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February RandomCAT - We Need a Break!

2019 Category Challenge

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Jan 16, 3:40pm Top

It's February - it's a short month, but it seems like a long time since New Year's, and for many, a long time until the next public holiday, spring break, summer vacation to take a little trip. I'm certainly looking forward to my next holiday - how about you? So, for the RandomCAT this month, as you're looking forward to your next holiday break, read a book about travel, a trip, a holiday or one that has one of those words in the title.

Here are a few from my shelves that might work for me this month:

I think my first choice is The Lost Traveller by Antonia White.

Please share what you're thinking of reading, and don't forget to update the wiki!

Jan 16, 6:03pm Top

I have a trip to NYC planned in March, so in honor of that I'm going to read Underfoot in Show Business by Helene Hanff. If I get real ambitious maybe I'll try to also read The Great Bridge by David McCullough about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Jan 16, 6:23pm Top

>1 LisaMorr:, I like the theme!

I'm going to plan on reading Traveler in Paradise: New and Selected Poems.

Jan 16, 6:30pm Top

I don't know why but I have a great love of train travel books and I have never got to this one.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux. Written in 1973, it is meant to be a great reflection of where our world was in this time period. It covers his travels from London to Tokyo and back again, on trains such as the Orient, Mandalay, and Trans-Siberian Expresses.

But I was even more excited to find that he has written a 'sequel' in 2008 - Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. In this, he retraces the route he took thirty years previously.

I am looking forward to reading these back to back.

Jan 16, 7:03pm Top

I have two possibilities I'm looking at for this one:

Chaucer's People by Liza Picard, a social history of Mediaeval England based on the characters in The Canterbury Tales

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, rival gangs of children on boating holidays.

Edited: Jan 16, 8:26pm Top

I'm thinking that I'll be reading River Horse: The Logbook of a Boat Across America by William Least Half-Moon who decides to transverse America by canoe.

Jan 16, 8:46pm Top

Oh, a travel book! So many options! Some titles I am considering:
The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, a Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century
Americans on the Road: From Autocamp to Motel, 1910-1945
The First Royal Tour, 1867-1868 (of Australia, by one of the sons of Queen Victoria)
Glimpses of Three Coasts (California and Europe)
Hamish's Mountain Walk (Scotland)
The Road to Oxiana
Southern Exposure--kayaking around New Zealand's South Island

Maybe I can fit in more than one!

Jan 16, 9:32pm Top

I will probably read either A Little House Traveler: Writings from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Journeys Across America and/or On Board the Titanic: the Complete Story with Eyewitness Accounts edited by Logan Marshall, a reprint of The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters, originally published in 1912.

Jan 16, 10:10pm Top

I think I will read Dove the true story of a young man on a round-the-world voyage in a 24' sloop.

Jan 16, 10:22pm Top

I'll be reading Across the Plains, an essay collection by Robert Louis Stevenson. It appears to have some travel pieces in it, and I was moving it around the shelves recently so it's fairly high in my thoughts at present.

Jan 16, 11:13pm Top

>9 DeltaQueen50: I read Dove in high school. It was quite good as I recall. Not sure why I read it as I had never been in a sailboat in my life!

Jan 17, 8:22am Top

Ooh, I've got a lot of travel books I'm yet to get to. The question is, do I go Hebridean, or further afield?

My choices are:

Alastair McIntosh Poacher's Pilgrimage: an island journey
Dana Stabenow Alaska Traveler: Dispatches from America's Last Frontier
David Greene Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia
Marie Browne Narrow Margins

I think I'll probably start with the Alaska book (as I've had that the longest) and then see where I am.

Jan 17, 11:57am Top

>11 NinieB: Good to know. I did used to sail when I was younger, of course nothing so exciting as an around-the-world trip.

Jan 19, 9:57am Top

>2 LittleTaiko: Love David McCullough - didn't know he had done a book on the Brooklyn Bridge.
>3 whitewavedarling: Thanks - enjoy the poetry!
>4 JayneCM: I think I have The Great Railway Bazaar around the house somewhere - my dad gave it to me. I was looking at Theroux's books, and I didn't realize he wrote several train travel books.
>5 Robertgreaves: Those both sound really interesting.
>6 dudes22:, >7 NinieB:, >9 DeltaQueen50: Lots of great choices - and I'm sensing a theme: canoeing, kayaking and sailing (and cruising on the Titanic)!
>8 sallylou61: The Titanic books sounds fascinating.
>10 rabbitprincess: A travel book by the author of Treasure Island and Jekyll and Hyde - sign me up! When I looked that book up, I saw that it's part of a 3-part travel memoir; I'll be interested to hear what you think.
>11 NinieB: The Alaska book looks good - the Siberia train journey one also appeals to me!

Lots of great reading ahead for Feb!

