Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Salon - May 25

The Sunday Salon.comI was hoping that today would be a relaxing day, with a break away from packing. And, with how the day has started, it is certainly looking optimistic! Maya woke me up today at 8.00am. I couldn't believe it! I feel lucky that she sleeps until 7.30, but this was a real treat. 

We got up, and I had one of my favorite breakfasts at this time of year when the days are warm but the mornings cool: oatmeal with strawberries and cream. The strawberries are delicious, pesticide free, and from a local farmer that really produces some sweet, delicious, beautiful strawberries (his asparagus is really good, too). The cream (actually, milk) is from Trickling Springs Dairy, comes in glass bottles, made from cows that are free-range and grass-fed and not given hormones or antibiotics. To top it off I had a cup of Eastern Shore Tea Company's Victorian Rose tea, in the little ribboned bags the company is known for. With the exception of the oatmeal, all the food came from a 50-mile radius of my home (well, the tea was probably imported, but the company is local).

And now, on to the reading. I have been taking a break from going through all of our boxes in storage, and focused on reading the last few days. I finished L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton, and am right in the middle of The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani. If I didn't have a six-month old baby (yes - she will be 6 months old tomorrow!!), I probably would have lounged around all day yesterday finishing this wonderful book.

The Blood of Flowers largely takes place in a city I know little to nothing about, Isfahan in Iran. The descriptions of 17th century life in the city are exquisite, and have spurred a bit of research on this time period in Persian history. I have also added another destination I would love to visit. The massive square at the center of the city, Naqsh-e Jahan Square, is still intact and is a UNESCO world heritage site. 
"As we walked into the square, I noticed that most of the buildings were tiled in the purest colors of sun and sky. The dome of the Friday mosque looked all turquoise from afar, but up closer I could see it was enlivened with swirling vines in yellow and white. Garlands of white turquoise blossomed on the dome of the Shah's lemon-colored mosque. The arched gateways to the mosques sprouted a profusion of tiled white flowers that looked like stars sparkling in the blue of twilight. Every surface of every building glittered with ornament. It was as if a master goldsmith had selected the most flawless turquoise, the rarest of blue sapphires, the brightest yellow topaz, and the purest of  diamonds, and arranged them into an infinity of shimmering patterns that radiated color and light." (p. 35)
On the south side of the square sits the Shah mosque, and on the eastern side is the Isfahan Grand Bazaar. The bazaar is one of the oldest and largest in the Middle East, and sounds so irresistible:
There were thousands of shops in the bazaar to answer every desire, whether for carpets, gold jewelry, silk and cotton cloth, embroidery, shoes, perfume, trappings for horses, leather goods, books, or paper, and on normal days, all kinds of foodstuffs. (p.55)
Pair this with the detailed description of persian carpet making, from creating a design, knotting the rug together, and negotiating a final price, and you could almost list this book under the Middle East travel section! I have always been disappointed that my opportunity to visit parts of the Middle East was thwarted (my study abroad program in college, Semester at Sea, had included parts of the Middle East in the itinerary until the 2000 Cole bombing caused the Suez Canal to close while we were in India, and our passage was blocked).  This book is certainly renewing my desire to head over there.

I have many friends from Iran, and Persian culture has always fascinated me. Therefore, I might have more exuberance than most over this novel, but unless the ending is thoroughly disappointing, I have a feeling I will be recommending this one to many of my friends! And, the publisher was kind enough to include an extra copy along with my review copy to giveaway on my blog, so if you think you would enjoy this book, keep an eye out for that giveaway. I will be putting my review and the giveaway up on my blog by the end of the week.

This is a longer Salon post than I usually write, but I will still end it with a few of the books I have added to my TBR list this week.

Book coveting around the blogisphere:
  • Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, reviewed by Callista at SMS Book Reviews
  • Ending Slavery: How we Free Today's Slaves by Kevin Bales, mentioned by Eva at A Striped Armchair
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford, reviewed at Lotus Reads
  • The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton, reviewed by alisonwonderland at So Many Books, So Little Time


Beastmomma said...

I love when a book awakens or re-awakens my passion for something-- a new location, food, ritual.

Madeleine said...

I am glad you had a good day yesterday hope it carried into today :) Wendy and I aren't doing so well reading, reviewing. I wonder if change od seasons have to do with this feeling. In winter we are all set to read etc... then comes spring and everything changes.

Are you in your new house or still moving out? Do you like NJ? I used to like Westminster MD.

About the book, please do take your time, as you can see on my sunday salon, i have plenty to read.

Finishing the last pages of cousins, it is a flawless book I will give it a 5 star. It is tight, the story never lingers and there are some great ideas Patricia Grace used to narrate, like the dead twin.

Give Maya a great big kiss for me ( I love the name Maya)

Julie said...

Oh man, your breakfast sounds sooooo good! :)

Have you ever read The Physician by Noah Gordon? It's a historical novel that takes place (partly) in 11th century Persia and it includes some real-life historical characters.

Iliana said...

Your breakfast does sound yummy! How is the packing going - how many boxes of books have you packed? I ended up with 22 book boxes I think! Good luck and so glad to hear you are enjoying Blood of Flowers. I thought it was a great read too.