I absolutely loved this memoir and think I should read it again when I'm in my 30's. I love the way she writes. She made me laugh. She made me cry. Sh...moreI absolutely loved this memoir and think I should read it again when I'm in my 30's. I love the way she writes. She made me laugh. She made me cry. She taught me new things. She made me reflect. I really enjoyed this memoir so much and loved going through this journey with her. It doesn't bother me that she got pre-paid to write this book as first of all she is very upfront about this fact and secondly I think that her journey was still important. I realize that not everyone can fix their life by wandering about the world..but she was fortunate enough to be able to do that..and I think anyways it wasn't about the places where she was it was about where her heart was. I can't understand why everyone thinks she is self absorbed..I mean..you did know you were picking up her memoir right? If I wrote a memoir it would be ALL ABOUT ME and the things in my life! and when I'm really honest with myself..I'm pretty self absorbed alot of the time..I don't like to be..but at the core I think I really am. I think I related alot with her honesty about the fact that she wasn't the perfect person. I really appreciate that. This is definitely one of my favorites. I wish i could give it 4 1/2 stars. (less)
I'd give this a 2.5. It was just ok for me. I wanted to love it.
I loved the descriptions of Italy and it made me yearn to go back. It definitely inten...moreI'd give this a 2.5. It was just ok for me. I wanted to love it.
I loved the descriptions of Italy and it made me yearn to go back. It definitely intensified the travel bug in me. Her descriptions of food made me super hungry too. I liked her journey of restoring this house. However, I got really bored because I felt like most of the book was about either them restoring the house or her cooking. I wished for a little more "meat" in the travelogues that I read. I was hoping for some brilliant insights in the midst of the tedious process of restoring the house but it came up short. I really appreciated the project she took on and wished that I could do it myself. However, I could not handle reading about plastering, pulling weeds, and stone building for the majority of the book.
Beautiful descriptions of Italy though. Making me long for spending more time there. (less)
One thing you should probably know about me before I proceed with my review. I suffer from wanderlust, the travel bug, or whatever name you feel compe...moreOne thing you should probably know about me before I proceed with my review. I suffer from wanderlust, the travel bug, or whatever name you feel compelled to call it. If I could explore the world for the rest of my life, I'd be a happy camper. That being said, you can imagine how giddy I was when this book showed up in my mailbox. I immediately got the goosebumps like I do before I travel caused by that feeling of exploring the unknown and the thrill that there may be an adventure in your immediate future.
I started this book and within a page or so I already had one question. Can I join this family? I mean, for real, this family is kickass. They spend 10 years meticulously planning and saving up for this "World-the-Round trip" (and yes, that's World the Round) in which they will travel around the world for 52 weeks with their two children that are 8 and 11. That would be enough to make most parents break out in a sweat and bring them to their knees with anxiety. And did I mention that for a good chunk of this time they will be cycling via tandem bikes from London to Istanbul with children and luggage in tow?
This decently thick travelogue is set up like an itinerary with excerpts of the family's personal journal entries placed in various parts of the stories. There are also added goodies that were included. The book is set up so that at different points you will come to a place where you an go on to Google Earth to visually be a part of their trip. You'll see pictures, videos, and additional text. I found myself checking out a few of them (and will probably check out more at some point) but found it a little distracting while reading to stop and get on my computer. And the likelihood of someone reading this all in front of a computer is pretty slim. Really cool feature to the book but the novelty wears off after awhile.
Anyways, this book is exceptional. I mean it. The Higham family adventure is one of the best vacations I've had from the comfort of my plush little chair. John Higham carefully creates a scrapbooks of sorts as he balances recounting the sights and the scenery (and some interesting facts along the way!) with the family's personal thoughts and experiences as they face the unknown and explore some of the most beautiful places in the world. He touches delicately on the frustrations and annoyances in traveling with one's family (such as how two adults can have alone time??) and shares the joys of experiencing the world and growing together as a family. Alot of travelogues I've read drag in places but he really knows when not to linger on one country for too long and how to balance reflection, descriptions of people and scenery, and insights on history and culture.
Whether he is describing eating ham sandwiches for months, the challenges of "luggage Tetris" or homeschooling kids on the road--be prepared to experience the good humor that the family maintains throughout. I'm not sure I could find the humor in French campgrounds with no toilet paper or being stranded in remote places. But somehow this family is able to face defeat, give it a swift blow to the groin and keep on pedaling through some of the biggest hurdles and trials that one could face whilst traveling.
The best part about this book, for me, is that this family seems to be navigating by the same principle of travel that I believe in. Traveling is so much more than snapping photographs in front of historic sites and staying in posh hotels. True, those are all elements that can make a great trip, but traveling is really about the rich experiences with other cultures and viewing the world as one gigantic classroom. It's, as John Higham points out, "about discovering how people all over the world are similar, yet different in profoundly subtle ways, and how because of those very differences we were always able to find something to eat, something to wear, and somewhere to sleep."
It helps you to realize that at the end of the day "humankind in all its wonderful weirdness is the same all over the planet."(less)
French Milk is every Francophile's version of porn. Seriously, as someone who adored every moment in Paris and who dreams to go back, reading this was the next best thing to satiate the longings I get to sit in a cool Parisian cafe and eat a croissant or to just stare adoringly at the Eiffel Tower while I soak up the rich history of the city of Paris.
