Silver Travel Book Club

Date published: 25 Apr 17

Silver Travel Book ClubAndrew MorrisWe know you love travelling, and we also know that many Silver Travellers are just as passionate about books. So what could be better than combining both, and giving you the chance to win a book each month? 

Our Literary Editor Andrew Morris, has introduced us to TripFiction, a wonderful website focusing on books with a strong sense of place, allowing you to see a location through an author's eyes. Great for reading ideas for your holiday!

tripfiction.comEach month, we'll find out what Andrew is reading about a different destination, and two lucky Silver Travel Book Club readers can win a free copy of the month's book.

Andrew's Book of the Month - February 2018 - JOIN THE FORUM THREAD!

This month the Silver Travel Book Club is reading As I Walked out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee, to tie in with Jennie’s February holiday prize of a 3-day break with Silver Travel partner HF Holidays.

As I Walked out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie LeeIn 1934, aged just 19, Laurie Lee walked out of his family home in rural Gloucestershire, carrying a rolled-up tent, a violin in a blanket, a tin of treacle biscuits and some cheese.

For the next 2 years, he walked. To the south coast of England, to London and then the length of Spain, from Vigo in the north-west to Andalucia – and briefly across to Gibraltar – in the extreme south.

With beautifully poetic language, he describes his experiences in green northern Spain and in the unrelenting heat of a southern summer, and the many kindnesses he encounters along the way, even from the very poorest people in the most remote villages.

He survived by busking, labouring on a building site in London for a year, and – briefly, when his trusty violin disintegrated in Malaga – as a tour guide.

And then war intervenes. He gets caught up in the first skirmishes of the Spanish Civil War and, reluctantly, returns home.

We’d love to hear about your adventures on foot, or what you’ve done to survive challenging situations in a foreign country. Or if you’ve enjoyed rural Spain, far from its overcrowded Costas and its well known cities. JOIN THE FORUM THREAD, or comment on Silver Travel’s Facebook page, and the best two entries from Silver Travellers will win a copy of As I Walked out One Midsummer Morning.

Andrew's Book of the Month - January 2018

This month the Silver Travel Book Club is reading Road to Rouen by Ben Hatch, to tie in with Jennie’s January holiday prize of a week with Silver Travel partner Eurocamp.

Road to Rouen by Ben HatchBen Hatch is on the road again. Commissioned to write a guidebook about France (despite not speaking any French) he sets off with visions of relaxing chateaux and refined dining. Ten thousand miles later his family has been attacked by a donkey, had a run-in with a death-cult and, after a near drowning and a calamitous wedding experience involving a British spy, his own marriage is in jeopardy.

A combination of obsessions about mosquitoes, French gravel and vegetable theme parks mean it’s a bumpy ride as Ben takes a stand against tyrannical French pool attendants, finds himself running with the bulls in Pamplona and almost starring in a snuff movie after a near fatal decision to climb into a millionaire’s Chevrolet Blazer.

Funny and poignant, Road to Rouen asks important questions about life, marriage and whether it’s ever acceptable to tape baguette to your children’s legs to smuggle lunch into Disneyland Paris.

The winners of the January Book Club Prize were GBG and SilverMarie, who have been sent a copy of The Road to Rouen by Ben Hatch.

Andrew's Book of the Month - December 2017

Skipping Christmas by John GrishamThis festive month the Silver Travel Book Club is reading Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. Yes, the same John Grisham who usually writes fast-paced novels with a legal twist.

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shopping centres, no cheesy office parties, no crackers, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a Santa on the roof, they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve party, they aren’t even going to have a Christmas tree.

They won’t need one, because come 25th December they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But as this world-weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences and isn’t nearly as easy as they’d imagined.

A classic morality tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.

The winners of the December Book Club Prize were FKarbal and Solent_Richard, who have been sent a copy of Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.

Andrew's Book of the Month - November 2017

This month Andrew is reading A Year in the Woods: The Diary of a Forest Ranger by Colin Elford and you could win a copy too.

