i finished The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in a river of tears. it’s officially my favorite book i’ve read so far this year. really lovely. and instructional i thought. lessons in how to be a better human being. but in the least preachy and most poetic way you can imagine. stories have always done this for me, so much more than any self-help book ever could. i read non-fiction for the sake of my brain, but stories for the good of my heart. oh and this one was so restorative in such a deep way.
“They believed in him. They had looked at him in his yachting shoes, and listened to what he said, and they had made a decision in their hearts and minds to ignore the eveidence and to imagine something bigger and something infinitely more beautiful than the obvious. Remembering his own doubt, Harold was humbled.
…the pewter sea lay behind, while ahead of him was all the land that led to Berwick, where once again there would be sea. He had started; and in doing so Harold could already see the end.”
this week i found a fairytale walking path that took me underneath mounds of oranges growing against a high wall. fallen camelias littering the path. so many birds and flowers and even a trail leading down a wooded hillside! where…i found a small clearing with 4 rabbits! BUNNIES! with puffy white tails!
i’ve been walking here this week and i will share more of it with you very soon.
but for now, back to books.
i also finished another outstanding book – The Fault In Our Stars.
“The world,” he said, “is not a wish granting factory,” and then he broke down, just for one moment, his sob roaring impotent like a clap of thunder unaccompanied by lightning, the terrible ferocity that amateurs in the field of suffering might mistake for weakness.
and now i am reading a more pedestrian book, but one which i am enjoying since it takes place in spoleto where i am bound in 4 weeks time.
i was also surprised to see that my spoleto landlord is none other than the author’s landscaper! cool! i’m bookmarking all the passages related to food and restaurants. they mention some very special (not fancy) places with interesting regional dishes. truffles & wild boar & unsalted umbrian bread with chestnut honey..for starters.
on the novel front i have 2 lined up. Benediction by Kent Haruf and So Brave Young and Handsome by Leif Enger (because i adored his Peace Like A River) both of these are recommendations sent to me from DFLA readers. who are turning out to be doing me favor after favor in the unputdownable book department.
and one more, another memoir. this one by my hero john muir, The Yosemite. because i’m headed there next week!
kelly hornsby says
if you have time for a short side trip on your way to Yosemite, do stop by Convict Lake. it’s one of my favorite sights along 395.
oh my…loving The Fault in Our Stars….(only halfway through it…fearing what is ahead!)
And ohhh…that walk sounds spectacularly splendid.
jeanette sclar says
My deepest condolences on the sighting of 4 rabbits, which surely spoiled a good walk. 🙂
“All the world was before me and every day was a holiday, so it did not seem important to which one of the world’s wildernesses I first should wander.” ~from the first couple paragraphs of The Yosemite.
what a wonderful line! I think I’m going to have to find this one, myself… I’ve never read John Muir, and it seems I’ve been missing out!
Add to books to read if you haven’t yet. in fact, a review of your posts might reveal you have – and for fellow DFLA readers. YOu must try to read Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. Full of little wisdoms and very dry and funny humor. I mean, you may be to find yourself laughing out loud! It will pick up any lagging spirits or waiting for spring blues.
Cinghiale…http://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/08/travel/fare-of-the-country-italy-s-truffled-boar.html?pagewanted=all It may be a bit late for the boar, as it’s a winter dish but as far east as you’ll be in the forest area, I suspect they always have it. Cinghiale jerky too! Frankly, I liked that boar ragu more than truffles. I must have a dull palette as I really didn’t ‘get’ the black truffles shaved prodigiously on pasta etc. Oh…and lardo on bruchetta. Trust me, it’s divine!
btw, I just went to hear Edward P. Jones at a local library. I’ve read his books already but for stories that break your heart, try this one “Lost in the City” followed by “All Aunt Hagar’s Children”.
catherine lucas (photocatseyes) says
He, I know that couple. They were in a layer series long ago. If you take the bus in Yosemite to go to the viewpoint over Half Moon Dome, don’t sit in the first seat in the front. It’s scary! But so worth the trip up…
Wow. Haruf and Enger. Two of my most favorite “If-I-wrote-that-book-I’d-die-happy” writers. Writers to aspire to. I’ll have to check out this Harold guy when I get a chance. The excerpts you’ve shared are amazing! Right now I’m reading a novel my friend wrote, set in WWII.
Hey, another note. Have you stumbled across Lynda Barry? I saw her talk last week and she absolutely blew me away. I was weeping with laughter and gratitude by the end. (I’m an easy weeper, though!) Check out “What It Is” and “Picture This” if you are so inclined. Amazing stuff.
Leslie J. Moran says
When are you sleeping 🙂 I’m finding it difficult to keep up Miss!
Saguaro Chick says
Isn’t it tremendous storytelling when a book can move you to tears…..
I absolutely love that the spoleto landlord is none other than the author’s landscaper!
Unsalted umbrian bread with chestnut honey……
So many things for me to think about this morning…I love starting my day here….
Linda J Miller says
Mary Ann, have you read the Elegance of the Hedgehog? Or Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand? Two more lovely books.
Linda J Miller says
I find that I have to change my style of reading with Harold Fry. I am normally a voracious reader, can’t put the book down and have to read very quickly to get to the next part of the story. Harold won’t let me do that. Kind of the pace of his walking. I have to slow down. I have to read this book in the quiet of the early morning, and not too much at one time. It is delightful.
You had me at the picture of those ORANGES!! what a fairytale you are living!!
I loved Harold Fry too, thought the ending just right – and quite unpredictable.
I think you’d like the book I just reviewed this week: Good Behaviour. It’s witty and touching. I’ve read it a number of times and still find Molly Keane’s fiction among the best.
Your picture of the fallen camellia is a little gem!
Jane Bumar says
You are living life to the fullest and savoring every treasured moment. Smart woman!
Susie LaFond says
Lovin’ all the awesome book recs. I’ve added several of them to my wish list on amazon. I’m leanin towards a Nook purchase down the road I think..so many books, so many I’d love to sample first before committing too. I am such a push over for a good read. Love the pics and I’m waiting in the wings for your upcoming downloadable. So excited to see what you’ve created to share. You rock Mary Ann!!!1
Connie Rose says
I wasn’t being flip last week when I asked you about how much a farmhouse rental was that you describe as “for a song.” Unbelievably and completely unexpectedly, I am getting a small inheritance this spring. With which I WILL travel to Italy again sometime in the future. I just checked the TTV page with the home rental info, though. Thanks for those links. VRBO looks especially wonderful, their listings quite cost effective.
Unfortunately I won’t be going for a few years yet, because I want to go for a couple months at least and don’t want to leave my cat. So after he leaves me — which could be 10 years from now — I shall make the trip of a lifetime to Italy.
Looking forward to your upcoming trip to Umbria. If you feel so inclined while you’re there, check out the Meridiana Alpaca Farm in Umbertide. I stayed there for 10 days in 2007 while poking around Umbria and Tuscany.
Hi Mary Ann, What a coincidence! I am also reading Living in a Foreign Language and enjoying it very much. I looked for A Valley in Italy after you had mentioned it, and my library recommended this book too. You will seek out those special lil restaurants near Spoleto, no doubt.