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Incognito Street: How Travel Made Me a Writer

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Barbara Sjoholm arrived in London in the winter of 1970 at the age of twenty. Like countless young Americans in that tumultuous time, she wanted to leave a country at war and explore Europe; a small inheritance from her grandmother gave her the opportunity. Over the next three years, she lived in Barcelona, hitchhiked around Spain, and studied at the University of Granada. ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 12th 2006 by Seal Press (first published September 21st 2006)
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Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A vivid and eloquent description of the evolution of a woman writer, starting at the beginning during the "being in love with the idea of writing" phase before the writer develops a skill and a voice.

It is particularly affecting because it occurs during the 1970s when the sexual revolution was still ahead of feminism, and this young writer bumped up against this conflict. We are along for the ride as she struggles and starts to understand the nature of that struggle.

Probably the most profound in
K2 -----
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a delightful surprise. I picked this up because I knew the author and had read her other nonfiction book about growing up in a family influenced by the Christian Science Church years back.

In this book readers are taking on a ride through her travels of her very early twenties in Europe and how her experiences influence her life as a writer. When I began reading I wondered if it would interest someone who didn't know the author but I was swiftly convinced it would. She tells what it was like
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I found this at a used book store while browsing. The title spoke to me, and I devoured the first half. The chapters ended at just the right time, in just the right way, making it difficult to stop reading... but in part II, I had a tougher time staying as interested as before. I think there was a bit of repetition, and she seemed more intent on getting in every little piece of her travels to ensure that the reader knows precisely where she lived and visited, than writing an interesting and enli ...more
Jul 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women writers and writer wanna-bes
I've never regularily read memoirs, or any other form of creative non-fiction, for that matter. It is one of several previously unexplored avenues that have beckoned during my recent convalescence. This is a thoughtful, easily paced memoir with compelling descriptions of a backpacker's Europe in the 1970's. It explores the relationship of place and identity, and the particular challenges facing people who are simultaneously women and writers. It also made me want to go to Norway.
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great stories and travel writing both in this book by Barbara Sjoholm. She takes us through her first European encounters in London, through Norway working for a summer amongst other ex-pat students living in the loft of a barn and various travels throughout Spain etc. Storytelling and exotic locales. Right up my alley.
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Picked this up in a free library on a small island in the Philippines and it was the perfect book to read while traveling. The book itself is fairly unremarkable though entertaining, but what most interested me was her many, many references to previous travel writers and feminists who have influenced her, everyone from Colette to Doris Lessing.
Dec 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Slow to get into. Very descriptive of all the places she travels through, but she gradually reveals pieces of herself and makes you care about her. Definitely recommended for anyone who feels nostalgic about Spain or Norway.
Dec 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I was interested in the writer's experiences in Spain in the 70s and her blossoming as a writer. The sub-text of sub-text of her whining about whether she was a lesbian or not and her obsession with her friend Barbara was cloying and I could have done with less of.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: travellers & writers
I want to go to Norway & Madrid! ...more
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rich. Her descriptions read like poetry. I also appreciated her honesty.
Bonnie Jeanne
Jan 25, 2009 marked it as to-read
Incognito Street: How Travel Made Me a Writer by Barbara Sjoholm (2006)
Sep 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Started out a little annoying but got better. Interesting to see how different people you meet in life influence you and mold you.
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book definitely served the author's purpose. Made me want to travel and be a writer.
Jul 01, 2008 rated it liked it
This book really inspires the adventurous side in a person. I now need to plan a trip to Europe!
Lee Del
Jun 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: travellers who are running out of things to read
This book was very interesting in its description of Spain during the Franco era... and some of her travels were captivating.
Jan 05, 2010 rated it liked it
This book made me want to be young and free again. You really do learn a lot about yourself when you travel and live abroad with few concrete plans.
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I’m a writer of memoir, mysteries, fiction, and travel books on Lapland and women and the sea (The Pirate Queen). My travel essays have appeared in Smithsonian, Slate, and American Scholar, as well as many other publications. I’m Irish and Swedish, but a translator of Norwegian and Danish. I’ve written under the names Barbara Wilson (my father’s adoptive name) and Barbara Sjoholm (which means sea

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