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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Mayle’


I found another lovely book by Peter Mayle. This is my fourth book of him after  reading his first three books. I have made short reviews here before. This is actually my 12th  read this year.

French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew

It’s another memoir about his life in France. He died two years ago and I blogged about it here. I am excited to start this.

I just finished a long fiction called New York. It is a historical novel by British novelist Edward Rutherfurd. Oh my, it’s all of 862 pages, four centuries of life in New York. It used to be called New Amsterdam. The novel chronicles the birth and growth of New York City, from the arrival of the first Dutch and other European colonists in the 17th century to the summer of 2009. Come to think of it, I didn’t even know that it was previously ruled by the British empire. Originally there were only 13 colonies in the whole US of A. It’s actually too long to summarize.

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The last time I really read a good memoir was when I discovered Peter Mayle’s books two years ago. I read all of his three books entitled A Year In Provence (giving it  a five-star rating on Goodreads), Toujours Provence and Encore Provence. Back then, I couldn’t get enough of how he described his adventures and life in the south of France. I even googled all those places that he mentioned in his books.  I got sad though when he died last January 18, 2018 at the age of 78. He was a British author.

Then here comes another book that got me hooked up to the last page.

Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Of course we all know who Michelle Obama is, the first African-American First Lady of the United States. The book of course is not about politics. It’s about the life of a future First Lady from when she was a child growing up with her brother Craig on the South Side of Chicago.  She belonged to a middle class family, graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. The book speaks of the times when she was a child until her family left the White House after eight years.

From time to time, I would read some quotes of hers but I was never curious to know how she lived her life as a mother to two beautiful kids and the wife of Pres. Barack Obama. Becoming is an intimate account on how experiences have shaped her, a warm story-telling of her life as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and eventually as the First Lady of the United States of America. With honesty and wit, she described her disappointments and triumphs in life.  Her beauty, elegance and intelligence were clearly manifested in her detailed descriptions of how life was back then.

Here are some  quotes that I jotted down while reading the book.

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”

“For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” 

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I can’t really believe he is gone  Peter Mayle, an author I discovered early  last year. He  was one of those authors that you would likely read again after reading one of his books.  I did.

I first read A Year In Provence, then the sequel Toujours  Provence  followed. Got this photo from his page at Facebook.

I wrote this very short review  (at Goodreads) when I finished reading A Year In Provence.  It is  a warm-hearted account of what Provencal life was like. I  actually rated it five-stars.

“Then you wish you had that glass of wine to go while reading this book. I am reminded of another book about country life in Italy with the book Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. People say that Provence is France’s Tuscany while Tuscany is Italy’s Provence.” 

Rest in peace.

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