Home Recommended Reading Workshops About RSS

Posts Tagged ‘travel’

FINDING FONTAINEBLEAU: An American Boy in France ~ Thad Carhart

Monday, July 11th, 2016

“Long before mass tourism and globalization, France was simple, soulful, and every inch stimulating.  Carhart knew it all and shares this with us with the deftness and insight of a master storyteller.”  (Cover:  Leonard Pitt, author of WALKS THROUGH LOST PARIS)

FINDING FONTAINBEBLEAU is a beguiling memoir of post war France with loving stories about baguettes and penmanship learned with quill pens and black ink.  I enjoyed every page and every story in this book and was sad when I turned the last page.  At age 4, Carhart’s military family was moved from the Virginia suburbs to Fontainebleau, France.  The family celebrated their move with trips all over the countryside and discoveries while attending French schools.  With five children and a big old “woodie” Chevy station wagon they explored.  The author captures a great deal about French culture and habits.  It is a remarkable story.

The Nazi invasion truly made a difference to the hearts and minds of the French and the subtle protections on the individual levels are recorded in the stories.  PBS is doing a series on the importance of NATO and this story talks about the beginnings of those treaties.  War changes so much.
About the Author

The son of an air force officer, Thad Carhart grew up in a variety of places, including Washington, D.C.; Fontainebleau, France; Minneapolis; Amherst, Massachusetts; and Tokyo. After graduating from Yale, he worked for the State Department as an interpreter. His first book, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, appeared in 2000, published by Random House. Across the Endless River, a historical novel came out in 2009 with Doubleday. He lives in Paris. (AMAZON)

Thad Carhart Website
Thad Carhart Facebook
Thad Carhart Twitter

I was constantly thinking about who I wanted to share this book with and for what occasion.  Carhart has returned to France with his family as an adult and has been given tours by the architect who is refurbishing The Castle Fontainebleau.  The layers of tile, the roofing material, the commitment of the people of France to their historic sites and the damage done by millions of tourists as they visit is fascinating.  Then the stories of the Kings, Queens, Mistresses and how they changed the buildings and added on to the design, and how consistent and authentic the designs and repairs were to the original buildings – fascinating.

The author’s Mother and the recorded stories about the 5 siblings and their adjustments to a new house and country are loving and often humorous.  The word delightful just keeps coming to mind.

I just wrapped up my copy for the biking architect in my family as his birthday is tomorrow and he will so enjoy this story to the max.  It did make me want to visit France and particularly Fontainebleau.  I have been excitedly talking about the book at my book groups as even though it is a very different read, I think they will enjoy the look at the 50s and what it would be like to be transplanted, not knowing the language, as a child.

TLC Book Tours   sent this book to me for review and it is wonderful.

RELATED:
Bridge Ladies
Alice In Bed
The Rivals Of Versailles

TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE: An Isaac’s House Novel; A Story of Promises ~Normandie Fischer

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Ms. Fischer is quite a storyteller and TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE is right up there on the list for good reading.

When TLC Book Tours   included TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE on the review list, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review another of Normandie Fisher’s books.  I wanted to know if BECALMED was an isolated great read or if this good storyteller had another tale, which provided entertainment and great words.  I was not disappointed in the least and I still wish to read more of her stories in the future.

Yes, This book is a Romance and also an interesting story.  Fischer’s books are not dumbed down and certainly not “bodice rippers”.  The book is full of good descriptions and finely tuned dialogue.  There is a great deal of truth about what the characters are thinking and how they handle each situation.  We are treated to some politics and unrest in the Middle East and even a murder that creates a mystery.

Rina Lynne is a young lady of the South and has lived in Morehead City, North Carolina all of her life.  Her mother died young and her father is over-protective and very strict.  When she finishes school and her father dies, she decides to put her fiancé and her wedding on hold and take on a bit of adventure.  Her first stop is Italy for a language class and maybe a cooking class.  She purchases an unwieldy suitcase that makes her beginning travels interesting.

Tony, an Arab American, assists Rina with her suitcase and becomes a part of the story as he is also taking the same language class as Rina.  He is using his vacation time from his Engineering firm to be a sort-of spy for his Israeli cousins.  On the train, there is a murder and the intrigue and mystery begins.

