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Country Matters: The Pleasures and Tribulations of Moving from a Big City to an Old Country Farmhouse

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  196 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
With his inimitable sense of humor and storytelling talent, New York Times bestselling author Michael Korda brings us this charming, hilarious, self-deprecating memoir of a city couple's new life in the country.

At once entertaining, canny, and moving, Country Matters does for Dutchess County, New York, what Under the Tuscan Sun did for Tuscany. This witty memoir, replete w
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published 1901)
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Hannah Corson
Dec 28, 2014 Hannah Corson rated it liked it
I've moved like 10 times in the past 2 years and it seems like whenever I live in the city, I am forever seeking out some kind of storytelling (in books, movies, or tv shows) that paints a picture of country life.

This book was my soul food this summer living in Denver. Yeah, I know Denver wouldn't seem super city-like, being so close to the mountains, but after moving here from a teeny tiny mountain town, its big enough.

Michael Korda describes his and his wife's country life with such detail,
Mar 18, 2014 Maura rated it it was ok
Knowing exactly where this author's house is and being familiar with Pleasant Valley gives this book a certain intimate feel as you get to see the area through someone else's eyes. But Korda often paints his neighbors with a pretty broad brush, falling back on the stereotypical "country folk" image of bad grammar, lack of education or ambition, and a disinterest in anything beyond the few square miles of their birthplace. There are many niggling small errors in the book which annoy a reader who ...more
Mar 16, 2016 Olive rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The writing in this book is a rare art. Amy and easy to read, but master craft grammar. I wanted to diagram the sentences to find the subject. It's also soulful reading about good friends.
Jan 28, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
Very down-to-earth for someone who definitely doesn't have to be.
May 31, 2010 Mathew rated it did not like it
I wish there was a zero-star option. I barely made it to page 80, telling myself that I needed to finish at least 25% before passing judgment. Like others have said, Korda simply comes off as a pompous jerk. He manages to be condescending to both the locals in Pleasant Valley and the rich, high-class friends that come visit. Somehow it is only he and his model wife (a profession he never forgets to include, with requirements he never omits) that manage to exist as this wonderful bridge. Ahh, to ...more
Helen Mason
Nov 22, 2013 Helen Mason rated it liked it
Shelves: adults
One of my neighbours gave me this book because she couldn't get into it. I understand why. Many of the stories do not have a strong theme. The premise is good, but... The anecdotes were disappointing. Yes, there were some good chapters, but it took a long way into the book to find them. I think that this book could have done with a good editor to suggest a clear focus. I wonder if it would have been published at all if the author hadn't been the editor-in-chief at Simon and Schuster.
Feb 21, 2011 Deidre rated it liked it
Korda is a good writer, hence his position as best selling author & editor at S & S. I enjoyed some chapters more than others simply for the fact that I lived in Millbrook area & recognize many of the places if not the type of people who live in that area of NY. I also worked in a dressage barn & his description of the horse people I found to be pretty right on. All in all, its a tongue in cheek cute story of the typical city vs country mouse but place & class specific.
Oct 02, 2009 Hannah rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I finished this book thinking that Korda was a pompus twit with more money than good manners. His condescending observations of his neighbors left me irritated time and time again, as well as the name dropping and implied superiority of himself vs. the "lowly" country folk.

If you discounted the snide comments, the first part of the book was pretty interesting. However, the last 4 chapters became rambling and could have been condensed into one chapter.
May 28, 2012 Joanna rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book probably due to having living in a near-rural setting for almost 20 years, I was able to relate. Well, I didn't own horses OR pigs but I did get snowbound more than once and neighbors DO drop in without calling first! An accurate picture of non-suburban/rural life. If you're considering a move out of the suburbs or city, read this first! Checked this one out of the library but wouldn't have minded purchasing it. Yeah,it was THAT good!
Ellen Bell
Sep 22, 2013 Ellen Bell rated it did not like it
If you are someone who finds humor in looking down your nose on people from rural areas, chuckling at their habits, clothing, mannerisms, and various idiosyncrasies, then this is the book for you. If, on the other hand, you don't believe that wealthy white British men represent the pinnacle of all that is civilized in the world, then drop this book and run in the other direction.
Dec 01, 2013 Debbie rated it liked it
I found this book interesting as I had little knowledge of horses or life inside or outside of New York City. Michael Korda nicely lays out the highs and low of each. His perspective is from a life of privilege but one of hard work too. If you have ever commuted to work by train you'll readily identify with his description of the pluses and minuses.
May 20, 2011 Jessi rated it did not like it
What an awful book. Full of pomp & circumstance, he didn't say a single thing worthwhile in the first 100 pages (which is all I managed to get through). If you don't know anything about rural living, enjoy name-dropping, and generally think better-than-thous are interesting to listen to, than by all means, buy & read this nonsense.
Jan 18, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing
Michael Korda does a good job with a familiar subject; the city slicker who shucks it all and moves to the country. The what makes this book different to me is that he writes about the area which I now live and has a lot of fun with it. There were many times that I was laughing out loud.
May 29, 2011 Jackie rated it really liked it
Another one of those books by an editor moving to the country. Seems that if you go by books published, the only people moving to the country are editors. But still, the book was an enjoyable escape. Since I am not an editor or an ex-editor I will never be able to move to the country.
Dec 15, 2012 Jackie rated it it was amazing
I love Mr Korda's easy story telling rhythms. This is my second time through this book, and some of the details I remember, were overshadowed by new facts I had missed the first time. Loved the premise of country living and its charms and challenges for a European in America.
Sandy D.
This is also an interesting look at the upper class (complete with foxhunting, horse jumping events, and lots of vehicles and clothes) vs. the lower-middle class (farmers, contractors, employees of various kinds) in New York about an hour and a half north of the city.
Stacia Carrell Lynch
A sort of clumsy "A Year In Provence." Skip this name-dropping and less interesting book and read that one instead.
Feb 08, 2011 Robi rated it it was amazing
As someone who moved from the suburbs to the rural area of New Jersey, I really could relate to this book. And our rural is cosmopolitan compared to what Michael Korda encountered. A quick, entertaining read--highly recommend.!
Aug 11, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
What a snob! Since he loves animals I'll give him a pass on his bragging. The writing moved along. Korda has a droll sense of humor, but all the name dropping and snobbery might irritate.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A lovely read. Author moved from the city to the country...successfully. Beautiful writing, with that incredibly understated British sense of humor.
Jan 06, 2009 Clare rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a pleasant, relaxing read about city folk who decide to try out the country life.
Aug 06, 2007 Vicki rated it did not like it
an irrelevant pompous book. although not bad as car candy on drive from montana to washington.
Gaby Nieves
Mar 10, 2008 Gaby Nieves rated it it was amazing
Very funny book about a couple moving from NYC to Rhinebeck, NY.
Sep 03, 2012 Royale rated it it was ok
Just ok. Disappointing. Struggled to get through it.
Mar 08, 2008 Sunni rated it really liked it
What a hoot! Shades of moving to Gettysburg.
Jun 29, 2008 Jane rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this very much.
Michelle Meades
Jun 30, 2012 Michelle Meades rated it it was amazing
great book and very amusing
Apr 25, 2010 Pdm rated it liked it
Shelves: fave-non-fiction
Really enjoyed this
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is an English-born writer and novelist who was editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster in New York City.
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