Adios Madrid y Hola Barcelona!

2015 06-03 Vas a BarcelonaLast week we were in Madrid and this week we are in the beautiful Barcelona. I have no idea what we’re doing in Barcelona and I cannot wait to find out. I know we’ll see a lot of Gaudí and I am excited about that, but other than that I’m not sure.

The reason for this is, when we decided the trip I was going to plan one city, Madrid, and Tim was going to plan the second city, Barcelona. There were I’m sure more museums and artsy things (and of course a bookstore visit) in Madrid, but I’m excited to let Tim take me where he wants in Barcelona!

I hope you are ready for the explosion of pictures when I come back!

Book 356: The Witch of Portobello – Paulo Coelho

Coelho, Paulo - The Witch of PortobelloIn a further attempt to get a few more posts up while I’m on vacation I went to my TBR shelf and found I had two more Paulo Coelho novels yet to go so I grabbed them to read. They’re always easily written, well translated and fascinatingly beautiful and The Witch of Portobello (Amazon link), was no exception. I’m actually not sure when I picked up this book as I can’t find a photo of it, so I’m going to assume it was sometime in 2011 right after I read The Alchemist.

Every time I read a book by Coelho, I find myself wondering about and searching for my spirituality. Whether he is talking about the Mother or organized religion (usually not), Coelho has a way of writing incredibly complex ideas and intricate narratives that is so simple and beautiful that it’s almost breath-taking. I do wonder if it is even more beautiful in his native Portuguese, how can it be so incredibly beautiful translated into English and not be beyond beautiful originally. So that being said, some credit must, obviously, be given to Margaret Jull Costa who has translated other works by Coelho including Veronika Decides to Die and Eleven Minutes (my next read) and many works by José Saramago including Seeing.

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Book 355: Jane Vows Vengeance (Jane Fairfax #3) – Michael Thomas Ford

Ford, Michael Thomas - Jane Vows Vengeance ( Jane Fairfax #3)Book three (Amazon link) of the Jane Fairfax trilogy just didn’t live up to Jane Bites Back or Jane Goes Batty. That being said, there were some great moments, but overall it just wasn’t as light or as fun. As an end to the trilogy, it did a decent job wrapping everything up as it should and leaving enough room to keep going if Ford ever decides he wants to write more, but I doubt I’ll read more.

Rather than keeping the story in Upstate New York, Ford takes the traveling circus that is Jane Austen’s new life on the road. From Jane’s best friend, Lucy, to the future mother in law Miriam, everyone who is important either goes along or is named dropped at some point. Ford again introduces a cast of quirky minor characters, but this time they felt lightweight and fluffy. There wasn’t a lot of substance to many of them and I was left wanting.

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Bienvenidos a Madrid

2014 06-02 Madrid PostcardWhen this posts, I will be in the air on my way to Spain! Needless to say I am very excited and cannot wait to explore a new country. It has been almost six years since I was last out of the country, living there so not really traveling, and it’s been too long!

For the first week, we will be in Madrid. We have SO much planned from the national library and a  bus tour on the first day, to eating at one of the oldest continually run restaurants in the world, a rooftop walking tour and visiting the many museums and bull fighting ring!  I’m also VERY VERY excited about visiting the Don Quixote* and Sancho Panza statue on the postcard my sister sent me last summer and getting my picture taken there too!! I plan to start Don Quixote while I’m there to make it even more festive!

I’ve scheduled a few posts for when I’m gone, including an update on Monday (June 15) of where we go for our second week! So don’t worry if you don’t get an immediate response from me.

*I’m going to stick with the “x” version of Quixote as that is the way it is spelled in the title of the version I am reading. The postcard, and many other places have the “j” version, Quijote.

Book 354: Jane Goes Batty (Jane Fairfax #2) – Michael Thomas Ford

Ford, Michael Thomas - Jane Goes Batty (Jane Fairfax #2)When I finished this I did a little wiggle in my seat and clapped my hands. Some times I really do wonder about my sanity.

Having finished Jane Bites Back I immediately got a copy of the next two, this book (Amazon link) and Jane Vows Vengeance from the library – YAY Kindle! I didn’t read this one quite as fast as the last one even though I was working from home, but it was just as well written and hilariously fun!

What I took out of this novel was how great Ford is at caricatures, not only of characters but of ideas and fads. I spoke about the Janeites and Brontëites in the last novel and how he brought those together, but he does it even better in this novel. There’s a giant love festival, don’t ask, and the culmination is a game between the two. Originally a softball match, it ultimately is a croquet match, fitting right, and the descriptions and tension are hilarious.

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