Around the World in 80 Minutes, Pt. 2

We were halfway around the table and halfway around the world when I curtailed my first post on this subject last week. Let’s look at other interesting titles that made the trip at this meeting of Williamsburg Regional Library’s staff book group.

Barbara from our Outreach division had two books. The first was Michael S. Sanders’ From Here, You Can’t See Paris: Seasons of a French Village and Its Restaurant. In search of a good kitchen in which he could learn the secrets of French cooking, Sanders was sent to tiny Les Arques, a village of less than 200 people struggling to survive, mostly through the support of tourists that came in warm months to its one business, a restaurant. This book would be a grade choice for foodies, for those interested in southwest France, or those who can’t get enough of village atmosphere.

In a similar vein, Barbara’s other choice was On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town. Susan Herrmann Loomis’s book chronicles the years in which she and her husband established themselves in Normandy. A recognized chef who trained in Paris and missed all things French, Loomis moved back to France in 1994, buying a 14th-century convent and doing their best to fit in with frequently difficult locals. The book includes fifty recipes–consider whipping one or two up as mid-meeting refreshments.

My book choice for our travel meeting was Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia. Read my post about Chatwin and his book here.

Lisa from our Technical Services decided to combine her travel reading with some attempts to find new mystery writers. I like that our themed format allowed her to do that, and to read some books which otherwise would not likely be selected in a shared-title group.

Her first choice was Ian Sansom’s The Case of the Missing Books, the first of his Mobile Library mysteries. It concerns Israel Armstrong, a bumbling, book-loving, thirty-something who moves from London to rural Northern Ireland to take over the District Library. He arrives to discover the library closed by budget cuts. All that’s left is the bookmobile and its 15,000 volumes, but for Armstrong to fill his contract, first he’ll have to find out where the vehicle and all of the books have gone. Mixing mystery, fish-out-of-water humor, and some funny play on mystery novel cliches, Sansom’s series starter is a droll reading pleasure.

In Judy Clemens’ Embrace the Grim Reaper, Casey Maldonado takes an assumed name and takes to the road after a tragic accident kills her husband and son. Still in shock, she has visitations from the Grim Reaper, here a humorous figure who tells Casey it isn’t her time and leads her into a murder in little Clymer, Ohio which she must solve. With gentle but puckish humor, this is a start for a series which takes Casey down the road to more adventures with the Grim Reaper and murder victims.

There were bookish destinations of all kinds on our group’s itinerary for this meeting. What book would you have brought to the table?



About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

1 Comment on "Around the World in 80 Minutes, Pt. 2"

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  1.' Marsha Bookladywalker says:

    Without hesitation, I would recommend Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, about his mostly comedic adventures walking the Appalachian Trail.

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