Kristin Newman’s travel memoir What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding is a refreshing read. When the majority of stories in movies and on television revolve around a woman finding Mr. Right, Newman’s story manages to celebrate the single life with a lot of travel and humor too.
I love memoirs, I love travel, and I love eating. And when they’re all combined into one book I love them even more. So it’s no surprise that I enjoyed reading Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love From a Year in Paris by Ann Mah.
I first wanted to read The Vacationers after coming across an article in Conde Nast Traveler written by the author Emma Straub. In the article, she writes about her travels to the Spanish island of Mallorca, a destination she decided would be the setting for her novel. Her description of the small towns, fresh food from the markets and tapas bars, and deserted beaches led me to finally read her book.
Over the last few months, I’ve read a handful of memoirs and contemporary fiction where travel and locales play a major role in the story. So I’ll have some book reviews to come that I think are great armchair travel reads – the perfect remedy to satiate your wanderlust when you can’t exactly leave town. First up is I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum.
I recently read a book by Beth Kephart titled Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir and in it she asks the reader to think about what draws he or she to a particular memoir. I thought about it and here’s what I wrote down:
The memoirs I like to read share a story of inspiration and make me dream and do. The writers are honest and vulnerable which I admire and they make me feel like I’m not alone. Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod fits that description perfectly.
My aunt passed me this book after she finished reading it and only described it as a book about a girl who meets a French guy and moves to Paris to be with him. I wasn’t that interested because it sounded like a boring cliche but who am I to turn down a free book and one set in France? However, this book really surprised me and I would read huge chunks of it at a time and feel like only a few minutes had passed.
Currently reading My First New York. Adapted from a New York Magazine cover story, various actors, artists, writers, political figures, comedians, and chefs share their first experiences of living in New York City from the 1930s to the present day. I’ve always played with the idea of moving to New York, even if only just for a year, just to have the experience and say I did it but I don’t know if a California girl like me could handle the Big Apple.
I finally got around to reading Hemingway’s stories of living in 1920s Paris and while I have to admit that I got lost in some of the chapters, for the most part I loved Hemingway’s descriptions of the setting in Paris on any given day – the details of the walks he would take from a cafe where he was writing to his home or what he would eat when he was dining with a fellow writer or trips he would take with his wife to Austria or Spain. The book makes me want to read other stories about the writers living in Paris during the 20s like Fitzgerald, Stein, Pound, and Ford.