The Matchmaker of Périgord


Julia Stuart - 2007
    But times have changed. His customers have grown older—and balder. Suddenly there is no longer a call for Guillaume's particular services, and he is forced to make a drastic career change. Since love and companionship are necessary commodities at any age, he becomes Amour-sur-Belle's official matchmaker and intends to unite hearts as ably as he once cut hair. But alas, Guillaume is not nearly as accomplished an agent of amour, as the disastrous results of his initial attempts amply prove, especially when it comes to arranging his own romantic future.For every reader who adored Chocolat, Julia Stuart's The Matchmaker of Périgord is a delectable, utterly enchanting, and sinfully satisfying delight.

Tinaca Jones


Matt Boren - 2020
    This audio comedy features adult language (hurled especially at one malicious, phony Kelly Smith). Discretion is advised.In this dramatic comedy, Parks and Recreation and Good Girls star Retta brings humor and strength to her role as the unforgettable Tinaca Jones.What’s in a name? A lot. The name Tinaca, for example, has been passed down in the Jones family for generations of women. In fact, the Joneses name a Tinaca every other generation, to let the name breathe a little. To let each Tinaca shine. And shine is exactly what Tinaca Jones intends to do.A grocery cashier by day and household name in the making by night, Tinaca Jones pays her dues, saves her coins, and takes business and marketing classes. She spends every second readying to launch her lifestyle brand for anyone who wants to live like her—that is, intentionally and fabulously. But when a basic blonde with an even more basic name, Kelly Smith, approaches her register and peeps her nametag, Tinaca’s plans come crashing down all around her.The next thing Tinaca knows, Kelly Smith has launched herself into overnight fame with a pathetic, old-as-time, red-carpet stunt, using the stage name "Tinaca Jones." But Kelly Smith messed with the wrong woman. What follows is Tinaca Jones’s wild and triumphant account of the battle to reclaim her name, told over the course of an epic and hilarious deposition.©2019 Matt Boren (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC

My Italian Bulldozer


Alexander McCall Smith - 2017
    Upon landing, however, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers his hired car is nowhere to be found. With no record of any reservation and no other cars available it looks like Paul is stuck at the airport. That is, until an enterprising stranger offers him an unexpected alternative. While there may be no cars available there is something else on offer: a bulldozer.With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts and so begins a series of laugh out loud adventures through the Italian countryside, following in the wake of Paul and his Italian Bulldozer. A story of unexpected circumstance and lesson in making the best of what you have, My Italian Bulldozer is a warm holiday read guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Baking Cakes in Kigali


Gaile Parkin - 2009
    Gaile Parkin is just such a talent—and Baking Cakes in Kigali is just such a novel. This gloriously written tale—set in modern-day Rwanda—introduces one of the most singular and engaging characters in recent fiction: Angel Tungaraza—mother, cake baker, keeper of secrets—a woman living on the edge of chaos, finding ways to transform lives, weave magic, and create hope amid the madness swirling all around her.In Kigali, Angel runs a bustling business: baking cakes for all occasions—cakes filled with vibrant color, buttery richness, and, most of all, a sense of hope only Angel can deliver.…A CIA agent’s wife seeks the perfect holiday cake but walks away with something far sweeter…a former boy-soldier orders an engagement cake, then, between sips of tea, shares an enthralling story…weary human rights workers…lovesick limo drivers. Amid this cacophony of native tongues, love affairs, and confessions, Angel’s kitchen is an oasis where people tell their secrets, where hope abounds and help awaits.In this unlikely place, in the heart of Rwanda, unexpected things are beginning to happen: A most unusual wedding is planned…a heartbreaking mystery—involving Angel’s own family—unravels…and extraordinary connections are being made among the men and women who have tasted Angel’s beautiful cakes…as a chain of events unfolds that will change Angel’s life—and the lives of those around her—in the most astonishing ways.

The Late Bloomers' Club


Louise Miller - 2018
    The people of Guthrie are divided–some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change–and they aren’t afraid to leave their opinions with their tips.Time is running out, and the sisters need to make a decision soon. But Nora isn’t quite ready to let go of the land, complete with a charming farmhouse, an ancient apple orchard and the clues to a secret life that no one knew Peggy had. Troubled by the conflicting needs of the town, and confused by her growing feelings towards Elliot, the big-box developer’s rep, Nora throws herself into solving the one problem that everyone in town can agree on–finding Peggy’s missing dog, Freckles.When a disaster strikes the diner, the community of Guthrie bands together to help her, and Nora discovers that doing the right thing doesn’t always mean giving up your dreams.

Sourdough


Robin Sloan - 2017
    She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her—feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it.Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up.When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?

The Lost Vintage


Ann Mah - 2018
    She’s failed twice before; her third attempt will be her last. Suddenly finding herself without a job and with the test a few months away, she travels to Burgundy, to spend the fall at the vineyard estate that has belonged to her family for generations. There she can bolster her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages and reconnect with her cousin Nico and his wife Heather, who now oversee the grapes’ day-to-day management. The one person Kate hopes to avoid is Jean-Luc, a neighbor vintner and her first love.At the vineyard house, Kate is eager to help her cousins clean out the enormous basement that is filled with generations of discarded and forgotten belongings. Deep inside the cellar, behind a large armoire, she discovers a hidden room containing a cot, some Resistance pamphlets, and an enormous cache of valuable wine. Piqued by the secret space, Kate begins to dig into her family’s history—a search that takes her back to the dark days of the Second World War and introduces her to a relative she never knew existed, a great half-aunt who was teenager during the Nazi occupation.As she learns more about her family, the line between Resistance and Collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war? And what happened to six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar’s collection?

