Books Magazine

Live Like Julia

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

cover of Julia Child Rules by Karen KarboAfter enjoying the e-ARC of Julia Child Rules by Karen Karbo (due out October 1st), I wanted to play along with this event: Wanted: Bloggers to #LiveLikeJulia For One Week and Write About It.

Julia Child Rules is organized into ten rules of life, portrayed in a poster at the Wanted link above. Like the other books in Karen Karbo’s Kick Ass Women series, the text of Julia Child Rules weaves biography, memoir, and bits of advice for modern women into a braid that is a delight to read and ponder.

First job, choose a rule. I found myself attracted by Julia Child’s biography at first. The single thing I love most about Julia Child is that she served in the Office of Strategic Services (precursor to the CIA) in World War II. Here’s what Karen Karbo has to say about that part of Julia’s life:

Her job was critical and murderously dull, tasked as she was with handling, cataloging, indexing, and filing every piece of intelligence that passed through the outpost. The OSS didn’t just gather information, it also carried out myriad clandestine operations that included spreading misinformation, infiltrating local political organizations, acts of counter-espionage, and pretty much everything we’ve come to expect from spies vis–à–vis Hollywood movies; to do all this, the operatives needed sometimes speedy access to material, which is where Julia and her secure-yet-easily-navigated filing system came into play. Throughout her life, Julia downplayed her role in the war, claiming to be a mere file clerk, but her high security clearance tells another story. p. 71

The story of the war years is in a chapter called Rule #4: Obey Your Whims. Karen Karbo wrote about that rule on her blog: Rule #4: Obey Your Whims describing her trip to Paris, taken on a whim, complete with photos, including one of the front door to Paul and Julia Child’s apartment. Obey Your Whims would be a fun rule to follow for a week. I wonder if the CIA needs a 51-year-old female operative with librarianly organizing credentials and social media skills. Perhaps not.

I also considered Rule #5: All You Need is a Kitchen and a Bedroom. This chapter covered my next favorite episode of Julia Child’s life, her early years in Paris with the love of her life, Paul Child. There’s a problem with blogging about that rule, however. I’ll write about what goes on in my kitchen any day of the week. But the door is closed to the bedroom.

So, I chose Rule #6: To Be Happy, Work Hard. This is the chapter that covers the time that Julia Child worked on her first cookbook with her French co-authors. I’m working on a big project, although not quite as big as Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It’s not ready for public announcement, but if I get done what I intend to do in the next six weeks, I will have made one giant leap toward the day when I will be able to talk about it. I was sold on the idea of following Rule #6: To Be Happy, Work Hard when I read this subsection title, partway through the chapter: Mastering the Art of Finding Yourself Through an Impossibly Long and Seemingly Insurmountable Project of Unknown Value. That describes exactly what I seem to be doing right now!

logo for the Back to School Reading ChallengeThis event fits so well with my Back to School Reading Challenge that I intend to blog about it every day as I learn about the rule To Be Happy, Work Hard. The Back to School Reading Challenge goes through September, so there’s still time to join us and learn something new from a book.

You can play along with the Live Like Julia event, too, even if you don’t have an ARC of Julia Child Rules. Karen Karbo will send you the chapter of the rule that you choose to test-drive for a week. Details here: Wanted: Bloggers to #LiveLikeJulia For One Week and Write About It.

So, expect an update each day for the next seven days — unless, of course, I’m working too hard to blog about it!

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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