July 3, 2007

The Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge

Better late than never. My bags are packed! Here's my selection for Lesley's The Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge:

True North: Exploring the Great Canadian Wilderness by Bush Plane by George Erickson

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer House by George Howe Colt

A Garden in Lucca: Finding Paradise in Tuscany by Paul Gervais

On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Herrmann Loomis

The Hills of Tuscany: A New Life in an Old Land by Ferenc Máté

French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew by Peter Mayle

Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes

Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy by Frances Mayes

Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Here are Lesley's guidelines:

  • The challenge runs from July 1 through December 31 during which time you must read six books that fall under the ‘armchair traveling’ theme.
  • Fiction or non-fiction works are fine, and do not need to be specifically travel related, as long as the location is integral to the book - I’ll leave that to your discretion. Locations must be actual places that you could visit, so no Middle Earths or galaxies far, far away.
  • Books may be cross-posted to other challenges, but you cannot count any books read prior to July 1st.
  • To join, make a post outlining your six choices and link to that post below. Because I like to have a little wiggle room, you can opt to switch out books throughout the challenge.
  • And yes, there will be prizes

There were several other books in my stacks that I could've chosen, but I decided I wanted to stick as close to "Travel Narratives/Essays" as possible. And, even better, these have all been in my stacks FOREVER! The Steinbeck will be a re-read, but I adored it the first time around, and this gives me a great excuse to read it again.

Thanks for hosting the challenge, Lesley. I love to travel almost as much as I love to read, and this gives me great incentive to pick up some of those books that have been languishing in my stacks for several years.

Note: Isn't it interesting that each and every one of these titles has a subtitle?


  1. Yay, you are joining the challenge too. Some of those titles sound so good so can't wait to hear about them (especially the On Rue Tatin).

  2. Stephanie6:14 PM

    I read and really enjoyed A Walk in the Woods - good choice! I am also participating in the challenge and have The Big House as one of my picks - I got it for free on Bookmooch!

  3. Looks like you dream of visiting Tuscany. :)

    I absolutely loved A Walk in the Woods so I'll be curious to see what you think of that one.

    Lots of interesting-sounding books there, Les!

  4. Just once I'd like to be in one of the same challenges together. How do I keep missing what you choose to participate in? I will love reading your responses to Walk...Woods; that book cracked me up. I also, of course, loved the two Tuscany books.

  5. Enjoy your choices! I have some books here that would easily have fit this challenge but I knew I couldn't fit another one in.

  6. I was just going to say what the other Lesley said, lots of stuff about Tuscany. I loved 'Under the Tuscan Sun', it's very different from the movie.

  7. What a great choice of books, Les, you're going to be an expert on Tuscany (always wanted to go there) and France when you're done! :)

    This looks like such a great challenge and I would have loved to have joined in, but I haven't been too good keeping up with book challenges lately.

    Enjoy your reads, Les!

  8. Yay! Glad you joined up. This is going to be a fun challenge. :) Good luck!

  9. Yay! I'm glad you're joining in! I thought about doing all travel narratives/essays, but didn't have enough in my possession. I think. Who knows what I have!

    I loved A Walk in the Woods. Really made me want to go hiking. For about 2 days anyway ;) I'm too lazy!

    I've often though the Loomis sounded like a good read. And Peter Mayle. And Frances Mayes. Can't wait to hear what you think of all of them though!

  10. I've read A Walk in the Woods and Travels with Charley - liked the former more than the latter, although I do love Steinbeck. I just like laughing more than anything, so Bryson will always have my heart.

    Cooking at Home on Rue Tatin is on my wish list. Is there more than one Rue Tatin book or am I getting the title wrong? It sounded like a book that both hubby and I would love (when it was up for grabs at First Look - neither of us "won"). I love reading about cooking, just not doing it. Actually, that's not true. I enjoy cooking in the right kitchen. So bizarre, I know.

  11. Iliana - I think I'm going to take a couple of these on our trip this week. Seems kind of silly to take "armchair travel books" on a real vacation, but I want to read them!

    Stephanie - A Walk in the Woods is in my stack for my trip. I've heard great things about it -- for years!

    Lesley - Yep, I would love to go to Tuscany someday. Until then, I'll read all about it. :) Thanks again for hosting this fun challenge!

    Bellezza - Bryson's book is going in my carry-on bag for the trip. Of course, I'll probably bust out laughing during the 4-hour flight, but it'll help pass the time.

    Nat - These challenges are fun AND overwhelming. At least them help motivate me to read some of the books that have been lurking on my shelves for several years.

    Kookiejar - I enjoyed the movie, but didn't love it. I hope the book is better. :)

    Lotus - As I mentioned to Nat, these challenges can become a bit overwhelming. I'm trying to keep them guilt-free and use them to gently nudge me along through my stacks.

    Andi - I agree. I think it'll be great fun. And quite a bit cheaper than actually taking some of the trips! ;) Someday, though!

    Heather - I would love to go hiking but only if the woods were free of bears. I am terrified of them (and mountain lions, bobcats, rattlesnakes, hornets, etc.). On second thought...

    I've read a few of Peter Mayle's books and he is very funny. Seems to be the requisite for these travel writers, doesn't it?

    Bookfool - Ah! I almost forgot to set aside Travels with Charley to pack for my trip. Thanks for the reminder!

    Hmmm, not sure if we're talking about the same book. Mine is On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town. The author has also written Farmhouse Cookbook and French Farmhouse Cookbook. Sound like the same author to you?

  12. Hmmm. Not sure. I'd have to look, but you're on your way out the door so I'll just wait. ;)


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