Saturday, July 30, 2011

my year of meats

My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki was another abandoned book on my high school shelf. I turned to it reluctantly because, well, it had been on my shelf for a long time, and I bought it in the Bargain bin at Barnes&Noble, and it just didn't have that must-read aura. But it was good! Right from the start, even! And I recommend it! It blends together a few different female narratives, but two main ones: Jane Takagi-Little (from a first person voice, partly autobiographical, me thinks, because Ozeki was also a documentary filmmaker like Jane) and Akiko Ueno, a Japanese housewife. The book is funny, cynical, witty, tragic, with a dash of the Jungle and a bit of good vocabulary too! Or it could be that my reading choices heavily favor the
Young Adult section...but I had to reference: moue, ersatz, embouchure, nacreous, and miasma (which, turns out, has nothing really to do with the word chiasma, which I know only because of it's optic counterpart).
There are some really beautiful poetic passages, too - Ozeki draws from the ancient Japanese poems of Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book as a preface for each chapter and Akiko's own poetry. They read like lyrical lists of mundane, personal musings. For example, Things That Give a Pathetic Impression: The voice of someone who blows his nose while he is speaking. The expression of a woman plucking her eyebrows.
Given my affinity for lists, Shonagon may be my next read.
And although I vowed to stop eating beef at the conclusion of this book, the VERY NEXT DAY I purposefully sought out and ate with much satisfaction a Philly Cheesesteak. With Cheez Whiz to boot. So now go, get the book and read!

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© timheartjane 2011 Photos taken by me, unless otherwise stated.