Tag Archives: Travel

Books of the Week #21

The Seine: The River that Made Paris by Elaine Sciolino

A vibrant, enchanting tour of the Seine from longtime New York Times foreign correspondent and best-selling author Elaine Sciolino.

Elaine Sciolino came to Paris as a young foreign correspondent and was seduced by a river. In The Seine, she tells the story of that river from its source on a remote plateau of Burgundy to the wide estuary where its waters meet the sea, and the cities, tributaries, islands, ports, and bridges in between.

Sciolino explores the Seine through its rich history and lively characters: a bargewoman, a riverbank bookseller, a houseboat dweller, a famous cinematographer known for capturing the river’s light. She discovers the story of Sequana—the Gallo-Roman healing goddess who gave the Seine its name—and follows the river through Paris, where it determined the city’s destiny and now snakes through all aspects of daily life. She patrols with river police, rows with a restorer of antique boats, sips champagne at a vineyard along the river, and even dares to go for a swim. She finds the Seine in art, literature, music, and movies from Renoir and Les Misérables to Puccini and La La Land. Along the way, she reveals how the river that created Paris has touched her own life. A powerful afterword tells the dramatic story of how water from the depths of the Seine saved Notre-Dame from destruction during the devastating fire in April 2019.
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Bread on the Table: Recipes for Making and Enjoying Europe’s Most Beloved Breads [A Baking Book] by David Norman

The debut cookbook from cult favorite Austin bakery and beer garden Easy Tiger, featuring recipes from author David Norman’s time spent exploring bread traditions throughout Europe and North America, plus menu ideas for incorporating homemade bread into everyday meals.
In this highly anticipated cookbook, culinary instructor and baker David Norman explores the European breadmaking traditions that inspire him most–from the rye breads of France to the saltless ciabattas of Italy to the traditional Christmas loaves of Scandinavia. Norman also offers recipes for traditional foods to accompany these regional specialties, so home bakers can showcase their freshly made breads alongside a traditional Swedish breakfast spread, oysters with mignonette, or country pâté, to name a few examples. With rigorous, detailed instructions plus showstopping photography, this book will surprise and delight bakers of all stripes.

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Celtic Mythology: History for kids by Dinobibi Publishing

No mythology is more magical than Celtic mythology. The Celts of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales created an imaginative world full of fairies, sea monsters, and nature gods. In Ireland especially, the land and culture are alive with stories from the past. People living there who believed in strong, powerful gods, fairy folk who were sometimes up to no good, and all sorts of supernatural beings who lived alongside humans.
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I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck

Two best friends, 500 miles, one wheelchair, and the challenge of a lifetime.
Friendship takes on new meaning in this true story of Justin and Patrick, born less than two days apart in the same hospital. Best friends their whole lives, they grew up together, went to school together, and were best man in each other’s weddings. When Justin was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease that robbed him of the use of his arms and legs, Patrick was there, helping to feed and care for him in ways he’d never imagined. Determined to live life to the fullest, the friends refused to give into despair or let physical limitations control what was possible for Justin.
So when Justin heard about the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile trek through Spain, he wondered aloud to Patrick whether the two of them could ever do it. Patrick’s immediate response was: “I’ll push you.”
I’ll Push You is the real-life story of this incredible journey. A travel adventure full of love, humor, and spiritual truth, it exemplifies what every friendship is meant to be and shows what it means to never find yourself alone. You’ll discover how love and faith can push past all limits—and make us the best versions of ourselves.
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Mermaid’s Gift (A Baba Treasure Chest story Book 4) by Ronesa Aveela

Nine-year-old Nick celebrates his Name Day in December, on St. Nicholas Day. But the day is filled with worry because his father is caught out fishing on the ocean during a storm. He receives a special gift from his mother that day, a gift that has an unusual message. Mermaid’s Gift is a short story. In the tradition of family togetherness, Baba Treasure Chest stories are geared toward the entire family.

