Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

The French Connection (Stuttering Summer)

This summer, I'm resurrecting a few of my reviews on summer activities:  gardening and traveling.  Today I will feature one of my favorite books:  A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle.  Along with the reviews, I have the Property Gnomes who are showcasing some of the flowers in my garden. Check them out at the end of the review.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle is 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 dorĂ©es,” 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 enjoyable book!

While I prefer having my paperback copy of A Year in Provence that 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 had 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.")    

What could be more wonderful than being surrounded by beautiful flowers?

Jonathan gets lost in a sea of day lilies.

Drew poses with some purple cone flowers.

Until next time, I wish you happy reading, happy traveling, happy gardening! 

What did you think of this book? Post a comment or email: Readinginthegarden@gmail.com

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks

Traveling Brothers (Stuttering Summer)

Summer time is vacation time, so I thought I’d look at some books about traveling, starting with Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas and Micah Sparks.  The Property Gnomes are also traveling this time with a field trip to my sister’s house.  Check them out at the end of the review.

Most people recognize the titles: The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe, A Walk to Remember—and the list goes on. To the outside world, internationally best-selling author Nicholas Sparks seems to have it all. He has over a dozen hugely successful novels, many of which have been made into movies. He has a loving wife and family. He seems blessed with the Midas touch. But reality steps in, and like everyone else, he has his own difficulties and dilemmas. 

Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks is a memoir about the Sparks brothers. It chronicles the brothers’ three-week whirlwind excursion around the world in 2003 to exotic locations like Peru, Easter Island, Australia, Cambodia, and Norway. We are with them on this once-in-a-lifetime trip, and then alternately led through their lives growing up, seeing the challenges they faced then and as adults.  Sometimes it can be humorous, like when Micah, the jokester, tries to get his photo taken in every sacred crypt on the trip.  Many times, it’s emotional. Health issues, relationship problems, and death all play roles that shape their lives. This book is about family ties, both uplifting and heartbreaking. It’s about the journey of two brothers.

Here are two more brothers, Jonathan and Drew Scott, on a trip to my sister Denise's garden.

Here they go wading by a barrel of spilled alyssum. 
They stop to pose by some purple clematis and blue hydrangeas.

They find some pink hydrangeas along the way.
They can't help but jump for joy when they see the first sunflower blooming.

Jonathan and Drew end their tour with a nice visit with one of the locals.