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Livermore Reads Together
Livermore Reads Together (LRT) is the library's annual community-wide event that occurs each February. The City of Livermore is encouraged to read the same book and participate in the free LRT events for children, teens, and adults. LRT aims to boost community engagement with literature through reading and discussion.
The 9th annual LRT event featured the charming book A Good Year, as voted on by the community. We hosted a spirited celebration of Peter Mayle’s enchanting novel with a well-received kickoff event of wine experts and wine-related art exhibit. Throughout February 2015 we held fun free programs related to France and wine. We also got the community involved in our first Geocaching Adventure!
Book copies of A Good Year are available at library branches and through our virtual library. Many thanks to the Friends of the Livermore Library for generously supporting LRT 2015 and making it possible. Cheers! À votre santé!
STAFF PICKS BOOK DISCUSSION RELATED READING
A Good Year by Peter Mayle
Peter Mayle’s enduring love for Provence takes center stage in his 2004 novel A Good Year, which tells the story of Max Skinner, a London financial agent turned vintner. As Max's professional life falls apart, he receives notice of an inheritance in Provence, France. Abandoning London and the world of finance, Max sets off to become a gentleman winemaker. Once there he takes in the local scenery and women, including Nathalie Auzet, the notaire handling the property transfer, and Fanny, the vivacious owner of the local bistro. Although enjoying his new life, there are complications and Max realizes the wine label he inherited, Le Griffon, is virtually undrinkable. Max must find a solution to the problems inherent in producing a wine that nobody wants to drink. Author Peter Mayle told NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday host, Liane Hansen, of the research he conducted, “I had to sample, you know, copiously…and I'm lucky enough to have friends and neighbors who make wine, and so I hung around with them for a long time. And it was much better than, you know, peering around in a library doing your research. It was just terrific fun.”
Book club discussion questions for A Good Year.
About the Author
Peter Mayle was born in 1939 in Brighton, East Sussex, England, and worked in advertising in London and New York City for many years. In 1975, he retired from advertising in order to write books. During the nascent years of his new career, Mayle penned several nonfiction books for young readers, including Where Did I Come From? The Facts of Life Without Any Nonsense
. The book is still in print and has been translated into 17 languages. But Mayle wanted to move beyond the birds and the bees, so he set his sights on writing fiction for adults. In 1986, Mayle and his wife sold their house in England and moved to a mas, or ancient stone farmhouse, in the Luberon mountains in Provence.
Instead of writing a novel, however, Mayle wrote A Year in Provence, an account of his new life in the rural south of France and a celebration of the region’s sun, culture, and cuisine. Mayle says, "What I like best about the people in Provence is their joie de vivre. They'll always take the time to have a drink, to look at something beautiful, even if it's only a sunset." Mayle describes the writing of his first book as a “nearly effortless” experience, and when A Year in Provence was published in 1989, it shot to the top of best seller lists in both England and the United States. In her review of the book, New York Times Book Review contributor Betty Fussell wrote, “Like a good host, Mayle entertains us with course after course of comic characters.” Toujours Provence, the sequel to A Year in Provence, is a collection of essays in which Mayle revisits familiar Provençal characters and scenes. Mayle has continued to sing the praises of Provence in nonfiction books, such as Encore Provence and French Lessons, and in novels, such as Hotel Pastis and A Good Year.
Mayle writes six days a week, working in his office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., moving outside in the afternoons, and revising in the evenings. He says, "I'm usually finishing one project and starting another without more than a week or 10 days in between. To me that is a very pleasant life." As for Provence, Mayle says, “One of the reasons for my enormous joy in living here is that I’ve come to realise the two greatest luxuries in life are time and space. What I have here is a lot of time. Nobody’s in a hurry, which is delightful, and the house is big, its ceilings are high, there’s room to put everything, and it’s terribly peaceful and beautiful.”
To learn more about Peter Mayle, visit http://www.petermayle.com/.
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