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Books of the Week #18

One Autumn in Europe by Steven Hubbell

This is a travel journal, a tribute, a coming of age in foreign lands adventure tale, and the celebration of a personal pilgrimage. It is a cultural feast as witnessed through the eyes of a young, small-town Texas explorer on the quest for his own sword in the stone. What he finds both humbles and emboldens him; his discoveries alternately astonish and educate and terrify and reassure him as he hitchhikes from London to Rome and back, savoring every nuance he can find 5,000 miles from home.
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A Great Love of Small Proportion by Colin Falconer

Diego Sanchis is Seville’s most famous painter; his glorious art fills every church in the famous city. But for all the beauty in his soul, Diego himself is no oil painting. He sees beauty everywhere, but what beauty will ever look at him?
Until one day he is asked to take on a new student.
Mercedes Goncalvez is the most desired young woman in the city, and her father is rich and powerful. They are so utterly different – but they discover their souls are the same.
But these are dangerous days to defy convention. Beyond the dungeons of the Inquisition, to overcome betrayal and torture; even as the Christian cannons are turned towards the heavenly gardens of the Alhambra, can Diego and Mercedes cling to true beauty among the ashes of last hope?
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The Little Book of the Icelanders: 50 miniature essays on the quirks and foibles of the Icelandic people by Alda Sigmundsdottir

After more than 20 years away, Alda Sigmundsdottir returned to her native Iceland as a foreigner. With a native person’s insight yet an outsider’s perspective, Alda quickly set about dissecting the national psyche of the Icelanders. This second edition, from 2018, contains new and updated chapters from the original edition, reflecting the changes in Icelandic society and among the Icelandic people since the book was first published in 2012.
Among the fascinating subjects broached in The Little Book of the Icelanders:
The appalling driving habits of the Icelanders
Naming conventions and customs
The Icelanders’ profound fear of commitment
The irreverence of the Icelanders
Why Icelandic women are really men
How the Icelanders manage to make social interactions really complicated
The importance of the family in Icelandic society
Where to go to meet the real Icelanders (and possibly score some free financial advice)
Rituals associated with weddings, confirmations, graduations, and deaths
… and many, many more.
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The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall – but for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic.
Natalia is the granddaughter of that boy. Now a doctor, she is visiting orphanages in the war-torn Balkans when she receives word of her beloved grandfather’s death, far from their home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery.
Compelled to unravel the truth, Natalia stumbles upon a clue that will lead her to a tattered copy of The Jungle Book, and then to the most extraordinary story her grandfather never told her – the legend of the tiger’s wife.
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Sins of the Father: A Sam Smith Mystery by Hannah Howe

For the first thirty-three years of my life I had no knowledge of my father, no idea what he looked like, his name, whether he was dead or alive. Then fate brought us together. Then, a year later, he decided to hire me.
 
Although we had talked for a year, my father was still Gawain Morgan to me, a stranger, not my dad. Would the task of locating Frankie Quinn bring us closer together, or drive us further apart?
 
Frankie Quinn was a con-man, a life-long villain, a member of my father’s old gang. That’s right, my father was a villain too, with dodgy contacts, a shady past and sins he preferred to forget. The police wanted Frankie and, if arrested, he faced the prospect of spending his final years in prison. However, he had a trump card, evidence of my father’s indiscretions. Frankie was looking to cut a deal with the police, my father was looking for Frankie. They knew that one of them would spend the winter of their days in prison; but who would it be?
 
Meanwhile, the clock was ticking towards my wedding day. Would I enjoy the happiest day of my life, or be left crying into my champagne?
 
Sins of the Father, ten days that defined my relationship with my dad.
 
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Europe by Book #2

The Rhine: Following Europe’s Greatest River from Amsterdam to the Alps by Ben Coates

The Rhine is one of the world’s greatest rivers. Once forming the outer frontier of the Roman Empire, it flows 800 miles from the social democratic playground of the Netherlands, through the industrial and political powerhouses of Germany and France, to the wealthy mountain fortresses of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

For five years, Ben Coates lived alongside a major channel of the river in Rotterdam, crossing it daily, swimming and sailing in its tributaries. In The Rhine, he sets out by bicycle from the Netherlands where it enters the North Sea, following it through Germany, France and Liechtenstein, to its source in the icy Alps. He explores the impact that the Rhine has had on European culture and history and finds out how influences have flowed along and across the river, shaping the people who live alongside it.

