Nonfiction November moves into to Week 3 with Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert and our host is Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness.
Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
Let’s talk Ex-Pat literature. Real life stories about settling in a foreign country, the hope of fitting in, learning about a new culture and most likely, learning a new language.
I want to state I am not, by any means, an expert on this! I did travel around Europe for over a year and half (until the money ran out!) and experienced culture shock with languages, currency and culture. But the idea of leaving my country to settle elsewhere permanently has always been a bit of a fantasy. Doug and I had an opportunity (see HERE) but didn’t act on it. Alas……
On to the books………
Carol Drinkwater is an actress and writer. One of her most remembered roles is Helen of All Creatures Great and Small. I loved that series and the lovely scenery of Yorkshire but what I also love are her books about settling in France and her work with the olive trees on her property. Olive groves near the Mediterranean have trees hundreds of years old. When Carol first started exploring her property she found a gnarled tree and the mostly buried remains of a roman ceramic tiles. This tree is most likely a thousand years old. I loved reading about her experiences with learning to harvest olives, brushing up on the language so she was fluent, dealing with French laws and a property purchase and the culture. If you like olives and old property, restoration and such, you may enjoy these books.
Frances Mayes’ book Under the Tuscan Sun was published 20 years ago – wow! This book tells us how the American educator fell in love with Italy and her experiences with Italian law, property purchases, language challenges and more. She bought an abandoned villa and with hard work (like Carol Drinkwater) she discovered faded frescos beneath the whitewash and an overgrown vineyard. What a treasure.
The challenge of renovating a crumbling building would be a nightmare to someone like me but I’d sure love to face some of the other challenges.
Sarah Turnbull is another writer, an Australian journalist who met a Frenchman while working in Bucharest. She uprooted herself from Australia and moved to France. Her book Almost French describes her love/ hate relationship with Paris and
her real life experience with culture shock, learning the language and the day-to-day life style of living in a large cosmopolitan city.
If you dream of moving to another country and want to read about the problematic side as well as the rewards, these books may be right up your alley. There are excellent chapters about the local food and cooking that were especially appealing to me.
Check out the host for week three, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. and join in if you’d like.