My summer reading has taken a change of direction so far. I'm not sure what leads me to the books I read, but this summer, I have been reading some fabulous non fiction. I will return to my favorite authors, but for now am enjoying a different kind of pace and a different kind of storytelling.
First up was a book that has been on my reading list for over a year. I had read fabulous reviews of this book, especially from other bloggers. And, it lived up to every expectation and even exceeded them. Bread and Wine is a journal of sorts; one that through storytelling tells the author's relationship with food. At the heart of the book is her need to nurture through food and the simple act of sitting around the dinner table. There are stories of family dinners, elaborate parties and wonderful food memories from vacations. Many stories are tied to the author's faith, but in a subtle way. Each story is also tied to a specific recipe, that is included at the end of the chapter. As the title page states; it is a love letter to life around the table.
Next, was a lighter and less thought provoking read, but interesting none the less. Driving With the Saudis is the story of a down and out Hollywood actress that through circumstance, becomes the only female driver for the Saudi royal family on an extended visit to Beverly Hills. It is a fascinating story of privilege, excess and cultural differences told from an outsider's point of view. If you like reality television, this is similar, in that it is a peek behind the curtain of an affluent lifestyle that isn't always as pretty as it seems.
Finally, while this book is not truly non fiction, it is of a style that weaves historically accurate details with fictional dialogue to tell the story of a real person. House of Hawthorne joins the list of books I have enjoyed telling the story of the women behind the lives of famous men. Since The Scarlett Letter is a favorite of mine, I was especially interested to see the atmosphere in which it was written. As is the theme in many of these books, living with a creative genius is difficult and challenging for the women who loved them. Perhaps the most fascinating, is the poverty in which these artists lived while writing and longing for success.
Happy reading and happy Monday!