Wednesday, March 10, 2010

in case you need a reminder, here are more reasons why I love Nani IRO/Naomi Ito.

I just found her website (1), and it's excruciatingly beautiful (2) like this. Surely I suspected she made watercolors and that they were beautiful; but I had no idea they were like that.

The new line for spring has me wanting more precisely all of the bolts from one of the lines {this one}, which is trouble (3). Three of this one, but I'll settle for the chocolate print (4). All of this one, but I'll order the one in the middle {sigh} (5). And I can't help but want to make this dress scoop-necked with this one (a, c, or e)... not horizontal (6)! I just love the way the prints are unusually laid out (7), making a top & bottom look like two totally different prints or a dress look completely original and not like something you whipped together from a common fiber.

And as usual, you can find some patterns here (and that makes 8).

Monday, March 1, 2010

read these, thank me later.

I've read all three of Jhumpa Lahiri's books and I encourage you to do the same. Start anywhere. I happened to read them chronologically by date written. I must have picked up the Interpreter of Maladies book a couple of Christmases ago and saved it for myself. The effects lasting enough to make me remember her name while I was at the library long enough to browse for something past the Children's section.

The Pulitzer Prize winning Interpreter of Maladies was solidly good, memorable but it didn't affect me quite as much as either The Namesake or Unaccustomed Earth have this past week. That's right, I read TWO books in one week. Lucky for me, our baby is more than happy to feed as long as there is something to eat and I have learnt how to balance a baby, water, a book and incessant demands of a toddler from the couch (Sophie makes a fine Sherpa).

I don't know where to start with these beautifully crafted stories that don't reflect nostalgia, but do carry an air of sadness, wistfulness, a loss of place, sense of delayed longing without hope. Several times she got me, I knew what was coming but really not until the page prior. Thank goodness Lahiri doesn't delay with delivery. Some of her short stories follow a similar pattern of family, education, certainly location; a few are so different they are hard to delve into but a reader does anyway. There's something there, though. Some feeling; fleeting just on the edge of our personas... the point where we want to give more, say something and we don't. Something happens and our lifetimes are irrevocably different. Maybe nothing happens but the moment is gone; the paths changed, relationships ceased. As I reached the last 15 or so pages of either book I was filled with equal parts devouring anticipation and bitter sadness for the end.

I'm enchanted by authors that can glide easily between male and female characters without apparent difficulty. In some cases, you might say she writes better from the perspective of a man than a female. Certainly her younger characters are closer to her, more developed. One particular story discusses the conflict of a child - born in America but visiting relatives in Calcutta whom his parents long to be with but not feeling any particular attachment to them. He comes home, none of his american friends ask about his absence. Sadly, I've been that American. Only now, twenty or more years later do a regret not asking a boy from Africa more about his life, a friend from India what her travels were like. Were they too exotic? Didn't I care? Did I not know how to ask? Clearly I wasn't alone in my ignorance.

Alas, you won't find any spoilers here, I can't take that away from you. Just go, go to the library or order it now. I'm sorry I don't own these two. They're so good I'd never lend them but will plan to give them, to spread the love.

Strangely enough, though the stories mostly fall between Cambridge and Calcutta I have the strongest desire to visit London.

So like I said, read these - thank me later.
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