Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Summer Sojourn ~ Novel Destinations

As summer stretches out before us and the suitcases start calling out for a sojourn, we’ve been ‘researching’ some novel  -- and not so ‘novel’ -- destinations.

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I revisited Tuscany with Frances Mayes’, “Under The Tuscan Sun” the real-life story of her home purchase in Italy now some 20 years ago. Where did that time go?  Seems only yesterday I was reading the book published in 1997 for the first time – so envious of her adventure.  Now those olive trees she and Ed were working to save, produce enough olive oil that they sell a line of it, they’ve renovated another home in Italy and a Southern estate in the United States. 

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Then I traveled to Seville with Karen McCann’s “Dancing in the Fountain”.  I ‘met’ Karen in the blogosphere (she writes and her book is a bigger, more detailed but equally funny and informative account of how she and her husband – who started out in Spain with a plan to stay a few months to learn Spanish now, nearly a decade later -- live most of each year there.

Eiffel Tower

The Scout traveled to “Paris” with Edward Rutherfurd, one of our favorite historical novelists.  He has authored a number of similar books including London and New York. This, his latest, just came out in paperback (and yes, we still prefer to read real books with paper pages!)

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We both re-visited those white-washed islands – Greece’s Cycladic Islands – by re-reading Jeffrey Siger’s “Murder in Mykonos” and “Target Tinos”.

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Seattle's Space Needle
That’s a few of the places we’ve traveled – and never left the comfort of our Pacific Northwest home.  Of course, we have been inspired to start packing.

Do you have any ‘novel’ destinations to recommend? If so, we hope you’ll make note of them in the comments below or send an email.  Happy Travels – whether actual or armchair and Happy Summer to you all!

Note:  All of those books can be found on our Amazon Carousel on the blog's front page (for those of you subscribers just open this link ) and scroll to the bottom. You can read reviews of the books by clicking on them and even purchase them if you so desire. Full disclosure: we make a few pennies on the books sold! More Disclosure: we have yet to sell a book!


  1. Hello Jackie and Joel:

    This is most certainly a 'novel' way to be exploring several different countries this summer. Since the days of Peter Mayle there have been, and are, so many exceptionally good travel writers whilst, like you, we always enjoy reading fiction which is set in a country, city or place known to us. Somehow it adds another dimension.

    1. Yes, we love both types of books. . .the real and the imagined make for good reading and fun 'research'. Thanks for the visit today, have a great weekend!

  2. Some great destinations, Jackie, and I like this idea very much of getting background information and the feel of a place through someone's writings.

    I, too, like real paper books, and have a backlog to read in my little personal library. One of these is James A. Michener's , Iberia, which recounts his travels through Spain. It's at least 40 years old, but I don't see that as a disadvantage, because I like the idea of checking out how a place has changed from times past, when I get there. And when you know about the history, you can watch out for those little clues on what has practically vanished.

    1. Oh it is so nice to hear from kindred souls who like real paper books. I do like reading those written many years ago as it gives, as you said, Andrew, a good perspective of how it once was even if things have changed. Thanks for the comment and the FB shares!

  3. I'm allllll about paper pages too, Jackie! I always find it amazing that you two go on these amazing trips yet you have one of my fav places in the world right in your backyard! We would love to take a road trip up there and kiddo loves day trips. Just not sure how he would do for a real long one like that. Maybe we'll just have to find out :)

  4. Has it really been that long since Under the Tuscan Sun was published? Reading Frances Mayes and Peter Mayle had me longing for living life as an expat one day. Who would have thought that I'd end up in Asia instead of rural Europe? For a look at Malaysia, I would recommend The Consul's File by Paul Theroux or A Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. I also found A Nyonya in Texas to be quite a good read as it is written by a Malaysian who moved to America. It's always interesting to read about something I'm familiar with through a stranger's eyes.


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