Monday, April 01, 2013

#1. French Lessons by Peter Mayle

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. If you've been coming here for any amount of time, you know that even at the best of times the posts about, you know, actual books I've read, can be a bit on the scant side. I don't know why I do this. What can I say? I'm a mystery, even to myself.

Is it fitting that I'm finally finishing a post that I started TWO MONTHS AGO on April Fool's Day? Probably. While I may have been remiss in the book bloggery front, at least I've been reading at an okay pace and tracking my reads on the saddest looking, most dog-eared post-it note you can imagine.

But enough chatter. Let's get this out of the way before I get distracted by something shiny.

Before I say anything about this book, I feel like I have to defend myself here from potential charges of foodie-ism.  I am not a foodie. I like food. I like eating it, and cooking it, and reading about it. BUT I AM NOT A FOODIE. Mostly because, like all decent people, I hate the word "foodie".

With that out of the way, I have to say that I've always liked Peter Mayle's 1991 food memoir A Year in Provence. It fulfills all my criteria for a good comfort read: fast, easy, funny, and makes me want to go out and eat a pile of cheese. I know people who can't stand Mayle's writing, but I'm not one of them. So over the winter break, I was in a used book store, saw this title on the shelf and thought it would be a fun read to kickstart 2013. And it was. Sort of.

This is where I get into sticky territory. I hate saying mean things about books. For one thing, writing books is hard -- about a gazillion times harder than writing a blog post, and look how awesome I am at that? For another thing, on the extremely rare occasions that I've written anything negative here about a book, the author has somehow discovered it (thanks a bunch, Google) and written me a justifiably hurt note. And these notes are unfailingly polite. It kills me. I don't need that kind of guilt in my life. I already have kids.

So that's my circumspect way of saying that, while French Lessons wasn't awful, I value your precious reading time too much to recommend it. If you're reading this, Peter Mayle, I'm sorry, but hopefully you'll be comforted by the fact that, for people in search of vicarious food and fun in southern France, I still fully endorse A Year in Provence.

More reading updates to come soon. I'm 95 percent sure I'm not making an April Fool's Day joke when I say that.


Shona said...

So, did you read Moby-Dick, then? ;)

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