My commute to work involves walking between 10-15 minutes to the subway each morning. To keep myself occupied, I download podcasts and listen to them on my walk. Before you say “walking is the perfect alone time! Stop and smell the roses, Cindie!”, keep in mind I get enough alone time on the train, and there isn’t a rose in sight.
Anyway, this has to do with wine and books, just bear with me.
I am catching up on all of the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcasts, and one of them involved a discussion about what makes a true book “collection”. It isn’t about rare books, or by having all of the books and editions by one particular author, but rather about having a comprehensive collection about a particular topic. Of course, your opinion may differ, but their logic made sense to me. The collection they noted as being a legitimate book collection was George Arents collection, now housed at the New York Public Library. His collection of books was all about tobacco, everything from the first mentions of the product in literature, to books and essays authored by tobacco aficionados. The two podcast hosts posed a hypothetical question: if you had a collection, what subject matter would you focus on?
The answer for me was an obvious one: wine. I love wine, and I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve written about wine. Less “wine for dummies”, more “the history of natural and synthetic wine corks”. That may seem incredibly. insanely. boring to some people, but to me it’s oddly compelling.
I decided now was as a good a time as any to start making a list of books I’d eventually want for my wine collection. Of course, mine wouldn’t be that extensive, certainly not boxed in “to be housed in the NYPL archives” bins upon my passing. But I like the topic, so why not collect a few books? You know I love buying books. And wouldn’t a nice, neat display of hardcover wine books be a great addition to a little bar in my future, maybe-a-shot-in-hell dream house?
These guys are at the top of my list. Because I’m cheap, I will probably try to find them second-hand in good condition rather than paying full price for hardcovers.
Aren’t those going to look great on a bookshelf? And they look interesting, which is of course significantly more important than how they are going to look in my dream house.
- Wine and War: The French, The Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure, by Don and Petie Kladstrup. I’m already intrigued by almost any book that touches upon the effects of WWII, and this book is all about the winemakers of the French Resistance.
- The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It, by Tilar Mazzeo. Since the Spice Girls are sort of cool again, can I say “Girl Power!”? After her husband died, said Widow Clicquot took over their entire wine business and (clearly) became very successful. I love that the book is their signature yellow, I wouldn’t expect any less.
- Uncorked: My Journey Through the Crazy World of Wine, by Marco Pasanella. Apparently all the best wine books have colons and subtitles on their cover. Mr. Pasanella opened a wine shop after his mid-life crisis (I can only assume he had a mid-life crisis, he was in his early 40s), and apparently it features a “colorful” cast of characters. I love colorful casts of characters, especially when they’re real people.
After these three, which other ones should I put on my to-buy list? I’ve read most of Taber’s books, and they will eventually be purchased, but beyond that I need some recommendations!
Disclaimer: I have other favorite things. I suppose a proper title would have been “two of my favorite things”.