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A House Somewhere: Tales of Life Abroad (Lonely Planet Journeys)

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  224 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
We've all dreamt of escaping to a House Somewhere. In this collection some of the finest names in contemporary travel writing reveal the perils and pleasures of exchanging the familiar for the foreign.
Isabel Allende discovers love and paradise in California, Pico Iyer finds home in Japan amidst the alien and indecipherable, and a dank barge on the Seine opens up a new sid
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 1st 2002 by Lonely Planet Publications
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 543)
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Debbie Robson
Feb 11, 2010 Debbie Robson rated it it was ok
I have decided, after careful deliberation, that I simply can't read any more of this book. Which is embarrassing as I bought it for my best friend. I have struggled and struggled but I just am not interested in the extracts. They might be by famous writers but there's simply nothing to catch my interest.
Somehow nearly all (or at least most of the half I read) of the extracts read as if the same person wrote them. Yes, they are about wildly different countries but that's about all. Considering
Sep 01, 2015 Danielle rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Had to read it for school, otherwise I wouldn't have even considered reading it. I'm not going to give this a high rating because I found these stories boring. It's just not my cup of tea.
Though I am travel-writing lovers would, of course, enjoy this book.

I've only read the last half because it's only what's required of me.
Jan 20, 2015 Jenni rated it liked it
Honestly, I loved the idea of this book more than the execution. It features short excerpts from travel writers describing their lives abroad, with vignettes taking place from Paris to Tuscany to Bangkok to Japan. Some of the stories were entertaining (e.g., the guy that lived on the Seine), while others were not. Generally, there just wasn't enough time to get invested in the characters or their stories—but that's true of all short story collections. I might revisit this again someday, because ...more
Mike Wigal
Aug 16, 2015 Mike Wigal rated it liked it
These stories of expats getting homes in other countries bore me. The contractor's a thief. Too many friends want to come. "We dined on rosemary and garlic Wheat Thins delicately laced with vintage Cheese-Whiz while simultaneously being accepted into the remote village in France/Italy/Slobbovia." Suddenly when all seems lost it comes together at the last moment. Then you return to New York. Get over yourself and lay off the humble bragging.
Zoe Richardson
Feb 13, 2015 Zoe Richardson rated it liked it
Shelves: studied
Only needed to read half for A-level, haven't fully finished analysing etc yet, will update review at the end of the college year!!
Jan 26, 2015 Marc rated it liked it
Published by a guidebook company, this compilation suffers from selection, editing and sequencing issues that would have been dealt with by a traditional publishing house; that being said, Isabel Allende's A House in Paradise, Rolf Potts's Mr. Benny's Dead Uncle and Karl Taro Greenfeld's A Loft in Paris are all worth reading
Emi Bevacqua
Enjoyed much of this collection of travel writing, though just like destinations, not all the writers are my favorites. Pico Iyer is my all-time favorite travel author and he never disappoints. Isabel Allende usually bugs me and I actually liked her in this shortened format. Nobody is better than Paul Theroux at encapsulating foreign culture quirks; it's such a shame he always has to go on and on about himself. I wish there was a German house in this book.
Nov 11, 2011 Yuliya rated it it was amazing
Nothing like a collection of stories about living abroad to re-awaken not-so-dormant desires to resume what I now see is a substandard peripatetic lifestyle. Nay, not only to resume it, but to make it worthy of, perhaps not publishable work, but at least a blog blurb.

The book's collection make circle-stories of people setting off, stories of people settling in, and stories of people returning, and poignant though it was, the end of this collection inspired in me not a nostalgic homesickness or a
Darla Ebert
Dec 03, 2015 Darla Ebert rated it it was amazing
Satisfied (temporarily) my addiction to travel books and tales of life in other lands, as it were. WHAT a gold mine of interesting stories.
Mar 31, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it
I thought this was a pretty good travel book, and I liked the collection of essays giving different outlooks and writing styles. On the other hand, I was mildly disappointed that most of the essays were the same formulaic of American/British writers living in the tropics for brief periods of time. There were several essays on Asia which I enjoyed, but only two with foreign authors living in the US. I would have liked to see more variety. Where are the people living in Australia? The South Pacifi ...more
I have had to read this book as part of my college level and it wouldn't usually be something I'd try but I was willing to give it a chance.

After reading the second half of the book, as this was all we were required to read, I find it hard to judge it. This is because of there being many different stories and only small extracts, so while I may have enjoyed one or two of the stories I will admit that had I not needed to carry on reading I wouldn't have.

