Aug 31, 2009

Proposed Titles for October

Below are my three book selections for our October meeting. All books center on a “Wine” theme! I am hoping you will like my book theme idea because I plan to entertain you with good food and great wines. And, like always, everyone will provide the wonderful social and interesting book discussions.

Although the three books do not clearly meet our book selection criteria, I request your “relaxation” of the criteria. All are paperback and appear to be easy reads from the reviews I’ve read.

See you at Dan’s on September 8th and we can discuss. Thanks.

Tom J.

The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine” by Ben Wallace. (323 pages) A New York Times Bestseller.

“Part detective story, part wine history, this is one juicy tale, even for those with no interest in the fruit of the vine. . . . As delicious as a true vintage Lafite.” —BusinessWeek
The Billionaire’s Vinegar tells the true story of a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux—supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson—that sold for $156,000 at auction and of the eccentrics whose lives intersected with it. Was it truly entombed in a Paris cellar for two hundred years? Or did it come from a secret Nazi bunker? Or from the moldy basement of a devilishly brilliant con artist? As Benjamin Wallace unravels the mystery, we meet a gallery of intriguing players—from the bicycle-riding British auctioneer who speaks of wines as if they are women to the obsessive wine collector who discovered the bottle. Suspenseful and thrillingly strange, this is the vintage tale of what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries. Updated for paperback with a new epilogue.

The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty” by Julia Flynn Siler. (464 pages) A New York Times Bestseller.

Set in California's lush Napa Valley and spanning four generations of a talented and visionary family, The House of Mondavi is a tale of genius, sibling rivalry, and betrayal. From 1906, when Italian immigrant Cesare Mondavi passed through Ellis Island, to the Robert Mondavi Corporation's twenty-first-century battle over a billion-dollar fortune, award-winning journalist Julia Flynn Siler brings to life both the place and the people in this riveting family drama. - Barnes & Noble

Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine” by George M. Taber. (352 pages)

The Paris Tasting of 1976 will forever be remembered as the landmark event that transformed the wine industry. At this legendary contest -- a blind tasting -- a panel of top French wine experts shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over France's best. George M. Taber, the only reporter present, recounts this seminal contest and its far-reaching effects, focusing on three gifted unknowns behind the winning wines: a college lecturer, a real estate lawyer, and a Yugoslavian immigrant. With unique access to the main players and a contagious passion for his subject, Taber renders this historic event and its tremendous aftershocks -- repositioning the industry and sparking a golden age for viticulture across the globe. With an eclectic cast of characters and magnificent settings, Judgment of Paris is an illuminating tale and a story of the entrepreneurial spirit of the new world conquering the old. - Barnes & Noble


  1. Men of ManBook-

    Good call on all three titles for October. I've read none of them, but noted all three in my "to read" notebook. I will read along with whatever you guys pick next TU.

    How shall I weigh in on Crazy for the Storm? Just blog my thoughts, or are there discussion questions the publisher has asked you to focus on as she gathers info on men's reading choices and habits?

    Let me know-

  2. On the subject of Crazy for the Storm, I'll circulate a questionnaire shortly. We'll use that to collect our impressions of this SoCal beach memoir.
    As for Tom's choices, if we pick it, The Billionaire's Vinegar has to be read in paperback, as the hardcover came out before the real life story concluded (yes, I mean the "legal" outcome, which is where real life concludes for some of us....). If we pick either of the others, we can't go wrong: both get 4.5 stars on Amazon and both have plenty of local content.