Sunday, September 14, 2014

Elisabeth Wolf

Elisabeth Wolf lives in Los Angeles where she grows fruits, vegetables, and native flowers. Her first two books are Lulu in La La Land and Lulu in Honolulu.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Wolf's reply:
My current reading is inspired by islands. Writing my middle reader fiction book, Lulu in Honolulu, I became fascinated by what it really means to live surrounded by water. For months, I have been reading Hawaii by James Michener. Having about one hundred pages left, however, has made me slow down and savor each paragraph of this massive book. Michener writes like my friend, Seana, needlepoints. He colors and weaves a complex picture but never drops a stitch. I wanted to write a story about a girl spending summer in Honolulu and, at the same time, I wanted the richness and depth of Hawaii and Hawaiian culture to seep into the book. I didn’t want the book to feel like a two-dimensional travel poster. Michener’s Hawaii sets the standard for blending detail (everything from food to history) into stories in which my heart throbs and sinks for the characters. Reading Hawaii, I have traveled to Bora Bora, China, and Japan and spent time with 19th Century American Missionaries.

The other two books I am reading (and re-reading) are Recipes From A Very Small Island by Linda and Martha Greenlaw, a cookbook about family, friendships, nature, seasons, and the rhythms of life, and The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown, a picture book about nature, seasons, relationships and the rhythms of life. Both books are feasts for the eyes and imagination. The cookbook brims with photographs of Ise au Haut just off the rocky Maine coast. My favorite part of the Foggy Morning Blueberry Muffin recipe is staring at the picture on the next page: a huge golden autumnal field ending at a strip of gray blue water. The Little Island, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard, dazzles with pictures that are simple and complex at the same time. My favorite is sailboats sailing away from the island under a half shrouded moon. Anchored in my mind, both books ground me to my values … unencumbered recognition and admiration for the power, beauty and constant of nature and the diversity and depth of relationships.
Visit Elisabeth Wolf's website.

--Marshal Zeringue