A Year in the Woods: The Diary of a Forest Ranger by Colin ElfordColin Elford spends his days alone - alone but for the deer, the squirrels, the rabbits, the birds, and the many other creatures inhabiting the woods.

From the crisp cold of January, through the promise of spring and the heat of summer, and then into damp autumn and the chill winds of winter, we accompany the forest ranger as he goes about his work - stalking in the early morning darkness, putting an injured fallow buck out of its misery, watching stoats kill a hare, observing owls, and simply being a part of the outdoors.

"Colin Elford immerses himself in the richly diverse and unique landscapes of Britain, existing in rhythm with natural environments. For fans of Robert Macfarlane's Landmarks, Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk or James Rebanks' A Shepherd's Life, Colin's rare and uplifting journey will unveil the true nature and beauty of Britain's countryside." (Summary from Amazon).

The winners of the November Book Club Prize were Susmal and Kelpie, who have been sent a copy of A Year in the Woods by Colin Elford.

Andrew’s Book of the Month - October 2017

This month Andrew is reading One Summer in Venice by Nicky Pellegrino.

One Summer in Paris by Nicky Pellegrino"This isn’t a mid-life crisis, OK? For a start I’m not old enough yet to have one of those. I’m calling it a happiness project. I’ve stolen an entire summer from my life and by the time it’s over I plan to leave this place with a list in my hand. The ten things that make me happy, that’s all I want to know. How difficult can it be? They may be small things – a perfect cup of coffee, a day without rain – or bigger ones. It’s still the beginning so how can I know?"

Addolorata Martinelli knows she should be happy. She has everything she thought she wanted – her own business, a husband, a child. So why does she feel as if something is missing? Then when her restaurant, Little Italy, is slated by a reviewer, she realises that she’s lost the one thing she thought she could always count on, her love of food.

So Addolorata heads to Venice for a summer alone, aiming to find the ten things that make her happy.

The winners of the October Book Club Prize were Paulinet and Carol Anne Thurley, who have been sent a copy of One Summer in Venice by Nicky Pellegrino.

Andrew's Book of the Month - September 2017

This month Andrew is reading Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. This classic novel of 1980s excess introduces us to Sherman McCoy, a 'Master of the Universe' Wall Street bond trader. BBonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfeut Sherman's extravagant Manhattan lifestyle is under threat after he takes a wrong turn into the notorious Bronx district, driving from JFK airport with his mistress.

A hit and run accident puts black kid Henry Lamb in hospital, where he becomes manipulated by alcoholic hack Peter Fallow and Reverend Bacon, an opportunist preacher and political leader from Harlem.

Enter media-obsessed Bronx District Attorney Abe Weiss, and Sherman is really up against it.

This was Tom Wolfe's debut novel and transports us to the glamorous heights and the sleazy depths of New York City through a perceptive narrative and vivid characterisations.

The winners of the September Book Club Prize were Silvertravellerfan and Jo Carroll, who have been sent a copy of Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe.

Andrew's Book of the Month - August 2017

This month Andrew is reading The Rome Affair by Karen Swan, a book which brings the glamorous capital city of Italy to life, and sounds like the perfect summer novel to take on your travels.

The Rome Affair by Karen Swan1974 and Elena Damiani lives a gilded life. Born to wealth and a noted beauty, no door is closed to her, no man can resist her. At twenty-six, she is already onto her third husband when she meets her love match. But he is the one man she can never have, and all the beauty and money in the world can't change it.

2017 and Francesca Hackett is living la dolce vita in Rome, leading tourist groups around the Eternal City and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London. When she finds a stolen designer handbag in her dustbin and returns it, she is brought into the orbit of her grand neighbour who lives across the piazza - famed socialite Viscontessa Elena dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola. Though the purse is stolen, Elena greets the return of the bag with exultation for it contains an unopened letter written by her husband on his deathbed, twelve years earlier.

