Via Quadronno: a slice of northern Italy on 73rd Street and Madison. We tuck ourselves into a little table parked under a bookcase. I had beautifully cooked and served asparagus and a boiled ege. My friend had minestrone and a panino American style i.e. more prosciutto than you’d have in Italy. I looked at his food hungrily then consoled myself by sopping up the oil in my plate with toasted bread. He handed me James Rebanks’s THE SHEPHERD’S LIFE Modern Dispatches From an Ancient Landscape and told me to speed read it for our Arsenal Book Club on Wed. Reading a book about shepherding in the English Lake District? I assumed the prosciutto had gone to his head. I was wrong. Rebanks’s story of home and staying there is compelling. It’s about preserving a way of life that is difficult to sustain and as moving as the old movie about Lassie. Rebanks is on Twitter: Herdwick Shepherd.
I confess. I read The Nation recently. I was waiting in a doctor’s office. Did you know that The Nation like Ted Turner Classics has a wine club? Did you know, courtesy of The Nation, you can go on an Alaskan tour with Ruth Messinger?
An artist friend and I wandered through the Whitney’s Grant Wood exhibit. We admitted grudgingly that Wood was a superb craftsman. In addition to being an artist he was a silversmith and he had a streak of whimsy. Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell came to mind.
Are they American Regionalists like Wood? His art celebrates the American farm. His attention to detail is extraordinary. There’s a uniformity of expression and of gender. The men are big, usually in overalls and engaged in the manly arts of mechanics. The women are small, usually in an apron and engaged in the womanly arts of polishing the furniture. We walked down the outside stairs from the eighth floor cafe to the fifth floor exhibit. Wonderful views of lower Manhattan and the Hudson.
Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.
Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.
Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.