French Milk is a travelogue like no other. I've read a lot of travelogues so I feel pretty confident in saying this. It is a journal of a six week trip to Paris taken by a twenty something girl and her mother. Lucy, the twenty something, is the lens in which we get to experience the great City of Lights. Rather than filling the pages with the typical wordy descriptions of experiences in foreign lands and retrospective musings as most travelogues, Lucy shares her experiences and feelings straight out of her journal. But unlike most journals, her journal is KICK ASS. She is an amazing artist and aspiring comic book illustrator so the whole book is a mix of comic book like drawings of the things the saw, ate and experienced...along with how she felt along the way. She also incorporated real pictures that she took along the way. It slightly reminded me of my own travel journal minus the fact that I can't draw.
One of the reasons I really enjoyed this book could possibly be a detractor for other people who aren't as obsessed about travelogues or Paris as I am. Most of the travelogues I read tend to be pretty fast paced and travel along to different places. What I loved about this is that they pretty much stayed in Paris the whole time. It wasn't a fast paced, crazy adventure but I really enjoyed getting such a glimpse of the real Paris...not just the tourist's view of Paris. I truly felt like I experienced Paris in a different way reading about the food and their immersion into the cultural for six weeks. I guess maybe I feel the same way that I feel about travel. Sure, I want to run around and keeping hopping along to as many countries and places as I possibly can see in a span of a week or two. I want to see it all. But ideally, I would love to spend significant time in places and really look beyond the surface. That is the experience I got from this book and I loved it.
That being said, I'll admit that at sometimes I wish that there would be a little more happening or that I'd really understand some of the things that she learned while she was there..but it really was such a great experience for me. And such a unique and refreshing take on a travelogue.
My Final Thought: French Milk was a unique travelogue that I really enjoyed and read in a matter of hours due to the format of the book. I loved that I felt totally immersed in Parisian life and I found myself wanting to keep this book for reference to find the cool non-touristy cafes and restaurants that she visited during her six weeks of becoming a local of sorts. I'd probably really only recommend this to people who are travelogue addicts like myself and don't mind something a little slower paced and different than your typical travelogue. Read this if you want to fully be immersed in Parisian life and don't mind lots of talk of food and museums and art. Get on this one Francophiles! Felt a lot like listening to a friend recount her Parisian adventure and flip through her scrapbook with her.(less)
This book was the nicotine patch to my travel addiction. Wanderlust at its finest. I truly felt the thrill of sitting wide-eyed, wit...moreA solid 4.5 stars!
This book was the nicotine patch to my travel addiction. Wanderlust at its finest. I truly felt the thrill of sitting wide-eyed, with my hair blowing and the music blaring, and staring out the open window trying to take in all the sights before me only to realize that I couldn't possibly take it all in. I loved being able to be on the road, albeit vicariously, but it pacified my annoying little travel bug. Read this book if you tried to read On the Road (one of my favorite books), for the promise of a good road trip, but couldn't quite take the stream of consciousness writing or the meandering plot and wanted some sweet romance and a bit more action.
FULL REVIEW on my blog along with a personal playlist from the last road trip I was on!(less)
Just One Year was flawless for me — everything I could have hoped for and more. Had all the amazing char...moreFrom my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Just One Year was flawless for me — everything I could have hoped for and more. Had all the amazing characteristics of a Gayle Forman novel — superb writing, thought provoking, depth in story & character development, heart and soul — and I loved Willem’s physical journey as well as his journey to find happiness, love (read: not just romance) and ultimately himself. If you are looking for a novel that truly doesn’t hinge itself on a romance, even though we know Allyson & Willem’s one day together was special & life altering, this will be so satisfying for you as it was for me. I don’t reread often but Just One Day and Just One Year are going to be stories I need to revisit again and again. I feel like I can never show enough gratitude to Gayle Forman for Just One Day and Just One Year — a most perfect duology that truly did impact me enough to actually change things about my life.
OH MY GOD. I hate all of you who read this book and then DIDN'T force me to read it when I got it on NetGalley months ago! You should have said..."don...moreOH MY GOD. I hate all of you who read this book and then DIDN'T force me to read it when I got it on NetGalley months ago! You should have said..."don't eat or breathe or even fucking start planning your wedding until you read this because THIS BOOK embodies you and your whole crazy notion of being a nomadic wanderer for your whole life."
Good thing I finally got to it. Although it makes me want to kidnap Will immediately after our wedding (even more so than I already do prior to reading this) so we can become global vagabonds together. TILL DEATH BY TRAVEL DO US PART, babyyy!
Bad thing about this book is that I'm going to be sitting at work tomorrow dreaming of all the places that I'm not and hating my life in corporate America. Truly, in the past year year that I've worked their they must laugh at the Google searches I do on my computer.. "traveling for a living", "how to quit your corporate job and become a nomad" etc etc.
Taken from my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Unfortunately, for me, How My Summer Went Up In Flames didn’t stand out. It had its moments and...more Taken from my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Unfortunately, for me, How My Summer Went Up In Flames didn’t stand out. It had its moments and generally was entertaining and fun — the perfect type of summer read when you are craving something light that will take you no time to breeze through because it’s paced really well. I loved the secondary characters but there was a lot about the main character and her storyline that irked me and put a damper on this romp across America. She had her moments where I was like, “Girl, you rock!” but never moved past that. It wasn’t that I DIDN’T like How My Summer Went Up In Flames but I just didn’t love it though I know SO many are going to not even notice the things that annoyed me. I did appreciate how realistic it was and that it wasn’t totally romance centric but it just never made me FEEL anything more than, “Ok, that was fun.” I will say that I will be picking up her next book Famous Last Words because I think she writes fun contemporaries.