You need Italian Food & Life Rules in your life!

Maybe it’s the short season of truly warm weather in season. Maybe, even though it’s possible to find good food in Stockholm, it’s not the best place for spaghetti alle vongole or bistecca alla fiorentina. That’s the reason the Swede and I try to spend time in Italy at least once a year. We’re planning our next Italian adventure as I write this.


If you’re going to Italy this year or even if you want to do some armchair traveling, you should pick up Italian Food Rules and Italian Life Rules by Ann Reavis. Ann lived in Florence for fifteen years and she broke every one of the “rules” before she learned to live like an Italian.

Did you know that Italians never drink cappuccino after 10 o’clock in the morning? Do you know why they never eat pizza for lunch? Why does the fruit vendor in the market yell at you when you check out the ripeness of the pears or the freshness of the green beans? Ann writes about the rules and the reasons in Italian Food Rules.

Did you know that Italians don’t like wall-to-wall carpets? Why are they only allowed to have shutters in four colors in Tuscany? What’s the danger of air conditioning to Italians? Why are they carrying a neck scarf in the middle of the summer? Why is the Italian beach scene so different from the rest of the world, but exactly the same everywhere from Rimini to Calabria to Forte dei Marmi to Portofino? Ann provides insight in Italian Life Rules.

And from May 15 to May 22, the Kindle version of Italian Food Rules will be on sale for $1.99.

Italian Life Rules will go on sale at the Amazon Kindle Store for $1.99 from May 22 to May 28.

Back from London and only bought 3 books?!?

Mind the gap!

Mind the gap!

Yes, that’s right. I went to London to visit Katie Ellwood-Smith and we had a great time together gabbing and getting pedicures. London was still in the midst of its heatwave–despite SkyNews and the BBC claiming it was over–but I am not complaining. I love warm weather.

But how could I go to London and only buy three books?!? I bought more jars of marmalade than books. Oh the pain…I will have to remedy this by booking another London trip soon. (Or maybe that was my modus operandi all along?) 😉

The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan

The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan

A girl cannot live on pedicures alone. A shout-out, by the way, to Marina at Hand and Foot Spa in Wimbledon Village. Best pedicure ever! 🙂 A girl like me–book nerd that I am–needs books and plenty of ’em. I’ll have to figure out the best window of opportunity for a new London trip…and it must be soon. 🙂

So what books did I buy? A hardbound edition of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, the Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan and Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan (which I bought ages ago and somehow lost). I must replenish my library! 😉 I simply don’t have enough books… though I don’t think Tord will agree here. 😉

Happy reading (and writing)!


Matera, here I come!

Beautiful Matera

Tomorrow morning I head to the place that always helps me recharge my creative batteries: Matera, Italy. Yes, it’s that time again–time for the Women’s Fiction Festival. I know I only came home from the US a few weeks ago, but I need my biannual dose of Matera and the Matera Brainstormers. They’ve been lifesavers for me

The last time I was in Matera was in March, following my father’s death. I still felt very raw, and my writing was suffering because of it. Going to Matera and having a week to focus on my writing and reconnect with everyone in the group helped me get back on track. Now, work has knocked me off track again, so this sojourn to Matera is an absolute necessity.

For those of you who are novices to my Matera mentions, Matera is where the Women’s Fiction Festival is held every year. It’s a beautiful town with a historical centre that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every year, writers, agents and editors from around the world gather at Le Monacelle Hotel for seminars, panel discussions master classes and pitch sessions. Unlike many writer’s conferences, the Women’s Fiction Festival has a very intimate feel, making it easier to get to know the other participants–and of course it helps that Matera is a true foodie city. Which reminds me, I must remember to pick up a bottle of Padre Pepe (a walnut liqueur typical for Basilicata and Puglia) for Tord.

I’ll admit it: I am a creature of habit.I always stay at the Albergo del Sedile when I am in Matera. I love the location and the view of the Piazza del Sedile. The staff there are very friendly, helpful and always make me feel welcome. I’ve always go to Bar Sedile for my first cup of Italian. In the afternoon and early evening, I usually end up at Caffé Vittorio Veneto for snacks and a glass or two of wine while I watch the Materans take their evening stroll. I always end up at IT Style to buy makeup in great colors that suit my skin tone. And I inevitably end up buying a lot of goodies at the various delicatessens so that I can keep my Matera buzz going for as long as possible.

When I return from Matera, I’ll post my Autumn-Winter 2012 reading list and a review of a cozy mystery series I’ve become addicted to.

Happy reading (and writing)!