Mutually intrigued by each other, the two women agree to collaborate on a project, with Cesca interviewing Elena for her memoirs. As summer unfurls, Elena tells her sensational stories, leaving Cesca in her thrall. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena's life.

The winners of the August Book Club Prize were Silvertravellerfan, LH and Manja, who are all delighted to win a copy of The Rome Affair by Karen Swan.

Andrew's Book of the Month - July 2017

This month Andrew is reading The Talented Mr. Ripley. Written by Patricia Highsmith in 1955, this is a stylish psychological thriller and the author's first outing for Tom Ripley. Four more followed and the series has collectively become known as the Ripliad. But the original remains the best known, partly no doubt because of the hugely successful 1999 film adaptation, starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Talented Mr RipleyTom Ripley is a low-life chancer, languishing in New York, until offered an attractive proposition by wealthy shipping magnate Herbert Greenleaf; go to Italy and retrieve errant son Dickie from his hedonistic lifestyle, and persuade him to return to the US to join the family business.

Tom ingratiates himself into Dickie's entourage and is soon enjoying the luxurious life too. Reluctant to return to his own sad life, how far will Tom go to ensure he lives as self-indulgent an existence as Dickie?

Taking us from 'Mongibello' to San Remo, Rome and Venice, the author effortlessly transports the action around Italy and inside the head of twisted, talented sociopath Tom Ripley.

The winners of the July Book Club Prize were Grey-Wolf and Applegroupie, who are both delighted to win a copy of The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.

Andrew's Book of the Month - June 2017

This month Andrew is reading Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, the much anticipated follow up to her 2015 blockbuster debut The Girl on the Train.

Into the Water by Paula HawkinsBased in the imaginary town of Beckford, in rural Northumberland, Paula describes her new novel as “a psychological suspense novel centred on the fractured relationship between two sisters, Nel and Jules. When Nel dies unexpectedly, Jules finds herself trying to figure out not just what has happened to her elder sister, but what has happened between the two of them to leave them so estranged. This is a book of many mysteries. It is about searching for answers, for meaning.”

“Jules is afraid. So afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped. And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool . . .”

Into The Water is a very different read to the Silver Travel Book Club’s first Book of the Month – Rosanna Ley’s The Little Theatre by the Sea – in terms of genre, complexity and location!

The winners of the June Book Club Prize were Sally Hill and Denise Bridge who are both delighted to win a copy of Into the Water.

Andrew's Book of the Month for May 2017

Rosanna Ley - The Little Theatre by the SeaIn May, Andrew was reading Rosanna Ley's latest novel The Little Theatre by the Sea. The author whisks you off to sunny Sardinia, with an enchanting tale of intrigue and romance, whilst immersed in local food, wine and culture. And travelling with Silver Travel Advisor partner Sardatur Holidays, Andrew is planning to visit sunny Sardinia to follow in the footsteps of Rosanna's principal character, interior designer Faye.  

AlgheroHe will visit the real town that becomes fictional Deriu in the novel, the location of the mystery-laden Little Theatre by the Sea. He'll visit the walled Catalan city of Alghero, which Faye explores with her father on a road-trip while they both mark time at important times in their lives. And he'll force himself to try some of the Sardinian food and wine that Faye enjoys whilst working on the historic theatre.

Read all about Andrew’s trip to Sardinia in search of Faye.

The winners of the May Book Club Prize were Sally Dowling and Mags Addison who were each delighted to win a copy of The Little Theatre by the Sea.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 17 Comment(s)

  • wallers
    5 months ago
    We went to Venice a few years ago & were standing on the dock when we got chatting to a handsome guy. He said Come over with me in my private water taxi & I will give you a drink in the Cipriani Hotel. We loved every minute of it & have always wanted to go back to Venice.
  • AndrewMorris
    8 months ago
    @wallers - thanks so much for the enthusiastic comment and welcome to the Silver Travel Book Club!

