A magical wedding in Cape Cod

Despite somewhat harrowing travel misadventures (barfing in air, bag losing, etc.), we were thrilled to be in Cape Cod this past weekend for the wedding of our dearest Charlottesville friends. I only took a tiny handful of photos, so you’ll have to excuse the quality/quantity, but I exhibit them here as proof of the magical weekend.

Grace and Lu Say I DoThe brides with L’s nephew, at the rehearsal dinner

Grace and Lu Say I DoThe glowing brides at the rehearsal dinner

OfficiatingAnd a shot of me officiating (barefoot! Forgot my shoes, whoops) the ceremony, taken by Guion (who provided the sweet ceremony music with our good friend Julie)

We are so ineffably happy for these two and feel so honored to have joined in the celebration. They are some of our favorite people on Earth, and we are full of joy that they are finally married. Pure delight.

And now we are happy to be back in London, back “home,” where the roses in Regent’s Park are winding down but the days are steadily getting warmer.

Regent's Park strollRegent's Park strollRegent's Park strollRegent's Park strollRegent's Park stroll

An even fuller week

Thursday night: Tiny Nettles concert in honor of Lulu and her birthday.
Friday night: The sisters arrived! (Plus Eva and Alex, not featured here.)
Saturday morning: Post-race malaise.
Saturday night: Dinner at Monsoon with the fam. Brothers Pratt here.

This past week I:

  • Attended a surprise birthday show for Lulu, in which Tiny Nettles played; ate the best (and longest? Most intestinal?) baked ziti ever, by Greg.
  • Turned 24; received tulips, chocolate, and a beautiful leather leash (for the dog, not me) from my dear husband.
  • Welcomed my sisters, Alex, and Eva for the weekend.
  • Ran the Charlottesville 10-miler, didn’t die.
  • Ate a celebratory dinner at Monsoon with family and friends.
  • Enjoyed the company of many friends at The Local for drinks; felt so very blessed by each one of them.
  • Went to the Gordon Avenue book sale, the best bi-annual book sale ever.
  • Met a new calligraphy client to start on another job.
  • Observed Palm Sunday; was reminded of that feeling during the Passion reading, “Wait, why do I have to be the crowd? I don’t want this part; it’s the bad guy’s part… Oh, wait. Right.”
  • Watched Guion finish his master’s thesis, provided some opinions on last lines and em dashes; felt so proud of him.
  • Felt very happy.

Love you all very much. There’s a complete set of the weekend’s photos on my Flickr and Grace also published a very nice weekend re-cap, if you’re hankering for more.

What I’ve read recently

Brief thoughts on what I’ve been reading lately…

Inside of a Dog, by Alexandra Horowitz.

Inside of a Dog, by Alexandra Horowitz. It’s a rare event when the New York Times reviews a dog book, but they did when Inside of a Dog came out in 2009. Horowitz studies and teaches animal cognition at Barnard College, Columbia University. This is a delightful and very well-written account of the various behavioral and anatomical things she’s learned about dogs. I loved it, of course, and would recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in dogs. I wrote a more complete review of the book here.

Memento Mori, by Muriel Spark

Memento Mori, by Muriel Spark. In an effort to prevent myself from buying any more books, I have been trying to read through all of the books on my shelves that I haven’t read yet. Memento Mori was one of them. I think I bought it at a library book sale for 25 cents and it’s been sitting on my shelves for years, untouched, unremembered. I was not very impressed with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, despite all the hype around it, so I was hesitant to attempt another Muriel Spark novel. But I liked this a lot more than Jean Brodie. Memento Mori tells the story of a circle of elderly British friends and acquaintances who are haunted by an anonymous caller who tells them, “Remember you must die.” As the mystery unfolds, these witty, well-imagined senior citizens are forced to reexamine their lives and their buried scandals. Occasionally funny and touching, Memento Mori is not a great book, but it is a very good one.

A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan. Egan cast doubt on my theory about women writers by winning this year’s Pulitzer Prize for A Visit from the Goon Squad. I think many people were surprised that it beat out Freedom. Freedom, after all, just looks like a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel: It’s very thick, daunting, and a family epic in the model of a modern Tolstoy. A Visit from the Goon Squad is surprisingly slim and enjoyable. Who knew Pulitzers were so fun to read? With wit and delicacy, Egan channels thirteen interconnected characters over the course of a few decades. By the end of the novel, I was fully convinced that she deserves every ounce of praise she’s been receiving.

The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright

The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright. I am trying to learn more things and so I’ve decided that I need to read more nonfiction–particularly nonfiction that I might not necessarily agree with or know anything about. During my senior year at UNC, I was an intern at the University of North Carolina Press. One of the editors there asked me to work on a project in which I had to scour all of the top literary publications (the New Yorker, NYT, New York Review of Books, Harper’s, the Atlantic, etc.) for their lists of the best nonfiction books over the past 10 years. This sounds like a daunting task, but I loved it, because by the end, I had culled a highly recommended reading list. The Evolution of God was one of those books from that list. It was shortlisted for the Pulitzer when it came out in 2009 and there was a lot of hype surrounding it. Wright’s argument is that God, like humanity, has been evolving over time and essentially getting “better,” or more tolerant and humane. While I don’t necessarily buy his whole argument, he did make a lot of points that I think are really relevant to consider. Even though it’s clear that he’s not a fan of God in general, I appreciated his caveat at the end of the book, in which he discounts many frothing neo-atheists for jumping on the “anti-God” bandwagon. All in all, interesting. And very long. Wright is prone to generalize, but I guess when you’re talking about God, what else can you do?

Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner

Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner. Lulu, one of Guion’s MFA colleagues, suggested that we read this book together and I’m so glad she did. We met last Thursday to discuss it at The Local. I had never read any Stegner before this but had always heard him mentioned with appreciation and fondness. Crossing to Safety is apparently regarded as one of his best novels and, interestingly, it was his last (published in 1987). In it, Stegner tells the semi-autobiographical story of the love between two academic couples in Madison, Wisconsin, and later, around the country. He accomplishes something with this novel that I have always wanted to accomplish myself: To write a truly great novel about “ordinary” people. It is a novel without your standard fare of infidelity, addiction, divorce, or melodrama–and yet it is a novel full of life. I loved it. I hope to read more Stegner soon.

A Summons to Memphis, Peter Taylor

A Summons to Memphis, by Peter Taylor. I’m reading this now for the next “Christ Church Classics” book club discussion. Taylor was a professor of literature here at UVA, and so his name is occasionally circulated in cultural conversations. I was looking forward to reading this book, because it makes an appearance on Francine Prose’s list, Books to Be Read Immediately, which I have been trying to complete for a few years now. I’m a big fan of Southern literature, but I haven’t been very impressed by A Summons to Memphis. As far as I can tell, it’s a nice, inoffensive story about one family’s mania for preventing each other’s marriages. Not especially interesting, which is somewhat surprising, considering that it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1968. I haven’t finished it yet, but from where I stand now, I don’t think I’d recommend it to anyone.

Right now, I’m reading Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, and really enjoying it. I may talk about it later, once I’ve finished.

What are you reading? Anything you’d recommend?