December 8, 2009

Book Club #2

Remember the book club we started here in Cali? Well last night we got together again to exchange books, delicious food, and wine before everyone goes their separate ways for the holiday season. I shared with everyone about the book I just finished, Julie & Julia, which I wrote about here, as well as the book I am currently reading, Eat, Pray Love.
Our host, Lyndi, made delicious homemade corn chips with salsa, pasta salad, veggies, peanut butter bars and more. After hearing about everyone's books we all took some that we were interested in reading. With a three week holiday vacation approaching I made sure to get some good reading material, and by the end of the night I came home with these selections:

Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence.

John Francis
"Francis was green before it was the popular thing to be. On January 17, 1971, he saw a half-million-gallon oil spill near the Golden Gate Bridge, and a year later, in an attempt to do something positive for the environment, he chose to start walking, forsaking motorized vehicles of any kind. He walked everywhere, and on his 27th birthday, feeling again that he was not doing enough for the world, he took a vow of silence. For the next 17 years, he spoke not a word. But his life didn't stop and he never sat still. Francis managed to walk across the United States and, while he did, he earned an undergraduate degree and a master's degree in science and environmental studies; finally, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he completed a PhD in land resources. He learned how to play the banjo, and the five-string Conqueror became his walking companion, people magnet, and calling card. He continued his pedestrian trek, took a job at the office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and eventually became UNEP's Goodwill Ambassador to the World's Grassroots Communities, and walked and sailed to the tip of South America. Planetwalker is an inspiring story that will make teens think and may help them to realize that global change is possible through individual action."

It's Not About the Tapas: A Spanish Adventure on Two Wheels

Polly Evans
"A young Englishwoman leaves her unfulfilling job in Hong Kong and bicycles across Spain. From Basque country through Castile, Evans finds the Spanish hospitable, a nation rife with good food and dancing. Almost immediately she discovers that she lacks the physical stamina for riding her heavily laden bike through the Pyrenees' highest mountain passes. Nevertheless, she presses on, and her clothes grow too large for her newly lean physique. At her best when she leaves her self-involved narrative to give readers the opportunity to absorb the history and cultures of Spain's diverse regions, Evans' eye records delightfully unique sights, such as a group of vacationing female Spanish pensioners with their uniformly black garb and their bright, colorful hair rinses. With a young American writer, she learns about the flamenco tradition but never discovers a verifiable version of flamenco's origins. She finds vestiges of last century's civil war, but comes across few willing to talk about that grim era before democracy was restored."

My Best Friend's Girl

Dorothy Koomson
"When Kamryn Ryn Matika gets a call from college friend Adele Del Brannon, she reluctantly heads to the hospital where Adele is dying of cancer. The two had been odd couple friends (working-class Ryn is black, posh Adele is white) while attending Leeds University, but their friendship did not survive Del's admission of an affair with Ryn's fiancé Nate Turner, which also ended Ryn's relationship with Nate. The affair did result, however, in the now-five-year-old Tegan, and Del has called Ryn to ask her to adopt the adorable girl. Ryn agrees, but must face down Del's stepmother, Muriel, to do it. She finds surprising help from new boss Luke Wiseman, who, after meeting her unceremoniously, loves Tegan (and eventually Ryn, too), but the return of Nate, who doesn't know Tegan is his daughter, promises to reopen old wounds."
Has anyone read any of these yet? Have suggestions on which one I should start with after I finish Eat, Pray, Love??

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