A. Morell: Summer Wine & Reading

Summer Wine & Reading
Summer reading might bring up bad memories for some, but oftentimes we get over the trauma of cramming six weeks worth of reading into two days and rediscover the joys of whiling away the heat with a good book.

So, for your (age 21 and over) enjoyment, I offer up a full menu of ways to round out your summer and your palate, with a fine selection of books and the wines that complement them best.

1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

A story of romance in Regency England should be paired with something as rich and complex as the tale itself. Warm, with a soft bite like the wit of Lizzie Bennet. Enjoy this classic with full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from a warm region, where its best characteristics can be extracted.

2. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

For the modern word weaver of the supernatural, a crisp Pino Blanc layered with intense fruit and a cleansing acidity. Hold it in your mouth as you mull over this collection of short, unsettling stories, and let the shadows and flavors reveal themselves.

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Mead. Yes, it exists. Anything so steeped in the fantastical can only be complemented with a drink that calls for some concocting. More important with this series, however, is the ready availability of good, hearty, simple food, because you’re going to be reading about it a lot. Feasts, picnics, treats, with ices and pies and roasted birds and fresh caught fish. It should be as easily devoured as the books.

4. Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi

The only way I can describe this thirty-year- and twenty-six-volume-spanning series is something like dystopian vampire noir. D, the beautiful and mysterious vampire hunter, is the best kind of over-the-top Mary Sue, the kind we want to see more of. Even better is that he is illustrated by none other than Yoshitaka Amano, one of Japan’s most renowned artists. So it’s only fitting that Apothic Red, an impeccably balanced and structured red wine blend, be bought by the case and downed with each installment.

5. Forbidden Colors by Yukio Mishima

This is that one heavy summer read that you need to fortify yourself against. The semi-autobiographical/wish fulfillment of an infamous, celebrated, tormented author, a man widely speculated to have lived in the closet and who died by his own hand. Wash down the sordid tale of self-hatred and sexuality with the bracing acid and clean finish of a minerally Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris.

6. Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

For a light, easy, enjoyable summer read, try the first book of the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy with a drinkable, fizzy Moscato d’Asti. The delicate sweetness and ripe peachy notes are perfect for romance. If buying Italian (which you should; Castello del Poggio in one of my faves), look for the green DOCG label.

7. 50 Shames of Earl Gray by “Fanny Merkin”

Do not drink anything while reading this book, unless you want it coming out your nose. I do, however, recommend reading it when you need a good ab workout.

8. Puncture Wounds by yours truly

Okay, so it won’t be a summer read, but a fall one. But it’s set in summer, and at least you’ll have a chance to prepare your wine cellars for this October. With a thick layer of grit for a short read, you won’t need more than to savor a few mouthfuls of a heady late-harvest Zinfandel. Find one with dark notes of plum and chocolate, with the warmth of a sweltering summer night you aren’t meant to sleep through.

I hope that’s enough to keep your glasses half full, and may your wine outlast your literature.

For an exclusive sneak peek at Puncture Wounds and a chance to win your own copy, join the scavenger hunt at the Birthday Bash down below.

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