“…global, sophisticated, and intriguing with an exotic setting.  A girl seeking one last trek before she marries.  A guy conned into espionage by family.  They enter each other’s worlds and life becomes colorful, fascinating, and oh so dangerous.  Beautifully written, adventurous, and smart.”  -C. Hope Clark, award-winning author, The Edisto Island Mysteries and Carolina Slade Mysteries.

An Excellent Read.

Normandie Fischer:
In this romp through Italy and the Middle East, Normandie Fischer combines her love of all things Italian and her fascination with the cultures and cuisines of the Middle East, an interest fostered when she studied sculpture in Perugia and lived among Arab students.  She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico on board their ketch, Sea Venture, to care for her aging mother, who now sails with them whenever the opportunity arises. (Cover)

Normandie Fischer Website
Normandie Fischer Facebook

Related:
Becalmed
The Light Between Oceans
The Lemon Tree

HOW TO BE SICK: A Buddhist Inspired Guide For The Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers ~By Toni Bernhard

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

BookCoverSmall

My acupuncturist recommended this book to me and I am so pleased that I bought a copy and read it from cover to cover. It was a wonderful companion to reading Your Medical Mind and it brought be some peace, hope and a change of attitude.

Ms. Bernhard was headed out on an adventure with her husband.  She left her job as a law professor in California and boarded an airplane to explore and enjoy a short visit in Paris.  She arrived in Paris with a viral infection, which has left her ill and fatigued for the last nearly 12 years.  She tried to go back to work part time for 2.5 years of her illness and this only aggravated her condition.  She had to retire early, she had to change her own lifestyle, and she became almost totally dependent on her husband for her caregiving.

“ This is a major contribution and an immensely wise book”  Larry Dossey MD.

As a practicing Buddhist before the onset of her illness, she was disheartened that she could not longer attend retreats and trainings and had to let her husband take over her practice group which met in their home.  Buddhism is a lifestyle choice – not a religion – so one needs to practice and continually keep growing and learning.  It is this practice and learning that gave her life new meaning and assisted her in writing this book to help others.

She has tried everything from traditional medications, to infectious disease specialists, and every alternative and historic medical opportunity available to her.  Bernhard keeps researching and discovering new things to try and is willing to take on insurance agencies in order to get herself healed.

Her chapter on the huge box of non-healing supplements that she has tried and other offerings is quite amazing and that so many folks have been there and done that is not surprising.  It is actually a relief to know that one is not alone in the pursuit of recovery.

Bernhard was finally labeled Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which she calls a garbage or trash can diagnosis. No one knows how to heal it and it manifests differently in each person.  She is left with not being able to take her granddaughter to events, or travel, or often to sit down for holiday dinners with her family. She never knows what she will be able to accomplish each day.

So she decided to make her illness her Buddhist Practice and has been able to find with her attitude change and tools for making those changes some truly joyous times in her life.   She can use the Internet to make new friends, because we all know that people are busy and do not have time for those who are ill; they do not want to catch something either.   Bernhard has changed feelings of isolation into a study of solitude, which is lovely to read and embrace what she has learned; incorporating these discoveries into one’s own life and experiences.

Her chapter and words about caregivers is a work of art.  This disease changed both her life and her husband’s life dramatically and deeply.

“Sometimes the worst thing that happened to you, the thing you think you cannot survive…it’s the thing that makes you better than you used to be.”

This is a quote from dialogue in a novel I just read, but it jumped out at me after reading HOW TO BE SICK.   For this is a book about how to change crisis into opportunity and how a person can make their life be their best life ever no matter the circumstances.

The book is grounded in Buddhism and is a remarkable story about one woman’s experience with chronic illness.  It is well worth the read and I am sure that everyone knows someone who could benefit from experiencing this book.

Trusting what you get, do you have a recommendation for us of words that helped you heal and be the best that you can be?  Looking forward to your comments.

I purchased this book myself and no one or publisher paid me to review this book.  If you purchase anything from Amazon (not kindle) from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Would love to have you subscribe by RSS or email!

