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Cheers 2015!!! May this be your blessed year!

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My favorite book of 2014?

Difficult to choose but this one for me takes the prize. If you like wine and you love France or is it the other way round, if you love France and well you have to be a wine lover  of course– the ghost of the grape – then you will get much enjoyment from this book. And some excitement too. I will now look at a glass of wine with a different eye. Excuse the pun!

Shadows

The reviews:-

Journalist Maximillian Potter uncovers a fascinating plot to destroy the vines of La Romanée-Conti, Burgundy’s finest and most expensive wine.

In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison-a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder-unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, but that proved a fatal miscalculation and the crime shocked this fabled region of France. The sinister story that Vanity Fair journalist Maximillian Potter uncovered would lead to a sting operation by some of France’s top detectives, the primary suspect’s suicide, and a dramatic investigation. This botanical crime threatened to destroy the fiercely traditional culture surrounding the world’s greatest wine.

SHADOWS IN THE VINEYARD takes us deep into a captivating world full of fascinating characters, small-town French politics, an unforgettable narrative, and a local culture defined by the twinned veins of excess and vitality and the deep reverent attention to the land that runs through it.

 

“A rare book that transcends the narrow interests of wine lovers.”—The New York Times, named a Best Wine Book of 2014

 

 

Maximillian Potter, an award-winning journalist, is the senior media adviser for the governor of Colorado. He was the executive editor of 5280: Denver’s Magazine, and previously a staff writer at PremierePhiladelphia, and GQ. He has been a contributing editor to Men’s Health/Best Life and Details, and contributes to Vanity Fair. Potter is a native of Philadelphia, with a BA from Allegheny College and an MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School. He lives in Denver with his wife and two sons.

Dijon 2012

Dijon48

Cheers!!!  On 2015!

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Stuff that Nightmares are Made of.

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One has to be careful what you read before bedtime. I was reading that magnificent book – Catherine the Great – Portrait of a Woman, written by Robert K Massie when late at night I came to the chapter on the French Revolution which had an  enormous effect all over  Europe and even so far as  Russia –  especially the beheading of  Louis V1 and Marie Antoinette (which had a great effect  on Catherine).

See Picture in my sidebar  for some or other reason photo uploading is out of order

Then Massie discusses the guillotine which was supposedly a more humane manner of execution because  this sudden ‘chop’ is a quick death BUT there are those who  believe the brain does not die immediately and that awareness still lasts for a while. He mentions  the case of a doctor that did an experiment where he called the persons’ name and saw the eyes focus and the fludder of the eyelids for a moment. And apparently there were more cases of this kind. *shudder*

NOT BEDTIME READING! BEWARE

From its first use, there has been debate as to whether the guillotine always provided a swift death as Guillotin had hoped. With previous methods of execution intended to be painful, there was little concern about the suffering inflicted. As the guillotine was invented specifically to be humane, however, the issue was seriously considered. The blade cuts quickly enough so that there is relatively little impact on the brain case, and perhaps less likelihood of immediate unconsciousness than with a more violent decapitation, or long-drop hanging.

Audiences to guillotinings told numerous stories of blinking eyelids, speaking, moving eyes, movement of the mouth, even an expression of “unequivocal indignation” on the face of the decapitated Charlotte Corday when her cheek was slapped

Read  Here  if you dare!

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2011: Once upon a time, there was a minor German princess named Sophia. In 1744, at the age of 14, she was taken by her ambitious mother–removed from her family, her religion, and her country–to a foreign land with a single goal: marry a prince and bear him an heir. Once in Russia, she changed her name, learned the language, and went on to become the world’s richest and most powerful woman, ruler of its then-largest empire. She is remembered as Catherine the Great.

There may be no better author than Robert K. Massie to take on the daunting task of documenting this most rare of human lives. Massie, a former president of the Authors Guild, is a seasoned biographer of the 400-year Romanov dynasty, most notably with Peter the Great: His Life and World, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 and remains one of the most arresting biographies I’ve even encountered.

In his page-turning chronicle of Catherine II, Massie (now 82) compiles the most complete and compelling narrative to date of this singular woman. Married to an incompetent man-child who was unwilling or unable to help her fulfill her primary role–giving birth to a son–she ultimately grew to become a trailblazer among monarchs: friend of philosophical giants, incomparable patron of the arts, prosecutor of multiple wars, pioneer of public health, maker of kings, and prodigious serial lover.

Indeed, her accomplishments and shortcomings as an autocrat and a woman make for a remarkable saga, but that’s not to say that just any author could do justice to Catherine’s lasting legacy. (Many have tried.) Massie situates Catherine’s early life and three-decade reign as empress amidst the tumult of the European Enlightenment, enriching his own narrative with telling excerpts of her letters and rich discussions of her political environment and personal motivations.

Put simply, Massie is just the man to take this endlessly fascinating life and craft an utterly memorable book. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman is a towering accomplishment, one of the year’s best books in any genre. –Jason Kirk