I am not a great reader, but I do like to read, and I have found an author that I want to share with the world. Maybe you already know her, and I am jumping on the back of the bandwagon. She is Marilynne Robinson, author of Housekeeping, Gilead and Home. I started with Home last year on my Kindle, and I couldn't put it down. When my husband asked what it was about, I realized that it sounded really boring. There is an old, retired preacher whose middle-aged daughter comes home after a failed relationship. Then her brother, the prodigal son, comes home, and it's about their daily life all under one roof again. How can this be interesting? I don't know, except that Robinson is a genius writer. The story totally drew me in. I'm in the middle of Gilead now, which actually has no plot at all. The whole book is a letter from an old preacher (not the same one, the other one's neighbor and friend) to his little son, who will presumably read the letter when he is grown, after his father has died. It's just his musings and little words of wisdom mixed with family history. Again, I don't know why this is so interesting to me, except that Robinson can really write. The book has no chapters and moves really slowly. There is no traditional storyline, but I love this book and recommend both of them wholeheartedly. I have Housekeeping, her other novel, but haven't started it yet. Has anyone else read her books?
On our recent vacation we went to a nearby lake. We live on the coast, but neither of us were feeling like a beach holiday. So, we packed our car and drove the two hours to the lake shores. Our hotel was delightful, and the lake was pleasantly clean and untouched. The hotel buildings were situated in a huge olive grove, and our window looked right out onto the lake. I would take the peace and quiet of that lake over crowded beach towns any day. I have found a new favorite.
Anyway, another appeal of this area is that there are about a dozen historical (old, ancient, and pre-historic) sites within an hour or two’s drive from our hotel. On the first day we visited a site on the opposite side of the lake. The modern village is built directly on top of the ancient city, so to walk around the ruins you just walk around the village and try not to step in cow pies. I did not succeed.
The next day we visited two different sites, Miletus and Priene. Miletus is in the Bible, so we thought we’d check it out. It’s in Acts 20, where Paul stopped there and sent for the elders from Ephesus to come to him. Today the port is all silted up and the ocean is miles away, but back then it was a port city. In fact, the lake where we stayed also used to be a port, but with the silting it was cut off and became a lake. Anyway, Miletus is an extensive site, and not much of it is excavated. However, Priene was the best part of the trip for me. The ruins there were cool. It was the first city built on a grid system, so I felt a little at home there J There were also humongous lizards everywhere, which really creeped me out, and I know this is 100% because of Jurassic Park where the little cute lizards end up killing people. In reality, they are totally harmless (says my husband).
"I am cute, but I will spit venom at you and eat you."
But the best part of Priene was the modern village next to it. We stopped there for lunch, and there were women making dolls. Village women making dolls of village women. The dolls were so pretty and unique, true folk art. I decided to get one, and while I was talking to the ladies, they said, “Oh, there’s an American professor here today downstairs in the carpet workshop.” American professor? Carpet workshop? My curiosity had been piqued. After lunch we went down to the said carpet workshop, and low and behold, there were carpets and Trader Joe’s snacks. Evidence of an American.
Anyway, we looked at all the rugs and decided to get one for our living room. Then the esteemed professor came in, and we chatted for a while about the workshop and his art show in Istanbul. The workshop is run by the township, and all of the proceeds go right back to the weavers and the workshop, so I felt good about buying a rug there. I had always avoided buying rugs because they are usually huge schemes for ripping off tourists. Take a look at their website