There's nothing in life quite like the simple pleasure of being completely lost in a good book. Since I was little I've loved reading, loved falling in love with characters and being transported into a totally different world with the simple turn of a page. It's an affliction that runs in my family. Growing up -- and to this day -- my Dad's notorious for being so lost in a book that you can stand in front of his chair yelling his name while he remains thoroughly oblivious. Majoring in language and literature in college threw a wrench in my reading for pleasure but I've been back on a streak lately. Part of the problem is that for a while I had a hard time finding books I could merely get into and finish -- never mind getting totally lost in. Every now and then I'd come across books and series that I'd devour (Harry Potter, Sookie Stackhouse, American Wife), but they seemed few and far between.
This past January Zach and I traveled to Boston to visit family. If I recall correctly, at this point I was trying to slog through 1984, which I'd been reading for about 6 months. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book. (In fact, I appreciated it so much that it made me uncomfortable in the ways it reminded me of our world today, which made it hard to finish.) But, as I've been trying to read at least one classic a year, I kept at it.
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may know that Zach and I are faithful followers of the Church of It's Always Happy Hour at the Airport. Time of day at airports is irrelevant! Have a beer! It may well be 5pm either where you've come from or where you're going! Ignore the judgemental glances of the people around you and enjoy your 6am beers! Fast forward to the return leg of our trip at Boston's Logan airport. After the obligatory farewell Sam Adams slugged down at the bar of Legal Seafoods (GO SAWX), we cheerfully frolicked into the nearest shop to buy some overpriced water. (The only way I can have a beer and hop on a plane is if I spend the duration of the flight chugging down an overpriced bottle or two of water then pestering the flight attendants for more.) On my way to the overpriced water, I passed the overpriced books section and saw a title that looked familiar: A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness.
I thought I'd seen it mentioned in my social circles and thus promptly consulted Twitter. The consensus was yes, it was a good book. I bought it, fortified by the beer which allowed me to forget both the inflated price and the guilt over setting 1984 aside yet again. It took me a chapter or two to get into it, but man. I was hooked once I did. It's 600 pages but I flew through it. I was looking forward to the next installment so much that I actually re-read it a few weeks ago, just in time to get to the sequel, Shadow of Night, as soon as it was released. It's about vampires and witches, yes, but it's not your typical vampire fair, exactly. I heard it described recently as a cross between Harry Potter and Twilight, but with an intellectual/historical twist, and for adults. I'd say that's about right.
In these books the vampires don't have fangs, don't need an invitation to enter your house, and don't really enjoy food but they LOVE wine. Which finally brings me to the point of this post: The author writes what she knows, which is, among other things, history, alchemy, wine, and a smattering of rowing and yoga. Wine! Before she was a published author, she wrote an award-winning wine blog called Good Wine Under $20. In fact, Saveur magazine voted it Best Wine Blog of 2010.
This tickles me to no end. In the age of the internet, you can meander over to a newly discovered author's wine blog and twitter feed and pretend you're hanging out with them! At the risk of sounding like your luddite uncle, how cool is that?!
I've mentioned around here that of late I've been making it a point to learn more about wines. As such, I love all these great recommendations of wine on the cheap. Recent enlightening posts of Deborah Harkness's blog include Wine That Stands Up to Pesto and Miracles Happen: Three Worthy Pinot Noirs for $25 or Less.
She doesn't post terribly often, but hey, if that means she's off writing the third book in my beloved trilogy, then I fully support that. In the meantime she's got years of archives for me to broswe through as I do my wine homework.
What are you reading and drinking lately? Have a favorite wine for $20 or less? (And are you as obsessed with the All Souls trilogy as I am?)