Tuesday, February 2, 2016

On my nightstand, February 2016

You may have noticed that my monthly reading lists tend to be all over the place...from fiction to business books, from nonfiction to cookbooks. My reader's taste is pretty eclectic. But I've been toying with the idea of a mono-thematic list for a while. I have always been that studious type - the consummate researcher who likes to read all there is to understand a subject she's currently interested in. And when I was brainstorming the possible February themes, one subject kept coming back over and over again: Provence. It has been the number one on my list of places I want to travel to, and before I do that, I want to gather as many information and tips on what to see/eat/do as humanly possible. Starting with this list:

Elizabeth Bard: Picnic in Provence. A few years back I read and adored Lunch in Paris, so this was my obvious first choice when it came to picking books on Provence. Elizabeth's writing is as fluid as silk: it pulls you in and seduces you with little tidbits of life in France. And to make it even more perfect, the book is peppered with a whole slew of mouthwatering recipes. From a charming apartment it Paris Elizabeth and her family relocate to a tiny Provencal village of Céreste. There they launch an artisanal ice cream shop and discover the charms and hardships of living à la provençale. This is bound to be a delicious read!

Janelle McCulloch: Provence and Côte d'Azur. From the enchanting villages of Provence to the glamorous and stunning coastline of Côte d'Azur, this book covers it all. Keeping away from loud and tourist-packed spots, Janelle focuses on hidden gems that embody the charm of this region: markets overflowing with perfectly ripe produce, quaint cafés, sweeping vistas and cobblestone streets. Plus, the photographs in this book are nothing short of stunning.

Ethel Brennan, Sara Remington: Paris to Provence, Chidhood memories of food and France. Who says Provence, says Provencal cuisine, and that is something I can easily fall in love with. This is a cross between a memoir and a cookbook: Ethel and Sara capture their memories of a childhood spent traveling to France through their beautiful recipes. In short, this books is the taste of France, translated into recipes and pictures.

Jean-Pierre Cassely: Secret Provence. This book is perfect for those who love to wander off the beaten paths. Away from the picturesque villages and vibrant lavender fields, countless hidden gems can be found in this beautiful French region: a statue of pregnant Virgin Mary, a hotel room in a tree, a church in theater, a false volcano. Intriguing, right?

Peter Mayle: Provence trilogy (A year in Provence, Toujours Provence, Encore Provence). This is an oldie, but somehow I've never read it before. Mayle recounts his experience of moving into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse lost in the middle of Lubéron, where the life is governed by seasons, not by days. You will learn about the truffle trade, about the delights of regional cuisine, about finding gold coins while digging in the garden or about a small town murder mystery. An ideal read to help you escape the ordinary.

The Lonely Planet's Provence and the Côte d'Azur. This one has been revamped and updates just in time for my travel plans. It is supposed to be the most comprehensive travel companion, with essential tips, colorful maps and reviews of what to see and what to skip. This one is a must have!

Tell me, what have you been reading lately? Have you read any book on Provence that I've missed?

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