by Danielle Childers

Okay, it’s almost August (which means there are only 148 days until Christmas! Get excited about your life!) And I’m just now thinking about summer reads.  Traditionally they’ve been chick lit or beach themed (SERIOUSLY check out the Tiki Goddess Mystery Series by Jill Marie Landis).  But, I define a summer read as a book that’s worth reading even though you have a beach and an endless blue sky and the sound of waves competing with it. With this in mind, I stumbled upon WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE.

Now, it’s been popular on the lists and has this awesome art deco cover, and I’m thinking, “Wow, Bernadette looks cool!”  The only problem is that I accidentally read the entire book before I could find a beach. Sad day.  It started with a sample.  Book samples are gateway drugs.

This book is quirky. SO quirky, you’ll expect it to be magical, but it’s just so simple and so chocked full of the most amazing visual metaphors, it gets away with being . . . simply quirky.  Go read it and tell me how you would describe it!

WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE is written in a smattering of correspondence, emails, newsletters, notes among gossipy friends, and billboards of all things. There is some narration by the only daughter of the star of the show, Bernadette, so don’t worry that you’ll be lost.

Now, I have to tell you about the blackberries. Bernadette, a brilliant but reclusive architect (even when you see the unreliability of other characters – and I love an unreliable tale) who walks around knitting from a backpack, managing to act refined and educated while simultaneously being treated as a pariah, has blackberries. Not just a plant or two, but so many blackberries that they prevent landslides and fill the basement of the house she lives in as they’ve grown up through the dirt to take over.  It’s cool, though. Both the overtaking of the house, which isn’t really a house, and the blackberries represent Bernadette’s talent and shame and … well, life just pushed her down a little. So she disappears to reclaim herself from the universe.

The ending is inspired.  The words will fly by.  You will devour this book.

In Bernadette’s honor, I’ve homemade blackberry butter today, because when life hands you blackberries, you just have to churn some butter.

This recipe is easy-peasy.  You’ll need 1 qt of heavy cream, 3 T of powdered sugar, 3 T of blackberry jam, and a pinch of salt. (Side note: Dear Grandma, A pinch is not a measurement.)

Just whip the cream (a stand mixer or processor is best) until it becomes whipped cream, but DON’T stop!  It will become butter.  The butter will eventually separate from the buttermilk (save it if you have cornbread on hand).  Here’s a fabulous tutorial. The whole process is less than 15 minutes.  Then mix in the jam, sugar, and salt, and voila! Blackberry butter! Serve on soft, warm bread.

Enjoy, but tell me, what’s your favorite kind of summer read?

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4 Responses to SUMMER READING

  1. My absolute favorite kind of summer read is the book that sucks you into its fictional world so completely that you’re just a little disoriented when you finally come up for air. 🙂

  2. loisgreiman says:

    That sounds so charming!! Sign me up for Bernadetter!

  3. Kylie Brant says:

    Sounds like a fun read! I don’t need a beach to devour books 🙂

  4. That sounds delicious! I bet you could cut a corner and use softened butter and blackberries.

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