Monday, March 3, 2014

Or, how to make your snark sparkle

Book: The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING, or Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog
Author: Jen Lancaster
Published: 2013 (New American Library)
Pages: 332
I’ve covered Jen Lancaster territory here before more than once, and I keep going back to her because sometimes I get the same urge for a part-of-life overhaul but don’t actually want to go through it and plus she’s funny. Bam. That’s her magic formula.
Here, after a horrible year that left her feeling helpless and depressed, she’s decided that maybe the key to finding her happiness is to find the serenity in the perfection of Martha Steward’s domestic methods. Jen isn’t disillusioned that making the perfect apple pie is going to solve world peace, and she’s not looking to become a Stepford wife – she just wants to find calmness in Martha’s details, and she sets about doing that by incorporating recipes, hosting methods, crafting, and her own twist on MS’s suggestions.
The actual execution is somewhat unremarkable in the cooking and hosting areas since those are things she’s been doing her own way for a while – not that there isn’t some culture clash, but there’s at least a baseline commonality. The crafting bits were more interesting because she captured that exact impatience with fiddly stuff that makes every crafter question at least once why any of this matters, really, while zeroing in on what of that fiddly stuff she actually enjoyed enough to use to enhance stuff.
My favorite part was when she chose to use her husband’s disaster preparedness compulsion as her self-made Martha-fiying. They will not only be fully ready for any sort of storm that comes through but also look downright cute while they’re at it.
Two scary life events happen along the way of all this and of course they derail things, but Jen manages to apply what she’s learned about finding calm in processes and gets though it with the help of nervous knitting and home-baked macaroni.  
Another vaguely trailing ending, but guys, circulation’s hold system is just getting back on track from when it burped like a week ago and ohboy am I in for some awesome-sounding stuff coming up. Back to the library!
Also, my own contribution to domesticity for the week: homemade calzones, y'all.

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