love period dramas and just treated it as that (though I secretly liked to believe that Austen really had a small, passionate romance like this - everyone deserves at least one!) The Jane Austen in Context sounds a good one to look into; so Plenty - from your last post (the tomato on the cover is certainly spot on for you a the moment!)

Tara said...

Cath, I do hope you enjoy Adele Geras - let me know. I suspect that the Austen adaptations that will be shown here on Masterpiece Theater might be the ones you are referring to, that have already been shown in the UK. I agree with you about S&S - wonderful cast.

Kris, Thank you for saying hello! And thank you for your kind words. The tomatoes on your site look delicious!

Booksplease, I have not read Carol Shield's book about Jane Austen; I should pick that up and see how they compare.

Nutmeg, it looks as though we cannot complain too much about the rain, others have it much worse, even here in Minnesota there is terrible flooding and stories of people on rooftops.

I am glad you enjoyed Becoming Jane - I had the same feelings as you going into the film.

Lotus Reads said...

hi, Tara!

I saw "Becoming Jane" on vacation and honestly, I was bored. I know that's an awful thing to say, but I just wasn't entertained. I know what you mean when you say that there was quite a bit of dialogue and situations that came straight from Pride and Prejudice, but I remember being riveted to the screen when I saw P & P, something that this movie was unable to do.

Still, it was a great idea to explore the life of the real Jane Austen, and like you,I commend the people involved in the project for taking it on.