The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure


Jack Handey - 2013
    The Stench of Honolulu Are you a fan of books in which famous tourist destinations are repurposed as unlivable hellholes for no particular reason? Read on! Jack Handey's exotic tale is full of laugh-out-loud twists and unforgettable characters whose names escape me right now. A reliably unreliable narrator and his friend, who is some other guy, need to get out of town. They have a taste for adventure, so they pay a visit to a relic of bygone days-a travel agent-and discover an old treasure map. She might have been a witch, by the way. Our heroes soon embark on a quest for the Golden Monkey, which takes them into the mysterious and stinky foreign land of Honolulu. There, they meet untold dangers, confront strange natives, kill and eat Turtle People, kill some other things and people, eat another thing, and discover the ruins of ancient civilizations. As our narrator says, "The ruins were impressive. But like so many civilizations, they forgot the rule that might have saved them: Don't let vines grow all over you."

The Bette Davis Club


Jane Lotter - 2013
    Spending three decades in love with a wonderful but unattainable man is pretty high up on her list of missteps, as is a long line of unsuccessful love affairs accompanied by a seemingly endless supply of delicious cocktails.When the young bride flees—taking with her a family heirloom and leaving behind six hundred bewildered guests—her mother offers Margo fifty grand to retrieve her spoiled brat of a daughter and the invaluable property she stole. So, together with the bride’s jilted and justifiably crabby fiancé, Margo sets out in a borrowed 1955 red MG on a cross-country chase. Along the way, none of what she discovers will be quite what she expected. But it might be exactly what she’s been seeking all along.From acclaimed humor writer Jane Lotter comes this madcap, laugh-out-loud adventure, The Bette Davis Club. Revised edition: This edition of The Bette Davis Club includes editorial revisions.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette


Maria Semple - 2012
    But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces--which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where'd You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter's love for her mother.

Dingley Falls


Michael Malone - 1980
    Strange forces are pulling together the oddest of couples: a mild-mannered matron and a lascivious avant-garde poet; a sleek headmaster and a shy young curate; a hippie librarian and the wayward daughter of a local tycoon. What's more, mailboxes are being stuffed with shockingly violent hate letters, even as a mysterious ailment takes the lives of perfectly healthy people. Not to mention the strange lights flashing in the depths of the forest? With a sparkling range of characters who hurtle through an intricate and often hilarious journey, Michael Malone offers a sublime joyride in his classic novel.

The Debt to Pleasure


John Lanchester - 1996
    Traveling from Portsmouth to the south of France, Tarquin Winot, the book's snobbish narrator, instructs us in his philosophy on everything from the erotics of dislike to the psychology of the menu. Under the guise of completing a cookbook, Winot is in fact on a much more sinister mission that only gradually comes to light.

French Exit


Patrick deWitt - 2018
    Her adult son Malcolm is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development. And then there’s the Prices' aging cat, Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral litigator and world-class cad whose gruesome tabloid death rendered Frances and Malcolm social outcasts.Putting penury and pariahdom behind them, the family decides to cut their losses and head for the exit. One ocean voyage later, the curious trio land in their beloved Paris, the City of Light serving as a backdrop not for love or romance, but self destruction and economical ruin – to riotous effect. A number of singular characters serve to round out the cast: a bashful private investigator, an aimless psychic proposing a seance, a doctor who makes house calls with his wine merchant in tow, and the inimitable Mme. Reynard, aggressive houseguest and dementedly friendly American expat.Brimming with pathos and wit, French Exit is a one-of-a-kind ‘tragedy of manners,’ a riotous send-up of high society, as well as a moving mother/son caper which only Patrick deWitt could conceive and execute

Burning Down George Orwell's House


Andrew Ervin - 2015
      Ray Welter, who was until recently a highflying advertising executive in Chicago, has left the world of newspeak behind. He decamps to the isolated Scottish Isle of Jura in order to spend a few months in the cottage where George Orwell wrote most of his seminal novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ray is miserable, and quite prepared to make his troubles go away with the help of copious quantities of excellent scotch.But a few of the local islanders take a decidedly shallow view of a foreigner coming to visit in order to sort himself out, and Ray quickly finds himself having to deal with not only his own issues but also a community whose eccentricities are at times amusing and at others downright dangerous. Also, the locals believe—or claim to believe—that there’s a werewolf about, and against his better judgment, Ray’s misadventures build to the night of a traditional, boozy werewolf hunt on the Isle of Jura on the summer solstice.

Narrow Margins - a laugh-out-loud book about life on the waterways (Narrow Boat Books)


Marie Browne - 2009
    Outdated and in need of a complete refurbishment, Happy becomes their floating home. First they need to learn the ropes and many pitfalls beset their adventures.As they come to terms with living on a narrow boat, readers gain a fascinating insight into life in the slow lane.About the author:Marie Browne is a gently harrassed mother of three who, for the past fifteen years, has been desperately trying to escape the Customer Service Industry. Apart from her husband and kids, the best things in her life are real ale; barbecues; ugly mad dogs that nobody else wants and cream-covered designer coffees. She also has an obsession with shoes but her husband is threatening to get her help for that.