Perspectives On Paris

Book review: A Paris All Your Own, edited by Eleanor Brown “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 collection of impressionistic essays … 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 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: observations on espresso making in … Continue reading Vignettes of Life and Memories from the American Midwest to Italy

An American’s Insights into Russia, 1995-2005-2015

Book review: Bears in the Streets, by Lisa Dickey No fewer than six people in six different cities (and four different time zones) had informed me that this is what Americans think. “Bears in the streets,” I realized, was the apparently ubiquitous shorthand for the Russians’ feeling that the West doesn’t take them seriously enough – that we think they’re primitive or backward. Lifelong Russophile Lisa … Continue reading An American’s Insights into Russia, 1995-2005-2015

Images of Apocalypse in the Everyday

Book review: The World is On Fire, by Joni Tevis Joni Tevis has a strange talent for writing essays that combine the most unlikely, unrelated subjects, skipping without any obvious connection between topics and somehow making it work as a coherent, emotional, interesting piece. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. As one example, she writes an essay contrasting her own struggles with fertility … Continue reading Images of Apocalypse in the Everyday

Lost is an OK State to Be In

Book review: All Over the Place, by Geraldine DeRuiter 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. and around the world. … Continue reading Lost is an OK State to Be In

Iran’s Culinary Culture and the Appeal of the Temporary Marriage

Book review: The Temporary Bride: A Memoir of Food and Love in Iran Published in 2014 in the UK, Australian, and New Zealand markets, Jennifer Klinec’s Iranian food and romance memoir The Temporary Bride will be published on Valentine’s Day in the U.S. Klinec abandons a financially secure career in London to open a cooking school out of her apartment. In search of new recipes, she travels to … Continue reading Iran’s Culinary Culture and the Appeal of the Temporary Marriage

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 How often do you hear of travel guides promising to lead you off the beaten path? And how often do those revealed … Continue reading Field Guide to the Strange and Unusual

From Sheepshead to the Mediterranean

Book review: In the Company of Dolphins by Irwin Shaw 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 his … Continue reading From Sheepshead to the Mediterranean

Best Notes for the Grand Tour

Book review: Leading the Blind 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 across Europe, and were full of … Continue reading Best Notes for the Grand Tour

Let’s Buy a House in Aquitaine

Book review: Beginning French, by les Américains This book is adorable. I started reading having given myself permission to bail if it got obnoxious, self-important, or eye-rollingly insufferable (like rich people soul-searching and eating things abroad while gawking at local customs). I’ve started without finishing countless memoirs about the expat experience for these reasons, so I set my expectations low. Unnecessarily, as it turns out, because … Continue reading Let’s Buy a House in Aquitaine