My to-be-read stacks are piled high, yet it seems that certain books keep falling to the bottom, while other, perhaps newer, perhaps more interesting, perhaps lighter books get read. So when Avid Reader had a challenge to read at least 1 book from that pile and post a review every month I was excited to join in. She has posted suggested genres, but I just grabbed one from down at the bottom of the pile. I think that I will need to make a more informed choice next time, though, or all my monthly reviews may wind up being a bit negative: there may be a reason that these books keep slipping down the list!
French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France (Richard Goodman 1991 reissued 2002) is one of the many expatriate books I have on my shelf. However, of all the ones that I have read so far this was the lightest, least interesting, least amusing and least informative of all the very many that I have read. The story of his year in France and his cultivation of a garden was just too facile for me. As an expat myself, as a gardener myself, as a lover of the south of France myself, I would have enjoyed a more in depth examination of any facet or occupation. Oh well. At least the 203 pp went as quickly as a more detailed 100. But it was much like popcorn- a quick carb rush, but not filling. Look to MFK Fisher, to Mayle, to Celia Brayfield's Deep France: A Writer's Year in the Bearn, which really dealt with being a foreigner and exploring a land and learning a culture (as well as some local recipes). This was Mr. Goodman's first novel, so I will guess that his work has deepened since then, but I won't be seeking it out.