Have you ever wanted to simply drop everything and move to Tuscany? Well I have, many times! Reading Under the Tuscan Sun brought all those feelings back to me.
This book is a mixture of memoir, travel guide, recipe book and there’s also a good deal about house renovation, all told with the beautiful backdrop of Bramasole, the impressive house Mayes and her partner have taken on.
It was so easy to slip into the relaxed pace of this book and it’s exactly what I needed a few months ago, during a particularly busy spell at work. Continue reading
I had no idea Necessary Errors was set in Prague until it serendipitously turned up on my doorstep a week before my move here. It was a very appropriate book to read while settling into my new city.
Necessary Errors is about recent Harvard graduate Jacob who has escaped the monotony of an office job in the States to follow an urgent desire to immerse himself in the transition of Czechoslovakia to a democratic country. However Jacob can’t shake the feeling that he has arrived too late. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution having happened a year earlier, he feels as though a slice of history has slipped through his fingers. Continue reading
After being extremely unimpressed with the film, I avoided reading Eat Pray Love for a number of years (even though friends recommended it). However, researching for my upcoming trip to Indonesia, I kept coming across it in book and travel blogs. Bearing in mind that I started reading with negative feelings, I actually got more out of Eat Pray Love than I had expected.
This memoir leads us along Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to ‘find herself’ after a traumatic marriage break-up. She heads to Rome to explore the idea of indulgence, India to find enlightenment and Bali to learn to love again. Or something like that. Continue reading
Esther Freud’s first book is (hopefully) bringing me out of my book blogging slump. Since my last blog post in November 2014 (yes, it’s been ages!) I have read some awe inspiring books. But unfortunately other things in life got in the way, and so I turned my back on Bundle of Books for a little while.
Recently I’ve been feeling restless. I feel I am in need of an adventure. Luckily for me I came across Hideous Kinky in my local Oxfam bookshop and was soon whisked off to Morocco with the unnamed young narrator, her older sister Bea and their mother. Continue reading
I often like to read books about places I have visited. So, after my amazing trip there last year, I was on the look out for a book set in Nepal. It was the colourful front cover that first attracted me to Little Princes, and the fact that the story sounded uplifting.
Finishing the final pages of Little Princes while sipping ‘milk tea’ which I bought on a souvenir shopping spree in Kathmandu, I felt a real craving to go back and explore more of Nepal. Closing my eyes, the spicy aroma from my mug made the dusty streets of Kathmandu seem not too far away.
I was never really out of my comfort zone in my brief two week visit to Nepal, but Conor Grennan certainly was. Little Princes is his story about how he came to be in Nepal in the first place and how it changed not only his life, but the lives of countless Nepali families. Continue reading
After reading the excellent Naples ’44, I was eager to read more by Norman Lewis. So when I was exploring my mum’s bookshelves the other day, I was pleased to find a dusty copy of I Came, I Saw, which I quickly saved from a life of being hidden behind many other dusty books. Naples ’44 means a lot to me because it was written about a time and place that was significant for my family. It is well written and honest. I’m glad to say that Lewis hadn’t lost his writing skills when he sat down to create this autobiography. (NOTE: I Came, I Saw is a republication of Jackdaw Cake, published in 1985 – I Came, I Saw has an extra fifty pages about Lewis’ time in South Italy in the 1960s and 1970s). Continue reading
Bill Bryson seems to be able to take any relatively uninteresting subject and turn it into an anecdote. It is especially apparent in Notes from a Small Island, which simply gushes with facts, figures and obscure details about things which you would never have even thought of (or cared about). This is what makes his writing so enjoyable, even if it is a bit tedious at times.
Notes from a Small Island is all about Bryson’s last trip around Britain before going to live back in The States with his family. Starting off in Dover, where he set foot in Britain for the very first time, back in 1973, Bryson revisits old favourites, explores new places and takes a few accidental detours to unexpected areas. Travelling mostly by public transport and staying in modest hotels and Bed and Breakfasts, Bryson learns about Britain at its best and worst. Continue reading
I read this over a very busy week and it was just what I needed; a quick read that didn’t need much concentration. It’s almost exactly what I was expecting after looking at the front cover and reading the back. Full of clichés, predictable jokes and lots of sexual innuendos.
Paul West, a young English business man in France, is working on a project to introduce typically English tea rooms across the capital. He works with a small, incompetent team and has a corrupt boss, who of course has a sexy assistant. And that is not the only time a sexy French lady is mentioned. In fact the majority of the book is about Paul goggling at sexy French women and trying to think up ways of negotiating himself into their sexy French knickers. Continue reading
My Neapolitan grandmother (or ‘nonna’ as the Italians would say) married a British officer posted in Naples in 1944. It is quite likely that Norman Lewis, an Intelligence Officer also there at that time, would have had to interview both of my grandparents to judge the suitability of the match. Marriage with Italian civilians was discouraged and lots of officers who applied for permission were turned down and sent away from Naples. So really, my grandparents were lucky.
I have always been interested in my grandmother’s home country and after her death a couple of years ago, I have only ever become more curious about the city she grew up in. After marrying my grandfather, she moved to England and only returned to Naples for holidays a couple of times a year. So when she told stories about Naples, it was always about the ‘old days’ before and during the Second World War. Continue reading