Sunday, December 16, 2012

NW by Zadie Smith, and other projects

I finished Zadie Smith's NW.  I agree with the reviewers who found it uneven.  Regarding the reviewer who thought it captured London life perfectly, I can also see how they could take that out of the book.  (These are probably Guardian & Observer reviews but I haven't kept the references).  I'm not convinced that it is a great book though.  The characters seem to be deliberately a bit (or a lot) pathetic, which may be very realistic, but I dpn't think it added to my enjoyment of the novel.  The book does address the split world feeling of working class women who make it to university and a 'new life', a topic which is always interesting to me.  At the end, when one educated woman originally from a tough north London estate asks her lawyer friend who also 'got out' of the same estate why they deserve to be doing well when their peers are drug addicts on the streets, I got Smith's question.  If you didn't, I personally suspect that the book would seem a waste of time.  I think I wanted Smith to explore where next to find a resolution to this, but perhaps she doesn't know yet.

The profile of JBB, my great great grandfather, is still a printed manuscript with a lot of editing scrawled upon it.  I went to the local library recently to fix up a few things.  I wanted Gordon Ogilvie's book on Banks Peninsula, and I wanted some good quality maps of England.  No joy on either front.  I bought Margaret Tennant's book Paupers and Providers on trademe, and I've been re-reading that.  Often when I've been researching family history, or looking for context for other thoughts on how we support our most vulnerable, I've thought of this book which I drew on extensively when I was doing my honours year in history.  I'm not buying Ogilvie's book because it is out of print, in demand, and retailing secondhand on trademe for $90-120.

No sewing beyond attaching Fionn's cub badges yesterday morning.  I've got the fabric and the pattern for the Tiramisu dress, and I originally had plans to sew it up ready for a wedding next weekend.  I'll be sure to post if I swing that.

I've been gardening a bit since work finished, mostly weeding.  I'm contemplating making artichoke leaf tea.  I experimented with cooking the immature flower heads but I didn't much like them.  Last night, nursing a head cold instead of partying, I was re-reading Sandra Cabot's Liver Cleansing Diet book.  I ignore the recipes because I don't do that level of prescription, but I am interested in the herbs to support the liver, and artichoke leaves are supposed to be good for the liver.

Since I last posted, I've collected some more exciting medical dramas.  I went to see the doctor about a lump on my neck, and it turns out to be a goiter, and the bloods indicated that I have sub-clinical hyperthyroidism.  Ooh la la.  More things to google.  I've had my traditional chinese medicine meets western food bible, Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford, out and I need to look to my liver.  Cross-referencing with other texts, and in consultation with Laksmi (do I really have an alternative therapist called Laksmi?  Oh yes I do.  If you had a chance to see her, you would like her too), I do have the symptoms of a sluggish liver.  I'd been avoiding vitamin C, slightly freaked by the endless admonitions that people with haemochromatosis should not take supplemental vitamin C because it aids the absorption of iron.  But actually my body works much much better with supplemental vitamin C.  Medical literature also notes that excess iron depresses vitamin C levels.  There is certainly a lot more research needed in this area.

So I am starting to feel better informed and have also kicked the racy heart symptoms by supplementing with magnesium.  I've clocked a mildly impressive number of malaises in the last 20 years, and it almost always turns out that I am deficient in magnesium and vitamin C when I start to unpick what is going (or not) on.  It's about time I got my head around a lifelong need to keep my body very well fed with mag and c.  This weekend, just for more fun, I have a headcold.  Headcolds are a nuisance, and not much fun, but they come and go without anyone talking about nuclear imaging of my thyroid (I still need to research that one some more; the appointment for it arrived in yesterday's mail).


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