Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Young Hearts

I'm curled up in bed with some kind of a pre-flu, trying to study but thinking about Richard Yates instead. Is anyone else a fan of his? I suppose it depends on your definition of fan - I've read 1.5 of his novels, and have made up my mind that he's fantastic. I say 1.5 because I've been halfway through 'Young Hearts Crying' for about a month now, and for some reason can't just sit down and finish. I'm halfway through about 5 books (I swear I'm not fickle) and feel like reading Yates calls for a very specific mood. As an aside - being halfway through numerous books is a lovely, lovely feeling, not in a quantitative sense, but because it feels like a 'choose your own adventure' month, dropping into whichever narrative and era I want, whenever I want to - very pleasing.

So, Yates. His writing reminds me of Fitzgerald for some reason - it's poetic but clean, and often involves fabulously wistful beautiful people. Young Hearts Crying (so far) is good, but not great. Revolutionary Road on the other hand was fantastic. It's another succinct portrayal of 'men living lives of quiet desperation...', of young optimistic lovers seeking "to be wonderful in the world", while quietly wilting into the suburbs. Frank and April Wheeler have endless Parisian dreams of realizing their true potentials and living artfully - the entire novel documents their suburban yearning for something exotic and freeing, while simultaneously exposing their collective thwarted ambitions.

I swear I don't have a thing for depressing books. The themes and subtleties in Yates' writing are so easy to relate to - everyone at some level is afraid of mediocrity, and wants to be more than themselves.

The film is actually quite wonderful as well - the acting is controlled and sincere, and the score is beautiful in its minimalism.

More to come on Richard Yates once I finish Young Hearts Crying and Easter Parade. Till then, snack on some prime literary-scones - fantastic with tea and a side of Yates.

Strawberry Scones
Makes 9 large scones!

1 cup chopped strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, in cubes
2/3 cup cold buttermilk

1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 400F

Sprinkle the strawberries with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and set aside for about 10 minutes.
Combine the remaining sugar with the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and combine, using a pastry cutter or your fingers. You want to crumble the butter into the flour until it resembles damp sand. Stir in the fruit, then add the buttermilk and combine with a spatula gently.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead a little bit to incorporate everything. Add a tablespoon more flour if the dough is too sticky. Pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 inch thick, and cut into wedges.

Transfer wedges to a cookie sheet (leave at least an inch between each scone!) and bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, and bake 5-10 more minutes.

Enjoy, with tea.

1 comment:

  1. Those scones look delishious! My mouth is watering.