A few years ago, I started a travel book club on Facebook. It's a closed group, but we'd love to have you join us! Each month, we read and discuss a book that transports us to another place, as well as share links to reading lists and books on sale. I've read so many books that never would have crossed my radar, and the group members are unfailingly supportive and lovely to each other. It's a valued community. Many members found their way to the group via Il Bel Centro, my first book, and it's been fun for all of us to get to know each other. Their feedback on Santa Lucia (my first novel), was wonderful (links to both of those books on the side content). Today I realized that we read so many books that won't see their way onto a list on this website, but deserve notice. So I offer you my faves from our Travel Book Club.
P.S. Clicking the below book covers will take you its Amazon page. If you buy it, I'll get a few pennies, but it won't cost you anything extra. Consider it funding my website upkeep!
This was one of the first books we read for book club, and though I'm more of a fiction or non-fiction-that-reads-like-fiction kind of girl, I really grooved on de Botton's ways of seeing travel and his ability to spin a mood. It made me approach travel differently. I got the book from the library, but then I ended up buying it so I could flip back through it whenever I wanted to find one of those transformational ideas. You'll see what I mean.
I never wanted to sail around the world, I still don't. But I found the cultures De Roche was able to access only by boat intriguing. Most intriguing was the shifts within herself and in her relationship with unlimited time and a very small space. Laugh out loud funny, heartfelt, a great read.
This was universally one of our favorites, while also being one of our "but I wouldn't want to do it myself." Stewart moves to a part of Spain that isn't what leaps to mind when you hear "Spain". Rough, rocky, dangerous, but also gracious and deeply Spanish.
A break from our usual non-fiction, Auntie Poldi was a treat. It did include evocative information about Sicilian history and culture, but it was effortlessly woven into a charming, funny, witty book with wonderful characters. A winner.
Another, "But I wouldn't want to do it!" in this memoir, Moore describes biking along the trail of the Iron Curtain. The book shed a light on a period of time that many of us were unclear on, and gave us a visual impression of countries we easily forget are there. It was an adventurous tale, to be sure. Some of us were thrown by the language sometimes, but it was universally rated as laugh out loud funny and illuminating.
This one packed a sucker-punch. The life this kid lived, trying to find his family. It was intense. I keep meaning to see the movie, which I hear is excellent, but have yet to.
I admit to choosing this one when I was in writing crunch time. It is one of my favorites, from one of my favorite authors. I was so glad the group loved it. One of our rare fiction pieces, this one spans centuries of human existence to solve the riddle of a Jewish prayer book. The writing is so wonderful, I found myself lingering over passages that should be boring, like about book rehabilitation.
It's easy for this group of many Italophiles to sink solely into expat books about Italy, but we do try to mix it up. We loved this compulsively readable memoir of Bradbury's year abroad in Burgundy. Though it did make us very, very hungry.
Do you have any suggestions for us?