Culinary and Travel Stories, from Al Dente to Zucchini Blossoms

Book review: The Bread and the Knife, by Dawn Drzal (Amazon / Book Depository) Former cookbook editor Dawn Drzal’s memoir is structured around 26 dishes or ingredients of significance in her life, matched up to the letters of the alphabet. Although the alphabet theme is a bit gimmicky, the writing is anything but. Drzal draws powerful metaphors from the role food has played in her … Continue reading Culinary and Travel Stories, from Al Dente to Zucchini Blossoms

5 Mini-Reviews from the Did-Not-Finish Stack

I used to hold myself to a strict standard of finishing every book I started. It was painful. Why insist on spending precious time finishing something I’m not enjoying just because I made a decision one time to read it? Abandoning feels freeing in its own little way. Time for another look into some of the books I’ve tried and put aside over the past … Continue reading 5 Mini-Reviews from the Did-Not-Finish Stack

A Travelogue In Search Of What’s Making Russia Great Again

Book review: In Putin’s Footsteps, by Nina Khrushcheva and Jeffrey Tayler (Amazon / Book Depository) The new stories were no longer those of Yeltsin’s Russia, which was perceived, both at home and abroad, as a weak, insignificant, and corrupt bogeyman reeling from its Cold War defeat. These were stories of an enigmatic young technocrat tirelessly crisscrossing the country and meeting with workers, farmers, and cultural … Continue reading A Travelogue In Search Of What’s Making Russia Great Again

12 Upcoming Nonfiction Titles in 2019, Part the Last

While investigating what new nonfiction 2019 has in store, I found way too many exciting titles. I could spread these out over the year, but why wait? So here’s the final installment of nonfiction I’m looking forward to in the coming year. What sounds good to you here? D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah … Continue reading 12 Upcoming Nonfiction Titles in 2019, Part the Last

The Subtle Joys of Traveling Alone

Book review: Alone Time, by Stephanie Rosenbloom Amazon What follows are impressions of four journeys; a love letter to loners, to witches and shamans, to those who cherish their friends, spouses, and partners yet also want alone time to think, create, have an adventure, learn a skill, or solve a problem…find your “thinking path,” to discover what you want from your own solitary moments. New … Continue reading The Subtle Joys of Traveling Alone

Perspectives On Paris

Book review: A Paris All Your Own, edited by Eleanor Brown (Amazon / Book Depository) “My time in Paris was like no one else’s ever.” “In the end, I think Paris kept us married for an extra five years.” “I should probably write an article for a women’s magazine about this: ‘Lose Weight While Eating Your Feelings in Paris!’” A Paris All Your Own is a … Continue reading Perspectives On Paris

Vignettes of Life and Memories from the American Midwest to Italy

Book review: American English, Italian Chocolate, by Rick Bailey (Amazon / Book Depository) English professor Rick Bailey writes a sweet, soft memoir in vignette-style essays stretching from the American Midwest to northern Italy. Musings include high school dramas and levitation parties, medical issues humorous and otherwise, death, home insect infestations, historical perceptions of beans, how Nutella might taste better in Italy than in America, and, a favorite: … Continue reading Vignettes of Life and Memories from the American Midwest to Italy

Lost is an OK State to Be In

Book review: All Over the Place, by Geraldine DeRuiter (Amazon / Book Depository) Geraldine deRuiter is the voice behind The Everywhereist, a funny, quirky travel blog. She started writing about her travels, and often her ineptitude in accomplishing them, after losing her job in the recession, thus freeing her up to accompany her husband, a workaholic SEO entrepreneur, to various conferences and speaking engagements throughout the U.S. … Continue reading Lost is an OK State to Be In

Field Guide to the Strange and Unusual

Quinta da Regaliera in Sintra, near Lisbon, Portugal. Me, in blue, in the deep, dark, moss-covered Initiation Well where Masonic ceremonies allegedly took place. One of the fantastic, fascinating sites highlighted in the book Book review: Atlas Obscura, by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton (Amazon / Book Depository) How often do you hear of travel guides promising to lead you off the beaten path? And how … Continue reading Field Guide to the Strange and Unusual

From Sheepshead to the Mediterranean

Book review: In the Company of Dolphins by Irwin Shaw (Amazon)  Originally published in 1964, this is author (among other talents) Irwin Shaw’s sweetly inspiring memoir of chartering a yacht and sailing the Mediterranean with his wife and son and an amusingly difficult captain. As a boy in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, he watched the ships and dreamed of sailing one of his own, and after spending … Continue reading From Sheepshead to the Mediterranean

Best Notes for the Grand Tour

Book review: Leading the Blind, by Alan Sillitoe (Amazon / Book Depository) Leading the Blind is Alan Sillitoe’s witty compilation of some of the most interesting, bizarre, quirky or hilariously biased and outdated bits from 19th century guide books to continental Europe, with a select few parts of the Middle East thrown in for good measure. These guide books were tailored to wealthy British travelers doing trendy Grand Tours … Continue reading Best Notes for the Grand Tour