Category: Book


I forgot how much I liked this author!!! I bought a couple of his books when I was over in the UK like a million years ago and I haven’t read anything since. And when I was just browsing the travel section at the library, I saw this one and just took it. It is about an Aussie who buys a vespa in Italy and drives it around all summer. He goes to small towns and has issues with the bike along the way and it’s really entertaining. It’s an area I have been to many times, but I wish I could remember the small details of the small towns we have driven through. Nothing super special, but just a really enjoyable read.

I am loving my inter-splicing of non-fic books lately, but this book really pissed me off. Generally, it was about a Dude in Italy that takes people on tours around the Chianti region. It was interluded with chapters about the Dudes up bringing and how he came to love the region, which I actually liked a lot. The chapters about the people he took on tours, while kind of entertaining, got really really annoying after a while! Yes, I know Americans are idiots, but the kind of tours this guy caters too, there is no way around it! He offers personalized tours of the region, which of course cost a pretty penny. Think about the people that can afford these types of tours! Of course most of them are going to be morons! When you have to fend for yourself in a foreign country, you are more adapt to blend in and accept whatever comes your way. But if you have the money, of course you want it to be like what you are used too. I liked the chapters more about the people that would just accept the culture and became friends with the guide. Reading about idiot Americans gets both annoying and boring after a while. A quick, easy read, esp. since I have once again been to the region and can somewhat picture it. But annoying to some degree, seeing to just want to cash in on America’s recent interest in the region. Lame.

While I enjoyed this book, I felt like there was something off about it. I felt like it had a religious undertone about it, which annoyed the hell out of me. It was about two couples who go on an adventure in the Australia Outback. Each of the dudes want to propose to their girls and I have never read about dudes making such a big deal about this, after a while, it was like, who cares. They each get a rental car and one couple gets majorly lost and the majority of this book is about their attempt to get rescued. Eventually, the dude has to blow up the car to get the attention of a plane flying far away. Because they have destroyed the car, for some reason, they owe the place were they rented it a huge amount of money. But for some reason, they didn’t have to put down a deposit or credit card when they originally rented it and the rental company lets them leave the country, with only a promise that they will pay them back. I mean, what the hell kind of business practice is that? It’s crazy talk if you ask me. Also, it seems like the main couple had never been together, *in that way*, before they got married. And the guy seemed like obsessed with getting married and not being away from his women. It was a bit weird. I liked the Australian aspect of it all and that story, but the characters seemed a bit off.

**I read and wrote this review while I was living in New Zealand sometime in 2007 or 2008**
Adventures about a husband and wife riding around New Zealand on a motorcycle. Simple, but quite enjoyable. A bit too much detail about motorcycle and repairs and stuff which I didn’t care about, but this book is highly recommended for those that are. The writing about the landscape was typical and nice as well. Nothing new, but always a nice read, especially since I am here.

For some reason, I read this book in a day. There is no excuse for that. I don’t know how I got through this book so quickly as it was just okay and it was nearly 400 pages! I was in Kaikoura and I didn’t have a TV, but that is all! Anyway, this book was about a Dude right before one of his novels was published and he took a bunch of money and traveled the world in hopes of meeting someone to invite back to the US and that it would change their life for the better and mean a lot to them. He traveled to a lot of 3rd world places and it was all an interesting read about them. Usually I am not really all that much into reading about that, but this book wasn’t too bad. Probably the only thing I didn’t really like was the timing. I always read the masthead before I read the book so I get an idea of the timing that this book takes place and I think this book was originally published in 2000 and then in paperback in 2002 or something. So it’s not the newest book. He talked about S. Africa a lot and apartheid, which to me, seem to have been around for most of my life. But it was a huge issue in that chapter and when I finally got to the epilogue, it mentioned something along the lines of it taking nearly 10 years for the person that the author chose to come to America, to finally make it and he arrive in 1999 or something. So all the contents of this book took place nearly my lifetime ago. I wish I had known that going into at least the S. Africa chapter, as that one talked about ongoing political issues within that country. Another epilogue, which was written for the paperback edition, mentioned September 11th, which I always find interesting. Like if it took so long for the person to get to America before September 11th, imagine how long it would have taken them after! All in all, a very interesting read.

