Sunday, June 24

Recommended (and not) travel reading

I read quite a lot of travel/memoir.
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I recently filled you in on how much I enjoyed Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. As for other travel/journey/memoirs, some are equally entertaining and some are... well...

Let's be honest, sometimes there's a dud.

Last week I wasted 5 bucks on LIVING LIKE A LOCAL: Stories of Our Life in France. Reading that "book" was like reading a diary. A poorly written diary. A poorly written diary in which the phrase "couldn't be better" pops up often. (Really, are there that many things that "couldn't be better?") And the passive voice pervades the text: "There were posters around town..." "The movie was shown..."

The CAPS LOCK in the title should have been my first clue...

That said, there are plenty of excellent tales to be read. A couple of travel books I've loved:
  • Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools is the tale of a couple that packs up and moves from London to Andalucia, managing to chuckle their way through linguistic and cultural barriers while adopting half a dozen chickens along the way.
  • I'm not an Alcoholic, I'm just European! is the story of a widower who leaves his housebound life behind to move to Madrid. The book benefits greatly from the author's sense of wonder as he opens up to a world he once only watched on television.
Combined, those two books made me want to pack my own suitcase and move to Spain.

What books have you loved (or loathed) lately?


  1. I liked Wild as well and I wish there were more books about people's experiences through-hiking a major trail system. (I did not enjoy Bill Bryson's 'A Walk in the Woods,' however.)

    I read a really good book a couple summers ago about a couple who decided to travel the world without ever using air travel. They did it entirely by boat or rail or car and they went to some really off-the-beaten-path countries and places. Can't remember what it's called for the life of me but it was very well-written and a great summer read!

  2. I might have to read those two travel memoirs about Spain. Sadly, I won't have much time for leisure reading in the next few weeks, but I like having something to read for 20 minutes or so before bed that has nothing to do with work.

    I recently read The Hunger Games and wasn't particularly impressed. It wasn't bad, but it definitely didn't live up to the hype, IMO.

  3. I've been dipping into Madeleine L'Engle's Crosswicks Journals recently and love them- the first one has a lot of existential philosophy wrapped up in it, and there's a sense of peacefulness to it that's a delight. Highly recommended.


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