As soon as I read the back cover for My Glory Was I Had Such Friends, I knew that it was going to make me feel things. Especially since it’s a memoir, so everything was real in the book. Ugh, it just gets me right in the feelings.
Right off the bat, I knew this book was going to end happily. It had to, right? It’s a memoir about Amy Silverstein’s wait for a second heart transplant. Since the book was written, it means she gets the second heart at the end of the book. But, God, what a wait!
Amy and her husband relocate to California, because there’s a better chance of her getting the heart she needs. Shortly after this decision is made, she gets an email from one of her friends. It includes a spreadsheet that spans the time she’ll be spending in California. Every single day is filled in with a name.
If I wasn’t already traveling this week, Novel Destinations by Shannon McKenna Schmidt would give me some serious wanderlust. That being said, I might have to plan a literary-themed trip around this book anyway.
I was an English major so I feel like I’ve lived in all of the places Novel Destinations explores. From Dickens’ London to Joyce’s Dublin to Lee’s Alabama, I’ve traveled the world through the eyes of different characters. But Schmidt’s book delves even deeper into the worlds the authors immortalized. And since it comes from National Geographic, you know it’s going to be really good.
Part one of Novel Destinations is “Read ‘Em and See: Author Houses and Museums.” You can travel the world and use this as a guide book to all of your favorite literary locales. There are also chapters on literary festivals and tours and places you can stay among the similarly literary minded.
Part two is “Journeys Between the Pages.” You can explore in real life the iconic places you’ve explored only in the pages of your favorite novels. I, for one, loved delving into Jane Austen’s Bath and Franz Kafka’s Prague (side note: a Kafka discussion is the thing that started my relationship with my boyfriend of 4.5 years!).
Bottom line: if you love classic literature and travel, you’re going to want this book on your shelf.
Follow in the footsteps of much-loved authors, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, and many more. For vacationers who crave meaningful trips and unusual locales, cue National Geographic’s Novel Destinations—a guide for bibliophiles to more than 500 literary sites across the United States and Europe. Check into Hemingway’s favorite hotel in Sun Valley, or stroll about Bath’s Royal Crescent while entertaining fantasies of Lizzie Bennett and her Mr. Darcy. The fully revised second edition includes all of the previous sites—with updated locations—plus color images and an expanded section on all things Brontë. The book begins with thematic chapters covering author houses and museums, literary festivals and walking tours. Then, in-depth explorations of authors and places take readers roaming Franz Kafka’s Prague, James Joyce’s Dublin, Louisa May Alcott’s New England, and other locales. Peppered with great reading suggestions and little-known tales of literary gossip, Novel Destinations is a unique travel guide, an attractive gift book, and the ultimate bibliophile’s delight.
Shannon McKenna Schmidt is also the co-author with Joni Rendon of Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads. After traveling full-time in the U.S. and abroad for seven years, she is once again living in Hoboken, New Jersey. For literary travel news and tales from the road, visit www.NovelDestinations.com.
In the current political climate, I’ve been very stressed out. The only thing that truly makes me feel better is watching animal videos on Youtube and Loyal: 38 Inspiring Tales of Bravery, Heroism, and the Devotion of Dogs by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh. If you can’t already tell from the title, it’s full of stories about how amazing dogs are. If you’re like me and you get really emotional about dogs, you’ll probably cry and then tell everyone you know about the amazing stories in this book. Also, please comment on this page and tell me all about the animals you’ve loved. I need more than 38 animal stories to keep me going.
Before I wax poetic on how amazing the dogs are in this book and why it’s the perfect book to have around when you need a pick-me-up, I need to say that I was sent a free copy of Loyal in return for an honest review for a TLC book tour. You can pick up your own copy here at National Geographic!
If you love stories of personal growth, goat puns, and adventure, then why haven’t you read Unbound by Steph Jagger yet? Answer: because it just came out this year, so you probably haven’t heard of it yet. Let me just tell you that it’s the next Wild and Eat, Pray, Love. That’s right, people! It’s another story about a woman going on an adventure around the world and she’s gonna learn stuff about herself and emerge a whole new person! And you’re going to love it.
Before I get into my thoughts on the book, let me just say that the book was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review by TLC Book Tours. You can get your own copy from HarperCollins here and read more reviews here, here, and here! Below you’ll find a full synopsis of the book and you can learn more about Steph Jagger.
Ok, now that we’ve got some of that business out of the way. Let’s talk adventure!
I think that we can all agree that last week was rough. Donald Trump is the president-elect and Hillary isn’t. People are running rampant and committing hate crimes. People are realizing that their family members actually voted for the guy and it’s going to make the upcoming holidays so so awkward.
I didn’t know it, but I started reading Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling on the same day the world was ending. I took the book with me to vote so I’d have something to do while waiting in line. I read it that night too when I realized Trump won Pennsylvania, and thus, the presidency, and I gave up watching the news and went to bed dejected and utterly horrified at the prospect of tomorrow.
I’ve long been a fan of Mindy Kaling. I love The Office and her friendship with BJ Novak is serious goals. I’ve also been watching her show, The Mindy Project since season 2 aired (I’m slow on the uptake sometimes). My friends and I went on a roadtrip in 2012 (back when the concept of a Trump presidency wasn’t even a thing yet) and we listened to Mindy’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns). Mindy’s voice means driving through Portland, Maine with my best friends and trying a lobster roll for the first time (fucking delicious, by the way. Everyone needs to go to the Portland Lobster, Co. immediately).
I’m one of those heinous people who always did well in school. I was basically Hermione, but only until middle school when I realized there was a minimum amount of effort I had to expend in order to get an A or a high B. Suddenly I wasn’t an over achiever anymore. I wasn’t valedictorian in high school, but I did have a medal for graduating with a GPA over 4.0. I was good, but not the best. And I think I could’ve been the best, or at least better than I was, if I had just used a little bit of that extra energy.
I’m telling you this not-so-humble information, because I read #GIRLBOSS this week and it was incredibly inspiring for me. Sophia Amoruso, the author and founder of Nasty Gal, started with basically nothing but $50 and an instinct for customer service and common sense. She didn’t graduate college, she didn’t find school as easy as I did, and she’s so successful!
She’s so successful because she put the work in. Her company wasn’t given to her. She made it happen and she worked hard to make it.