Nothing says Summer more to me than savoring a peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream, enjoying a tall iced tea with lemon, catching lightening bugs with the kids and losing myself in a novel! I am headed out West with the six kids, two dogs and a sack full of new books next week! With the help of the New York Times Book Review, my favorite bookstore Parnassus, and recommendations from friends, here are some of my book choices for Summer 2016! There’s adventure, a love story or two, a kitchen confidential, a cook book and a little magic for you! Look for my thoughts on each book in the comments section of the blog over the summer. If you have read anything worthy and wonderful of late, please pass along!
32 yolks by Eric Ripert
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a crush on French chefs. They are the true celebrities in France. Last Summer, to my husband’s dismay, I stalked Alain Ducasse in his fruit orchard. And my most memorable meal ever was in the kitchen of Michel Guerard two years ago outside Lourdes. This explains my excitement for the 3 Michelin-Starred French chef, Eric Ripert’s, recent culinary autobiography. He was trained by the best in France and then came to NYC to seal his name in gourmand history at Le Bernadin.
the Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
A story set in Provence in the Middle Ages with a malevolent monk, a girl with healing powers, and a tavern owner who plays matchmaker on the side feels like the perfect summer escape. Dolssa is a young mystic with special gifts. She’s on the run from a vengeful friar afraid of her powers and hell-bent to burn her at the stake. Botille is the charismatic tavern owner and the village matchmaker. She and her two sisters discover Dolssa left for dead and the adventure begins.
The Painter of Souls by Phillip Kazan
With my art history background, I am a sucker for historical fiction about artists, especially a fresco painter working in Florence during the heights of the Renaissance! This is the first in a series focusing on one of Florence’s most famous painters, Fillippo Lippi. He is best known for his mastery in the Branacci Chapel. Apparently, behind the brushstrokes he led a most colorful and adventurous life!
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett:
Do you remember the movie, Sliding Doors with Gwenyth Paltrow? If not, you have a summer movie! The Versions of Us poses the question,”What if?” What if you had chosen one love interest over another, taken that job or moved to the other city when offered the chance. The novel opens with Eva and Jim, two university students whose paths cross at Cambridge in 1958. And then there is the other love interest David, the “Rock Hudson” look-alike and aspiring actor. The novel follows three versions of how each of their lives might have turned out differently if…. Ultimately, this is an evolving love story that tugs at the heart.
Ways to Disappear by Indra Novey
This curious first novel opens with a famous Brazilian writer, Beatriz Yagoda, who was last seen holding a suitcase and a cigar and climbing into an almond tree. She has vanished without a trace. Her American translator makes the surprising decision to pack her bags and leave for Brasil in search of the colorful author. The novel is billed as part magical, love story and mystery woven in with hints of comedic relief.
Gjelina: Cooking from Venice, California by Travis Lett
I visited the Venice Beach restaurant, Gjelina, for the first time two years ago for dinner and we loved it so much that David and I went back for lunch the very next day. Gjelina captures my food aesthetic with colorful salads, interesting grains, homemade semolina-crusted pizzas and creative uses of vegetables and herbs! I have a feeling this cookbook will inspire some new recipes in my own kitchen!
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleve
There was no getting out of Parnassus Bookshop without this book. My friend and one of the superstars at Parnassus, Niki Castle, said this was the book of the summer. In her words, “If you liked, All The Light You Cannot See, this book is better!” The story takes place in WWII Britain. My criteria for a great book is memorable characters, redemption and a little love! Niki promises all three with this one!
Relishing a great book is good for the soul!