Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More books...

I have a problem,  I love books and magazines, I cannot get enough of them... currently I have 5 stacks of about 40 books next to my bed, half of them I have already read and the others are on my list. I love some of them so much I go back and reread parts of them. Some of them I just like to keep because they made such an impact on me when I read them. 

 As for magazines, my husband claims the mail man hates us because we or should I say I, get so many. Sometimes the poor guy has to get out of his truck and actually bring the stack to the door because he cannot stuff anymore into the mailbox.

 I get decorating  magazines from the US, from England, and  from Scotland so that I can keep up with the latest design trends and maybe find my dream cottage in Scotland. Fashion and women's magazines because of course I need to know what everyone is wearing this season.  Cooking and food magazines so that I can learn the latest way to make a hamburger, or a casserole or perhaps the latest and greatest way to change up my recipes for the holidays. Then there are the financial magazines to help me figure out where to invest or if I can ever retire.The travel magazines to help me plan my next trip, and the political magazines so that I can keep myself abreast of the goings on both here and across the globe, and there may even be some that I have forgotten. What can I say, I do not have many vices in life, except books, magazines and hot chocolate. 

 I cannot get enough of them. I like the feel of them, I like to look at them, I love seeing stacks of them in pretty much every room of the house sans the bathroom. They are like friends, and they make me comfortable and happy.

This stack of books I read a few weeks ago. They are all quick reads and will take you from Paris, to Italy, to England and to small town America. What is not to love about that?

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim. I love this little short story. It is actually a book used to teach English as a second language. I ended up with it because my gym has a book exchange and I picked it up there. The book is set in 1921 in England and is about 4 women that answer an ad in a newspaper to share a castle by the sea in Italy. Keep in mind this is 1921, travel from England to Italy takes 3 days, telephones are not used too often and most messages are sent by telegram. All of these women leave their unhappiness behind and in the gardens of San Salvatore they find love, happiness and life.

The Secret Papers of Madame Olivetti by Annie Vanderbilt. This is another great read. The book is about Lily a woman in her early fifties who comes to France for a few weeks to re-examine her life after her husband dies. She writes all of her memories and her stories on an Olivetti typewriter, hence the name of the book. The book is beautifully written alternates between the present and Lily's memories of spending time in France with her husband at this, his family home. I do not want to tell too much more about the book because then it gives the story away.

Food Rules by Michael Polan. If you read The Omivors Dilemma then you will love this book. It is basically 64 rules about food and healthy eating with the idea that if you use some of these rules to make changes to the way you eat you will not only become more healthy you will also help save the planet. Some of the rules that I like are: Do not eat breakfast cereal that changes the color of your milk. Or do not eat foods your grandmother would not recognize. Avoid foods you see advertised on television. If it came from a plant eat it, if it was made in a plant don't. Eat your colors. Or pay more eat less.

There are many great "rules" as Michael Polan says, he did not make these up he has done years of research and he has culled all of his knowledge into these rules. I agree with many of these rule but I have to tell you, I still like high fructose corn syrup. Sorry, and sad but true!

Home to Italy by Peter Pezzelli. I love this book! It is the story of  Peppi, who is a grieving widow. Instead of staying home in Rhode Island and going for bike rides as his family and friends wish, he picks up and moves back to Italy to Villa San Guiseppe a tiny village where he grew up. His idea is to live in his family's old mill but fate has a different idea. He arrives in the village and ends up living above his childhood friends candy factory. I do not want to tell you any more about it because it would spoil the story but it is a wonderful story of the journey of life and love.

Family Baggage by Monica McIerny. Family secrets plain and simple. This book is about Harriet and Laura Turner who work for their family's travel agency. On the day Harriet and Laura are suppose to take a group of Senior citizens through the Cornish countryside Laura doesn't show up at the airport.  Laura who comes to live with Harriet and her family at 8 years old after her own parents die;  finds out after her  "adopted" mother dies that what she always knew about her biological parents is a lie. Harriet must uncover where her sister is and all of the secrets that surround her arrival in the family 25 years before. A quick read filled with love, turmoil, secrets, and travel. I loved it!

