Saturday, August 29, 2009

Summer Book Reviews

I have put this off for a while so instead of three books I have FOUR for you! Try to contain your excitement everyone.

My Life in France, Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme
As I mentioned in my last book review, I was trying to read this so I could go see the movie. Not a problem. I started it on a Friday and was done by Saturday night. This book was so engaging and fun; it really felt like Julia was just chatting with me. It was fascinating to learn more about her life and how she went from an American in Paris to the Julia Child we all know. My first introduction to Julia was when I was young and my mom watched her show on PBS. I remember thinking of her as the woman with the funny voice who used lots of butter (not too far off!). I was surprised to learn that Julia was interested in the science of cooking and spent days recreating recipes to ensure that they worked every time and could be replicated by the home cook. The book was a great read for everyone, even if you're not into cooking. I did see the movie a few days later and enjoyed that too. They had clearly done a lot of research and the Julia portion of it was accurate and hilarious. Two drumsticks up!

Book of Lies, Brad Meltzer
I first read Brad Meltzer's books in high school. He was like a younger John Grisham then and I enjoyed it. Now he's trying to be the next Dan Brown and frankly it's not working. The plot did keep me interested but the characters were flat. The addition of a Biblical basis for the plot seemed contrived. I think he was a better writer when he came up with his own story lines. I would recommend his earlier work, such as Dead Even or The Tenth Justice. Still, this is not bad if you're looking for a quick vacation read.

Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass, Natalie MacLean
This book was a shower gift from some very special ladies. In it, the author takes you all over the world of wine, from Burgundy in France to Napa Valley to Chile and Australia. She did get a little wordy and technical at times but I learned a lot about how wine was made and it definitely made me want to try a real tasting some time. The last chapter gives recommendations for what types of wine to drink with different foods so that will be a great reference for me.

Sarah's Key, Tatiana De Rosnay
I had read a review about this and then stumbled on it again in the bookstore. It blew me away; I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours and that includes a work day. It's the story of a young Jewish girl in Paris who is rounded up to be sent to the camps. Her brother hides in their secret cupboard and she promises to return and let him out. Sixty years later an American woman living in Paris discovers a connection to the story and sets out to discover what happened. The action goes back and forth between past and present. It's haunting and gripping. The characters and plot are well developed. This book was amazing and I expect all my readers to clamor to borrow it.


nujoud said...

I went to a wine tasting once and loved it. you never really know what kinds of wine you like and why till you just try them all together and can tell the differences. We should go once this pregnancy thing ends.

...and I want to borrow My Life in France.

Erin said...

I got dibs on My Life in France! I wanna borrow the last one too!

Melissa said...

Thanks for the recommendations Alicia! Hey did you ever read Three Cups of Tea? I saw that they other day in Half-Price and thought I had heard good things about it...

Heather said...

wine-tastings are fun! i agree with nujoud that it helps you figure out what you like! for instance, i don't like chardonnay, unless it's aged in steel barrels instead of oak. there are tons of wineries in virginia, so come visit already!