Suggested summer reading lists are often full of lighter fare and easy-to-follow stories, "beach reads" if you will. During my Maine vacation in July I quickly sped through J. Courtney Sullivan's Maine (fitting, I know). During the sticky summer months I sipped my way through light and easy-to-drink beverages, including more than a few bottles of rosé, specifically a sparkling offering from the Loire Valley, Rosa, Rosé, Rosam, my seasonal fave two years running.
But now it is September and I am ready to dig out the scarves and tights and settle in with something more substantial on the page, and almost more importantly, in my wine glass.
Because we are old-fashion, my husband and I both prefer to read real books, no tablet nonsense for us. However, much of our reading is done on the New York City subway, our bags are too heavy as is so we have a paperback only rule. Not only are they lighter, but less expensive (mama ain't got time these days for the library), and one of my main thrills in life is passing along a novel that I loved, loved, loved to my sis or my mom or one of my bookworm lady friends. This was a run-on-sentence way of saying that my book recommendations will almost always be about a year past the release date. If you want to know what's new and trendy on the literary front, read the NYTimes Sunday Book Review or take a ride on the L train.
Still here? Good, let's talk books and booze for autumn. My mom and I were chatting the other day about how she just couldn't get through the novel I am about to recommend because it was simply too sad. Then in the next breath she said she recently finished the new Toni Morrison, who in my opinion is queen of the uncomfortably sad story. So yes, the most recent work of fiction from Amy Tan is on the depressing side of melancholy but it is also a brilliant tale of love and loss' many manifestations and an excellent way to learn about 1900-era Shanghai, a period of time and part of the world about which I am woefully ignorant. Do yourself a favor and power through the tough passages in The Valley of Amazement, you will not be disappointed.
A good book calls for a good bottle. I'd love to tell you I've found some historically appropriate plum wine or some such Chinese beverage pairing, but that's way more effort than you can expect from me, like ever. No, this September in my fridge you'll find a few bottles of pleasantly spicy reds that do well with a slight chill (think 30 minutes refrigerated after you've opened, but before you plan to drink). Cool red wines are the perfect transition from the ice-cold sancerres of summer to the big, bold bordeaux of winter. Think Rioja or Côtes du Rhône. I am loving two affordable reds right now: 2014 La Rousse, a Malbec from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France and "Rouge!" a Côtes du Rhône made from the delicious grenache grape varietal. A word of caution (or not, depending on your drinking style) both of these wines are quite gulp-able, so pour a glass (or three) when you are ready to settle in with a big bowl of roasted root vegetables, and a serious story.
How about you? Read any great books or drink any wonderful wines lately? Please, do share, and remember, paperback only ;-).