Do you like to read when you travel?
Do you love to read like I do? Do you lug around paper copies when you travel? Or do you bring all your titles on a kindle? An iPad?
I actually do a little bit of everything. My primary reading device is my iPad mini where I have loaded iBooks, as well as the Kindle app. My favorite genre is probably historical fiction, but my passion for reading something well written and entertaining surpasses any type of category preference.
Lately I have been reading a lot great food writing, especially from great authors like M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl and Jacques Pépin. Reading about travel and travel memoirs are favorites of mine as well. I get a huge kick out of reading novels or non-fiction that include locations I have traveled to. It is fun for me to relive my experience and compare it with the author’s or most likely the writer takes me down a path I would never had the opportunity to find.
Recently Paul Shore, a first time author, reached out to me to tell me about his first memoir. He asked if I would like to read it and then review it. With my busy travel schedule it was difficult for me to pinpoint exactly when I could get to it, but I looked forward to trying.
I took his enjoyable book Uncorked My Year in Provence Studying Pétanque, Discovering Chagall, Drinking Pastis, and Mangling French along with me to Italy on a cooking school vacation in Tuscany. I spent a week there learning about the delicious Tuscan cuisine, cooking with local chefs and eating some incredible dishes. Every afternoon we took a two hour “resposado” to rest or read and relax between activities. I chose to rest and read this lovely book! Although the book is set in France, the small town feel is similar to the Italian countryside.
I was immediately impressed and intrigued with his French adventure. Paul Shore wove a heartfelt story of living in a tiny town in France where he used the game of Pétanque to cut through international barriers and attempt to make new friends.
Pétanque is a form of boules where the goal is to toss or roll hollow steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet. It is similar to Bocce but Bocce players take steps before throwing and in petanque the players stand still. Bocce balls are usually rolled palm up, petanque balls tossed palm down, so they get backspin upon release. (Enough of the technical)
Paul is a Canadian who took a job in France in order to find adventure and chose the Provincial town of Saint-Paul de Vence to make his temporary home. He managed to find a Frenchman “tolerant” enough to teach a non-French rookie the inside secrets of this beloved game.
His perseverance was admirable and the story is quite charming and real. I have been to Saint-Paul de Vence and understand the culture there and I believe it would have been quite challenging to integrate into their small private society.
I enjoyed reliving my experience in the coastal town in Provence and learned a great deal about Pétanque. I have actually played it while drinking pastis on vacation in St. Rémy in the heart of Provence. Truthfully, I had fun, but I never understood the real attraction. I do now!
Along the way he meets a cast of interesting characters, learns a little about Marc Chagall and manages to improve his French. I don’t want to give away the story, but I highly recommend purchasing and reading this adorable and engaging book.
Although this book is about a man and a primarily man’s game, it will appeal to everyone. I laughed out loud in several places and that doesn’t happen to me too often when I read.
I especially liked reading it while I was traveling! It is not a huge book and can easily be packed in your carry on!
You can find it here==> www.pshore.com
Uncorked My Year in Provence Studying Pétanque, Discovering Chagall, Drinking Pastis, and Mangling French
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