Last week, I was way behind on the Reblog Book Club. Then I blew through California over the weekend and now I’m all caught up.
I had a few random thoughts that I’ll share, without giving too much away:
- Currently, California is experiencing a major drought and is always under the threat from the San Adreas fault, and is not among the top states where I’d want to weather a deteriorating/post-apocalyptic world. I caught myself feeling annoyed when we learn the midwest is basically unlivable due to extreme winter weather. At least Minnesota has water! I wanted to argue. But we’d all like to imagine we’d survive the worst close to home, right? (Edan is a California girl!)
- Micah is the worst. Of course Frida love(s)(d) him and I think he is a realistic character, I just think that, realistically, he sucks.
- At one point I stopped reading to say to to Jeff: “When society crumbles and we’re living in some strange community in the middle of nowhere, we are NOT keeping secrets from each other.” Never too soon to get clear on that.
- I’d love to see some fan art of how people envision the Spikes/Forms.
" ‘…It’s more of a clafoutis.’
Frida could have laughed. She hadn’t heard that word in a long while.
'Think of it as a sweet pancake,' Anika explained. 'It's French, and traditionally made with cherries.'
'I know what it is, Anika.'
'Do you now?'”
- California, Chapter 13
I was inspired by this passage to finally bake a clafoutis. I’ve been meaning to try out this recipe and had an overabundance of both cherries and time this weekend.
I’m not sure Anika actually knew what a clafoutis is or if she was intentionally being obtuse to test Frida. It’s definitely not what I would describe as a “sweet pancake” since it has such a thick, custard-y batter and baked flan-like texture. It was a simple recipe with common ingredients that would no doubt be extremely difficult to acquire in Frida’s reality. I felt a little guilty that I still had the luxury of baking a dessert like this when she ordinarily could not. Surprisingly, baked cherries taste no different than the cherries that come in canned pie filling (do not like…). Pretty sure that I’m going to avoid baking cherries from now on. However, it was very light dessert, despite it’s heavy appearance.
The clafoutis was an analogy for how I felt about the middle chapters of California. I was expecting something heavier, more menacing in these chapters, but was presented with a more day-in-the-life view of the settlers of the Land. Cal was definitely justified in his growing paranoia, especially with bits of Micah’s crazy popping up every so often like the unexpected taste of baked cherries for me in each bite. I also wondered if the reason why Anika didn’t have cherries was because of her/their fear of the color red, or if it was actually due to a lack of supply.
The idea of the clafoutis and the flavors I was expecting of it was much like how the ideals and practices of the Plankers played out in the Land. A little lackluster, disappointing. It looked pretty, but didn’t have the substance I was looking for. To quote another reblogbookclubber: “While [the] seminar is a very powerful method of learning and dealing with texts, there is also the danger of only living in hypotheticals.” In theory, it sounds like it would be great! In practice, not so much.
Although what do I know. My mom loved it.
- I’m still enjoying it and NEED TO KNOW MORE.
- Still don’t trust Micah, but I’m also a very paranoid person.
- Hello leaky pen.
I am just over halfway through California and seriously considered calling in sick this morning so I could finish it.
Instead I’m viewing these reports as my Morning Labor.
Okay, I finished California! I’m ready to talk about it now!
(I think. I finished it right before bed last night and had weird communal living dreams, including that I’d adopted a baby with some version of Laura Prepon and we were staying in this house with a bunch of randos for $18 a day and it was no bueno.)
For the last section of California I wanted to try out visual note taking. Confession: I only made it through Chapter 16. I am more of a doodler than an artist, so there were images in my head that just didn’t translate through my pen.This chapter was all about divisions for me.
Point of view
While reading California, one thing I’ve noticed is the way my attitude toward certain people changes depending on whether I’m reading a chapter from Frida’s or Cal’s p.o.v. In chapter 11, I am suspicious but happy that Frida and Micah are finally able to talk, but in chapter 12 I find Micah arrogant and condescending and want them to leave the Land ASAP.
I also like the alternating narrations because it’s interesting to see how these two very different characters react to the same event. And the secrets they keep from each other! You’d think being alone would mean telling each other everything, but I can see the appeal of having one thing (even if it’s just a thought or idea) that belongs exclusively to you.