Jan 19, 4:31pm Top

Some options for me:

The Forgotten Sisters / Shannon Hale
The End Games / T. Michael Martin
The Last Little Blue Envelope / Maureen Johnson
The Road / Cormac McCarthy

Jan 19, 5:56pm Top

I already have two books planned for February that include travel: A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr and The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard Morais.

Jan 21, 7:31pm Top

I think I will read The Provincial Lady in America by E.M. Delafield. Another possibility--London Holiday by Richard Peck.

Edited: Feb 4, 12:30am Top

I'm wondering if Hotel Brasil might work ... it has "hotel" in the title...

Jan 22, 10:13am Top

pondering on reading Night Train to Rigel . My kinda travel.

Jan 22, 1:43pm Top

>15 LibraryCin: Princesses, zombies, mysterious envelopes and the end of the world - a tough choice!
>16 clue: Those both sound really good!
>17 LadyoftheLodge: I've got an omnibus version with all the provincial lady books so I'd love to hear what you think. But the other book sounds like a lot of fun!
>18 EBT1002: Absolutely!
>19 majkia: 'a murder mystery set on an interstellar train' - if you like it, I'll be taking a book bullet!

Jan 22, 9:21pm Top

>20 LisaMorr: One of them fits the ScaredyKIT challenge, so that one's very much a possibility, though I've chosen my options based on tags, so hopefully they really do fit "travel" in some way!

Jan 26, 12:46pm Top

I hope I can get The Road by Cormac McCarthy in for February!

Feb 2, 5:10pm Top

I finished my choice for this month today:

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
A crazy ride of a story, in which the Reader is the main character who is simply trying to read a book, but who gets frustrated at every turn and by more and more outlandish disruptions. Each new manuscript promises to be the completion of the previous, but only introduces yet another new book, which, in turn, is cut short and unfinished. Chapters of this main plot (which also contains an Other Reader, with whom the Reader carries out a love story of sorts, and a romp of a detective story as well) alternate with the actual first chapters of the unfinished manuscripts, which themselves leave the (R/r)eader genuinely frustrated and wanting more.
In short, it's a hoot, although it does get a bit bogged down in its own absurdities toward the end, I feel. Think Inspector Clouseau meets Arabian Nights meets a Choose Your Own Adventure book in which all the choices are just tantalizingly out of your reach, and then throw in a healthy pinch of musings on the nature of readers, authors, books, and the act of reading itself.

Feb 3, 10:18am Top

>22 luvamystery65: Ro, I hope you can too!

>23 scaifea: I love that book - your fun summary reminds me that I need to read it again!

Feb 3, 6:37pm Top

>23 scaifea: that book keeps popping up here and Litsy and everyone seems to love it. I think I'm going to have to give in and wishlist it.

Edited: Feb 4, 12:31am Top


Hotel Brasil

Feb 4, 5:26am Top

>24 LisaMorr: It was definitely an interesting read!

>25 Robertgreaves: I hope you enjoy it!

Feb 5, 10:07pm Top

A Little House Traveler by Laura Ingalls Wilder -- I just read On the Way Home and The Road Back from it; I had previously read West from Home in 2015.
A Little House Traveler contains the three titles mentioned above. Part 2 of On the Way Home is a diary which Laura kept on the 1894 trip from De Smet, South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, where she and Almanzo lived the rest of their lives. Laura discusses the landscape, the weather, and the kind of people they encounter along the way. Many are fellow migrants moving from one place to another having experienced hardships, primarily due to the weather. Laura's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, wrote parts 1 and 3 about their life in South Dakota prior to the move (and why they moved) and about their early life in Missouri finding the land where they would build their farm, etc.
The Road Back is Laura's diary of a trip she and Almanzo took back to South Dakota in 1931; their first trip back after moving to Missouri. Laura kept track of the amount of money they spent each day. While in South Dakota she describes seeing her two surviving sisters and a few other people they knew back when they lived there. The place had changed considerably, and she missed her Ma, Pa, and Mary, all of whom had passed away

Feb 5, 10:44pm Top

>24 LisaMorr: I did start The Road on audio. I should be reading my f2f book club book, but this is more exciting. It's depressing, but I'm on pins and needles waiting to see what is going to happen.

Feb 6, 4:24am Top

I picked up Der kleine Vampir verreist which also fits the SeriesCAT and the ScaredyKIT this month. It's part of a children's series and in this instalment the little vampire takes a trip to join his human friend on a country holiday. The series was hugely popular in the early eighties, and it was nostalgic to read about people smoking in trains.

Feb 6, 11:00am Top

>28 sallylou61: oh, I got hit with a book bullet on The Road Back... (can't find the correct touchstone for it).

Feb 6, 4:25pm Top

>30 MissWatson: Is there a version of this book in English? It sounds like a fun read.