BBlending travelogue and offbeat history, The Rhine tells the fascinating story of how a great river helped shape a continent.

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The German Girl: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa

Berlin, 1939. Before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. But now the streets of Berlin are draped in ominous flags; her family’s fine possessions are hauled away; and they are no longer welcome in the places they once considered home. A glimmer of hope appears in the shape of the St. Louis, a transatlantic ocean liner promising Jews safe passage to Cuba. At first, the liner feels like a luxury, but as they travel, the circumstances of war change, and the ship that was to be their salvation seems likely to become their doom.

New York, 2014. On her twelfth birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious package from an unknown relative in Cuba, her great-aunt Hannah. Its contents inspire Anna and her mother to travel to Havana to learn the truth about their family’s mysterious and tragic past.

Weaving dual time frames, and based on a true story, The German Girl is a beautifully written and deeply poignant story about generations of exiles seeking a place to call home.

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The Voice of the Violin (The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries Book 4) by Andrea Camilleri

Inspector Montalbano, praised as “a delightful creation” (USA Today), has been compared to the legendary detectives of Georges Simenon, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. As the fourth mystery in the internationally bestselling series opens, Montalbano’s gruesome discovery of a lovely, naked young woman suffocated in her bed immediately sets him on a search for her killer. Among the suspects are her aging husband, a famous doctor; a shy admirer, now disappeared; an antiques-dealing lover from Bologna; and the victim’s friend Anna, whose charms Montalbano cannot help but appreciate…But it is a mysterious, reclusive violinist who holds the key to the murder.

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Hippie by Paulo Coelho

After hitchhiking from Brazil to nearly halfway around the world, Paulo stumbles across Karla, a young Dutch woman and like-minded soul, in Amsterdam’s famous Dam Square.
Together they decide to take the fabled hippie trail across Europe to Nepal, aboard the Magic Bus, in search of self-discovery. So begins a life-defining love story that will set the course for the rest of their lives.

Drawing on the rich experience of his own life, Paulo Coelho relives the dreams of a generation that longed for peace and challenged the established social order.

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The Hermit of Hisarya by Hannah Howe

This book is available in English and Bulgarian.

Some people will stop at nothing in their pursuit of wealth and power. Indeed, the greedy will often resort to murder.

“You’ve been through a stressful time recently, ” my fiance, Dr Alan Storey said. “I’m off to Bulgaria to attend a psychology conference so why don’t you accompany me and we’ll throw in a holiday as well.”

Great idea, I thought. However, when I arrived in Bulgaria my inquisitive nature compelled me towards a mystery dating back to the Second World War. That mystery involved Emil Angelov, the Hermit of Hisarya. As I delved into the past I stirred up some ghosts, which led to murder and the prospect of spending the rest of my days in a Bulgarian gaol.

The Hermit of Hisarya – a story of corruption, of murder, of a woman and her seventy-year-old dream, offering proof that the past, the present and the future are all intrinsically entwined.

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Viva Italia

Dreamland by Julia E Clements

Awarded the One Stop Fiction 5-star Book Award for excellent reads, Readers’ Favorite 5-star review, IHIBRP Recommend Read 5-star Award, and Our Author Gang’s Best Children’s Cover Award.

Daniel Green is a typical ten-year-old boy with just one difference – when he goes to sleep at night, he travels to Dreamland, a magical place where he can create amazing adventures using only his imagination.

But he is not alone. An evil being follows him into his enchanted world and joins forces with Stregona, the powerful witch who reigns over the Dark Forest. Together they are determined to destroy Dreamland.Who is this dark entity, and what does he want with Danny?

A magical story for children age 9-12.

Available in English and Italian.

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La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World by Dianne Hales

A jubilant celebration of Italy’s outsize impact on culture, from literature to art, music to movies, that “masterfully examines the multitude of reasons why so many people fall in love with Italy and the Italian lifestyle” (Forbes)

Can you imagine painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tastes of pasta, gelato, and pizza.?The first universities, first banks, first public libraries? All Italian.

A lyrical portrait of a spirit as well as a nation, La Passione appeals to the Italian in all our souls, inspiring us to be as daring as Italy’s gladiators, as eloquent as its poets, as alluring as its beauties, and as irresistible as its lovers.

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