Sunday, March 01, 2009

Well-read Weekends

Weekends are not typically the day you start resolutions. Mondays are more apt for those kind of things, but who's got time to blog on Mondays, but professionals. As we know, I'm not quite there yet (or rather a continent or two away), so I'll start on Sunday. Introducing . . .

I've been through many literature phases from historical to sci-fi, to even dabbling in a bit of biography. My recent love are travel books. Let's hope this one isn't just a phase. Every weekend I'll review a recent book I've read; it could be travel literature, a guide book, or even a book that's so much about a place that the setting is almost it's own character. I've amassed a decent collection of books of this type so far, but the Boston library is my new literary playground, so I'll be sure to include some new gems from there too.

This week's pick:

My French Whore by Gene Wilder

I picked this up in a small book store in Aspen. Reading a book by Gene Wilder was intriguing and the small size was perfect for packing in my already over-stuffed suitcase.

The story goes like this: Paul Peachy's work and one-sided marriage in Minnesota leave him empty, so when the chance to enlist in World War I comes, he does. He's shipped off to France and ends up impersonating a famous German spy. He eventually fulfills the exciting life and love he's always wanted--something he never would have found if he had stayed at home in Minnesota.

The hilarity and heart-felt feelings that come from Paul Peachy's tale, you would recognize from Wilder's acting. You can imagine a young Gene Wilder playing the character of Paul Peachy the whole story, which makes reading The French Whore almost like watching a film.

But I digress, this is a travel book review. The book does a fantastic jobs of caricaturing the characters of different countries--Germany, France, US--in a way that doesn't make them just stereotypes. And who can't relate the confusion of a traveler getting way in over his head on his first trip to Europe--and falling in love with a foreigner.

A short read, but a sweet one that I whole-heartedly recommend you pick up to carry around in your over-stuffed bag on your next trip. It'll be worth the space.

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