Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels are great for the holidays. A plucky heroine, a dangerous mystery, fabulous scenery and food in the south of France, and all tied up neatly in the end. Written in 1955, there are some slightly jarring elements for the modern reader, but it’s a whole lot of fun.
I think I liked this book mostly because in it, the author does something I would very much like to do; she takes a year off work and regular life, to travel. The title makes it sound like she just floated on the wind, which isn’t true. She had plans for where she was going, but while she was there, she learned to relax and be open to adventure, friendship and love. It’s about a journey to rediscover self, but it isn’t preachy or new agey, neither is it about the destination. It is certainly a dreamy journey that I am glad to have shared.
Three Men in a Boat is a classic I am only just getting to now. It’s that particular sort of British humour -bumbling, self-deprecating and obvious, mixed with a travelogue, nostalgic for the history of the countryside along the Thames. Quaintly amusing, historically interesting (given that it was written in the 1880s and was looking back) and with a marvellous dog called Montmorency, this is a quick, fun read.
This was a little slice of Italy. When food writer Paul arrives in Italy to finish his book and finds his car rental booking nonexistent, he finds himself hiring a bulldozer instead. It is the characters that Paul meets that make this story, more than the fact that he is driving around Italy on a bulldozer. They are quirky and interesting and make for a story that is a little off centre but enjoyable.
Pull up a bar stool, have a beer (or three) and let Phil tell you a story. Colourful Australian language shines throughout as Phil takes jobs around the country that seem to be over as fast as he lands them. His laid back attitude to life and sense of humour are ever present.
The Road to Little Dribbling is Bill Bryson’s first travel book for fifteen years – a brand new journey around Britain. His last three major works were largely social histories – One Summer: America 1927, At Home: A Short History of Private Life and A Short History of Nearly Everything.
If you’re a Bill Bryson addict, The Road to Little Dribbling is a must read. If you’re looking to read you first Bill Bryson, I’d probably go with something different, either The Lost Continent, Notes from a Small Island or Down Under (his Australian book). Continue reading
What a rollicking, raucous, hilarious, unpredictable adventure! Sandy MacKinnon is a Swallows and Amazons and Narnia loving man with a disregard for planning and safety, which took him, and therefore his readers, on an extraordinary journey from Wales to the Black Sea in a dinghy called Jack de Crow. I loved every minute of it.