The year began with lunch. -- Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence
I missed the sounds that marked the passing of each day almost as precisely as a clock: Faustin's rooster having his morning cough; the demented clatter--like nuts and bolts trying to escape from a biscuit tin--of the small Citroen van that every farmer drives home at lunchtime; the hopeful fusillade of a hunter on afternoon patrol in the vines on the opposite hillside; the distant whine of a chainsaw in the forest; the twilight serenade of farm dogs. -- Peter Mayle
This is the book I indulged in during the deadlines and chaos of my senior year at college. It was like anti-stress medication: I'd take this book and crawl into the cavelike safety of the bottom bunk... and escape to Provence for as long as I could.
And if you read those quotes, you can already see why... A Year in Provence is a warm, fantastically conversational memoir of--well--a year in Provence! Which Peter Mayle and his wife spend fixing up a farmhouse and learning about the people and customs and villages around them.
I let myself read it quite at leisure, dipping into it now and then, or soaking it up for an hour or two. I love snooping around in the lives Mayle writes about, learning about his acquaintances, and all the trials of fixing up a house. And traveling vicariously through southern France.
Maybe this book is dear to me because it's about so many of the things I love most. Community. Food. Travel. Living well. France.
... And especially, enjoying food among French community.
(I am such a sucker. Combine food and friends, and I'm there. Combine them in a great setting... well then. Even better.)
Recommendation: A glass of wine. A sunny room and a comfortable chair. And this book. That's my prescription.