A Year in Provence – the unreview (and more)

Well, it was bound to happen – a book club selection that didn’t appeal. Peter Mayle’s series of books about life in Provence come well recommended but this one didn’t keep my interest very long. Don’t tell my book club, but I’m going to cheat and watch the A&E miniseries instead, even if it isn’t exactly the same.

The book, written from a diary that Peter kept, is more like a survey of interesting places, characters, events, and customs. It rarely goes into much depth, instead covers his and Annie’s experiences very broadly. In contrast, the film treats fewer subjects but explores most of them in more depth. Where the book only mentions the Parisian French, in the film we meet “Evelyn”, the frantic woman who speaks an almost unintelligible form of English, who has an eye for Peter, and who almost goes mad trying to shut up the neighbor’s cock that crows so loudly in the morning, waking her and her house guests.

What I read of the book did have some interesting and funny situations. At one point, the Mayles decide that they can add a nice table to their back garden by the pool for having meals outside on nice days. Since stone was relatively cheap, they decided to get a tabletop made from a nice shade of marble (I think it was). It was a great idea – until they realized how hard it’d be to move the damned thing where they wanted it. Luckily the brawny men revamping their kitchen area were willing to attempt it.

It’ll be interesting to see what the other women get out of it, I guess. I’m wondering what I could suggest for reading. My tastes lean toward sci-fi and fantasy and nothing overly intelligent or life-affirming.

Oh, maybe one by Robert J. Sawyer would work. Rollback was an interesting conceptual novel about a couple who are eligible for a youth serum of some sort but it only works to rejuvenate the man, not his elderly wife. It’s unfortunate for her, and not just for selfish reasons – the wife was the first to decode an alien message and helped send the reply. Three decades later, a response has finally arrived and SETI could use her expertise again. Her health is very poor and she’s not expected to survive long enough to figure it out. Eyrie doesn’t give it a great review but it’d still be thought-provoking.

Worth a thought, anyway. It’s either that or I pester those poor women to read Hogfather over Christmas, like I do every year.


I love this book. It doesn’t appeal to everyone but I think the story is so terrific. This group of things that call themselves The Auditors hire an assassin to kill the Hogfather (Discworld’s version of Santa). The Hogfather’s realm is the only place Death can’t go so he convinces his granddaughter, Susan, to go in his stead. Death’s too busy anyway – he’s got to do all he can to reboot belief in the Hogfather or the sun won’t come up in the morning.

Which reminds me, add The Folklore of Discworld to my Christmas list…

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Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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