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The Year We Seized the Day: A True Story of Friendship and Renewal on the Camino
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The Year We Seized the Day: A True Story of Friendship and Renewal on the Camino

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The utterly compelling and inspirational account of how two very different writers tackle their demons walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the legendary medieval pilgrimage across Spain

Elizabeth Best had always wanted to go on a pilgrimage. Colin Bowles had never given it a moment's thought. But by a twist of fate the two barely acquainted writers seize the day a...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published July 21st 2010 by Allen & Unwin (first published 2007)
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Although it was a "secular" pilgrimage, Colin and Eli learned so much about themselves, each other and life. I have read two books on the Camino and am fascinated by the concept of walking to St. James in the footsteps of the thousands, maybe millions, through history.
I would have rated this book higher if it hadn't been for all the profanity -- intended, I'm sure, to give us a better sense of the personalities of the two co-authors, but completely unnecessary.
I have always thought that if my first foray on the Camino couldn't be the whole thing I would do the last 100 miles. This book has changed my thinking on that. There is a heavy focus on the physical toil of all the walking on the co-authors, which explains their sense of having earned the right to ent...more
Sam Bernice
It was really interesting reading two different perspectives on their experience of walking the Camino. About the time that Colin was
deep in his memories/loss, Elizabeth took over and wrote from her experience to keep it more balanced. Colin's self-deprecating humor was laugh out-loud, riotous. I've read dozens of books on the Camino and this book along with Jane Christmas' book, "What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim", have been my absolute favorites. I've walked the Camino de Santiago, and I highl...more
Krista Stevens
This book about two adutls hiking the 500-hundred mile Camino trail across the top of northern Spain was so funny at the beginning that I had to put it down sometimes I was laughing so hard. I had considered this for a Grade 12 SR book, but Colin's deep psychological guilt over his affair and subsequent suicide of his wife puts this into a different category that I think would be hard for them to relate to.

It's still a great read. Both Colin and Elli learn to face many fears and conflicts on the...more
A fabulous travel book. The authors wrote equally well, approaching the book with amazing openness and honesty, exposing all of their inner fears and demons that they had to deal with on the 800 km pilgrimage. The book is not all serious, both Eli and Colin have a good sense of humour which comes out in many of the chapters. I loved the style of book, with each author writing an alternate chapters, giving a view of what was happening each day from they different perspectives. Wonderful!
Christopher Dean
Unexpectantly I found this book to be highly engrossing. The honesty revealed by the two authors as they progress along the Camino is very endearing and you follow their many trials and tribulations with much empathy. I have only read one other Camino-related book, Paulo Coelho's The Pilgrimage, and I find The Year We Seized the Day to be quite different, but more affecting.
It certainly was compelling, though I'm not sure it would be for someone not interested in walking the Camino de Santiago. It is funny, inspiring, but the idea that it is poignant or spiritually uplifting? Umm, not so much. A little too much repeating of the story here and there, but well worth walking with these folks to get a honest picture of The Walk.
Jane Scott
Excellent book. Not really about the journey - however amazing that was as well - more about what happens when you have the time and the space to look within yourself. Sometimes its good, and sometimes not so good. Not a heavy book to read however, and has some nice bits of humour along the way
I suspect that I got rather more out of this than I might have because I had read Elizabeth Best's previous work (also memoir); I suspect also that I would have gotten more out of it had I read something similar by Bowles. That's not to say that this doesn't stand alone -- the Camino gives it, by default, enough structure to let it do so -- but it's safe to say that prior reading informed my reading here. (Worth noting, though, that both authors take what I interpret as a conscious step back fro...more
I enjoyed reading The Year We Seized The Day: A True Story of Friendship and Renewal on the Camino. This is my second book reading about the Camino de Santiago and I want to participate in the pilgrimage. The stories the authors told were shocking, emotional, and humorous.
A great read. Parts are very funny. A good look at how the Camino works its magic the slow, hard way.
This book about the Camino to Santiago DE Compostela, was a bit different from the others I have read, this was the story written by two writers, with different styles. One a 27 year old woman Eli who has one book under her belt and is hoping that this journey will start up her writing skills once again, and the other Colin who is middle aged and has written quite a few historical novels, under the name (Colin Falconer).
The two go through the normal ups and downs of most pilgrims, yet by having...more
This book was a book set for another bookclub I belong to. It is about the experience of two people who walked the entire Spanish leg of the Camino de Santiago. It is a 500 miles, or 800km pilgrimage with an ancient history. It crosses the country of Spain from France to the sea on the other side.

