But anyway, this book I read recently because I didn't have anything else I wanted to read, and my mom recommended it to me. It's a very nice book, I must say. A little branching out of my comfort zone of Young Adult/ Fantasy fiction, but still one of those really special, satisfying reads. What's even better about this book is that it's supposed to be based on a true story, which is pretty awesome, because the things that happen in the book are just amazing.
Basically the story is that the author experiences some really sad, stressful times when she divorces her husband, and then certain events start a chain reaction that leads up to her deciding to take this special vacation from her old life. She spends an entire year abroad, living in 3 different countries for 4 months each. Italy, India, and Indonesia. Each adventure through these places was awesome in their own right.
In Italy she has a fabulous time. If I had to pick a favorite part out of this book, it would have to be when she's in Italy. Especially because I absolutely love Italian food, and she gets to live there for 4 months, eating real, actual Italian food every day!!! She also learns to speak the language there, which sounds pretty fun, because Italian really is a beautiful language. Most of the time her home base was in Rome (when in Rome =P), but she travels to Naples (apparently they have the best pizza ever!!!) and Venice (I was jealous here. I want to go there! ~_~ I want to see the city that lives on top of the water, with rivers for streets!) and other really famous Italian cities. She makes really good friends there too (including someone with the last name Spaghetti! =P), even spending a lovely Thanksgiving at a friend's house! It was just really, really awesome and fun to be reading someone else's adventures in this European country, and to dream of going there myself someday. Which is what I wanted to do, even before reading this book.
India and Indonesia are kind of a different story, though they were both great to read in their own, different ways. It's where the author goes to "find herself," to meditate and get that much closer to God and stuff. I was kind of reminded of Shirley McClain here. I've only read The Camino by her, but she writes about different spiritual escapades too. Anyway, this author, when she goes to India, stays pretty much in one place, called an Ashram. (Look up the word. It's kind of hard for me to describe.) She makes friends here too and has all sorts of spiritual epiphanies and dreams, and makes lots of big improvements for herself.
Finally she goes to Indonesia, because beforehand she'd met this interesting guy, an old ninth- generation medicine man. (Imagine! That means his dad was a medicine man, and his dad was a medicine man, and so was his dad and his dad... etc, all the way to his Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather!!!) I really like this character, because he's described really interesting. He doesn't know his age (so he could be anywhere from 65 to 112!) and he's like a dark-skinned, toothless, wise Yoda man. He actually reads her palm and predicts that someday she would come to see him again and live with him so he could teach her spiritual stuff and she would teach him better English. And this was two years previously or, something like that, and when she goes to Indonesia he recognises her and it's really cool and funny.
She lives in this city called Bali, which has a very fascinating culture. It was almost as if I was reading one of those fiction books about alternate worlds or something, because I find it difficult to believe that people live like that somewhere on Earth. You know the people there only really have 4 names to choose from? It doesn't matter if you're a boy or a girl, they're the same names. That's so they know which order you were born in your family. You can decide on your own name or nickname later in life (so you can stand out from everyone else! =P). Pretty wacky, I say, but also cool! Anyway, she makes really close friends here, even saving someone from poverty and finding a new guy to love! Heh heh. The part where she gets a new boyfriend is pretty interesting. I'd say there's even more sex here than in Breaking Dawn. But it ends all happy, which is really good, because this lady so deserved it.
I'm not sure who to recommend this book to. Certainly to adult women, probably. But I think if you've got an open mind, like I did, anyone could enjoy it. It's a great read, and the author's writing style is quite admirable.
In other news... The Lateiner Gang got interviewed by a big book blogger, and they're really happy about it. I am too. ^_~ Also, their Maze Runner and Alvor contests end in a couple more short weeks, so that's exciting. Plus Laura Bingham (who actually wrote Alvor!) is holding a contest herself to give away her own book, and it ends in just a couple days! Better hurry if you want to get a copy with both her and her husband's autographs! ^,~