The 5 o'clock train from Sligo to Dublin takes three hours, stopping at every small town and village along the way to pick up improbable passengers. On one occasion at least, it was carrying a gaggle of 50something women joyfully drinking white wine out of plastic cups on their way back from an overnight trip, and a group of young Sligo men carrying sports bags, as well as carrier bags full of beer cans for the long trip ahead. I had obviously not chosen a quiet carriage, and my plan of reading Julie Inness' " Privacy Intimacy and Isolation" seemed to be rather ill-advised.
Luckily, I was prepared for such an eventuality: a few hours earlier, I had ducked out of the pouring rain in Sligo, and rushed into a shop which advertised SCHOOLBOOKS!, assuming they might also be agreeable to selling books not intended for school. They were. But not much. I didn't want to read classics, or long, intense novels. I needed a book for the train, just in case, and preferably a thriller, to distract me from the guilt of not reading Something for the Thesis. I was also in a rush, so I picked up one of the first books I saw, Julie and Julia - presumably about friendship, not too long, and on special offer.
It wasn't a thriller, and it wasn't about friendship. It was about food, French cookery books, and blogs. It tells the story of the Julie/Julia project, which happened in 2002/2003, when Julie Powell, a temping secretary in a government agency, decided to navigate the murky waters of her 30th year by cooking every single recipe in a book of French cookery by Julia Child. She also decided to blog the project, at a time when blogs where more text and less pictures. It is a very enjoyable standalone book, doesn't feel at all like a blog on paper, but at times, it made me feel sorry I hadn't known the blog during the project, and hadn't been able to experience the day by day narrative. The project, incidentally, went from blog to book to film. Julie Powell now has a new blog, by the way. And a new book. And Julia Child's cookery book was reedited, with Meryl Streep on the cover.