This series explores books on travel, interesting people and living well. Want to suggest a book? Email me or tell us about it in the comments. (These are all Amazon affiliate links, but you can easily find them in a used bookstore or your local library.)
Lately I’ve been in a “larger than life” mood in my book selections. The cold weather has made me feel small and snug, and I guess my mind is reacting by seeking out the bold and expansive. How about you?
Cathedral of the Sea: A Novelby Ildefonso Falcones: If you like big historical novels like The Pillars of the Earthby Ken Follett, you will like this book. The book tells the story of Arnau Estanyol, his parents, and his rising and falling fortune in 14th-century Barcelona. The backdrop to the entire book is the building of the Cathedral, which takes most of Arnau’s lifetime. This book has everything in it – including the Spanish Inquisition. The book also highlights the roles of women during this time and how limited their lives were, though it was nice to see some of them finding creative ways to live under their own terms. I don’t normally read books like this and thoroughly enjoyed it. This book was recommended when I was doing some followup reading on last month’s book, The Shadow of the Wind,and it kept me occupied for several cold nights.
Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax) by Robert Sawyer: This is where my geek-girl comes out. I do love me some sci-fi, and this didn’t disappoint. Robert Sawyer is also the author of Flashforward,which is now a popular television series. Seeing that show and reading the book is what led me to his other books. In Hominids, a parallel earth exists where Neanderthals became the dominant species and we died out. They have developed technologies we have not, and they live in greater harmony than we do. Through a fluke in an experiment, one of them in transported to our world. What I liked most about this book was how they learned they were not so very different once they got past the surface. It is much this way in travel, and I loved that parallel. You don’t have to be a geek to enjoy this book, but it helps.
Loving Frank: A Novelby Nancy Horan: This is my book club’s selection for next month, and I have to admit I was not really looking forward to reading it. I mean, come on, a book about Frank Lloyd Wright? Boy, was I wrong. This book is about love, feminism, and big personalities trying to make their way in the world. The main character, Mamah (pronounced “may-muh”) both intrigued and irritated me, and I didn’t realize how much of a showman and playboy Frank Lloyd Wright was in his day. One of my favorite quotes was from an artist who was talking about why she left her former cozy life: “I realized I had traded my gifts for furniture.” For someone planning to sell everything to travel the world, this really hit home.
So tell me, what you reading these days?