What are You Reading?
One of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day is to cozy up on the sofa with a book and a glass of wine. In fact, I’ve been known to spend the whole weekend doing just that. Of all the ways to escape, nothing compares to getting lost in a good book.
For consideration re: your summer reading list, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite books and the wines I like to enjoy with them. Have you tried pairing books with wine? It’s actually really fun! We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
I can only begin with Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins; it’s my all-time favorite great escape. This novel is rife with magical realism – in fact, Robbins himself says “the key to understanding [his] books is the Tibetan Buddhist concept of ‘crazy wisdom’ – though magic mushrooms might also help” (his words, not ours!) Because of it’s ongoing meditation on beets, yes, beets, I find it best enjoyed with a nice bottle of Barolo. It’s probably psychological….after all, Barolo, dubbed “the King of Wines” for centuries, is assertive enough to stand up to any beet.
On another note, an old family friend, Cliff Graubart, has written a book titled The Curious Vision of Sammy Levitt. I bought a copy at his book signing, partly out of the sentimentality. Also, as the owner of one of Atlanta’s most iconic independent bookstores, the Old New York Book Shop, he has flawless taste. It had to be good, right? Right! I devoured the entire book before I finished the bottle of Cabernet I opened to drink with it. I chose Cabernet because it is (for me) a sentimental wine, and so it seemed appropriate.
When I want to reconnect with my literary roots, I read poetry. It was my first love. There are too many wonderful poets to list them all, but I can tell you that I drink Rosé when I read Emily Dickinson. I can’t fully explain this choice except to say that it is a somewhat frivolous wine, therefore it lends balance to Dickinson’s often very serious poems. When reading T.S. Eliot, I prefer sparkling wine or champagne, probably because of his effervescent style. Rumi, on the other hand, calls for Merlot. Not unlike Rumi, a good Merlot is smooth, nuanced and intoxicatingly seductive.
In addition to fiction and poetry, I tend to read a lot of medieval literature. When reading these works, I usually drink Chardonnay or Pinot Gris. This began in college as a practical choice – I tend to be a bit clumsy and many of them were checked out from the campus library so I didn’t want to spill red wine on them. Now I turn to whites because I feel like they balance the “heavy reading” better than reds…or maybe it’s simply due to my conditioning. Who knows?
Finally, you HAD to know Pinot Noir would be on this list. It’s hard to pair it with a particular book because, as I’ve stated countless times before, it basically goes with everything! In my closet (or cabinet), it’s the little black dress of wine. But there’s one book I’ve recently enjoyed more with the help of Pinot’s presence, and that’s The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. This psychological rollercoaster is an absolute page-turner. I stayed up late into the night, polishing off 3 bottles of wine reading this gem over a single weekend.
What are you reading?