In a week fall will officially be ushered in. In Maine the beach house rentals are empty, downtown parking spots are available, apple picking is in high gear, bare limbs are not seen as frequently, windows are being lowered at night, and the dark is taking over earlier and staying later. This is my favorite time of year. Hours are spent finding great books wedged into the stacks of one of my favorite used book stores, discovering the next great story, meeting the characters, wrapping up in a blanket in the chair in my backyard my toes brushing the grass, bent over a table with a cup of tea, in my own literary world on the treadmill at the local gym. Some seasons are better than others for finding great stories. Last fall and winter I read books written decades ago, this year with few exceptions I am falling in love with books published in the past couple years.
One of the greatest gifts I think someone can share with another human being is an impossibly good book that tears at you relentlessly. A book that makes you laugh out loud (I love those) and cry or draw back. The authors who inspire me and make me want to tell everyone I know to read their work are those who provoke great emotion reaching out from the pages, between the lines brilliantly executed words play out like a Wimbledon tennis match. Careful and wild with great strength.
Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob – an immensely helpful book to anyone who wants to become a better writer and/or learn about the craft of food writing. She interviewed dozens of well known cookbook authors, food writers, and food bloggers and shares their insight into the world of professional food writing.
**Endless Feasts: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet and M.F.K Fisher’s The Art of Eating are on my list as a result of the writing exercises at the end of Jacob’s second chapter.
The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn – the reader travels along with Flinn as she pursues her childhood dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu. Have a bottle of wine, baguette, and some runny smelly cheese on hand to thoroughly enjoy this lovely woman and her fantastic tale of doing what no one does anymore – going on a great risk it all adventure that embraces life arms wide open running full speed ahead. I could not help myself from smiling as I read.
Dimanche and Other Stories by Irene Nemirovsky – if you have not read Suite Francaise stop reading, immediately get your car keys or pull your bike round and head to the nearest book shop. Tell them you need Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. They don’t have it in, fine order it. Oh, or check with your local library!! Just don’t blame me when you finish the book and need more – that is why I am offering up Dimanche and Other Stories. Irène Némirovsky (1903 – 1942) was a French novelist who died at the age of 39 in Auschwitz, Nazi Germany occupied Poland. By reading her beautiful works you are preserving her voice.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – I am 50 pages in and when I am done writing this post will continue reading. Written by the author of The Remains of the Day, which should say enough about the quality of the writing right there, the novel as narrated by Kathy tells the story of her time at an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside and the Orwellian past she shared there with friends Ruth and Tommy. A film based on the book, starring Kiera Knightley and Carey Mulligan, will be released this fall.
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane – a New York Times bestseller written by the author of Gone, Baby Gone; Mystic River and Shutter Island.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger – I was intrigued about this book after reading this review in The New York Times. I did not, and have no intention of reading her other book The Time Traveler’s Wife (even a brilliant cast could not save that film from being dreadful).