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

A Room with a Pew by Richard Starks
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's review
Jan 16, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction, travel, religion, z-2014, reviewed

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 entire time, with the other the (nameless, faceless) sidekick. I don't meant to make too big a point of it -- it's just something that threw me, and then kept throwing me.

Anyway. The book covers a ramble (by automobile) across Spain to stay in various monasteries and convents; the authors seem pretty firmly skeptical of the religion part of things but also deeply curious. It makes for a fairly in-depth read in terms of history, and also some interesting points regarding the future of, in particular, some of the convents -- there's a convent mentioned that comprised mainly young nuns from Kenya and Uganda and so on; while other convents have struggled to find new recruits, this one seems to thrive on pulling nuns from places where religious life is going strong.

I'm sorry they were unable to include pictures in the book, but it's rich in history and covers a decent range of places.

Jumbled thoughts on narrative choices here.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 16, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
January 16, 2014 – Shelved
January 17, 2014 – Shelved as: nonfiction
January 17, 2014 – Shelved as: travel
January 18, 2014 – Shelved as: religion
February 6, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014
February 9, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed

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