Not saying that it won't be good to someone
May 17, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because I’ve always wanted to live abroad. Twenty six well known writers (and not as well known) really bring to life what it’s like to be immersed in a different culture. All the joys, trials, tribulations, and lessons learned. It’s refreshing to read about living in different parts of the world- Japan, India, Morocco, and many locales, from the writers different sensibilities, perspectives, and writing styles. These diverse pieces are humorous, poignant, warm, and show an ...more
Jul 08, 2015 Dianne rated it really liked it
I usually don't read travel writing (I'd rather travel than read about others traveling...) but this was our book group selection for October. It turned out that I really enjoyed many of the stories in the book. The focus was on living in a foreign culture and the unexpected encounters that often occur. The best selections read like good short stories - my favorites which made me laugh out loud were "Digging Mr. Benny's Dead Uncle" by Rolf Potts, "City of Djinns" by Wm. Dalyrymple and "Waiting f ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Tami rated it really liked it
Some of these stories were amazing. Isabel Allende's A Home in 'Paradise' was a great read. I also enjoyed Rolf Potts' Digging Mr Benny's Dead Uncle. Oh, one story was really short and it was called A Co-op Building by Lily Brett. It captured the fickleness of neighbors very well. I have read Peter Hessler's series of books on China, and a story from River Town was featured here.

Most of the stories were great. There were a few tedious ones that slowed me down a bit, but overall....a nice treat.
Jun 14, 2015 Kaushalya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mine, memoirs
Some really nice pieces on living in a new place. I would love to read more on the opposite kind of experience as well, since this has mostly people from the U.S. And UK living abroad
Aug 22, 2012 Louisa rated it really liked it
I've only read pages 150 onwards in this boom as that was the part I had to read for my A level English lang&lit. I read this book abroad and that's where I recommend people sit and read it. Other peoples stories of travel and far off countries and beautiful scenery (sometimes) will be much easier to follow if your laying in the sun in a beautiful country. Some extracts are better than others but overall it was really enjoyable to read.
Jane Ginter
Reading a few of these stories while traveling. Easy, fun to read. I like the idea of settling down in a place temporarily, but don't know when I might to that.
James Phillips
Jul 16, 2012 James Phillips rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, a-levels
I studied sections of this book as part of my A-Level in English Language and Literature and found it thoroughly entertaining and Inspiring, making me want to visit the places described. An enjoyable book filled with some fantastic accounts of some incredible adventures.
Oct 07, 2012 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely collection - it is mainly excerpts from travel books by a variety of authors. There are some that I haven't heard of and that sounds really interesting, so I might be looking for the complete edition of their work :).
Definitely recommended.
Jan 23, 2013 Catherine rated it liked it
A hit and miss collection but I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Mayle's February.. Laughed through Rolf Potts' Digging Mr Benny's Dead Uncle, and as always, the way isabel Allende writes. William dalrymple's portrayal of India is an amusement by itself.
Jul 05, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
A great book to read while traveling. The short stories by different authors take you to other places.
There is an added bonus if you have ever lived abroad. Knowing others have gone through what I went through doesn't make me feel so silly.
Mar 27, 2012 Anji rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this on the whole, but like all compilation books, you'll love the way some of the contributors write, and some will have you skipping to the next chapter.

Hit & miss, but not a bad read on the whole.
May 23, 2013 Lorri rated it really liked it
Short stories by various travel writers about choosing to live, at least for a time, somewhere. Written between 1980s and 2002 and covering most of the world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about another side of travel.
Oct 29, 2012 Amy rated it it was ok
Liked Simon Winchester, Jan Morris, Isabelle Allende and a few other selections. All were interesting for their locales, but not all the excerpts were engaging in a way that I personally connected with.
Apr 18, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, owned-in-print
Perfect to dip in and out of. Stories that will make you laugh, cry and gasp. Overall a great introduction to travel writing.
Jun 19, 2010 Nancy rated it really liked it
Nice collection of location-related stories by some great writers. Especially liked Peter Hessler's, but he's a fave anyway.
Cheryl Schibley
Jul 11, 2011 Cheryl Schibley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel-memoir
Short stories or excerpts from travel memoirs - all very good. It was a fun read.
Sue Williams
Feb 15, 2012 Sue Williams rated it really liked it
I really liked this one. Makes me want to buy a home somewhere.
Jun 29, 2009 Nina rated it it was amazing
one of the nicest anthologies of travel stories!
Brooke marked it as to-read
Sep 21, 2016
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