This book I was totally looking forward to when I picked it up from the library! And the payoff was total crap. One thing the travel writing class taught me that I brought to when I read this book is what kind of book it was. There are books that “show” you what people see when they travel and there are books that “tell” you what they see when they travel. “Show” books are usually more interesting and people like them more and I know I do. This book fell into the “tell” category and because of this, it was sooooo boring! Another thing that made this book boring is the scope that it covered. It covered nearly the whole world! The writer went to every continent except Africa, well, he did the north a little, but he included that in Europe. I have read books before were the write covers the whole world, but oddly enough those are families that do that and for some reason, makes it slight more interesting. The only angle this guy had was riding around on a motorcycle, but he started in Portugal and only got as far as like eastern Europe before shipping the bike to India (not riding it around the mid-east) and then couldn’t get it out of customs there, so pretty much just got rid of that idea and it turned into a regular boring ass trip. Also, he complained about everything! If the hotel wasn’t a freakin’ Hilton, it was a shithole. It was interesting to read his take on India, as I have no interest in ever going there, but everything I read are usually rave reviews about it and this guy had nothing to say but crap about it. So different, but a bit of a downer.

**I read and wrote this review when I was living in Sydney in late 2008**
Funny enough, the day after I finished this book I was watching the morning news and Charley Boorman, who is a co-author of this book, was on his own adventure of traveling from Scotland to Australia by ground only, was finishing his latest adventure in Sydney that day! How funny is that? Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hunt him down. Oh well, next time.

Anyway, this book is a sequel to another book that he and Ewan wrote a few years back except this one took them from the tippy-top of Scotland down to the bottom of S. Africa on motorcycles. These books are good things. They do good as they travel and bring awareness to causes that normally don’t get any coverage. Probably the only thing I have to complain about is the amount of stuff they carry when they travel. Since they are celebrities when they travel, they have like whole support crews, where if something goes wrong, someone is there to fix it. They would write about people who they met on the road, now they are real travelers. They are traveling like them, minus the road crew. They talk about things that could go wrong, but with the amount of people traveling with them, really what can? And of course, nothing does.

This book was super cute! Like 40 years ago, a couple from New Zealand got married and then did their OE in the UK. But instead of just taking a shit home, they bought a Bug and drove it home. And this book was about recreating that, as old people, in the same car! It was definitely an interesting read, but probably my least favourite thing about it was the Dude’s need for media attention regarding it. It was like, they were driving through some pretty rough countries and having the media attention on them was both good and bad. The Girl definitely had a better outlook on it, but unfortunately, it was the Dude who did all the talking. I liked how they inter-spliced it with memories of the olden days. Good read for travelers, especially since they were ending in Australia, even though they were from New Zealand. Plus throw in the UK, and I have been to all those places! (Except everywhere in-between, almost).

I love this author, so of course, I had to pick this title up. It was about a British guy who drove across the US by not using anything that had to do with chains and big corps when it came to his car, gas, eating and lodging to see if he could do it. It was a really interesting read and funny too. Prob. the only downside of this story was that he had a deal with some production company, so essentially, they owned the rights to the trip, which I thought defeated the whole purpose. Plus, since they were financing the project, he had nearly unlimited time and money to dick around with, which is why chains exist in the first place, to make things cheap for the rest of us! As with all books, about 2/3 of the way through there was some drama, that was kind of lame and of course everything worked out. All these types of books run the same pattern. A good travel read.

Like back during the summer of 2003, I bought so many books in the UK, I bought nearly all of Tony Hawks books except for some reason this one. So of course, when I saw it in the massive book pile in the hotel lobby, I had to pick it up. Once again, another lame bet ensues. I think the reason I didn’t pick this one up is because right there in the title it has two things I don’t care about. Moldovans and Tennis. I am glad I let this one sit for a few years as I was getting a little tired of nearly the same story that Tony always writes about. They are entertaining, but when you get down to it, they are the same thing over and over again.

ANYWAY. Does he win the bet? I think so. It was an interesting read about Eastern Europe from yesterdayyear and you kind of wonder how and if things have changed since then. As always, a fun and entertaining read.