Skip to main content

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle and C’est La Vie by Suzy Gershman

The French Connection

Summer is almost here and I think of all the people getting ready for their vacations. I know some dinks (dual income, no kids) who are able to go snorkeling in Thailand, or others who have soaked in the healing pools of Iceland, or biked across Germany. And, I’m ashamed to say, I get a little jealous.  I want to travel, too—like we did in the times of B.C. (before children).  We went to New Zealand (awesome Shotover Jets), Bahamas (delicious conch fritters), and Tahiti (take plenty of sunscreen). I’ve also been to Germany (wunderbar cold cuts and chocolate) and Mexico (oh the fish tacos!).  But we've been on a really long dry spell now and going overseas is a dream we reserve for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary (next year, so I better start saving). In the meantime, I can still travel through books.  A Year in Provence was one of my favorite trips. 


A Year in Provenceby Peter Mayleis a humorous account of a British couple who moves to an old farmhouse in Southern France. Thinking back on this book, the IHOP slogan keeps running through my mind. “Come hungry, leave happy.” I read this book over twenty years ago when it was first published and I still drool when I think of all the delectable food Peter Mayle mentioned. From the “sugared slices of fried bread called tranches dorées,” to the“cold roasted peppers, slippery with olive oil and speckled with fresh basil, tiny mussels wrapped in bacon and barbequed on skewers, salad and cheese,” my taste buds never forgot my little jaunt to Provence with Mr. Mayle. His writing style is memorable, too. With charming wit Mayle takes us with him month by month as we explore his new surroundings and neighbors. We learn about truffle hunting, the mistrals, and how to move a frozen stone table with a little help from your friends. I highly recommend this book enjoyable book!

While I prefer having my paperback copy of A Year in Provencethat I can read again whenever I need a “mind vacation” you can read a free version of this book online if you like at http://www.worlduc.com/UploadFiles/BlogFile/35/1102579/a%20year%20in%20provence.pdf

Update February, 2014. My mother finally read A Year in Provence and LOVED it! This book quickly became her "standard" for other books to live up to. ("It's okay, it's just not as funny as A Year in Provence. That book made me laugh out loud.")    

More French Getaways: 






Bonus Review: 
C’est La Vie: An American Woman Begins a New Life in Paris and—Voila!—Becomes Almost French by Suzy Gershman is a love and complaint letter of life in Paris. The book is based on the true events of an American widow who moves to Paris and immerses herself into a new and exciting culture where even “older” women are sexy, where joie de vivre is something everyone strives for by enjoying good food and good company.  Living there is thrilling but can also be complicated. Getting an apartment is an ordeal, installing or exchanging a fax machine is a nightmare, and by law stores can only hold sales twice a year, which puts a major crimp in the clothing budget. 
My book club read this memoir and it was not embraced with enthusiasm.  The major objection was that it seemed to be a tad drawn out at times. I don’t dare mention the “chicken juices” to my sister. According to my sister, Suzy went on about it a little too much. Ditto for her linen search. More moans came from the fact that Suzy kept lamenting the fact that she didn't have much money. Well we’d all like to have that “little” money to buy a cottage on the beach in France. The other half of the book club appreciated it a little more for what it was, an eye opening adventure into the City of Lights, a dip into a different way of life.

"Suzy Gershman dies at 64; breezy 'Born to Shop' series author" (August 4, 2012).  Click here to read article. 

Happy Travels Through Reading!
Annette

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fabulous New Little Free Library in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Little Free Library in Tree Stump in Coeur d’Alene, ID


Yesterday, my sister sent me a link to an article about a woman in Coeur d'Alene who turned a 100-year-old tree stump into a Little Free Library and I just had to see it for myself. The article stated that the tree was dying, rotting on the inside, so they had to have it removed. When some people have trees cut down they leave a large section to turn into wood sculptures. I love to see the works of art that are created from those stumps. 
But this stump takes the cake. Instead of a sculpture, owner and artist, Sharalee Armitage Howard, turned her tree stump into the most magnificent Little Free Library I’ve ever seen!  
The library was not yet listed on the map, so the search was on. Carefully viewing the video, I tried to narrow down where the house was located. Then I enlisted my husband’s help to search with me and we found it on the first street we turned down. It’s hard to miss.  This fabulous library is big.  It’s not just …

Little Free Libraries, Coeur d'Alene, ID Update

Take a Book, Leave a Book – Coeur d’Alene, ID Update Take a book, leave a book—that’s what the Little Free Libraries are all about—sharing books. It seems like these libraries are popping up like popcorn in Coeur d’Alene!  I just found four more. How exciting!  (Click here to see original post) 317 W. Mill Ave, Coeur d’Alene, ID.  This library is awesome and my photo doesn't do it justice.  It matches the beautiful house and the topper is that the house and library have matching whimsical pine cone rain chains hanging from them! The library has a nice selection of books, and there's a bench right next to it.  Here’s what steward, Kim, wrote about her library on the Little Free Library map locator:
Besides brushing my teeth, reading is the only thing I do every day. I have an extensive personal library and have always delighted in sharing books with others, so becoming an LFL Steward was the next right thing. My partner, Tom, and I bought and have been renovating the house in whi…

Short Stories by O. Henry

Candy for the Mind O. Henry is pen name of William Sydney Porter, who wrote over 600 short stories in his lifetime. Often funny, sometimes touching, always witty and imaginative, each story ended with a surprising twist.

One of his most famous stories is The Gift of the Magi,  where a young, penniless couple sacrifices something dear to their hearts in order to buy the perfect Christmas present for each other. The ending has a sweet twist to it, kind of like an Oh, Henry! candy bar, which supposedly pays tribute to the beloved author. Read it here: https://americanenglish.state.gov/files/ae/resource_files/1-the_gift_of_the_magi_0.pdf
There is almost an endless selection of books containing his short stories. While there are too many stories to list, below are some of my favorites.
Lost on Dress Paradeis about a young man who saves his money for ten weeks so he can go out and pretend to be a rich man for one evening.  Outside the restaurant he meets a girl wearing a cheap hat and dress, o…