Saturday, July 18, 2009

Still time for some Italian flavored summer reads

I am sometimes asked what I like to read? My standard glib reply would be, whatever anyone leaves behind. While that may not be entirely true, it isn't very far from the mark. I do miss the library system of America and haven't quite gotten the drift of ebooks, let alone an ebook reading device. I'm still more than ecstatic when guests not only leave behind their holiday book, but sometimes arrive with books in hand to swap or press into my greedy little hands. I've had numerous friends send me new and used books alike, but that is a bit trickier as the Dogana or customs department are more than a little zealous to making sure that customs have been paid on all gifts and parcels. That is another story, but I promise not to have a little rant.
Earlier this summer one friend brought me a few books which I quickly devoured and two of these selections stood out for me.
The first, "Mozzarella Most Murderous" by Nancy Fairbanks is a light "whodunit' set in Sorrento, Italy. It has a clever premise and a few decent recipes sandwiched in between this tale of a homemaker turned food writer turned amateur sleuth caught up in solving the mystery of the untimely death of her newly acquainted and gorgeous Italian friend. The story line has plenty of twists and turns to keep you wondering with enough references to Italian cuisine and culture to give it an authentic feel. The recipes will have you trundling off to the kitchen to fix a little something while you make your way to the conclusion. It seems that this is one in a series of culinary capers that Ms Fairbanks has spun while she does her research along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed the familiar recipes as well as something to whet your appetite while you lounge by the pool.
The other murder mystery "A Long Finish" by Michael Dibdin, I found particularly interesting as it is set in neighboring Alba, just about an hour from here over in the the Langhe famous for it's wines, Barbera, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, just to name a few, and of course, the most famous of all, Barolo. Naturally, this Piemontese tale revolves around one of the main focuses of the area, wine making. It is a bit of a macabre story, but the atmosphere and insight into the personalities of this region is authentic and fascinating. His writing draws you in and sets a mood that is as complicated and textured as the wine that is at the heart of the story. I found I wanted to race to finish the book, but then savored it as I would a great bottle of wine. A tale worth exploring for a window in to the personality of Piemontese. Worth a read and I just might find myself rereading it sometime, down the road. I think you would enjoy it too especially if you find Italy and it's culture interesting. This one hits the mark.
Happy reading.

8 comments:

Katydid said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I see that "A Long Finish" is available at my local library, so I think I'll go check it out.

Bella Baita View said...

It is a well written whodunit that really captures some of the nuances of Piemontese. Let me know what you think of it.

Bellini Valli said...

During the summer months I tend to do a lot of reading at the beach.

Martha said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the books I left you. I really liked the Long Finish, too.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Rhanks for the reading recommendations. I'm always looking for stories set in Italy.

Bella Baita View said...

Summer is when I read more frivolous type books, and the more serious books I leave for the rest of the year. I would love to sit on the beach and read books too, if I had one Val!
Yes Thank you, thank you Martha.
WL another one set in Sicily that I just finished was quite good, called "La Cucina" by Lily Prior, even if it is a tad saucy, wink wink!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Bella. I loved "La Cucina"! There's a surprise for you at my blog.

Lori Lynn said...

Hi Marla - thanks for the recommendation. Hope you are having a great summer!
LL

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