One of my New Year’s resolutions was to eat more salads. Exciting, right? But here’s the thing about salads: they’re a pain to make. When you’re cooking for one, buying lettuce, a tomato, cucumber, carrot, and croutons is a lot to ask for something that’s not the main meal. And you’ve got to rinse and spin that lettuce, which means one more gadget to wash. And lettuce loves to wilt at superhuman speed. Fun additions like radishes and walnuts keep me going for a couple of days, but who can eat a salad every day? I heard this tip once: always get a salad when you go out to eat; all the work is done for you, and it’s probably a more interesting salad than you’d whip up at home. So, I’ve taken to getting my greens when eating out. And to keep that salad resolution going, I guess I’ll just have to eat out more.
My second resolution was to read more books outside my comfort zone: mysteries, postmodern fiction, or just plain old weird stuff. Part of the intent was to wean myself from contemporary novels and revisit the classics—an area in which I am woefully under-read. But, thanks to my ability to walk out of my office and ask 15 other writers and readers about their favorite classics, I’ve amassed quite a reading list. So, it’s classics month here at the Picnic. I discovered that the rumor about Henry James is true: great writer. I enjoyed two of his novellas: Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw. I’ve since started the epic East of Eden by Steinbeck and am seeing if I can break my usual 10-page block of To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Also on the list, a little Oscar Wilde and maybe even Moby Dick, just because.