My favorite country in Europe (of those I've been to) is easily Italy. There is just something about it. The air there feels...different, magical almost. As if you can feel time slow down, just enough for to savor that last bite of pasta carbonara, that decadent mouthful of gelato. In addition it's architectural charm, buzzing piazzas, stellar people watching, it is one of the only places where everything you order tastes amazing. The last time I was there was 2009 and I dream of going back someday, mapping out imaginary itineraries in my head, perhaps taking in some of my favorites like Orvieto and Florence, and a few new gems, like San Gimingiano, Positano, and the Amalfi Coast.
In the meantime, we've been dabbling with bringing Rome into our kitchen, literally with this cookbook. While many cookbooks boasting to speak of Italian flavors don't live up to their namesake, this one stands alone. I read it several times and felt hungry after each successive read.
It's been a while since I've read a book I could emphatically recommend. Until last week, when I read the final pages of A Man Called Ove. For me a good book is markedly met with happiness and sadness. Happy that you found such a captivating gem of a read, and sad in that the story is over, and there's no more to be had.
If my review isn't enough, the Amazon review speak quite highly of this book as well, with over 3,000 enthusiastic review after review, overall just shy of five stars.
So you want to know about Ove? He's a curmudgeonly old man. He subscribes to philosophies of the old world; routine, order, and following the rules. Some might call him a grump, a bugger, a mean old fart, but he is staunch in his beliefs, respects honest labor, hard work, and as a strong sense of justice. As such, he is wary of new people, and change he can't comprehend, namely technology, laziness, and situations that can't be fixed with the contents of a workman's toolbox.
The story is woven together, vacillating between Ove's past and the present; as he navigates a new chapter with the overtly friendly, though absurdly unhandy neighbors next door, countered with glimpses into Ove's past which shed light on why he is the way he is. The story is quite charming, flecked with moments of sadness, laughter, and unlikely friendship.
Hello and welcome to a new segment on the blog, Lovely Little Reads. One of my goals as a parent is to try and instill a lifelong love of learning in my children. Call it the teacher in me. Call it the happy satisfaction I get from checking out, reading, and returning library books. Bottom line, I have a deep fondness for children's books, and have decided to share my favorite literary gems here in this space, with you. I intend to post books worth reading, oldies, newbies, and everything in between with some snippets as to why they might be worth your while.
Take this book, Twenty Yawns, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley (as if that wasn't enough to convince you). The story is sweet, endearing, and will truly have you yawning twenty times if not more by the time you finish. A perfect way to cap off a bedtime routine with your little one.