Monday, January 7, 2008

Passionate Mondays and a Meme

Today I am passionate about books.

For Christmas I got exactly what I wanted - BOOKS! Yes, all books, with the exception of one
"Yoga Trance Dance" DVD. It seems that books are at the top of my wish list and have been for years. I love seeing piles of books around my house; it is somehow comforting. There are many books that I have owned for years but never read, but just looking at them brings me sense of pleasure and excitement.

Being that I have many friends, customers and blogging buddies interested in Italy, I wanted to share with all of you a list of some great books on Italy that I own:

OSTERIA D'ITALIA by Slow Food Editore: there is now an English version available and I believe it is called OSTERIA OF ITALY. For me, it is one of the best restaurant guide books. It will lead you only to authentic Italian eateries.

EATING IN ITALY by Faith Willinger: I just got this one for Christmas and I'm sure I will treasure it as Faith has a great reputation in the Italian food and cooking world.

ONE HUNDRED AND ONE BEAUTIFUL TOWNS IN ITALY - FOOD & WINE by Paolo Lazarin: This looks like a nice coffee table book, with brilliant pictures, but the information is amazing and entertaining. It delves into each region of Italy and explores the wine and food traditions of various areas within each.

VENICE FOR PLEASURE by J.G. Links: Here I am showing my favoritism toward Venice. Yes, it's my favorite city on earth, and up until I read this book, I refused to use a guidebook to Venice, preferring to wander on my own and purposefully get lost among its mazes of alleys. This book changed me. I read it from cover to cover, marking pages, planning routes for myself and getting excited about discovering the hidden treasures of "La Serenisima". It worked! The last time I went, I used it as my guide and uncovered a Venice I hadn't known existed.

THE SIXTEEN PLEASURES by Robert Hellenga: This one has been out a while and has many fans. It is a historical novel (my favorite kind) about the young foreigners who came to Florence in 1966 to volunteer to save Florence's relics and art from ruin after the Arno flooded the city.

UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN & BELLA TUSCANY by Francis Mayes: Yes, everyone knows the first book, but has everyone read the second? I actually liked it more than the first. And, PLEASE, if you have only seen the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun", do yourself a favor and read the book to see what all the hype was really about. (Although the movie was kind of cute.)

THE RUBY RING by Diane Haeger: Another historical novel, this one about the famous painter Rafael and his lover. Set in 16th century Rome it is full of sumptuous details, loosely based on fact and full of love, politics and papal history.

BIRTH OF VENUS by Sarah Duvant: I loved this one! This historical novel is set in 15th century Florence is also overflowing with historical detail, as well as love, politics, art and betrayal. I particularly enjoyed it as the main female character was able to gain more personal freedom that most women had during that era.

ITALIAN REGIONAL COOKING by Ada Boni: I'm not sure if this is even in print anymore, but I did see it in a used bookstore the other day. It is simply great reading! Ms. Boni did an extraordinary job of researching each region's food and wine traditions, including history about the origins of certain foods and styles of cooking. It was written in the 60s, and much has changed since then, but in reading about these regional traditions makes understanding their current traditions easier. I also believe that through a country, or in this case a region's, culinary traditions, one can learn a lot about the culture, and this book proves it. (Just checked on Amazon and there appears to be later versions of this book available, but I'm not sure how they differ from the original one.)

MARCELLA HAZAN: If you don't own a Marcella Hazan cookbook, and you want to learn to cook (more) Italian food, by all means buy one. To me, she is the "go to" expert for Italian food. Her recipes are classic, as are her cooking methods. I recommend THE ESSENTIALS OF ITALIAN CLASSIC COOKING or MARCELLA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN.

Staying with our book theme, Scarlett over at From the Shores of Introspect and Retrospect tagged me with this meme months and months ago. I did not forget about it, but just hadn't gotten around to it. Since it is a book meme, it fits nicely with the rest of this post.

"By the Book"

1. Total number of books owned: Oh gosh, I never would count something like that, but they are in every room of my house and I am always running out of space in which to put them, so I suppose hundreds...but never enough!

2. Last book bought: IMAGINE A WOMAN IN LOVE WITH HERSELF by Patricia Lynn Reilly. I just started it, and it looks highly inspirational. Oh, and I almost always buy used books.

