We’re back from holidays after a wonderful time, very far from internet connection and mobile phone signals. We staid in family-run countryside places, either in self-contained flats or small hotels or B&Bs like this one or that one, and it was perfect (a little publicity will do them no harm). As usual, I spent an inordinate amount of time in drugstores and bookshops. France doesn’t have drugstores where you can find a combination of beauty products, natural products and baby products together in one place – that’s a real shame (Mr. Smithereens certainly wouldn’t agree). As for bookshops, well, you know that already. The result is that I ended up, as usual, buying mostly body lotions, herbal teas and, well… books to bring back as souvenirs. I’ll certainly write a post about the great bookstores we found in Innsbruck (Austria) and in Konstanz (Germany), but here is the crop of this summer, both for me and Mr. Smithereens:
- Sarah Wiener, Meine kulinarische Reise durch Frankreich. Eine Liebeserklärung mit Rezepten / My cooking travel through France, a declaration of love and recipes. Sarah Wiener is an Austrian-born star cook who has a restaurant in Germany but also makes TV shows in France and Germany. She’s fresh and approachable and seem to teach you to cook like a best friend would. This book, that looks like a travel journal, is a recap of her trips to traditional restaurants in France remote countryside, so as to learn new techniques and old recipes.
- Barbara Vine, The Birthday Present – we just can’t resist any new title by Barbara Vine, aka Ruth Rendell.
- Qiu Xiaolong, Red Mandarin Dress – another installment from a mystery series we both love, set in contemporary Shanghai. Qiu is very talented when it comes to mix history and Maoist darkest moments with present-time corruption and excesses in China.
- What to Expect: The Toddler Years by Murkoff, Eisenberg, and Hathaway: it was at a bargain 5 euros, second-hand: 2 years of advices for such a low price, even we don’t follow them (all), isn’t it worth it? We got the first “What to expect…” during my pregnancy and went on with the First year book, they were quite down-to-earth and commonsensical, but the older Baby Smithereens grows, the clearer I can see how European and American education styles diverge, so I’ll probably keep a more distanced eye on this one.
- Alain de Botton, The pleasures and sorrows of work. This one is for Mr. Smithereens, he’s a fan. As for me, the magic doesn’t seem to work, even though the theme appeals to me. Who knows, maybe I’ll give it another try?