Feb 7, 3:50am Top

>32 LadyoftheLodge: I believe quite a lot of the books were translated into English, but I'm not sure if they are still available: https://www.librarything.com/series/The+Little+Vampire The series is almost 40 years old, after all.

Edited: Feb 7, 10:26pm Top

>31 fuzzi: I also could not find the correct touchstone for The Road Back. That's why it is not "highlighted."

Feb 8, 11:28am Top

>34 sallylou61: apparently it's not been published before, is only available in that volume.

Feb 8, 10:52pm Top

>35 fuzzi: That's right; the Introduction to The Road Back states "This is the first time Laura's notes from that {1931} journey have been published" (p.289). The whole account is short (being pages 284-344) including illustrations, some of which take up the full page. This is a trip which Laura and Almanzo took before any of the Little House books were published; Little House in the Big Woods was published the following year. Thus, it is not the more famous 1939 final trip when Laura and Almanzo went back to South Dakota knowing it would be their final trip there; then they were treated as guests of honor at De Smet. Still the account of the 1931 trip is very interesting. The highlights of both trips are discussed in Prairie Fires: the American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser, who references The Road Back in approximately a dozen endnotes.

Feb 9, 2:08am Top

Taking a cruise. Santa Cruise by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

Edited: Feb 10, 11:37am Top

Finished The Golden Journey last night.

Feb 10, 12:25pm Top

I read one for the monthly literature seminar I attend, The Expedition to the Baobab Tree by South African author Wilma Stockenstrom. While it's not a journey I would like to take, it was a lovely book.

I think I'll also give The Road a try on audio.

Feb 11, 12:19pm Top

Ended up reading two Helene Hanff books for this challenge and found both to be delightful. Underfoot in Show Business was a memoir about her early years in show business and full of her usual humor. The other book Apple of My Eye is a sort of love letter to New York City. It ended up being helpful as I planned my next trip to NYC as it gave me a couple of ideas for sights to see that we haven't been to yet.

A funny thing happened when I pulled Apple of My Eye off of the shelf. I had purchased it last November and hadn't paid much attention to it other than to note it seemed like a really slim book. I eagerly read it and realized that the book just sort of ended on page 40. When I looked it up online, I found out the book should have had around 144 pages. Oops! Fortunately, Amazon gave me a refund and I reordered the book and got the correct version in two days. Never really thought that I should check to make sure all the pages were in a book that I purchased, but it seems like it might be a good practice.

Feb 11, 6:53pm Top

>40 LittleTaiko: I had a similar experience. The middle third or so of a book was missing. I'd bought it in the UK and then came back to Jakarta before I noticed, and was amazed when Amazon sent me a replacement without charging postage, twice! The first replacement they sent had the same defect but they still sent a complete copy afterwards.

Feb 12, 10:31am Top

Based on this review >23 scaifea:, I decided to read If on a Winter's Night a Traveler as well and really enjoyed it. I also read two other books that featured travelling. In The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, the princess travels from her home to the country of the prince she is supposed to marry and some important things happen during this trip to change the course of the story. And in The Last of the Stanfields by Marc Levy, the two main characters travel to Baltimore to try to learn something about their families.

Feb 13, 5:38am Top

>42 staci426: Oh, yay! I'm glad you liked it!

Feb 13, 11:18am Top

I read Call Me Zebra by Azareen van der Vliet Oloomi, about a young woman who travels to Spain. It was dreadful, but it fits this CAT!

Edited: Feb 13, 12:07pm Top

I am reading Census where the main characters are travelling around taking a census. It's a kind of future world, and it isn't clear what exactly the census is, but it seems to involve tattoos.

Feb 13, 6:54pm Top

COMPLETED Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram, the bulk of which takes place on a family visit to Yazd in Iran.

Starting Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Edited: Feb 14, 7:01am Top

Completed Kip's Monster by Harper Fox, in which the characters go to a sort of hippie camp by Loch Ness.

Feb 14, 9:07am Top

I read Astrid Lindgren's Christmas in Noisy Village, which would be a keeper except I'm sending it on to younger family members!

Feb 15, 8:48am Top

I really enjoyed Night Train to Rigel by Timothy Zahn which is a sort of sci fi version of Murder on the Orient Express but with multiple alien species and spiders!

Feb 15, 12:43pm Top

I just got The Lost Traveller from bookmooch. I don't know if I can squeeze it in this month. So many books to read, so little time.

Feb 15, 4:22pm Top

Lots of great books being read!

>50 Kristelh: I hope you get to it - I just started it today, and it would be interesting to hear what you think.

Feb 15, 8:55pm Top

COMPLETED Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome - children sailing in the Lake District playing at explorers and pirates

Feb 16, 12:55pm Top

I have completed my read of Dove by Robin L. Graham, which is the author's account of his solo sailing trip around the world. He started his trip when he was 16.

