Week 3 of Nonfiction November! Let’s talk Ex-Pat literature.

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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………

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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.

Tuscan

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.

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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.

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Nonfiction November: Book Pairings

Today’s Nonfiction November  is hosted at Sarah’s Bookshelves.  The theme this week is fiction/nonfiction book pairings:

It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

I will heartily recommend two books where it’s all about wine.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker was one of my favorite nonfiction books this year.  A perfect pairing to me is Peter Mayle’s A Good Year

This quote below is from the fictional book.  Yet you learn something. There is more to the story than wine but it plays a healthy role along with food, relationships and a bit of mystery.

See the diagonal cut on the stem? That’s a cut made by secateurs. And look – there are bunches all the way along this row…..They cut off two or three bunches so that the bunch left gets all the nourishment. This makes it concentrated, with a higher alcohol content. The fancy name for it is vendage verte. It’s slow and expensive because machines can’t do it.

This is a great spot. The exposure is right; facing east, the stony ground warms up slowly, which is better for the roots and there is a perfect slope for drainage. Land like this would fetch a small fortune in Napa.

Now to move on to another love of mine, food and cooking.  You see a theme here, right?

 

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister is a fictional accounting of strangers coming together to learn to cook.  Some carry emotional baggage and this learning process and creating meals together helps them heal.  As in real life, not all wounds are visible and the emotional scarring can be very well hidden.  I loved this book.

Currently I am reading The Comfort Food Diaries by Emily Nunn.  This is about heartbreak, healing, moving ahead with very liberal passages of food and recipes.  It’s good so far but I have to say, I am already concerned about the dog Maggie.  If a dog is in a story I will worry about it’s demise, guess I will find out as I read.

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Join in or check out the pairings at Sarah’s site.  Thank you for hosting, Sarah!