Conclusion: The Lost Girls

Last week, I mentioned that I was currently reading a travel novel called The Lost Girls. It was a great break from all the murder mysteries I have been reading lately, that’s for sure!

Overall, it was such an entertaining book. It left me giggling, reflecting, jealous, but mostly, it left me drooling.

Three good friends quit their jobs and spend an entire year traveling around the globe. They completed, “60,000 miles around the world, from the mountains and jungles of South America to the beaches of Australia, passing through Kenya, India, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand”.

Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner

The book was able to keep my interest and actually make me laugh out loud, which is a hard thing to do when by myself. It was divided into different sections for each lag of their trip, and by chapter, with the three girls rotating writing tasks.

My favorite of the three, or should I say – most relatable, was Holly. She always found a way to analyze her surroundings and get a real feel for the culture. Holly really seemed to appreciate each person she encountered and tried her best to enjoy every experience. I cannot believe she made it through a month at a somewhat suspect ashram in India. Really, I have never heard anything that great about these places. Her patience and peace-keeping personality very much sounded like myself.

Not to take away anything from the other girls. They both had unique personalities on their travels. Jen (adventure/thrill-seeking) and Amanda (dedicated/out-going/fun-loving) would be people I would love to travel with. They were full of energy and loved to dance. I must say, as I mentioned above about being jealous…it was mostly due to their night of dancing to reggaeton music in South America.

The danger with reading this book, the only negative aspect, one warning for anyone reading……

You will have the strongest desire to pick up everything and LEAVE to your nearest airport.

Reading Resolution 2012

Everyone, once again, is talking about resolutions! The news, twitter, my friends, while shopping….it’s everywhere at the beginning of every year and I usually have the same idea for a resolution as so many others (eat healthier, work out more, save more money…).

This year, I am going to declare something a bit different. A bit different, but not really unique.

That is – READ more.

I have about 8 or 9 new books sitting on my bedside table waiting to be opened and have my eye prints all over their pages.

And once they are all done, these are the next round of books I would like to experience (thanks Lonely Planet for the list!).

1. Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker

Reviewed by Will Gourlay

‘Enchanting’ isn’t a word usually associated with Romania. Think ‘Romania’ and most people will conjure images of Communist-era architecture in Bucharest or hair-raising tales of Dracula. However, in Along the Enchanted Way, William Blacker’s account of years spent living in Romania paints an altogether different – and unexpected – picture of this little-known country.


2. Lost on Earth by Steve Crombie

Reviewed by Steve Waters

In Lost on Earth, young Aussie Crombie  plans to ride his single-cylinder Honda 650cc motorcycle from Ushuaia at the southern tip of South America’s Tierra Del Fuego, toPrudhoe BayAlaska; the Pan American Highway’s unofficial endpoint well north of the Arctic Circle. This cracking tale of sheer determination should be mandatory reading for any young, would-be adventurer.


3. Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple

Reviewed by Elizabeth Shannon

Nine Lives is not really a travel book.  This is not the tale of a bemused foreigner fumbling through an exotic landscape, but rather the result of William Dalrymple’s long familiarity with India:  nine stories of religious practitioners navigating both the innate certitudes and contradictions of their own faiths and how India’s rapid development has affected these traditions and people’s roles in them.


4. In Tasmania by Nicholas Shakespeare

Reviewed by Kirsten Rawlings

In Nicholas Shakespeare’s eyes, Tasmania is a secret and rarely visited place, ‘a byword for remoteness’. His comprehensive biography In Tasmania paints this outpost as a magnet for the lost, a place to be renewed or be forgotten. From the burgeoning towns of Launceston and Hobart, to the fertile northeast and the windy and bleak west coast, Shakespeare reveals the hardships and inspirations of its inhabitants over the centuries, suffusing each corner with history and beauty.

5. Thin Paths — Journeys in and around an Italian Mountain Village by Julia Blackburn

Reviewed by Claire Beyer

Julia Blackburn, author of Thin Paths, has an eye for detail. The seemingly small and insignificant are given big lives. The common dormouse, the developing tadpole and vocal owl are all given as much loving attention as her new surroundings in this lovely tale of life in an Italian mountain village.


Summer Daze


I always love reading a book on a hot summer day, and usually my typical novel is something to do with a great setting. Well, yesterday, I was flipping through this months Travel and Leisure Magazine, and came across this list of great books with a great backdrop.

By Francine Prose

1. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. Nothing has ever captured so well the beauty and the pulse-racing creepiness of this gorgeous city.

2. Le Divorce by Diane Johnson. Reading this smart, delightful comic novel provides all the fun of a week in Paris without having to leave the house.

3. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. Read it to find out how little the splendor of Florence has changed – and how much people have.

4. GraceLand by Chris Abani. The sights and sound of Lagos, Nigeria, pulse through this vibrant novel.

5. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. My favorite of Murakami’s books reveals all sorts of familiar – and hidden – aspects of Tokyo.

6. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. This imaginative first novel is set in an alligator theme park that could exist only in southwestern Florida.

7. Gryphon by Charles Baxter. The American Midwest reveals itself as a place of great beauty and strangeness in Baxter’s eloquent fictions.

8. Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Granted, London has changed a lot since Dicken’s time, but whenever I go there I feel I’ve reentered one of his novels.

It’s time for me to get down to business and read some of these. They sound great and a few can be read online for free!

Check out some of my favorite travel novels as well.