The Sharper Your Knives the Less You Cry, Kathleen Flinn. Fabulous! Adventurous! Excellent and Entertaining! The true story of Kathleen who loses her job and decides to cash in her savings, move to Paris and attend Le Cordon Bleu. The book gets down to the nitty gritty of what it's like to attend the prestigious school, the competitive classmates, the sophisticated and Gordon Ramsey like professors, and doing it all in French! The reader learns alongside Kathleen the classic French techniques for so many quintessential French recipes which are also included in the book. The books is well written and so real you feel as if you are beside Kathleen shopping for the best ingredients and practicing to perfect techniques of preparation, walking the streets of Paris and sharing wine with friends. Of course there is a little love thrown in too, after all it is Paris!

Let Them Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray. Love this! The story of Ruth, a woman that loves to bake cakes, she lives, eats, sleeps and breathes cakes and believes that all of her cake baking is nurturing to her family. When her husband looses his job she comes up with the idea of baking cakes and selling them to local restaurants. Between all of the baking, and dealing with her mother who lives with her, throw into the mix an estranged father with two broken wrists, and is hated by her mother!

I should tell you that most often I will love all of the books I post here because I am  the sort of person that believes that life is too short to read a bad book. If I start to read it and I find I do not like it, I just quit and give it away. I also will often only post light reading here because although I read all sorts of books, you may not be interested in Egyptian history, or Holocaust literature, or even International Relations and Political Science ( which is what my Master's degree is in). In any case, I hope that there is something that you find that you might like to pick up and read and enjoy a little time to yourself!

If anyone would like the books I list here, I usually donate them unless I decide to keep a favorite, and I would be happy to send them to whoever wants one. Just send me an email or write it in your comment line.


  1. OH MY DEAREST!!!!!! You should see our HOUSE!!!! Books in every room of the house! OK, I have a huge selection of Gourmet, Martha Stewart and SAUVEUR magazines with the best recipes that I cannot get rid of! POETRY BOOKS and French novels, PARTOUT!!!!!

    If you have the TIME, then ENJOY ALL OF THESE! I so crave the luxury of having the whole summer to devour poetry. MARY OLIVER...are you familiar with her?

    READ: THE JOURNEY by Mary Oliver. Fabulous.


  2. First thanks sooo much for your kind comment, it really made me smile and made my day. Second, loved this post and boy, can I relate!! I LOVE books and magazines too and one foot in my home and you can see that, they are EVERYWHERE!!!!! In my kitchen, bathroom,bedroom, living room and all over the place! Some of my faves are my old Southern Accents, Veranda, Traditional Home, Town and Country, In Style, Elle, Gourmet, Quest and a few others. I love books too and am a serial orderer...(is that even a word)? I read the sharper your knife the more you cry, and loved it...wasn't it great and sooo inspiring? The last book I read was The Quaints all about the wanderkind math genius's that took over math street, a fascinating and captivating read. I am taking note of some of the ones you mentioned above..can never have enough!! Have a great night....

  3. Dear Elizabeth,

    So I'm not alone in my magazine obsession??
    Like you, and dear Anita, and many others, I love the written word and beautiful images. Anita can attest to the fact that I have completely run out of bookshelves! :)
    That is so kind of you to offer your books, they sound like gems. Isn't Michael Pollan terrific?
    P.S. The weather today took a turn for the cool and rainy, so I am off to make the pumpkin hot chocolate! I'll let you know how it turns out..

    - Irina

  4. ELIZABETH!!! One word...F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!
    My daughter and I savored every sip...I can't believe it, I am such a chocoholic, but I think I may prefer this, wow!
    Thank you so much again for sharing this..
    - Irina

  5. What a great list! I love the idea of not buying any food on TV commercials - we never seen an ad for apples, do we? Sounds like a clever book. I have a stack of magazines too - antiquing, garden, home decor. Once I finish them, I can't throw them away - the photos are so inspirational :)

  6. Oh my, this is the best blog I have read in such a long time! I LOVE BOOKS TOO! But recently I have been trying to get back into reading and struggling because I can't switch off my brain from all of the things I need to do!

    But I have started a bookclub and just discussing what to read after Jane Eyre so that's fantastic because I love the sound of 'The sharper your knives the less you cry'which I will suggest to the bookworms :-)

    I have books on my bookshelf, left on my kitchen side, bathroom books for specific reading while you're in there and a stack by my bed making me feel guilty that I don't have time to read them (I always eventually put them back on my bookcase) I also take two books and a kindle to work regularly!!!

    Good blog - and love that you give books away - that is so lovely!

    Lizzy x


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