“I love a Hebrew National hot dog with an ice-cold Corona—no lime. If the phone rings, I won’t answer until I’m done.” —Maya Angelou
It’s National Hot Dog Day people! I know because my fourteen-year-old son told me so at 8:30 a.m., this morning. Here’s how our brief, pre-work conversation played out:
Luke: “Mom, do you know it’s National Hot Dog Day today?
Me: “Nope, didn’t know that.”
Luke: “Yeah. Maybe we should have some dogs for dinner?”
Me: “Is that what you want?”
Luke: “Well, you are good at making hot dogs.”
Me: (In my head/expression on my face) You gotta be kidding me…any fool can cook a hot dog.
Luke: (Reads my expression) No, I mean it… I’m being serious, you are really good at making hot dogs.
If I die tomorrow, my epitaph should read, “She was really good at making hot dogs.” Maybe I could grill a Hebrew frank or two for Maya? Then I would gently clink my ice-cold zero—with a lime—to her brew and talk about what I “threw back,” and good books that I’ve read since she’s moved on. Would I mention Marjan Kamali’s latest? I think I would.
Maya would be down with The Stationery Shop’s “beautiful and timely exploration of devastating loss, unbreakable family bonds, and the overwhelming power of love.” I’m sure of it. The story takes place in 1950’s Tehran, when political upheaval was hurtling towards chaos. Roya, a bright teenager with a fierce love of poetry and swelling aspirations, unwittingly falls for a handsome, I-will-conquer-the-world political activist in the one place that affords her a feeling of peace: Mr. Fakhri’s stationery shop. You’ll have to read Kimali’s lovely prose to find out which is stronger—love or war?
Be warned: The Stationery Shop will tease out some of your raw emotions (and quite possibly make you curious about middle eastern cuisine). I love a book with a palpable feel more than Joey Chestnut loves dogs on a summer day in Coney Island.