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Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach
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Without Reservations

by Alice Steinbach

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  Buttercup25 | May 17, 2017 |
Without Reservations – Alice Steinbach
3 stars
In 1993, Alice Steinbach took a leave of absence from her job as a journalist to spend a year traveling through Europe. She planned extended stays in some of the world’s most beautiful places as she searched for a way to define herself away from the context of job and family. This was a pleasant, easy to read memoir about interesting people and exquisite locations. I liked that Steinbach traveled alone with no sense of loneliness or lack of confidence. She was open to new relationships, but was just as happy on her own. I found myself in agreement with her self-reflections on being single, over fifty and independent.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
I loved this book! Will read it again and again. Alice makes me want to pack my bag, not for a trip but for an adventure.

Thank you Alice for your wonderful writing. I have given copies to my adventure seeking friends. ( )
  ava-st-claire | Feb 21, 2014 |
A couple of months ago I saw a review of this book over at Captive Reader (http://thecaptivereader.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/without-reservations-alice-stei...)and immediately requested the book from my local library. A few weeks ago it arrived and about a week ago I started the book.

Alice Steinbach, an American reporter, divorced with two adult sons makes the decision to take a sabbatical from her job and travel. Her travelling is confined within this book to Paris, London, Oxford and Italy.

Whilst this is not so much a travelogue, it is written in a gentle style and is very much conversational. Alice has a wonderful ability to make friends with strangers and very much embraces the opportunity she has taken to reaffirm her position and life.

Whilst in London, Alice visited the Gertrude Jekyll exhibition that was held in London at the Museum of Garden History. By coincidence I visited the same exhibition, as Gertrude Jekyll is responsible for the gardens at one of my ancestral houses in rural Surrey.

I simply loved this book. I liked the way that Alice was having a conversation with her readers. I loved that she sent herself postcards whilst she was solo travelling and maintained a journal through the experience.

It reminded me of the solo travelling I did in my early 20s and the people that I met along the way and spent time with. Several of those people I am still in touch with, others have fallen by the wayside and yet remain entwined with my travels. It was those travels that probably defined and shaped me in adulthood.

About a third of the way through the book I found that I need a note pad as a few thoughts and book titles came to mind. I found that I wanted to know more about her travels and did she keep in touch with anyone she met on her journey, and what happened to her relationship with Naohiro?

As I sat to write this review I decided to see what other books Alice had written, I was very sad to see that Alice passed away in March 2012 (http://mdmorn.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/316124/) and I felt a real sadness for someone I had never met or corresponded with, yet we had made a connection through her writing. ( )
  AnglersRest | May 3, 2013 |
My book club discussed Without Reservations on a cold, snowy morning earlier this week. The book itself is Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Alice Steinbach's account of a year-long European sabbatical taken to discover who she really was without her career and children, but our discussion quickly veered toward our own travel tales and aspirations. We all mostly enjoyed the book, but questioned whether her ultimate goal for the trip was realized.

I loved Steinbach's writing, especially the postcards of personal insight and inspiration mailed home (to herself) throughout the trip. They appear at the beginning of each chapter. I hope to read her later book, Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman, sometime this year. ( )
  lakesidemusing | Apr 28, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Dear Alice,

Each morning I am awakened by the sound of a tinkling bell. A cheerful sound, it reminds me of the bells that shopkeepers attach to their doors at Christmastime. In this case, the bell marks the opening of the hotel door. From my room, which is just off the winding staircase, I can hear it clearly. It reminds me of the bell that calls to worship the novice embarking on a new life. In a way I too am a novice, leaving, temporarily, one life for another.

Love, Alice
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I write this sitting in my cozy kitchen on a wintry morning, my old cat dozing beside me on the warm, hissing radiator. (Introduction)
For weeks I had imagined my first day in Paris: I could see myself sipping on a citron pressé at the Flore, a famous Saint-Germain café that was once the haunt of Picasso, Satre, de Beauvoir, and Camus, then darting in and out of the shops on the rue du Bac or rosing the bookstores in the historic rue Jacob.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375758453, Paperback)

"In many ways, I was an independent woman," writes Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Alice Steinbach. “For years I’d made my own choices, paid my own bills, shoveled my own snow.” But somehow she had become dependent in quite another way. “I had fallen into the habit of defining myself in terms of who I was to other people and what they expected of me.” But who was she away from the people and things that defined her? In this exquisite book, Steinbach searches for the answer to this question in some of the most beautiful and exciting places in the world: Paris, where she finds a soul mate; Oxford, where she takes a course on the English village; Milan, where she befriends a young woman about to be married. Beautifully illustrated with postcards from Steinbach’s journeys, this revealing and witty book transports you into a fascinating inner and outer journey, an unforgettable voyage of discovery.

Praise for Without Reservations:

“A rich account of one woman’s journey through Europe and into the self.”
—Us Weekly

“I loved going along with Alice Steinbach as she goes off on this rare, wonderful adventure, an escape into discovering herself and some of the truly magical places in this world.” —DOMINICK DUNNE

“More than a chronicle of the writer’s search for self-discovery, Without Reservations is a lovely travelogue.”
—Chicago Tribune

“The best books, like the best vacations, contain unexpected delights, surprises that enrich the soul as well as the senses. This is a book about love, and longing, and the passage of time. It’s about hope, and courage, and the resiliency of memory. This book is a feast. Bon appétit!
—The Des Moines Register

“Beautifully written, clear, insightful, thoughtful . . . Steinbach’s book should be taken in slowly and savored all the way.”
—St. Petersburg Times

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:22 -0400)

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The author describes the lessons she learned about independence while traveling in Paris, London, Oxford, and throughout Italy.

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