Gold Coast Libraries
Tag Archives: travel writing
Absolutely Faking It – Tiana Templeman post by Bindi from Southport Branch Library. Tiana Templeman was one of the Literati authors presenting a Master Class across the library branches. Her session on Pitching To Publishers was so interesting that I … Continue reading
Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes. This is a great sequel to Frances Mayes bestselling books ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and ‘Bella Tuscany’, and continues her love affair with the Italian countryside – the people, the food, and the … Continue reading
I once visited Russia and Eastern Europe many years ago. I was excited to visit these places behind the communist curtain. I was also attracted to the folk lore and traditions of these Eastern European countries.
The Spirit Wrestlers by Philip Marsden was a wonderful book to read regarding these earlier times. It is actually a travel book interspersed with stories of people the writer interviewed and met.
It was a different book as he travelled to distant places and mountain villages, attended a prayer meeting, met a priest who was building a church, a painter who explained that the images and beautiful paintings of religious icons, etc for some people would be the closest they would have been able to come in understanding God for some of the people. (I expect in times when people may have been illiterate.) There were images described of Cossack horsemen riding across the plains which seemed to be so evocative and real. Continue reading
Jack De Crow is a little yellow dinghy complete with life-saving cream, that finds itself in the hands of a optimisitic but unprepared and ill-equipped captain, Australian author A.J. “Sandy” Mackinnon. Armed with a pith helmet, moderate sailing experience, an inability to row, and a collection of useless maps, he travels along the great rivers of Europe from Wales to Romania. This 4000 klm adventure will have you laughing out loud and shaking your head in disbelief at the brilliant insanity of his escapades.
Definitely aimed at armchair travellers as no one else would be crazy enough to use it as a travel guide, but once you start this journey it is difficult to stop.
I was drawn to this book firstly because of its title, travel and pomegranates are both favourites, and because of the mother daughter theme.
The book is an account of the travels in Greece, Turkey, and France, of Sue Monk Kidd, author of The secret life of bees, and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. This is an introspective book, with both women reflecting on personal issues : Sue coming to terms with turning fifty, which she seems to consider as growing old, and Ann struggling with depression and her own sense of failure because she wasn’t accepted into the degree of her choice.
There are chapters of the book I really loved, including Sue and Ann’s visit to the medieval city of Rocamadour, which I have recently visited’ and found to be a truly a magical place. Sue describes Rocamadour perfectly, “clamped against a rugged four-hundred-ninety-foot cliff that rises out of the valley like some mystical province in the clouds. The Alzou River surrounds it like an old moat, the gorge floats in thin, austere haze, and the churches and houses appear to be bolted directly to the rock face. Crowning the summit is an actual fouteenth-century castle complete with ramparts.”
Rocamadour also has a nine-hundred-year old Black Virgin, one of the many venerable Madonnas of Europe and the main focus of the trip for Sue; for Ann it’s the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone and Joan of Arc. The amount of detail about feministic icons and their fixation on the Virgin Mary is tiresome at times and there is a bit too much navel gazing for my taste.
Their recounting of inner journeys, experiences in finding themselves and their potential to accomplish their dreams, including writing this book, somewhat made up for the obsession with mythology and feminist icons. The book is beautifully written and offers an insight into the writing of The Secret Life of Bees. I would not label the book as a must read, but it is interesting…especially if you are a mother with a daughter and like travelling and pomegranates.
Go ahead and read it and see what you think. I would be interested to know. Continue reading