If you enjoyed what you read here you might also enjoy my other sites  Wise Ears and Biking Architect

Toni Bernhard’s Blog

Related Reading:
Your Medical Mind
Trust What You Get
Willpower
Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses

Visitors

Monday, July 11th, 2011
The Rockies

The Rockies

When my oldest daughter was in High School she received a Rotary scholarship to Denmark for a year.  She had sought out the experience as she wanted to be free from parents and our particular school and when she found out it was Denmark, she worried about learning such a difficult language.

The Rotarians said, “You are the one we think can handle such a tough language and learn it.”

Off she went and had a wonderful amazing year; minus the correct accent they could all understand her by the Winter Holidays.  She has been back several times for visits and the wedding of her best friend, and the arrival of children.

Not allowed to work during the ambassadors’ experience, her family was to send her an allowance each month, and we sent holiday gifts to her host families for her too.  We thought $100 a month would be what we could afford and Library Girl and I cleaned a small office building each week to send her that amount of money.   At the end of the experience, we found out that other students were receiving between $500 and $1000 a month allowances from home.  We did not know how she survived as Denmark was one of the most expensive countries.

One family in particular had taken our daughter into their lives and made sure she had some childcare opportunities and funds to go to the swimming pool, theatre, and other events; they included her in their family experience.

This family came to visit us and RV through Canada to see the wilderness, bears, and Mounties.  This visit gave us the opportunity to return the favor.  Best friend, her husband, 6 year old daughter, 3 ½ year old son and the wonderful parents/ grandparents arrived here nearly a month ago.  We went on a lovely sailboat ride to show off Puget Sound and gathered up all our camping gear to share, and then rented an SUV to get them to the spot to pick up their RV for 17 days in Canada.

Canada Day

Canada Day

Right away it felt like one’s favorite Aunt and Uncle had arrived with cousins and grandies!  Warm, gracious and happy to be off on an adventure and so ready to enjoy life and discover what their new surroundings had to offer.   We only anticipated that language would be a problem and by the time we sat down to our first meal together we were communicating first hand.

By the way, I served the Chicken Pot Pie Recipe from the Harvest Potluck e-cookbook http://patriciaswisdom.com/2009/11/harvest-potluck-unicef-fundraiser/, free from this site. Once again it was a prize winning supper and the fresh CSA (community supported agriculture) salad added to make it a feast.  Washington strawberries were at their peak and we added Danish Havarti Cheese and Rainier cherries and we were all laughing and having a good time.

It Girl joined her host family for her 2 weeks of vacation and celebrated her birthday in Canada too.  Kamloops, Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper were all visited and their amazing photographs rekindled memories from my childhood. Travelling now with cell phones and wireless computers, they found even more adventures and new GPS routes to embark upon.  The children still enjoyed climbing on rocks, hiking, seeing all the wildlife and told the stories of seeing  the bears along the way.

Tak (thank you),  Selv tak (You are welcome), far (father),  mor ( mother),  bedstefader (Grandfather) and bedstemoder (Grandmother) – we all added to the conversation at the table and we all could understand what ZIP wanted right away!

The children and I decorated an ice cream birthday cake for my husband to help him celebrate his big day.   I think having children to play cars and draw with kept him from being a Gloomy Gus (The Danes work a 35 hour work week and get more vacations and can retire at age 62 and have health care!  And this was a bit overwhelming to a fellow who has to work until age 72 to break even and has had to save up vacation days for years to go on a 5 week bike tour at age 64)!

Everyone off to the airport to return home to regularly scheduled lives and Zip keeps checking all the bedrooms to see if they might be lingering there still.  10 people in the house and it felt full of life and energy.   New friends and children’s hugs created priceless memories.

Have you rekindled some old acquaintances this summer or made some new friends in this season?

Wild Rose

Wild Rose

If you enjoy what you read here you might wish to support this blog with a donation?  Anything that you order from the Amazon link from this site puts a few beans in my bucket.

Related Reading:
Harvest Potluck Cookbook
A Birthday Ritual
Cascade-Siskiyou Bike Tour
Seattle to Portland Bike Ride 2009