Saturday, July 25, 2009

Books, Baking and Bwahas - Saturday Morning Meanderings

A few of my most recent posts have brought me a lot of email.

Happy Fourth and What's Cooking, Little Books I Love, and A Girlfriend Weekend.

I'm guess that means a lot of you enjoy some of the same things I do - books, eating and laughing with your girlfriends! Well - what's not to like about all that?! (and I'd gladly hear some better titles for this post than my beyond lame "books, baking and bwahas!" - Saturday mornings make me silly, that's the best excuse I can come up with. Silly and lazy.).

First - before I write one more word I have a book to squeal about. Are y'all familiar with Louise Penny? I know a whole bunch of you are, and those who aren't might want to give her a try. She writes the Inspector Armand Gamache series which mainly takes place in the tiny idyllic village of Three Pines in Quebec. I fell in love with this series when Ms. Penny, a Canadian author, seemingly came out of nowhere in 2005. Here's a run down of what this amazing woman has since accomplished:

Still Life (2005)
2006 New Blood Dagger
2006 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
2007 Anthony Award for Best First Novel

2007 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Dead Cold (2006)
Also Published As: A Fatal Grace (2007)
2007 Agatha Award for Best Novel

The Cruelest Month (2007)
2008 Agatha Award for Best Novel
Finalist 2009 Anthony Award for Best Mystery
Finalist 2009 Barry Award for Best Novel
Finalist 2008 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel

Finalist 2009 Macavity Award for Best Novel

The Murder Stone (2008)
Also Published As: A Rule Against Murder (2009)
Finalist 2009 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel

The Brutal Telling (due September 29, 2009)

Look at the awards this woman has won! And I must say - well deserved - every one. And - - - because she is also one of the most genuinely nice people you could ever hope to meet, it makes it even nicer.

I was one of the lucky winners of an Advance Reading Copy of THE BRUTAL TELLING, and have to tell you - it is stunning. I'm shouting about it all over the place, and I'm already quite sure it will be in my Top Five Favorite Books of 2009. Add this to your "Gotta Read" list.

O.K. - now, what was I talking about . . .

(I'm betting you've figured out by now how I came up with the name "Meanderings and Muses" for this blog, huh? Actually, I think I perhaps should change the name to "WHAT was I talking about anyhow??")


The "What's Cooking?" blog talked about cookbooks. One of my blogging buddies, Sam Hoffer, writes one of my favorite blogs; My Carolina Kitchen. Right now she's chatting about searching for the perfect tomatoes for a BLT. It's a wonderful post! Especially for someone like me who is over the moon about BLTs, and lucky enough to be married to someone who shares my enthusiasm. What says "summer" better than a BLT?!

Sam saw my "Happy Fourth and What's Cooking" piece and let me know she shares my fondness for Pat Conroy's work. She also, for obvious reasons being a fantastic cook herself, loves his cookbook, and her favorite passage came from the chapter on "Why Dying Down South Is More Fun," which will make you laugh while it breaks your heart. (HOW does he do that?!)

That comment led me to thinking about another wonderful cookbook. "Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral." I love this book. I had it on my wishlist at, and when it showed up in the mail, I realized one of my DorothyL buddies, Caryn St. Clair (a Meanderings and Muses guest blogger), had sent it to me. Thanks, again - Caryn!! It's fun and it's a hoot, AND it has some pretty mouth watering recipes. If you're a fan of "all things southern," as I am, you'll love this book too.

I have no idea why I'm such a collector of cookbooks. I'm no cook. I have a couple of recipes I do well, other than that, I am pitiful. Truly.


I do love to bake, and seem to have pretty good luck at that. So it makes a little more sense that I have a few baking books that I cherish. Although, I suspect some of that has to do with the fact that the covers are to die for. HOW do you resist buying a book with this cover?!

I swore I was going to bake this cake immediately. I bought Dorie Greenspan's "Baking, From My Home to Yours" years ago - it was published in 2006. Haven't made it yet. But, one of these days!!

Being one of those people obviously easily swayed by a pretty face, here's another gorgeous baking book I've yet to bake one thing out of - Tish Boyle's "The Cake Book."

Always on the lookout for new recipes - anyone want to share their favorites??

And to those of you who wrote to me about girlfriends and how much you cherish your old gal pals as much as I do - here are some pictures we took. Dindy and Nan are two of the most special women in my life. I hope you all have special women friends in yours.

These woman are dear to my heart. I admire them for their intelligence, wisdom, and grace.

I thank them for their generosity of spirit they have freely shown and given me for half of my life.

I love them for the wild ass adventures we've shared that we're all sworn to secrecy about and wouldn't take a million dollars for.

boy howdy.

just say the words "Moe's & Joe's, Fripp Island, Inman Park, Mockingbird Lane, or 28th Street," and see the evil little looks of glee that can pass amongst us . . .

one of these days there should be a book.

Fiction, of course.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sounds like you've got some wonderful friends!

I'm a huge Louise Penny fan and am jealous you've got an ARC! I'll look forward to reading it.

I'm one of the Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime writers who is on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog (I'm Riley, there.) The link is: Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Hope you'll visit!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Elizabeth! I'm so glad you reminded me about the new Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog - I love it!!! I thought I had added it to my blog roll, but somehow it didn't make it. It's there now though. You guys are doing a great job!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Kaye, thank you so much for the kind things you've said about me. My head is swollen now.

I'm dying to read "Being Dead is No Excuse." It sounds like such fun.

You know how I love Pat Conroy's Cookbook. His wife, Cassandra King, tells the story of when she met Pat he told her his crab cakes were so good she would want to marry him after tasting them. They were and she did. Now that's an endorsement for a crab cake if I've ever heard one.

Drop by my kitchen when you get a chance. I've got something special for you.

dorie said...

Thanks for the sweet mention of Baking From My Home to Yours. Now that you've got it and Tish's wonderful cake book, I hope you'll get into the kitchen and bake, bake, bake!

Earl Staggs said...

Kaye, Darlin', I can't cook worth a darn, but I'm a whiz on my grill. As for baking, I wouldn't even try it. You should, tho. You should bake tons of pies and cakes, cut a big slice for Donald, then send the rest to me.