3. Last book read: I have always had multiple books going at once - I think it's a Gemini thing. These are the books I have going right now-

The book above.

THREE CUPS OF TEA by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin - I can't recommend this one enough! The true story of a mountain climber who devotes his life to building schools for the needy in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I can't put it down for its inspiration, story and intrigue.

THINK & GROW RICH by Napolean Hill - I like to call this "The Original Secret". First published in 1937 it is a fascinating and inspiring book about how to achieve and/or get what you want. It is not some light-hearted, self-help book like THE SECRET, but a detailed and well-researched book about how our minds work and how to make our minds work for us.

FIRE by Anais Nin - I have been a fan of hers since college and recently decided to delve more deeply into her life. This is her "unexpurgated diary" of 1934-1937. I have been a "journaler" for all my life, so reading this kind of stream of consciousness life story appeals to me. Of course, being Anais Nin, it is filled with explicit sexual detail.

THOUGHTS IN SOLITUDE by Thomas Merton - Merton, a contemplative Christian monk, has a simple, direct writing style that I love. He has written many books all of them coming from what he has learned from years of solitude, about our mind and our spirits work. While I am not a Christian, his beliefs and discoveries are very much aligned with the great spiritual traditions of the world.

WEST WITH THE NIGHT by Berel Markham - a classic that I can't believe I hadn't read before. Extremely beautiful writing about a life well-lived. Berel Markham was an independent spirit and a pilot in Africa.

I warned you, I am a Gemini! Could those books be more different? I really am reading all of them at once, too.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me:
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI by Paramahansa Yogananda
AVATAR by Jean Adriel (about Meher Baba)
Any book of Rumi's poetry
SIDDARTHA by Herman Hesse

Now it is my turn to tag. I tag Maryann at Finding La Dolce Vita, Tina at Pecorino e Miele, Erin at The Olive Notes, Susan at The Well Seasoned Cook, and Katie at Thyme For Cooking.

Have a passionate Monday!


katiez said...

Oh dear...I'm rather fond of books myself. And am constantly feeling guily because I own so many I haven't read but still buy more...
Yes, I read Bella Tuscany - and the movie had no realationship to the book - but it was cute!
Okay, I've been tagged...

erin said...

oh yay! I'll have to think on this one. I also will put some of your books on my "must read" list as well! Especially the Venice one because we hope to go there again next month!

Rebecca Lemke said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the comfort of having books around to read. The book you gave me for Christmas is wonderful and very comforting. I read West with the Night years ago and it's one of my alltime favorites. Enjoy.

The Passionate Palate said...

Katie - my recommendation: get rid of the guilt and enjoy looking at all those books even if you don't read them!

Erin - look forward to seeing your responses.

Rebec - glad you like the book I gave you!

Chloe said...

Lots of goodies to add to my reading list. Thanks!

winedeb said...

Good to see someone else as passionate about books as I am. I am taking notes of a few that you have listed that I have not "checked out" yet. A good friend of mine gave me a tee shirt for Christmas that says " Books - The Original Search Engines"!

My Melange said...

I have become more of a bookworm in my old age. I too have both of the Frances Mayes books that you mentioned. I love them and use alot of her they are n my kitchen. Go figure.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

THAT is so cool!!
I laughed half way down when I saw the old meme tag... you might not have forgotten, but I did!
Sweet lady, playing along in your own sweet thyme... hee hee...

You hit the jackpot with all those literary treasures! Yay!

I hope you have a wonderful New Year, and I hope a trip to Venice for you, is in the months ahead.

big hugs,

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Dana said...

As a fellow book lover - yay for all of the fabulous books you received for Christmas. Thank you for the great list of books that you love as well!
Happy New Year!

Susan said...

Markham's autobiography reminds me that there are so many great reads about the Africa crowd she ran with.

Jeni, I'll take this meme up when time allows. Thanks for thinking of me!

The Passionate Palate said...

Chloe - glad to be of inspiration.

Winedeb - love that t-shirt!

My Melange - I love books in the kitchen!

Scarlett - you forgot, but I didn' a nice surprise for you.

Dana - you are most welcome.

Susan - looking forward to your answers!