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August 14, 2012


No, not the Netherlands, but Newfoundland! As part of my post-training ‘get back into life’ plan, I have started a book club with a dear neighbor (a club can have just two people right?!), and the first selection was inspired by his trip this month to that northernly island. It seems like a beautiful and fascinating place, with mountains that drop into the sea, where transportation can be more efficient by boat than by car, and whose maritime focus influences the food and drink notorious from the isle – including flipper pie, salted cod and hark tack (a kind of hard cracker), figgy duff (a pudding), and Newfoundland screech (it began as a molasses moonshine and still causes the native NL’ers to ‘Screech In’ which involves taking a shot, kissing a codfish on the mouth, and answering the question ‘Is ye an honorary Newfoundlander?’ Hey… I always say I’ll try anything once ;)). The population of the entire island is less than 500,000 people, yet it claims it’s own version of both the French and English languages!

But so, in the mornings, after I feed my little codfish Dakota, I have been reading The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx. I’m only about 60 pages in but already the prose is original, clever, alternately sad and hilarious, and shows the isolation and unique perspective of the place. I can’t get enough of Quoyle and his unfortunately named daughters, and seems like most readers feel the same- it received the National Book Award! And its fun to see pics sent from my friend (like the one above), and feel the book coming alive even more tangibly… Who knows, maybe it’ll inspire my own little trip to NL… In the summer of course!


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