Tag Archives: UC San Diego Library

Micro-Fiction

Contributed by John Menier

32822In modern English, the word “amateur” is often used in a condescending or pejorative sense, which is unfortunate. It is a borrowed French word that derives from the Latin “amator,” meaning “lover.” Hence, the term amateur was originally applied to someone who does something purely for the love of it rather than for compensation and was not a comment on competency.

It is in the spirit of “for the love of it” that Scott Paulson, Exhibits & Events Coordinator for UC San Diego Library, solicited fantasy and science fiction pieces of no more than 250 words for a live reading. The inaugural event in an intended micro-fiction project, “Short Tales from the Mothership” was inspired by magazine editor George Hay. In the 1970s Hay challenged such well-known authors as Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov to submit stories for publication that could fit on a postcard. Following Hay’s example, Scott Paulson encouraged writers from the campus and San Diego communities to publicly showcase their short-short fiction. The stories presented that evening proved to be both diverse and diverting, encompassing a range of styles from comic and satirical to dystopian and experimental. All of the stories are evocative, and several of the works assumed the characteristics of poetry in their economy of language, their heightened descriptive imagery, and their attention to tone.

The result is a celebration of both micro-fiction as a distinct art form and the power of the spoken word – and yes, the joy of doing something for the love of it.

Watch Short Tales from the Mothership

See more programs from The Library Channel here.

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Ann Patchett

Contributed by John Menier

8232Listed by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2012, Ann Patchett is a true woman of letters: novelist, essayist, anthologist, and co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville. Patchett is also a frequent and accomplished public speaker, noted for her anecdotes about the literary life, her insights into the creative process, and her wry wit.

One of Patchett’s favorite topics is the ever-changing relationship between readers and books. As an example she cites her own evolution reading (and re-reading) the works of John Updike, Leo Tolstoy, Pearl Buck, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and others, noting that “the books don’t change, but we do.” Put another way, the reader’s evaluation of a particular book is shaped as much by the reader’s life experience and circumstances as by the work’s innate qualities. As such our appreciation (or lack thereof) for a particular title may change over time, but the consistent commonality among the books we treasure is that they never fail to evoke a strong response. Patchett believes the writer’s primary task is to elicit that response by inviting the reader to become an active participant in their story.

Patchett’s approach to the reading public is refreshingly un-elitist. She stresses the importance of what she calls “gateway drugs,” books of dubious literary worth that may encourage readers to explore other authors and genres. She applauds the success of “trashy” pop novels such as “Fifty Shades of Gray” and “Twilight,” no matter their pedigree, for their role in re-vitalizing book sales and energizing the publishing community. What matters most to Patchett as both author and bookstore owner is that the reading habit is fostered and encouraged, and in that endeavor, there’s no place for snobbery.

Click here to watch An Evening with Ann Patchett

Click here for more programs from The Library Channel

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Willan’s Recipes

25903Anne Willan has quietly made a significant international contribution as both a teacher and a cookbook author specializing in French cuisine for over 35 years. With the support of Julia Child, Willan opened the La Varenne Cooking School in Paris in 1975. In the mid-1970s, as Willan writes in her memoir, “French cuisine was becoming a portal by which Americans were rediscovering the culinary arts after a long dormant period that began in the 1930s with the taming of vegetables in cans, followed by the 1950s and frozen foods. Julia had opened the front and led the battle, and now La Varenne was the place people could have the Julia Child experience, a working laboratory of classical French cuisine.”

As recent guests of the UC San Diego Library, Willan and co-author Amy Friedman offered morsels from Willan’s autobiography, “One Souffle at a Time: A Memoir of Food and France.” Together, they share stories, pictures and secret ingredients to a life well-lived.

With the cooking season upon us, how about trying one Willan’s delicious recipes that you can find here: La Varenne CookingOr check out our favorites below: Happy Holidays everyone!

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Roast Leg of Lamb with White Beans

Roast leg of lamb is the French cook’s pride, paraded for guests, or a birthday, or for family Sunday lunch. To make the most of this expensive cut, a gigot is invariably cooked on the bone, with a clove of garlic tucked into the shank so it permeates the whole roast. The meat may be spiked with more garlic and herbs, and is basted with butter to ensure a golden finish and tasty gravy.

Serves 6 to 8

One 4- to 5-pound/about 2-kilogram leg of lamb

[Read Full Recipe]

 

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Winter Salad of Country Ham

Endive and lamb’s lettuce are among the treats of winter, a glimpse of green among the seasonal roots on the vegetable stand. Teamed with beets for color and hazelnuts for crunch, they are a classic French combination, delicious with thinly sliced Virginia or Smithfield ham, or some imported prosciutto.

Serves 4 for supper

70g/2½oz/½ cup hazelnuts

450g/1lb cooked baby beets

[Read Full Recipe]

 

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Volcanic Apples 

These apples are hollowed to the shape of a volcano so they take more stuffing, hence their name in our family. For the filling, I’m calling for muesli as it is so easy to find, but you’ll save a bit of time if you use granola, which is already toasted.  Simply mix it with the other ingredients. You’ll need a tart variety of apple that will be fluffy and juicy when baked; traditional favorites are Rome Beauty or McIntosh (Cox’s or Reine de Reinettes in theUK), though you can always fall back on the ubiquitous Granny Smith.

Serves 4

[Read Full Recipe]

 

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