A little while ago, I was asked to review a new wine book. The book, Wine Simplified, was written by Marnie Old and Anthony Giglio. I have never met Anthony, but he is a respected wine author and writes for Food and Wine magazine (among others). Marnie, on the other hand, is a very familiar presence in the Philadelphia wine scene. Several years ago, when I was first getting serious about wine, I helped out at some of the regular tastings she conducted here in the city. I have run into her several times since then and she is one of the nicest and most wine-savvy people you could ever meet. Thus, when I was asked to review her book, I gladly agreed.
There was a bit of a problem—I had never reviewed a book before. After my initial apprehension, I looked at my living room bookshelf, littered with hundreds of books, dozens of them about wine, and I realized that I was a book person and I would be able to more or less figure it out.
Another problem—Marnie’s book is an e-Book. This was actually a pretty big problem (for me). I had never, ever, read an e-Book. I do not own a Nook nor a Kindle, much less a ‘Kindle Fire’ and honestly, I am not sure if I ever will. I really love the feel of the book in my hands, the way the pages sound when your turn them, even the smell when they are a bit damp. I understand that the world is moving in the direction of e-Everything (I long ago stopped buying CDs—do ‘record stores’ still exist?) and normally I would be on board since I am a bit of an Environmentalist (have you hugged a tree today?). There is just something about a ‘real’ book that I find enticing.
My wife does have an iPad, however, which I always thought was cool, but I never really saw as all that useful—I had my laptop, after all. The night before our flight out West to visit her family, I asked my wife to download Marnie’s Wine Simplified onto her iPad since I figured I would have a lot of time on my hands over the course of the next week (not to mention the excruciating six hour flight each way). There was a boatload of other reading I wanted to do, including finishing Vertical (the sequel to Sideways) and crack Wines of the Southern Hemisphere that was recently hand delivered after winning it on 1WineDude. This ‘vacation’ I would have my hands full with plenty of reading material (not to mention trying to write something once in a while), helping the week to pass quickly.
We arrived at the airport and my wife looked at me and alarmingly asked where was my laptop bag. We both spun around looking for it–no where in sight. I ran back outside, but the cab had already hurtled off into traffic. After a few tense moments of frenzied questioning, I realized that I had left it in the living room at home. I contemplated blaming my wife or one of the kids for forgetting the bag, but the year was almost over and I did not want to blow my chances at either husband of father of the year (did not win either, apparently). I thought about taking a cab back to the house to get the bag, but we neither had the time, nor did I really want to spend the $80 to do it. As we headed for the gate, I actually felt a bit of relief since I was going to be a bit ‘unplugged’ for the week.
[The second after thinking that, I immediately realized that my wife had her laptop and iPad, I had my iPhone (which I use quite a bit for blogging) and my sister-in-law had a desktop that I could use (when my father-in-law was not Bogarting it), so ‘unplugged’? Not so much. Nonetheless, I took it as a sign. Mostly a sign that I would likely lose my head if it were not attached.]
Thus, faced with absolutely nothing to do for the entire week, both problems about reviewing Marnie’s book (the fact that I have never reviewed a book and my fear of not knowing how to ‘turn’ the ‘pages’) seemed rather insignificant. The kids were going to be playing with their cousins, my wife was going to be occupied with her family, and I was now going to have to do some ‘work for my blog’ so as to avoid saying or doing something completely asinine, causing my in-laws to wonder yet again what their daughter sees in me.
The rest of the Review will appear next week.