26 April 2012

Thursday Tea: Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift

The Book: I've only just begun Vivan Swift's absolutely beautiful travel book Le Road Trip. Although the subtitle is A Traveler's Journal of Love and France, it is so much more than that.

First and foremost, although the focus of the book is a trip Swift and her husband took to France soon after marrying, you don't have to be someone who dreams of Paris or to have a travel companion to find plenty to hold your interest. As Swift herself says in the beginning, Le Road Trip is mostly about travel in general than about a specific vacation.

Swift starts with anticipating her trip and packing and then moves right into how she likes to spend a day in Paris (including dressing, eating, and shopping). Then she takes a break to talk about what she calls "reality checks": financial problems, national holidays, bad hotels, and so on. She also muses about the little things: waiting for trains, walking beaches, and noticing the play of light.

As I mentioned, I've just started reading this delightful book, but I can already unconditionally recommend it . . . to some of you. I am a person who likes to travel with only half-made plans. I do a ton of research ahead of time, but I have no set-in-iron schedule, except for plane tickets and a few strategic hotel reservations. I like adventure and discovery and I pack extremely light. And in these ways, I am very much like Swift.

Sadly, in another way I am in no way whatsoever like her. I cannot draw or paint. But if I could, I would spend my days turning my photos and memories into paintings like she did. The scan (click to enlarge) is from page 103 and doesn't really reproduce the beauty of her artwork or the pure pleasure it is to read and absorb the material in Le Road Trip.

In addition, I don't have the years of experience in France that she has. I find her down-to-earth attitude about a country she knows very well to be refreshing. I can't wait to finish reading. For more on Swift and her life as a world traveler and art expert, visit her website and read her blog.

The Tea: We actually had a little snow this week. Fortunately, it didn't stick, but it did mean I could reach for a cup of hot tea. This week I turned to an old favorite: Stash Tea's English Breakfast tea, which the company describes this way: "We blend bright Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka, malty Assam and smooth Nilgiri from India, and full-bodied Keemun from China. The result is a very distinctive, rich tea. It takes milk and sugar very well. This stimulating tea is the perfect morning wake-up drink." I was drinking it black and in the afternoon, but regardless, it's a BFR family favorite.

The Assessment: Umm, you know I love tea. I drink at least one cup almost every day. But for this book, tea isn't doing it. I'm going to have to switch to a little espresso or perhaps a nice Bordeaux because Swift visited many places in that part of France. Oh, I know what would taste wonderful if the weather warms up: a really good Norman cider (and I'm not talking about apple juice). Now I need to think about the proper food pairing: cheese? bread? pastries? a little salad? Ahhh to dream.

What About You? What would I find in your mug or glass? And do tell me what you're reading this week.

Buy Le Road Trip at an Indie, Powell's, Book Depository, or a bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs.
Thursday Tea was the brainchild of Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.
Published by Bloomsbury USA 2012
ISBN-13: 9781608195329
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)
FTC: I buy all teas myself, I am not a tea reviewer.


bermudaonion 4/26/12, 6:55 AM  

I read, and adored, Swift's first book and cannot wait to dive into this one.

caite 4/26/12, 7:27 AM  

I am with Kathy on this one. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED her first book, When Wanderers Cease to Roam and can not wait to spend a day with this one!

Molly 4/26/12, 7:31 AM  

WOW -- I think I absolutely MUST find this book today. It sounds perfect for me!

JoAnn 4/26/12, 8:01 AM  

This sounds like a perfect read for 'Paris in July'!

Daryl 4/26/12, 8:03 AM  

we could travel well together ..

Jaclyn 4/26/12, 9:41 AM  

I am putting this one on the TBR immediately. It sounds lovely! And there's room for tea in France... a cup of Marco Polo or French Breakfast from Mariage Freres is part of the quintessential Paris experience for me. (Although I do enjoy a cafe creme as well...)

Zibilee 4/26/12, 11:08 AM  

The illustrations are indeed wonderful, and make me want to see this book in person. As far as tea goes, I have been sticking to Darjeeling lately. Like all the teas I drink, I use a lot of cream and sweetener as well. I am discovering that like you, I don't really enjoy fruit teas, except things with orange in them.

Sandy Nawrot 4/26/12, 11:55 AM  

OHMYGODIHAVETOHAVETHIS!!!! *scurring off to the library website*

Sandy Nawrot 4/26/12, 11:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carole 4/26/12, 2:29 PM  

I have put this on my list of books to look out for. It sounds like just my sort of thing. Thanks, Beth

Julie P. 4/26/12, 2:55 PM  

This looks very special. I love the illustrations.

Beth Hoffman 4/27/12, 7:49 AM  

Though I'm out of town, something told me to check in and see what you were up to, and I'm so glad I did...this book is exactly what I've been looking for to give as a birthday gift to a friend!

Julie Goucher 4/29/12, 3:14 AM  

Beth, I really enjoyed this review and the video clip, which I shared with my cousin who lives in France. I have not heard of this author or their previous book, but will go and have a look on Amazon. Great review.

Anonymous,  4/30/12, 10:34 PM  

I read this earlier this month and simply adored it (and okay, maybe I was a little green with jealousy that I don't have Swift's talent with a paintbrush). I really want to read her first book now.

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