Already Home

April 21st. 2011

I read Susan Mallery’s novel, Already Home, over the course of a few weekends and found it delightful, particularly as it got rolling toward the middle. Because I think this was more women’s fiction than true roman fiction the female characters were plentiful and well-developed, even some of the secondary characters had a rich backstory. But I’m getting ahead of myself–the jist of the story is a LA chef returns to Texas to put her life back together after a failed marriage. In the course of figuring out how she’s going to support herself–and still satisfy her creativity–she opens a kitchen shop on a cute town square. But, she’s a chef not a businesswoman and she comes to rely heavily on the savvy salesperson she hires. These two unlikely friends grow to depend on each other quickly, particularly through the upheaval caused when biological parents arrive on the scene and boyfriends turn bad. Ms. Mallery gave full entre into the women’s minds/perceptions/backgrounds and even so much with mothers too that it was really a girl fest for strong, amazing women. The men in this book get a bit of short shift. They don’t seem to have the same depth or resonance as the women—even the good guys don’t get a lot of stage time. I think where this novel is so lovely is weaving together the influence of mothers and daughters, both biological and adopted (even those that are absorbed into families.) You’ll enjoy this peek into a family and come away wishing you could be friends with the characters.

6 must-read magazines

April 1st. 2011

For those of you’ve who asked–not that I get stopped in the grocery store to answer this pressing question, but–here are the 6 magazines that I read (almost cover-to-cover) as soon as they hit my mailbox.

Gardens and Guns: (I know crazy, right.) This may be the most perfect magazine for a displaced Georgian since I used to cruise the Army PX in Germany for back issues of ┬áSouthern Living magazine. The articles are border-line literary in their text and prose, the photos are evocative, and the content never fails to surprise me. I’ve developed a previously-unknown affection for hunting dogs courtesy of their on-going essay feature, Good Dogs. Reading this magazine is indulging in the fantasy that I was born to a lineage of julep-drinking Southern matriarchs, dashed by financial absurdities of an inherited fortune, and owned vacation homes both in the Blue Ridge mountains and something quaint along the coast. I consider this a must-read magazine, now that I’ve discovered it. (Thanks, Mom.)

Victoria: (Bliss, their subtext and mine.) I page through this magazine first for the photos. The photography is nothing short of art. Reading the articles is a secondary effort after I’ve soaked up as much beauty, grace, culture, and refinement as possible from the images. This magazine is to me what a B-12 shot is to others. And one day, one fateful day, I will set a table as lovely as the ones in this magazine.

Entertainment Weekly: I consider this a professional resource, in addition to feeding my interest in celebrity gossip. It always offers the back story on movies, TV, music and books that other entertainment industry mags skip over. It also helps that they have a feature highlighting absurd script quotes from the week of TV and a Bullseye feature that pokes fun at the ludicrous nature of celebrity.

Southern Living: The go-to magazine for staying current in the world in which I live–and wish to travel more around. Born in the South, it’s my goal to never leave it. The editors of this magazine seem to share my vision and foster my lifeblood through travel features, home interiors, slice-of-life articles, and their infamous (and richly tested) recipes. I’ve built dinner parties around the menus featured in this magazine.

MORE: New to the scene, this magazine is the thinking (and over 40) woman’s guide to all things relevant, fashionable, cultural, and necessary to a healthy, proactive life. Of course, I would read this.

Voice of the Martyrs: I’ll be honest, I can’t actually read this magazine cover-to-cover. I’m too haunted by the stories (even the blacked out images in the photos) to do more than be humbled that I live so freely and generously in the country of my birth. This magazine does serve as an honesty bullet when I get caught up in the minutiae of my existence as wife, mom, writer, daughter, volunteer, etc. I hope to never forget the persecuted Christians who live bigger lives than I do.