Saturday, April 14, 2012

Book review: Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift


Le Road Trip: A Traveler's Journal of Love and France follows on the success of Vivian Swift's delightful and genre defying first book When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put In Le Road Trip Swift has given us another gift for the senses. This book celebrates in both word and image how to be a tourist in your own life - take it in, savor it, but also don't take any of it too seriously.

Her "chocolate box" approach to books allows you to read in any order you like (though chronological is fun because it gives you the unfolding experience of the trip). As with her first book, "Le Road Trip" is completely hand-lettered by the author as well as full of her gorgeous watercolors and line drawings, perfect and often obscure quotes as well as thoughtful reflections on what it is like to travel (and be in love). I find that Swift's books lend themselves to re-reading. You'll always notice something new, most notably in the deceptively simple illustrations.

How I wish this book had been around when I first went abroad as a teenager and young adult. It'd have been a help and encouragement to find my own unique way of traveling - the way that was right for me. Indeed, I plan give this book to anyone about to travel or live abroad (perfect for exchange students, college year abroad students and even Peace Corps volunteers). On the surface "Le Road Trip" is about a trip to France, but really the subject is universal - the joys and, at times, difficulties of any kind travel outside of the familiar (going to college, living on the other side of the globe, starting a new relationship).

Nancy Pearl, Seattle librarian and book reviewer extraordinaire said it best: "A perfect gift for travelers, those with artistic souls, those with a sense of wonder, those who are hug-the-hearths--in short--nearly everyone on your gift list."

All I can add to that is be sure to put yourself at the top of that list!

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