Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Reading

Three new books and one old standard managed to get me through the late July and August heat wave.  With temperatures in the mid to upper 90 degree range it was time to stay inside and read.

From the bottom up.....
Authentic Wine by Jamie Goode and Sam Harrop MW, subtitled Toward Natural and Sustainable Winemaking. If one is into understanding the technical aspect of grape growing, wine making and more this is a valuable book.  Technical writing, but thoroughly readable. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it and know much more than I did about organic, biodynamic, sustainable viticulture, etc.    My only complaint is the incredibly bright cover.  I have examined the book thoroughly and I have no idea where the battery replacement compartment is, and there must be a battery to a make a cover this bright. University of California Press.

To End All Wars, a Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild.  A completely fascinating and readable account of World War War I from mostly a British perspective. The author not only examines the military aspects of the war but also the anti-war and labor movement in Britain at the time.  Remarkably these two sides overlap each other with members of the same families being on different sides of the issue.  If there's a "history streak" in your reading habits I recommend picking up this book.  Really good stuff.  Houghton Miflin Harcourt. 

A Separate Peace by John Knowles.  I read this novel a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away....it was first published in 1959.  I was in a book store recently and there was a new, paperback edition, and since I have fond memories of the book it was time to give it another try.  This one is set at a New England prep school in 1942 and 1943.  Short, dramatic, moving and just a good story about shattered dreams.  It's a much deeper book than I remember from first reading far too many years ago.  Scribner.

A Vineyard in My Glass by Gerald Asher.  No one writing about wine moves me more than Gerald Asher.  This book is collected essays, mostly  from Gourmet Magazine.  Some are 20 years old but they are fresh and alive.  I subscribed to this magazine for 20 years, and most of those years it was just to read Asher's columns. More than any critic or wine writer this is the person I respect the most and the one who set me off on some serious wine quests.  Keep this one by your bedside and a chapter a night will make you thirsty the next morning.  University of California Press.

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