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A Room with a Pew: Sleeping Our Way Through Spain's Ancient Monasteries
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A Room with a Pew: Sleeping Our Way Through Spain's Ancient Monasteries

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  16 reviews
An offbeat and entertaining account of a journey through Spain – staying only in ancient monasteries.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Lyons Press
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I accidentally deleted my review. Agh.

The authors make a trip across Spain, staying in Monasteries along the way. They write about the monks and nuns they encounter, the buildings, the history and some interesting local flavor along the way. They (or he) seem to be seeking and questioning faith, but don't expect a conversion story. Ultimately they seem more puzzled and amused by Christianity and it's practices, though they are clearly both enamored and awed by history - which helps balance it ou
Vera Marie
In A Room With a Pew , Richard Starks and Miriam Murcutt repeat ten-fold an unsure transaction I had buying cookies from an unseen nun in Granada.They set out to learn more about the cloistered life by sleeping in monasteries. Not all of the monasterios the couple visit are inhabited by nuns–some are for monks. And certainly not all are cloistered. Although silence is not the rule everywhere they stayed, quiet prevails in all the historic digs. Starks and Murcutt travel from northern Spain, abo ...more
The authors made what I can only think of as the truly peculiar decision to write this book in the first-person singular -- because, as they say in an Authors' Note, first-person plural would have been awkward and would have suggested that they are joined at the hip. I had a really hard time getting past it, though, in large part because it meant that the narrator was nameless and faceless -- either of them could have been 'I' at any given point, or it could have been just one person as 'I' the ...more
First off I absolutely loved this book! It may be the history buff in me showing; but going into this book knowing very little of Spanish history I found this read to be entertaining and informative on many subjects without getting bogged down in any one topic. In one paragraph alone in Chapter 4 we learn about the Spanish Inquisition, a little local slang, translation of a Spanish idiom and a reference (joke) involving torture methods and political correctness.
As we travel to each monesterio o
you can stay in monasteries, or some of them, in spain, as a traveler or vacationer. you have to check first, and even then, many are not run as "hotels" so there still may not be rooms ready, or even available. these are different than the paradores that have been remodeled explicitly for the tourist trade. so, many guests to the monasteries are not tourist but rather seekers, of peace, perhaps reconnection to their religion, meditation, those kinds of things. you really cannot go out partying ...more
Join experienced tourist and authors, Richard Starts and Miriam Murcott, on their journey through Spain. Wanting to slow down and see a side of Spain most tourists miss, the authors chose to stay in active monasteries and convents scattered through the countryside on their road trip from Barcelona in the north to Malaga in the south. They intentionally avoid the monasteries that have been converted into luxury tourist hotels and in the process have some really unusual experiences. This book real ...more
Stephanie Mayo
A relaxed and intriguing read with humorous undertones. I really enjoyed the casual flow of their collaborative writing and even the smattering of history is well dealt with.
Lisa Mckay
This was a tough read for me in that I have to be in the right frame of mind to read travel stories...this is the first one I actually made it through. Goodreads giveaways really is helping me expand my reading horizons.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the history the authors provided of the monasteries and surrounding areas they visited. Their description of the people they met was also very interesting and entertaining. At the end of the book, the authors provide advice for planning you
J. Ray
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It's a personal experience travel book through which it was easy to place myself along with the authors on this off the tourist track journey. The authors' story is at the same time educational but quirky and irreverent. It had me laughing out loud one moment and pondering the deep faith and commitment of an interesting variety of monastic communities at another. This is an engaging "armchair traveler" book and also one that has planted seeds for real future trav ...more
I wanted to love this book. I enjoy a good memoir, it is the next best thing to having a fascinating friend to travel with. The problem in this book was that the narrator was actually two people, a man and a woman, talking as if they were one. I struggled to picture my travelling companion. Their voice was one of a cynic. It was well-informed about church history but when it came to meeting the inhabitants of the monasteries it was more inclined to mock and stereotype.
I liked the way this book was put together - one part informative, two parts entertainment. The only thing the book lacks, that would have made it awesome, is photos of these monasteries. Historical places are really fascinating to read about, but a visual makes the story that much better. Overall, a really cool adventure that has me wanting to drag my family to Spain!

(I won this book thru Goodreads first reads - Thanks!)
I tried to read this book several times, however I'm just not able to get thru it. I'm sure someone who is very interest in the history of Spain and it's ancient monasteries will find it quite informative. I'm sorry I can't give it a better review but at least it's an honest review.
Frances Fong
This definitely encouraged me to plan my own trip to Spain. I am an absolute history and religion buff, the historical side to it, so this book was up my alley. Highly recommended.
I liked this book very much because the authors are not religious. However, it makes me sad to see monasteries turned into hotels, and numbers of religious in Spain dwindling.
This interesting travelogue of staying at monasteries as the authors traveled through Spain was interesting and makes me want to do the same.
Sep 09, 2012 Susan marked it as to-read
This looks like an amazing travel book - fingers crossed!
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Richard Starks is a former journalist, editor and publisher, and is now a full-time writer.

"I've written nine books so far, but sometimes feel I'm just getting started.

My latest book is a crime thriller, Money Doesn't Talk, It Kills (Prestwicke Publishing, 2014), which is now available as an ebook for Kindle and all other ereaders.

My other books include two more novels: a political thriller (publi
More about Richard Starks...
Lost in Tibet: The Untold Story of Five American Airmen, a Doomed Plane, and the Will to Survive Greenland for  $1.99 - A brief (and illustrated) account of a journey inside the Arctic Circle The Brood Along the River that Flows Uphill: From the Orinoco to the Amazon Money Doesn't Talk, It Kills

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