Archive for the 'Travel Titles' Category

Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Reviewed by Joan

One woman’s search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Although this book is touted as a #1 New York Times Bestseller, I found it very superficial, shallow and focused on a few years’ experience of a most self-centered author. The one thing that kept me reading was the hope the author would find a more meaningful direction in life through all her attempts at prayer in India and Indonesia. She does raise money for a friend in Indonesia; she does find love with an older man, however, she seems as self-absorbed at the end as she does throughout the book.

Of the 108 chapters in the book, I find that 68 begin with I or me, myself, or I in the first phrase. If this is the new preferred style of writing, it truly grates on the nerves of the ordinary reader.

Her tales of eating in Italy were most mouth-watering; it surely is a good way to get over a divorce. The author gives no real details of her life, which is another disappointment. One gathers she is wealthy, talented and from a very wealthy background. She is truly fortunate her publisher paid for her years of travel to get this book.

A respect for the value of inner silence in prayer is gained from her India experience. Bali in Indonesia is very well described. It was interesting to read about her bicycle stories meeting monkeys and dogs and surviving a fall. Her fortune teller and friend healer make for interesting characters. Her lover sounds caring and experienced. I was glad she achieved her goal of a new life, happiness and a healing from divorce.

Although I am still astounded by the self-centered way Elizabeth Gilbert writes, I would still be interested in reading her sequel when it comes out to see if she does have the little girl forecasted by the fortune teller and finds a more mature and selfless outlook.

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

 Reviewed by Carolyn Wood

Anyone who has read John Steinbeck’s classics such as East of Eden or Grapes of Wrath will be surprised by this light hearted romp through the 50 territories that encompass the United States of America.  John Steinbeck, a product of the early 1900’s, decides in his later years to embark on a cross country adventure with his dog, Charley.  Charley is a large gray poodle who grows on the reader as does the author’s view of the people and countryside that sparkle in the USA. I was surprised by the author’s decision to travel with his dog for a companion rather than his beloved wife.  It is interesting to note the fondness John has for Charley as the companions ride along the open roadways. 

The journey is not always smooth and I was saddened by the personal account of traveling through the southern states during the 1960’s.  Quality prose cannot obscure the societal upheaval during the civil rights movement. Growing pains of the author and the country are evident as the excursion draws to a close. 

John Steinbeck has a talent for developing rich imagery and taking the reader along with him regardless of the setting of the work. I find Steinbeck’s description of the California redwoods leaves me longing to book my summer vacation as I type.

Travel Abroad Through Digital Photography

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Looks like Walt & Kay Pierson have seen a lot of this world. Can you identify these locations from around the world? 


 St Petersburg


North Pole, Finland

(Locations: Helsinki, St Petersburg, Estonia, North Pole (Finland))

Digital Photo Travels

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Kay Pierson’s reading of Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson inspired sharing her digital photography talent with the group.

 Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes, NY

Travel titles for the month of May!

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Vacation time is just around the corner!  Check out the reading recommendations for those interesting in travel, locally or around the globe.  Feel free to post a comment if you have read one of the titles.  You can also post a review of a book or travel guide to share with this online community! 

Recessional by James A. Michnener
USA, The People and the Land by James A. Michener
A Guide to Great Gardens of the Philadelphia Region by Adam Levine, photographs by Rob Cardillo
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
From the Heart: Seven Rules to Live By by Robin Roberts
Einstein by Walter Isaacson
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

USA, The People and the Land by James A. Michener

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Reviewed by Joan Badie

USA reveals a bit of the author’s past and illustrates his great intelligence, perceptiveness and ability to capture the essence of the country, its people, its history and place in the world.  It’s a composite of interviews ranging from the great leaders of our time including an astronaut to everyday citizens such as a female, high school dropout carpenter.  

 A real overview of our society is depicted.  There is much to be sorry for in our great country.  Our people excelled because of the vitality and determination of immigrants.  But, today there are many citizens who do not contribute but look to take from society. 

Stories about Mark Twain are intertwined with the description of Mississippi and Missouri.  Mining in the Midwest contains many eye-opening photos.  Cities are explained as well as described.  The Northeast, Western States, the South and Alaska are all covered.

James A. Michener did a great job on this book.