Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November's TTP...T

For years I've wanted to be part of a book club  and Turn the Page...Tuesday hosted by the wonderful Adrienne at Some of a Kind is very much like a book club. I've always enjoyed the first Tuesday of each month since Adrienne started this and reading reviews of what others have read.  Every single month it adds to my want-to-read list, for sure!  Well, a friend of mine bought a bookstore here in town a while back and now she has started an actual sit-down-and-talk-about-it book club! I'm so excited and I am starting my reviews with the book we read for our November bookclub read. 

The Telling Room ~ A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese ~ by Michael Paterniti

I loved this book, but that wasn't the case with all of us around the table.  Different tastes in reading is why there are so many books out there, right?!

The Telling Room was a fun and enchanting tale of the author's love affair with a small village in Spain and the maker of the greatest piece of cheese. Starting out in a small deli in Michigan,  the author encounters a round of cheese that he can not afford to even nibble on, and a hint of a story of the greatest cheesemaker in the world. Several years later as a journalist, the author finds himself in Spain and makes a point to visit the small village of Guzman and try to meet this cheesemaker, Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras. It took some searching but finally Michael and his friend and translator, Carlos, were able to sit down with Ambrosio in his Telling Room and begin the story that would take ten long years to tell. During that telling, Michael visits the village countless times and even moved his family to the village for almost a year in order to immerse himself and his family in the culture.  The tale is one of an old family recipe revived, friendships, mysticism, tradition, betrayal, revenge, and of course, cheese and wine. 
I really enjoyed this book and traveling time and again with the author to this small piece of the world. The book is full of footnotes that add fun and depth to the story instead of detracting from it as footnotes usually do. I too fell in love with Ambrosio, his ideals and way of life and felt anger at the betrayal that stole his beloved cheese. One of the best and most fun works of non-fiction I have ever read. Well done!

From Amazon;
In the picturesque village of Guzmán, Spain, in a cave dug into a hillside on the edge of town, an ancient door leads to a cramped limestone chamber known as “the telling room.” Containing nothing but a wooden table and two benches, this is where villagers have gathered for centuries to share their stories and secrets—usually accompanied by copious amounts of wine. 
It was here, in the summer of 2000, that Michael Paterniti found himself listening to a larger-than-life Spanish cheesemaker named Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras as he spun an odd and compelling tale about a piece of cheese. An unusual piece of cheese. Made from an old family recipe, Ambrosio’s cheese was reputed to be among the finest in the world, and was said to hold mystical qualities. Eating it, some claimed, conjured long-lost memories. But then, Ambrosio said, things had gone horribly wrong.  
By the time the two men exited the telling room that evening, Paterniti was hooked. Soon he was fully embroiled in village life, relocating his young family to Guzmán in order to chase the truth about this cheese and explore the fairy tale–like place where the villagers conversed with farm animals, lived by an ancient Castilian code of honor, and made their wine and food by hand, from the grapes growing on a nearby hill and the flocks of sheep floating over the Meseta. 
What Paterniti ultimately discovers there in the highlands of Castile is nothing like the idyllic slow-food fable he first imagined. Instead, he’s sucked into the heart of an unfolding mystery, a blood feud that includes accusations of betrayal and theft, death threats, and a murder plot. As the village begins to spill its long-held secrets, Paterniti finds himself implicated in the very story he is writing. 
Equal parts mystery and memoir, travelogue and history, The Telling Room is an astonishing work of literary nonfiction by one of our most accomplished storytellers. A moving exploration of happiness, friendship, and betrayal, The Telling Room introduces us to Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras, an unforgettable real-life literary hero, while also holding a mirror up to the world, fully alive to the power of stories that define and sustain us.

Rebecca ~ by Daphne Du Maurier

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.'

I love classics, for the most part, and can't imagine why I let Rebecca linger on my shelves, unread, for so long.  I have a beautiful 1938 hardcover edition with a dust jacket that I picked up several years ago at a thrift store or yard sale and it was just hanging out on the shelf waiting to be read.   Very reminiscent of a gothic thriller, I thoroughly enjoyed this classic.

This story begins with the sentence above, dreaming about being at Manderley again, (which I imagine might be more of a nightmare than a dream!), and our heroine's name is never revealed to us throughout the story.  She is a young girl working as a companion to a cantankerous older woman when she meets Maxim de Winter, a man 20 years her senior. He's a handsome and brooding widower who takes a fancy to our young heroine, though she can't figure out quite why.  Is he in love with her or does he simply like her companionship like her employer does?  Maxim asks her to marry him and after a quick wedding, takes her to his family home, Manderley.  They arrive to a dark and sinster housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who has been there for many years and was quite fond of the deceased Rebecca de Winter.  It seems that everyone loved the beautiful and charismatic Rebecca and our heroine could never come close to competing with her husbands dead wife.  When she wanders in to the iconic Rebecca's old suite, she finds that Mrs. Danvers still keeps the suite up and clothes laid out as if Rebecca will soon be back to occupy them.  Spooky and sinister, this was a great October read. 

What have you been reading?  Pop on over to Adrienne's Some of a Kind to join in and see what others are reading! 


  1. Oh my gosh! They both look awesome. I have had Rebecca on my list - up it goes to must read soon. Thanks for joining in and adding two books to my TBR list ;-)

  2. These both sound like great books!!! How fun to join a book club!

  3. The Telling Room looks really interesting! And...I've read so many classics, how did I miss Rebecca? Thanks for the recs!!


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