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Travel the World in Books Readathon, Day 6- Guest Post from A Reader’s Respite: O Canada!

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General Event Info

What our readathon is all about:

Explore countries other than the one you live in. Read as much as you can of books set in a different country or by an author from a different country. Read for your own pleasure or learning, read with your kids or both. Travel the world from the comfort of your own home and learn about different cultures. Expand your horizons and show publishers that #WeNeedDiverseBooks to promote cultural understanding and diversity in our reading. Support diverse authors and books. #TraveltheWorldinBooksRAT

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Full Readathon Schedule
Book Giveaways and Prize Form page – please remember to fill out prize form so we know what you would like if you win!

Co-Host Becca from Lost in Books Takes Us Away to Asia

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Yesterday, Becca shared with us recommendations for Africa. Today, she’s sharing her book recommendations for Asia. I have always been fascinated by East Asian cultures and much of my reading takes place in Asia or Europe. Check out Becca’s great suggestions and tell us what you enjoy reading in Asia.

Guest Post from A Reader’s Respite: O Canada!

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I’m happy to have Michele from A Reader’s Respite guest posting today for our Readathon. Michele’s blog posts are witty and honest, I laughed out loud reading her 53 Things You Probably Won’t Find Interesting About Me and I’ll try really hard to avoid #2 cause I use them all the time. And her reason for wanting her kids to learn to read on their own? Hilarious but true (be proud of me I ended this with a period, she almost got me).

I’m thrilled we get to know Michele’s softer side in her guest post she shared with us. A sweet and poignant childhood memory and how it began a valuable journey. Thanks Michele for sharing your post with us and your memories of Canada.

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I grew up poor. Oh, I never went without food or new clothes for school, but I was the kid who brought brown-bag lunches to school and most of my clothes were either second-hand or made by my mother on her old Singer sewing machine. So it goes without saying that family vacations were enigmatic to me. Every summer my best girlfriends would mysteriously disappear for weeks at a time, abandoning me while they boarded actual airplanes that whisked them away to fun-filled or exotic destinations like San Diego or the French Riviera. Some families actually ventured forth on multiple vacations throughout the summer, coming and going from the airport as casually as we went to the grocery store. I yearned to travel to faraway places like they did.

It was the summer of my tenth year when my mother first allowed me to accompany her on her weekly pilgrimage to our small local public library. My very best friend had just left with her family to spend two entire weeks in Australia. At first I was merely lonely at the thought of losing my favorite playmate, but after locating Australia on the creased map I had salvaged from an old National Geographic magazine, I was positively crestfallen. I wanted to see the world; I wanted to see a kangaroo. Instead, I got to see the children’s section of our local library. Once there, my mother directed me to some very uncomfortable wooden chairs and unceremoniously dropped a copy of Anne of Green Gables in my lap.

“One chapter,” she said with just the slightest hint of a challenge. “Just read one chapter.”

And so I did. Then I read the entire book. And the next book. And the one after that.

It wasn’t Anne so much that entranced my ten-year-old self, although was difficult not to love the chattering orphan who never knew when to stop talking, much like my own self and – dare I say it – the adult I would grow into. It was Green Gables, Avonlea, and Prince Edward Island that stole my imagination and my heart. The faraway Canadian province where Anne grew to adulthood took on mythical status for me with every passing book: I had painted, in my mind, a child’s utopia and that summer of my tenth year I was transported there. I experienced my first book vacation.

That first visit to the library with my mother was, I now suspect, done by design. Mothers have a way intuiting what their children need. I now know she felt an enormous amount of guilt for not being able to provide me with all the material things – including travel – my friends enjoyed. I believe she gave me something better. For over my ensuing teenage years I continued to travel to faraway places via the books I now read voraciously. I marveled over different landscapes and climates; I wondered over the aborigines of Australia and walked the streets of Reykjavik, Iceland. I traveled. Really I cannot emphasize that enough: I traveled.

As an adult, it is perhaps not surprising that I chose a career that involved travel. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the world several times over now. But there is nothing so special as reading about a locale in a book first. And despite all the stamps in my passport and the selfies taken standing on the western cliffs of Portugal or on the sands of Egypt, my best summer vacation occurred just last year when I gathered up my mother and young daughter and deposited us all on the shore of Prince Edward Island. I presented both of them with a copy of Anne of Green Gables and we happily spent the ensuing week reading and exploring the nooks and crannies of Anne’s world. For my mother and I, it was a week of nostalgia. For my daughter, a week of discovery. But most of all, it was a testimony to the power of books and the places they can take you.

