Literary Summer Travel

          By Murissa Maurice
               Another year has passed and school has completed, until September anyways. With 5 months of summer I always feel as though I have to utilize my spare time in a productive way or it will truly be wasted. I try to stick to a sort of theme but usually I am taken down so many avenues that I end up having my finger in every topic that I was originally considering. Last summer, I devoted my time to the study of the Italian way of life which included cooking, history, architecture, art, etc. Unfortunately, this summer I am unable to go back to Europe but I have a much cheaper option.
        Last month, amidst the various essays and exams, I decided to begin my own travel and food blog. I have been so obsessed with travel that 2 of my 3 poem submissions in my poetry class had to do with some striking visual experience I had while away from Canada. This led me to explore the idea of a genre that I call "Travel Poetry," however, that is for another post. As a result of my obsession and, the beginning of my blog, I have decided to learn more about travel writing, and read some of its best writers. Below, I have listed my summer reading list, which, I hope, will enhance my writing as a blogger, and potentially my writing for my upcoming 4th year creative writing classes and beyond.
If you have read any of these works I encourage you to let me know what you thought. Please also comment to give us recommendations of some of the better works that you've read.

        1. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
From what I understand, this book is filled with gossip about the famous writers that Hemingway called his friends (Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, among others) while set in Paris. He also explains his writing process which is fascinating to me as a young and (self-procalimed) up and coming writer ;). I have always been fascinated by Hemingway's work, especially after reading the short story, "Hills Like White Elephants."

 2. A Moveable Feast: Life Changing Food Encounters Around the World
 I am really looking forward to this book as it includes Anthony Bourdain and many other great foodies and travel gurus that I identify with in more ways than one. I love how these writers explore how food brings people together and, can be, a doorway into another culture. There are a total of 38 stories in this book and I plan to devour one per day and savour each like an Okanagan wine. 
Anthony Bourdain

      3. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
         I probably won't get to this pick as much as I'd like to by the end of the summer. I have seen this book in the local books store and found the cover really appealed to me. So I picked it up and read that it was about, Hemingway's first wife, Hadley's experiences in Paris. It would be a good companion to book #1 and if anyone has read it please let me know as I never feel as though I can trust the books that fall under "Heather's Picks" at Chapters.

4. The Devil's Picnic: Travels Through the Underworld of Food and Drink by Taras Grescoe
This book features many travel/food stories from one author based out of Montreal. I hope there will be at least one story featuring Montreal as it really is the only place I desire to visit in Canada. It is famed for it's amazing selection of food, but also its dedication to the arts. The book itself sounds like it explores the underbelly of food and travel, which is something everyone must face occasionally when traveling. But let's face it, the most uncomfortable of situations makes for great stories.

5. Venice by Jan Morris
I fell in love with Venice last summer and I vow to go back next year with my sister who has yet to experience the amazing labyrinth streets, food, people and shopping. One of my poems I wrote this semester was 7 pages of sensory details that I recall when hustling among the Venetian architecture. I am glad to say that my work is going to be published in our local Other:___ Magazine.
Venice is such a difficult place to fully explore in words and I find it is effectively done in poetry, otherwise, the translated experience lacks slightly. I hope to be proven wrong in reader her book. Jan Morris has a wide array of travel literature so if her work proves to be good I will definitely follow up on her other books.

                    6. Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink
This book, again, is a wide variety of writers, including Steve Martin and Woody Allen, who write about food and their love (or pure frustration) of it. Right now, I am starting Steve Martin's new book, An Object of Beauty, which isn't as decorative as Shopgirl (a book of character sketches), however, I am still optimistic after only 20 pages. I have always wanted to access some of his New Yorker stories and I think I will enjoy it and anything with Woody Allen is good. P.S look for his new movie Midnight in Paris!

Graffiti. Rome, Italy

Murissa Maurice is currently working towards a double major in art history and creative writing at UBC Okanagan. She also write a blog called The Wanderfull Traveler where she shares her travel and culinary experiences from Canada, USA and Italy. Her photography is for sale and you can purchase her work which is included in Other:____ Magazine issues 4, 5 and, soon to be, issue 6. She is also working on her own poetry/photography coffee table book.


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