The First Year

It’s been a year since I started this blog. My intention was to write mostly about community, in all its forms (well, the ones that occurred to me, anyway). Around the time I was setting up the blog, I learned that French Fridays With Dorie was beginning that October and I joined. I have a mild food blog obsession and had run across some Tuesdays With Dorie posts. I liked the idea of cooking through a whole cookbook and the comments sections of TWD posts were very lively. French Fridays sounded like it would be fun and challenging, so I couldn’t resist.

I worried that having two separate post streams might be annoying or confusing for people who were interested in one subject or the other. What I found, though, is that my French Fridays posts have become community-building in action. Participants read each other’s French Fridays posts, but often read and comment on the rest of one another’s blogs, too. We’ve even gotten to know each other a little. Somehow, what I thought would be an entirely different stream has come to be an exemplar of what I’ve been trying to explore here.

I knew this anniversary was coming up and I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about. Then, Elaine of California Living tagged me in the Seven Links Game. It sounded like a perfect structure for a little retrospective.

So, here goes:

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A Little Celebration of a Small Accumulation

A Shelf of Books

I’m not so much a collector as I am an accumulator. When we were kids, my mother thought that my siblings and I should all collect something. I didn’t see the appeal, as I was too busy trying to read as many books as possible, so she ended up choosing something for me. Somewhere in my storage space is a box of thimbles that I got from various relatives, mostly as part of a Christmas or birthday present. When I run across them, I enjoy the associations and memories they bring up, but I don’t have any desire to add to the collection. As an adult, I can better understand the appeal of collecting. My budget doesn’t allow for art collection and my accumulation of teapots doesn’t really count, but there are a few book series that I buy.

The Massey Lectures, published by Anansi Press, is the series that I’m trying to complete. I’m missing some of the earlier lectures. I also really like the Canongate Myths series, though I’ve been a little lackadaisical about keeping up with the new releases. The rest of my book collection is quite scattershot – a little biography, a mixture of mostly Canadian, Commonwealth, and British fiction, as well as a lot of non-fiction on a bunch of different topics. It’s nice to have a little coherence added to the mix.

My other growing collection is a significant number of cookbooks. My partner and I have had to move our cookbooks from a small bookcase to a larger one, as they mysteriously go on multiplying. There’s even a series of books that bridges the gap between my cookbooks and my other book collections. Penguin’s Great Food series reprints food writing ranging from Samuel Pepys and Brillat-Savarin to Elizabeth David and Alice Waters. I think the entire series will be taking up some shelf space here before long. The books themselves are beautiful, with some of the best cover design I’ve seen in some time. The writings promise to enlighten, amuse and even offend. I think I officially have a new book (set) crush.

Since I’ve been accumulating quite a lot of posts here, one-hundred today in fact, I thought I would do a little something to celebrate and show my appreciation for those of you who’ve visited over the past year. I’ve loved your comments and even feel as though I’ve got to know some of you a little bit. I bought two of the books from the Great Food series and I’m going to give them away. As it’s also my one-year blogoversary (again, that is too a word!) on September 20th, I’ll announce the winners then. All you have to do is leave a comment, letting me know what you like to collect and which of the two books you’d prefer. (If the winners pick the same book, the person drawn first will get their choice.)

The books are these: Charles Lamb’s A Dissertation upon Roast Pig and Agnes Jekyll’s A Little Dinner Before the Play. I have to confess that I didn’t choose them because they’re my favourites of the series, but because – of the titles available at the bookstore I visited – these were the two with the prettiest covers. I do have my moments of superficiality.

A Dissertation upon Roast Pig

A Little Dinner Before the Play