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Find Michele Here:

Michele Jacobsen
Editor and Chief Spam Receptor at A Reader’s Respite
Creative Content Director at the All-Literature-Related Tumblr The Lit Asylum
Advisory Board Bloggers-Recommend
Sometimes essayist, sometimes not, sometimes just twitter @readersrespite

Travel the World in Books Readathon on Pinterest

Have you seen our Travel the World in Books Readathon Pinterest Board? We’ve been pinning your readathon related posts so be sure to comment and leave links to your readathon posts so we can pin them and your Pinterest URL so we can be sure to follow you. Lots of great book recommendations and goals to share, stop by to catch up on everyone’s great posts.

You can also check the Schedule which is updated for all our author interviews, mini-challenges and guest post links.

What have you enjoyed reading in Asia? What is your favorite childhood memory of reading? Thanks for joining our Readathon and happy reading!

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19 Comments

    1. Of course, you can sign up. Just add your blog link to the sign up page 🙂 then you can be eligible for the giveaways and hope you see what fun weve been up to the last week (check the schedule). Welcome Lori and hope you are enjoying Last Friends!

    1. As I said before, and I will say again, I love this post, Michele. I have not had the opportunity to travel much and only did once for my sister’s wedding in India and a stopover in London on the way home. I didn’t choose a career in which I could travel because one, I was meant to be a teacher, and two, I assumed I would be able to anyway. Now I am so glad I love reading so that all the adventures and trips I will never get to take can be made right from the bed where I am! Books are powerful tools in life, and I argue with anyone who says differently! 🙂

    1. I agree. Irony moment: These days, my idea of the best vacation? Sitting in my own house, on my own couch with a pile of books and physically traveling no further than my kitchen to refill my coffee cup. If you’d told me that I’d feel this way as a child, I would have laughed and laughed….

    2. We call it a staycation and enjoying my hometown is just fine by me! I enjoy traveling but there’s also no place like home. That’s why traveling the world in books is great for me.

  1. What a wonderful story of reading, very literally traveling-the-world-in-books in such a meaningful way. Thanks for describing it–you also show so beautifully that Canada can be ‘exotic’ too, a place of dreams and future travel goals. What was the book that took you to Reykjavik? I’m just starting up a “Northern Lights” reading list, including Iceland, and I’d be interested to know, Michele, especially since it was a special childhood reading experience for you. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lucy,
      My first “trip” to Iceland as a child was via “Journey to the Center of the Earth” which was set, at least a good portion, in Reykjavik. I never forgot that and later, in the early 2000s, a series of dark mysteries by Arnaldur Indridason which won a ton of awards in Europe was *finally* translated into English and I got my hands on the first translation released here called Jar City. Set in Reykjavik, it was amazing. There has been a trickle of his award-winning books translated into English and released in US over the last decade and I keep devouring them. Iceland has some amazing authors. Also, Hannah Kent’s novel “Burial Rites” is set in Iceland and I’m itching to read that one, as well. Oh dear, we’ve gone off on a reading tangent, haven’t we? ha – they’re the best kind.

      1. Thanks, Michele! I have Jar City but haven’t read it yet. The boom in Icelandic/Scandinavian crime fiction is an amazing phenomenon, and though I don’t typically read much detective fiction, I’m going to step into the fray, reading and reviewing quite a few of them. Thanks also for suggesting Hannah Kent’s book and for reminding me of the setting of Journey to the Center of the Earth!

  2. I am so with you, Michelle. I did not travel as a kid at all. Usually we went on a week vacation to a “beach house” 45 minutes away. We used to visit family in South Florida and some that lived 3 hours away in Georgia. I do remember my mom taking me to Massachusetts at 9, we spent a while there…then when I was about 11 or so my Dad took us to Ohio. I remember those two vacations so vibrantly. They were heaven for me…now that I am grown and have a family of my own my husband is in a project based business so we move a lot and I am thankful for that as we have seen so much! Now that my daughter is older and I am looking to settle into a career, I would love one that lets me travel….I still haven’t gotten enough! haha
    P.S. Anne of Green Gables was a favorite of mine too 😉

    1. Kate,
      Oh, your comment brings back memories. I can recall when my grandmother once took me on a small road trip to visit an ancient great-aunt some three or four hours away. I was beside myself with excitement over the idea of the travel. I had a steno notebook and a pen with me and dutifully wrote down every single creek or river we crossed along the way. If Interstate 5 had a sign noting it, in my notebook it went. I treasured that notebook. It was proof that I had actually traveled somewhere. 😉

      1. My family and I always went on 12 hour road trips to see family or a 3 hour trip to niagara falls. I would always fall asleep in the car and to this day car rides over 30 minutes make me sleepy.

    2. I traveled before my kids were born but unfortunately to very unexotic locations. I had my fill of hotels and working too many hours. I have dreamed of being a travel agent or travel blogger so nice hotels will pay for me to stay there 🙂

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