Challenge Accepted: Read Harder 2017
A new year means new year resolutions and challenges. One reading challenge that I love to do is Book Riot’s 2017 Read Harder challenge. Instead of having people focus on a specific number of books, Read Harder challenges people to read different genres or authors that they may overlook. This year, there are 24 prompts for readers, and a complete list may be found here on the Book Riot Goodreads page. Today, I will address the eighth challenge, to read a travel memoir.
Carsick by John Waters
John Waters claims in the prologue that this is the shortest pitch he’s ever given: he will hitch-hike from his house in Baltimore to his apartment in San Francisco. What follows is exactly that: John Waters hitchhikes across America in trips both real and imagined - his ideal ride, his worst possible scenario, and what actually happened - that take him across the country and with an indie band on tour, a farmer, and his savior in a Corvette. I would recommend this as an audiobook, since Waters narrates it himself and will make you feel like you’re riding along with him.
In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
After spending time in Florence, Jhumpa Lahiri decided that she was going to take on the ultimate challenge: to fully immerse herself in another language and write a book in that language. And so she returned back to Florence with her family and began to only read and write in Italian. Presented in both English and Italian, In Other Words is about the struggle of immersing yourself into a different culture, and the feelings of exile that can result from those efforts.
M Train by Patti Smith
More experimental and nonlinear, Smith's second memoir is structured on 18 "stations" of importance in her life. We start sitting with Smith in Greenwich Village writing in her journal and then go on a journey filled with coffee, cats, Frida Kahlo, more coffee, photographs, dreams, and binge watching true crime shows. If you enjoyed Smith's first memoir, M Train is another opportunity to spend time with Smith and her writing.
On the Noodle Road: From Bejiing to Rome, with love and pasta by Jen Lin-Liu
As food writer, Jen Lin-Liu was eating her way through Italy on her honeymoon. She thought about how similar her meals were to the Chinese cuisine she cooked at home and enjoyed in her travels. This made her wonder: where did the noodle come from? Who invented it? These two questions sent Lin-Liu to travel the Silk Road for herself: forging a personal and historical connection to the culinary past.
The Telling Room: A Story of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti Michael Paterniti met the perfect piece of cheese in 1991 while working at a gourmet deli. This was no ordinary piece of cheese, but a cheese dipped in olive oil and steeped in legend: made from an ancient recipe, the Paramo de Guzman was reputed to have mystical like qualities. Paterniti was too broke to buy a piece of the Paramo de Guzman, but he made a vow that he would find this cheese again. Ten years later, Paterniti travels to the village of Guzman to make this vow come true, but the cheesemaker and the village are not what he expected.
Did you read something else for this challenge? Share it with us on twitter by using #readharderdcpl!