Since I’ve been working hard on finishing my balloonist story and can’t read romance while trying to write it, I’ve been catching up on books in other genres, especially those recommended by friends. Of these, my favorites were The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks. To me, there’s something moving and deeply satisfying about each of these.
I’ve also read some outstanding YA novels with my daughter. These had me totally engrossed: the first two books in Mary Jo Putney’s Dark Mirror series and Jane George’s The Mumbo Jumbo Circus. Although settings and styles of these books are very different, both weave in great writing, intriguing characters and magic.
Although it’s not a book or movie, another exciting discovery was hearing up-and-coming pianist Shai Wosner play Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto with the Binghamton Philharmonic. Although he has immense technical talent, he plays with loving attention to every note and phrase, allowing the music to speak, never just showing off. I’ve added a clip of him playing Schumann’s “Carnaval”.
Continuing in the spirit of trying new things, my family and I will once again cook together on New Year’s Eve, trying recipes we’ve never made before. One year we tried making individual Baked Alaskas—a science experiment that sort of blew up but the debris was rather tasty! This year should be easier. The menu is herb stuffed mushrooms to start, bacon wrapped scallops as the main course and for dessert, lemon poppy-seed cake with glaze.
What were your discoveries of 2011? Are you planning anything special for New Year’s Eve? Whatever it is, I hope you have fun and that 2012 brings you much joy!