December 15, 2011

the wind beneath a book's wings

"Used to be when a bird flew into a window, Milly and Twiss got a visit. Milly would put a kettle on and set out whatever culinary adventure she'd gone on that day. For morning arrivals, she offered her famous vanilla drop biscuits and raspberry jam."
--The Bird Sisters, Rebecca Rasmussen
It seems to me that birds have succeeded in squawking their way into authors' and publishers' minds, for they populate a good number of standout book titles. I loved Birds of America, Delicate Edible Birds, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I did not, however, love Anne Lamott's Imperfect Birds (disappointing, because I so enjoyed her non-fiction Bird by Bird); I couldn't even make it past the first 20 pages. This observation, just now, has led me to propose a literary hypothesis of sorts: Any book with "bird" in its title will evoke a love or hate reaction from me — nothing in between. Any scientist (or student who pays attention in biology class) will tell you that a hypothesis is meant to be tested. The Bird Sisters may just be the first book to succeed in disproving my (short-lived) hypothesis. I'm about halfway through, and neither loving nor hating it.

The first few pages held so much promise; already in the first page or two, it proposed to be a story about two sisters, and one of them even liked to bake. It also hinted at some sort of suspenseful coming-of-age story, but the suspense hasn't really come through yet. Instead, it has been mildly entertaining — lively enough to keep me reading, but not good enough to recommend it to anyone yet. I'll keep reading in hopes that my hypothesis will remain intact, in the event that I either fall in love with or develop an intense hatred of this book over the next day or two. It could happen.

In the meantime, on to more pressing (i.e. gastronomical) concerns...boy, would I love a recipe for those vanilla drop biscuits. I imagine they're somewhat like scones.

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