Thursday, January 26, 2017

Easy Books for Getting Back in the Reading Groove - Wanderlust

Today is the last day of my little series on easy books to read.  If you are just joining us you can read the previous installments on chick lit, memoir, and YA!  My goal is to help you find easy books to help you get into a reading groove.  The more I read, the more I find I want to read!

I'm a big fan of travel, mostly within the US because that's what is easiest and affordable for us right now, but still frequently mention our (one) European trip as if I'm an expert or something.  I realize I'm not but I like to pretend to be, even if, say, our time in Paris was about 8 hours above ground (and one hour waiting in a super long line to get one day Metro passes while seeing many pick pocketers work their stuff).

Since our travel budget isn't huge right now, I have to feed my travel urge with books that take place in all the places I'd like to visit.  Or revisit.  Or live for 6 months (Paris, Hawaii, London...).  Maybe some day we'll be doing big trips again but for now, I'll settle for reading about it.

1) Paris My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas
Again, another book I've mentioned more than once (here and here) but as far as books about Paris go, it's a good one.  In this one the author had moved to Paris for works and ends up kinda eating her way through the city.  Which, if you are going to do that, Paris isn't a bad place for it (one of my major regrets of our very short day trip is that we didn't eat nearly enough food while we were there).  If you are interested in food, Paris, and/or food in Paris, you should read this.

2) Swapping Lives by Jane Green
You could substitute almost any of Jane Green's early-middle novels, I most like her more middle works - not the real early ones but not super recent (although I have enjoyed and read them all).  This one tells the story of two women on opposite sides of the Atlantic who swap lives for some magazine promotion.  One is overrun with her family and social obligations, the other is a high powered single magazine editor.  They realize that nobody has the perfect life and that they should appreciate what they have.  Obvious lessons but maybe something we all need reminders of from time to time?  Other Jane Green options: The Beach House or Promises to Keep.

3) Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel
This is a sweet story about a woman who, after watching her little sister get married, decides she need a break from her predictable and safe life and decides to visit an old friend (fling?) in Rome.  She ends up living our parts of Roman Holiday, make some new friends, and having various Roman/Italian adventures along the way.  I've never been to Rome but this makes me want to visit even more!

4) Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, Hawaii by Robin Jones Gunn
Of all the novels Robin Jones Gunn has written about the "Forever Friends", I think this is the most standalone, easiest to pick up without reading the other ~36.  This is about Sierra, who previous had a 12 book series about her but most of that doesn't matter here, who is in Hawaii for a quick babysitting job (of her nephew, during the wedding of her former boyfriend who is a brother-in-law to her sister, makes total sense) and then extends her vacation to some time on Sunset Beach, Oahu.  She is trying to figure out if she should continue her missionary life in Brazil or move back to the state permanently.  Of course there is a guy involved and a surfing competition and some adventures.  I've read this book multiple times and keep coming back because it's fun, enjoyable, and sweet.

5)  Paris Letters by Janice Macleod
Another one I've mentioned before.  Of all the "I quit my life and moved to Paris" books I've read, I think this is my favorite.  The author is fed up with her life in the states, decides she wants to travel so goes through a big purge, figures out ways to earn extra money, and ends up in Paris.  The first part of the book really appealed to my "wants to be a minimalist but still attached to stuff" side.  Once in Paris she decides she needs to figure out a way to stay so she starts selling letters with watercolored paintings of various Paris scenes on them.  There is, of course, a romance too.  This perfectly plays into my dreams of living in Paris. 

(I realized while writing this that I own all 5 of these books and I've read them all more than once...I guess they are some of my favorites!)  Anymore books set in dreamy locations?  I love traveling by book!  Thanks for joining me on this little book series! 

New Years Resolution to read more?  Don't know where to start?  I'm aiming to help you out this week with 5 (or 6) books in 4 different categories, all of which I deem pretty "easy" to read - easy to get hooked, enjoyable to read, the best kind of book to start a good reading habit!

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