by Diana Loevy, August 11, 2006 2:13 PM
You mean you haven't yet formulated your late summer book club
strategy? During these sun-dappled days and star-filled nights, you are just...staying home? Make it your personal mission to get the club together for one last meeting, road trip or minor outing. It doesn't have to be one of your E. M. Forster
world tours, or that pilgrimage to Bath
, Chawton Cottage
and Winchester Cathedral
to honor Jane Austen
on the occasion of your big birthday. We are still recovering.
Keep it simple, keep it seasonal, and really, anything will do.
- Meet the club at the greenmarket and air kiss each other over the baby yellow watermelons, snap peas, or the Black Prince and garden peach heirloom tomatoes. Watch closely to see if any two members politely fight over the last box of blackberries. Is anyone greeted with imperceptibly less warmth than anyone else? You will not want to wait to find out.
- Spring for the wild flower and herb bouquet, maybe a sunflower branch or two, but definitely the raspberries and the juliette plum tomatoes, "the most romantic salad tomatoes in the world," according to the handmade sign. Bring your prized fruits and vegetables to an impromptu club, with or without books.
- Plan an instant summer book club at any picnic table and don't forget to bring the August issue of Vogue, featuring Zadie Smith. Dissect her fashion sensibility and analyze her stylish, hand-painted "dressing room," described as "a sumptuous vintage heaven custom-painted with flowers, vines, birds, and butterflies." Review your favorite scenes in On Beauty and Howard's End and see if you've change your mind. All the passages I can't forget involve the tragedy that is Howard Belsey, especially the scene at the glee club soirée where Victoria Kipps helps him to another slice of failure and futility.
- Say yes to the BBQ joint, the ice cream stand, or the nutty kayaking expedition. Labor Day is a little more than three weeks away.
- This season's movie night must feature Little Miss Sunshine. As you've heard by now, it's the story of a family on the verge of a nervous breakdown who take a road trip. And Steve Carell's portrayal of a suicidal Proust scholar is the closest most of us are going to get to actually reading Marcel Proust. Though I hear there's a new translation...
- Choose a simmering early morning or a moonlit evening to walk your town's most romantic park, botanic garden or the grounds of its most historic mansion. It may not be Pemberley, but maybe, in a way, it is.