Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All Roads Lead Me Back to Norway

We went to a Hungarian restaurant for book club tonight. (That was as close as we could get to Transylvanian food in Denver, Colorado.) Budapest Bistro was fabulous. If you live in the greater area, find a way to get down there. Pearl Street is darling, and the food was yummy. Our waitress told us about one special, a spicy pumpkin soup that “touched her soul.”

Well!

You don’t just get THAT highly of a glowing recommendation every day. Naturally, soul touching soup was ordered, and the order-ee confirmed that she did, in fact, think her soul was touched. I had goulash. It was awesome.

A random man came by our table with a note written on a napkin. I thought he was very indiscreet, what with his wife sitting just two tables away. “Any book club should read this book,” he said, peering over his glasses at us very seriously. Apparently we were not very quiet in our discussion. Uh, o.k.

Kristin Lavrandatter, by Sigrid Undset.

I looked at the squiggly blue ink on the napkin, and thought to myself, “That sure looks familiar.” Which, mind you, is not a thought I have just everyday about random Slavic book names. So I got home and went through my bookshelves, and wouldn’t you know, I happen to own the damn thing. I got it from my dad, who apparently bought it in, like, 1961 if the aging of the cheap yellowed paper is accurate. (I just checked the front matter… it was actually 1978.) Still, the book is older than I am. I have never read it. I liked it as a kid because the girl on the front had long blond hair. I had shunned it as a college kid because it appeared to be romance-novel-y, what with the literal excerpt about rolling in the hay under Erlend’s strong arms (I kid you not) and I was so above that.

Having settled comfortably into my twenties (only a couple of months left, le sigh) I have totally accepted my deep-rooted fondness for trashy romance novels, and am now curious that it has been recommended as having some sort of literary value. Was the weird dude in the Hungarian restaurant right about the Norwegian novel? I will let you know. It’s moved right up to first place on my to-read list.

8 comments:

Lily said...

All that talk about soul-touching soup made me laugh so hard....and crave some kind of autumn-y pumpkin potage.
Is it as beautiful where you are? Are the leaves turning yellow and red?
Also...I so want to be part of a book-club, I just don't know many persons who would want to be part of it. It's such a cool concept to all read a book then meeting in a related restaurant to talk about it. So cool.
Maybe it comes when the thirties are approaching that we begin to find book clubs very hip and attractive...

Jane, I am! said...

The novel you are referring to is much more than you may think. Love you blog by the way. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristin_Lavransdatter

meno said...

If it's a trashy romance novel, i need to know ASAP!

Diane said...

How funny! Hey, if he cares enough to write you a note, it's certainly worth a read.

Nick, Holly & Maren said...

Ok, I still hold that it was boring as hell but maybe that was just b/c i had to read it for class. On the other hand, I am pretty hard-core Norwegian so if I didn't like it.... :-)
Good luck with it!
PS. Sigrid is on the short list for girls names. Nickname is Siri. What do you think?

Leah said...

Yes, the pumpkin soup was soul touching. Wanna go back? I want to try everything on the menu!

You will definitely have to let us know how the book is!!

Lindsey said...

Here I am on Cat's blog for the first time, having just traveled through cyberspace from Linds-e's. I can't wait to hear if you like Kristin L.! The curried potato and leek soup was really good too. But now for 24 hrs I've been longing to have my soul touched. Sigrid is a great name. I knew a Sigrid that went by Siggi and that was great; Siri lovely, too - though isn't that a popular Czech name? This is Lindsey C., by the way, in case I don't figure out how to mark that later, in this, my first-ever blog-posting...

linds-e said...

I loved that place. Sigh. Swooon. However, I think that evesdroppers should do so discretely, ya know? I hope the book turns out good tho!