Feb 16, 12:59pm Top

>53 DeltaQueen50: I recall reading about his travels in National Geographic.

Edited: Feb 19, 12:29pm Top

>54 fuzzi: It was an amazing feat but unfortunately I wasn't totally caught up in his writing. His contract with National Geographic does comes up during the course of the book.

Feb 16, 1:15pm Top

I've just finished Alaska Traveler by Dana Stabenow, which is a collection of the columns she wrote for Alaska Magazine in the early 2000s. I really enjoyed it, and would love one day to visit!

Feb 18, 8:54pm Top

Just finished Paris for one and other stories by JoJo Moyes

Nell is a timid woman in her mid-twenties who hasn't travelled or made any big decisions in her life. After overhearing her boyfriend joke about her unadventurous ways, she surprises him with two tickets to Paris for a long weekend. During the journey, he sends her texts about being delayed and eventually the weasel stood her up. Nell is faced with the prospect of staying in the hotel room the entire time, or facing the formidable front desk clerk for advice. Bravely, she went out for dinner alone, and from there she progressed step by tiny step, never to look back. The main story was accompanied by ten short stories, all irresistible and with just a hint of romance.

Feb 19, 1:53pm Top

>57 VivienneR: "All irresistible and with just a hint of romance." If that's not book bullet worthy, I don't know what is!

Feb 20, 2:06am Top

>58 LisaMorr: Glad I caught you, Lisa. Not too much romance, just enough.

Feb 23, 1:05am Top

The Last Little Blue Envelope / Maureen Johnson
4 stars

This is a continuation of “13 Little Blue Envelopes”. Potential spoilers for the first book: Ginny didn’t get to finish her aunt’s “treasure hunt” when her backpack with the envelopes was stolen in Greece. She had one envelope left.. Back at home in the US, Ginny hears from someone who has that last envelope, and he’s in London. Ginny decides to travel back to London to get her hands on that last envelope and keep going. While in London, she looks up the boy she’d been dating, Keith. Ginny, Keith, and two others set off to follow the instructions on the last envelope that brings them to a few different European countries.

I really enjoyed this one. It appears I read the first book 6 years ago!! I found it interesting that I commented in that review that I wasn’t a fan of Keith; still not in this book, either. However, I did like the new guy, Oliver, who was the one who found Ginny’s envelopes. Also enjoyed “travelling” around Europe with Ginny and her friends; I particularly enjoyed the B&B in… I think it was Belgium (cats!).

Feb 23, 4:43pm Top

>60 LibraryCin: That sounds like a fun one!

I finished The Lost Traveller today. There is some traveling going on, as the protagonist goes into the country for her grandfather's funeral, and then a little later to an estate in the country to be the governess to a young boy; I think also it is about the journey Clara goes on and what happens to her between returning home from a convent school at fifteen to becoming engaged at seventeen.

Feb 24, 11:11am Top

Finished Traveler in Paradise: New and Selected Poems. Not bad. Full review written.

Feb 24, 7:18pm Top

Neither of the books I planned to read were available at the library so I read Figures in a Landscape: People & Places by Paul Theroux instead. Not all of the essays are related to travel but many are. One is on travel writing and others are on some of his favorite writers and their travels.

Edited: Feb 24, 9:50pm Top

After thinking I would read one of the many travel narratives cluttering up Mt TBR, I ended up breezing through Death on the Riviera by John Bude. While Inspector Meredith and Sergeant Strang are on the Riviera to find a suspected currency forger, they don't fail to notice that the Riviera in February is a heck of a lot nicer than London in February. An enjoyable 1952 murder mystery from British Library Crime Classics.

Feb 24, 10:42pm Top

Like >64 NinieB:, I too read a classic murder mystery for this theme, Murder on Safari by Elspeth Huxley. While a safari (in which the animals are hunted and not just observed) is not my idea of a vacation, I did enjoy this Golden Age mystery set in Africa.

Feb 28, 2:29pm Top

I’ve finished So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger the story of a train robber trying to escape from a Pinkerton detective across the West.

Feb 28, 2:36pm Top

I finished one more book that fist for this month, Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey. The main character travels far from home to try to figure out what her destiny is.

Mar 1, 5:29am Top

A few days ago, finished Happy Doomsday by David Sosnowski - two of the characters travel looking for other survivors

Mar 1, 10:54am Top

Thanks for traveling with me in February! Lots of interesting books read.

Mar 1, 11:01am Top

I forgot to ask everyone to update the wiki:


And, as I was reviewing my February reads, I'm planning on also counting The Subtle Knife as there is an awful lot of travel going on between parallel worlds, and within the worlds, travel going by balloon and by broomstick!

Group: 2019 Category Challenge

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