Several longtime bLog-oMotives readers have pointed out that I have become a lax in posting my vacation reading lists as a resource for book suggestions. I apologize for my tardiness in providing such a list. Upon returning from over two weeks away, catching up seems to take a priority to the many things I'd like to be accomplishing.
Here's what I read during my March 2009 vacation to St. Croix:
• Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France, by Georgeanne Brennan • In preparation for a 2010 trip to Paris, and the south of France, I've been reading travel and food writing of the country. This book is a great record of an American family living on a farm in Provence and making the most of local relationships, customs, food and experiences. It also provides some great recipes.
• A Place of my Own: The Architecture of Daydreams, by Michael Pollard • I've always enjoyed Pollard's food writing. This tale, of his need to build a space of his own in which to work and relax, is very different than his previous books - but no less enjoyable. I wonder when I will build that studio above our garage?
• Venetian Stories, by Jane Turner Rylands • Venice is one of my favorite places to visit. I could return again and again. This book, written by the spouse of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection director (one of my favorite Venice museums)is like taking a walk along the canals and eavesdropping on all along the way. Each short story is somehow linked to others in the book. The sequel, Across the Bridge of Sighs: More Venetian Stories, is already on my nightstand.
• The Whole Truth, by David Baldacci • Our friend Bonnie, the owner of the house in which we stay in St. Croix, is an avid reader. When we arrive each year, there is a stack of books she's left behind. This Baldacci book was among that selection. It was an enjoyable, fast read - but it did come across a bit too much as the possible treatment for a movie.
• Death of an Englishman, by Magdalen Nabb (A Marshal Guarnaccia Investigation) • Death of a Dutchman, by Magdalen Nabb (A Marshal Guarnaccia Investigation) • Prior to leaving for vacation I visited one of my favorite local bookstores, Murder by the Book. In visiting with the proprietor, I mentioned that I enjoyed mysteries set in places where I have, or may, travel. She asked if I'd ever read any Magdalen Nabb books - and then told me they had none of them in stock. However, I was able to find used copies of the first two at Powells. The books, set in Florence, Italy (another favorite vacation spot), are detailed, well-crafted tales eventually solved by Marshal Guarnaccia. I'm currently reading the third in the series, Death in Springtime.
• The Customer is Always Wrong: The Retail Chronicles, by Jeff Martin • Not your usual business book. This volume is a collection of hilarious stories of situations that the authors have experienced while working in primarily retail situations. Anybody who has ever had a somewhat miserable retail job will appreciate the book.
• End Games, by Michael Dibdin (An Aurelio Zen Mystery) • I was saddened by the 2007 death of Michael Dibdin; due to the loss of a great Pacific Northwest writer and the end of the Aurelio Zen mystery series. Over the last 15 years I've read the intriguing 11 books, which give the reader an insider's look into the Italian way of life - and death. End Games did not disappoint; other than being the last from Dibdin.
• The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food, by Judith Jones • This was my favorite vacation read of all. In fact, I've been recommending it to friends and buying it as a gift for others. Cookbook editor (and writer) Judith Jones has led a fascinating life. For over 50 years, as an editor and vice president at Alfred A. Knopf, she has introduced readers to many culinary stars, including Julia Child, Marcella Hazan and Edna Lewis. Personally, I wish she'd spent much more time writing. The Tenth Muse tells all the juicy stories and thankfully provides the recipes to many of the dishes described throughout the book. Ed enjoyed the book so much it was filled with bookmarks when we got home. Four of the marked pages listed cookbooks that Jones edited for a variety of interesting cooks and chefs. I was able to track down used copies of three of the books for his birthday. One of them was released the year he was born.
• The Immaculate Deception, by Iain Pears (Jonathan Argyll Art History Mystery Series) • This book is the last in a series I've been reading over the past few months. Iain Pears has combined Italian locales, mystery, art, art history and great characters to create one of the best collection of books I've read in some time.
Vacations also give me an opportunity to catch up on the stacks of magazines constantly growing around my home. When you receive over 30 subscriptions a month it's difficult to keep up. On this trip I was able to take along copies of the following: Oregon Home, Out, Portfolio, Vanity Fair (each year I take the thick Hollywood issue on vacation), Entrepreneur (which included an article citing me as a design and branding expert), Fortune Small Business, Seattle Business, Fast Company, This Old House, Garden Design, and HOW.
Our annual trips to St. Croix are about relaxing. The island doesn't offer a great deal in the way of nightlife; especially when staying in a beachfront home outside of Christiansted. We usually take some movies, or DVD boxed sets of seasons of a television show, for nightly viewing. On this trip we watched two seasons - 44 episodes - of the highly entertaining Boston Legal.
The end of one vacation often means we start planning for the next. I suppose I should begin putting together the library for our annual summer gold-mining trip in the Wallowa Mountains of Oregon.
© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives