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Reading Challenges > May 2014 Reading Challenge: Travel Literature

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message 1: by Amy (new)

Amy | 20 comments Mod
Summer vacation is coming up and even if you don't have time off, it's still fun to take a journey by reading a travel memoir.

I'll be reading The Art of Travel but you can read any travel writing, memoir or guide.

Comment on what you're reading (and where you'd like to travel) in the section below and you'll have a chance to win a free tote bag or advance copy of a book.

Happy reading!


message 2: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 5 comments I just put a hold on Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks. It sounds quirky. And while I don't get to travel this summer, at least I can do it through books!


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan (yetanothersusan) | 203 comments Anyone have any suggestions for me? I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love and Wild but not because they were travel related. Thanks!


message 4: by Ana (new)

Ana | 1 comments I picked up a few books about Mexico. I've traveled a bit in Mexico, but I know there is soooo much I don't know yet. I like to grab books from the children's section and any travel books that have tons of pictures. I like when travel guide books suggest restaurants with prices and directions and top places to visit. It makes it easier to plan an itinerary.


message 5: by Brendle (last edited May 06, 2014 09:46AM) (new)

Brendle (akajill) | 235 comments Mod
I LOVE to travel but since I can't always be doing it, I LOVE to go on virtual vacations and read travel lit. For this challenge I think I will pick up a book I have been meaning to read for some time, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Jennifer Steil. It's about the author's experience as a journalist in Yemen.


message 6: by Brendle (last edited May 06, 2014 09:55AM) (new)

Brendle (akajill) | 235 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Anyone have any suggestions for me? I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love and Wild but not because they were travel related. Thanks!"

You might try Down the Nile: alone in a Fisherman's Skiff by Rosemary Mahoney if you want a book about independent travel and self discovery. Alternately there is Paris I Love You but You're Bringing me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin which is about living a dream and realizing it might not be quite as perfect as you thought it would be, but loving it anyway.

If you want something funny then there is The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J Maarten Troost or the aforementioned Round Ireland with a Fridge.

I could go on and on and on, but I am sure others have good suggestions too...
What about you Amy?


message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan (yetanothersusan) | 203 comments Thanks for the suggestion! I have requested Paris I Love You and noticed Into The Wild listed as a suggestion. That is on my 50 States book list so I have requested that one too! Might as well check that off the list at the same time!


message 8: by Amy (new)

Amy | 20 comments Mod
Brendle wrote: "What about you Amy?"

I also think The Provence Cure for the Broken Heart would be a good read, if you enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love. I also love Iron & Silk by Mark Salzman, which is definitely about self-discovery, but also a more immersive look at China, beyond what a travelogue would cover.

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher
Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman


message 9: by Brendle (last edited May 20, 2014 10:40AM) (new)

Brendle (akajill) | 235 comments Mod
I finished The Woman Who Fell From the Sky this past weekend and thought overall it was a fascinating look into a country that I knew very little about. As a woman she gets to see a side of the country that many do not (we get to go behind the veil--literally) and that is very interesting reading. But I did have a problem with the author/narrator. She is a journalist and a self admitted A+ personality. This can make her more than a little unpleasant at times. She makes a very questionable personal decision at the end of the book and I found her quest to introduce Western journalism and work habits to her newspaper somewhat problematic. Does this devalue the rest of the book? No, I don't think it does. Her behavior raises interesting cultural questions to think about as you read and perhaps to discuss later. I don't know about you but I love a book that does that. Hurray for travel literature!


message 10: by Angie (new)

Angie (superbrarian) | 22 comments Brendle wrote: "She makes a very questionable personal decision at the end of the book and I found her quest to introduce Western journalism and work habits to her newspaper somewhat problematic."

I haven't read the book, but I see your point about those actions perhaps showing an insensitivity to her host culture, however, perhaps their willingness to allow her on the inside showed an interest to see "how things are done over there?" They then get to choose whether it is right or not to assimilate what she introduces to them. Maybe that's how we got tacos, sushi and hummus in the American diet.


message 11: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 5 comments I attempted to read Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks.

I hated it and couldn't get past page 50. I was very disappointed. Based on the title (I know, I know, never tell a book by its cover) and the description of the book, I was expecting something quirky. I was so bored though. The author had sorry attempts at humor which didn't actually make me laugh.

Oh well, I tried!


message 12: by Brendle (new)

Brendle (akajill) | 235 comments Mod
Angie said "...perhaps their willingness to allow her on the inside showed an interest to see "how things are done over there?"..."

Oh, absolutely they were interested in that. In most cases, the journalists she worked with did want to learn what she had to teach. I think I had more of an issue when she complained about the lack of respect for work schedules and the insertion of some Western values into stories that they were writing. But I did appreciate that she was honest about it all because it created a very vivid portrait of her experience both the good and the bad.


message 13: by Amy (new)

Amy | 20 comments Mod
Elizabeth wrote: "I attempted to read Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks.

I hated it and couldn't get past page 50. I was very disappointed. Based on the title (I know, I know, never tell a book by its cove..."


I was disappointed with my choice too! The Art of Travel sounded intriguing, but actually I found all the tie-ins to classical Western philosophers a ponderous way to explore traveling. I read the much lower-brow The Cat Who Went to Paris instead. Even though it was more about the cat than the traveling, it was much more fun to read.


message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 20 comments Mod
I hope everyone enjoyed reading a travel memoir or got a few reading suggestions from this thread.

The winner for this month is Ana! Let me know which library branch you'd like me to send your book and tote bag.

If you didn't win this month, keep an eye out for our June challenge.


message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan (yetanothersusan) | 203 comments Yeah Ana!!!

A day late, I finished Into the Wild. Very disappointed in the book. I am reading Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down. So far I like it a whole lot more. Even with the french phrases I can follow it better than Into the Wild!


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