Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Armchair Reading Challenge: Book Four

In August, I joined the Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge at A Life In Books. I had an ambitious original post. And, since then I've made it to the Middle East, Europe, and Mexico. My fourth book took me back to Scotland specifically...with Liz Curtis Higgs.

This book was written unlike anything I've ever seen before. Instead of a past tense re-hashing of her trip, this travelogue IS the journey. It is in first person present time. You are "taking" the trip: having conversations, eating the food, seeing the sights, discussing the road, enjoying the lodgings right along with Higgs as she shows you around southwest Scotland.

Initially cool but eventually a little tedious. LOL No convenient "jumps" in the timeline to the next interesting point in the journey but every excruciating detail (adjectives, LOTS of adjectives, adjectives ad nauseum) of each step from the landing of the plane, through customs, even renting the car, etc. Ten days later - it's hard to share Higgs' sadness at leaving! LOL

The upside to the details? Cool...really cool...historical details about an area in Scotland that frequently is overlooked due to its more famous, more glamorous, more Hollywood-Braveheart cousin, the Highlands.

And, since this is more of Scotland's "road less traveled," one also receives the benefits of Higgs' passion for meeting the "regular" folks who run the businesses, watch over the historical sites, and speak Scots Gaelic fluently.

The best thing I'm taking away from this book is I think I'm finally starting to grasp the concept of the sense of history that seems to so escape Americans. We're such relative "babies" and other cultures seem to value and appreciate what's "old". Kirks (churches) built in the 1700's still being worshiped in that stand next to the ruins of the original church built several hundred years before. Wow!

If you love Scotland - you'll love this book. And, if you are a detail person - you will LOVE this book. However, if you are the average reader looking for some escapism and leisurely reading, you may want to try something else! LOL I'm still undecided since I know this is on someone's wish list at! *wink*

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