As it is one of those things that I would 'like to do one day' I figured that even if I never get to do it I would get to journey it vicariously with the two Australians.

It is not a travel book as such,...more
Our Library Mornington
Two successful but barely acquainted Australian writers, one a thirty something female and the other a fifty something male, document their walk across northern Spain along the Camino from the French border to Santiago de Compostela, an 800 kilometre pilgrimage that has lured pilgrims for centuries.

This is an emotional journey for both Ellie and Colin – both having to face serious emotional issues that inevitably begin to surface over the epic journey. They aim to complete the walk in one month;...more
Michelle Hendricks
I love Spain and I usually like stories about hitting the open road in search of oneself (Blue Highway), so I thought this book would be worth the read. Two writers walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail across Spain and write down their thoughts and experiences. Their reports on a particular town or stretch of trail are then read in succession. It was kind of funny to read what each thought about a tiny town or stretch of trail, but also their guesses as to what the other was experiencing (n...more
Meredith Cockrell
I was a little annoyed with the way the authors made the act of struggling with their inner demons such a focus and important part of their journey without explaining or delving into it at all. They briefly alluded to the issues they were struggling with without elaborating on anything. Being kept so out of the personal aspect of it made me frustrated and less able to connect.
Patricia Eichenlaub
A very good book about two people's experience on the camino. So many books about the camino are told not about the writer's experience and growth but as though the writer has the truth about this pilgrimage. These two do not fall into that trap. They leave the reader/ pilgrim with the of figuring out her/his own time on the camino and what it meant.
This is not my favourite 'walk-about book' so far, and it is a genre I'm drawn to over and over. There is not a sense of getting a feeling of the land itself, instead the lives of both authors tower over the landscape and the raison d'être for this account comes through as an afterthought. The reason I chose this read, was my own trip of 5 weeks into Spain, not walking El Camino Santiago but immersing myself in Asturias. Despite not spending much time reading, it was over within hours of my arri...more
By the end of the first chapter I had started planning our own Camino pilgrimage. What an adventure! Not without its challenges from this reading, but I would love to do it - for lots of different reasons. I found the book got a little bogged down in the authors' personal reflections - a little repetitive at times - but I guess these are also aspects of the walk. Day after day...with time to think.
Cathy Atkinson
My first encounter with Camino and all it's romance/appeal for all manner of human beings. I have since made up for this gap in my education and would love to do this trek though realistically I have probably left my run a little late. I enjoyed the book in so far as I was discovering this amazing trekking adventure but I found the characters a little less appealing. They were an odd combination and sympathy/empathy for them did not easily occur though I really wanted to connect with them.
Authors Elizabeth Best and Colin Bowles spent 36 days walking the Camino, through Spain. Though far from being religious pilgrims, both were physically, emotionally and spiritually transformed by days spent in contemplation of their own lives and witnessing the wonders of humanity along this old pilgrim route. In reading their book, ‘The Year We Seized the Day’, the reader is swept along with each step.
A wonderful adventure and a wonderful book.
Jamie Archer
I would actually give this a 3.5. I thought I would like this book much more than I did. I almost put it down half way through. While I'm sure many people may find refreshing the perspective brought by the two authors, I found the sarcasm and tone mocking and irreverent. However, I think the camino had its way with them, breaking them down, as I found it less mocking and irreverent toward the last half of the book. This redeemed it for me.
Ellen B
I bought this book from Amazon on a whim (and because it was a deal) because it takes place in one of my favorite countries. It wasn't the story I expected, but very interesting and thought-provoking all the same. The writing is brutally honest at times--I could have done with less swearing, but one can't have everything--and it was very moving to see these two people grow during their journey.
Thought provoking and honest, I really enjoyed this! It was really interesting to read about two very different people's own personal journeys and experiences on the Camino, although it got a little repetitive at times. Eye opening too, I've always been interested in the idea of a pilgrimage, especially along the Santiago de Compostela and this book has made me fall a little more in love with it!
Lisa Rich
I had never heard of Santiago do Compostela route so was very interested to read all about it. As an old friend of Colin's I was also interested in read how he was coping emotionally.
Wendy Currey
An interesting book, but it was almost like the Camino was an extra to the story. Writers bared their souls though, very brave to write this book.
Ellen Pomes
Loved this book. I'm a slow reader and I finished it in two days. Laugh out loud funny, but also so thought provoking.
Given its her first book, good effort by Best. As someone who has 20 novels under his belt, I expected more of Bowles.
Anne marked it as to-read
Oct 17, 2014
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