    Our first book was Rosanna Ley's "The Little Theatre by the Sea", based in Sardinia. I have just got back from there, following in the footsteps of the author, her characters and locations. Read about my adventures #OnLiteraryLocation here:

    Our current book is "Into the Water" by Paula Hawkins, based in rural Northumberland. If you haven't already found it, there is a separate Forum thread here, where the best two entries talking about their own Northumbrian adventures and memories:

    Good luck and enjoy!

  • wallers
    8 months ago
    What a fabulous idea. I have joined immediately!
  • DRSask
    9 months ago
    No, we didn't get to Dunstanburgh Castle but there is always next time! We did get to Paxton House though and the Union Chain Bridge and Chain Bridge Honey Farm which are both worth a visit.
  • AndrewMorris
    9 months ago
    Thanks @DRSask for your thoughtful comments on Northumberland. Did you find Dunstanburgh Castle too? The walk to its romantic ruins, south of Bamburgh and then on to the beautiful fishing port of Craster for a pub lunch (their famous smoked kippers, or something else fishy), is another magical way to spend a few hours on the Northumberland coast.

    There is now a separate forum thread for the June Book of the Month - Into the Water by Paula Hawkins - here, by the way:

    And don't forget to check out for books firmly located in the places you have already visited...or why not before you travel, and during your trip?

    Happy reading, and happy travelling!

  • DRSask
    9 months ago
    I just returned from a week in Northumberland with family and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring an area none of us had been to before. We stayed in a cottage not far from Berwick-upon-Tweed - a great rail link for our day trips to Edinburgh and Newcastle. The weather was dry though often windy, especially on the coast. It was too windy the day we went to Seahouses to take a trip to the Farne Islands so we ended up at Bamburgh Castle and it was wonderful. There was an exhibit of Peter Phillips' paintings, many of them of the castle, and we all bought prints - delightful reminders of the stunning scenery. Another day we spent walking on Lindisfarne Island - again amazing scenery of the coast. We walked on average just over 8 miles/day. Everywhere we went the people were friendly and welcoming. It is definitely an area we will return to on future trips. I enjoy reading about places I have visited so I can visualize where the characters are.
  • SilverMarie
    9 months ago
    Thank you, Riverside Rouge - I will keep my eyes peeled! Andrew - I will check out TF. What a great way to plan for a trip. It beats packing!! My son will be doing a couple of months with a Chinese owned logistics firm. Can't wait, but has to pass his finals first... :)
  • AndrewMorris
    9 months ago
    Hello Silver Travel Book Clubbers

    I’m off to Sardinia in June, to follow in the footsteps of Rosanna Ley’s character Faye from The Little Theatre by the Sea, the first Silver Travel Book club of the month.

    Thanks to Silver Travel partner Sardatur Holidays, I’ll be staying on the west coast of this beautiful island and close to unspoiled Bosa, the town that was the inspiration for Rosanna’s fictional village of Deriu. It’s here where Faye helps with the restoration of the village’s old theatre, and uncovers secrets from the past that nobody could have foreseen.

    I will try to bring some of Faye’s story to life for you, meeting some of the people from this pastel-coloured village on the river Temo, immersing myself in the area’s history culture, food and wine, just as Faye did.

    Join me on this literary journey….the essence of TripFiction

  • AndrewMorris
    9 months ago
    @SilverMarie - is the place to go for books to transport you to UK & Singapore ahead of your trip. Just sign up and search the TF database for books to help you see those exotic locations through an author's eyes.

    Other Silver Travellers are probably better qualified to give ideas on art & poetry etc., but I'll put my creative thinking cap on too.

    What a great trip to look forward to this summer. What is your son doing in HK?

  • Riversiderouge
    9 months ago
    Well Silvermarie, I have no knowledge of Hong Kong, other than the experiences of my late brother who spent the biggest part of his national service in Hong Kong with the Royal Artillery. History tells us that his job was to repel refugees and asylum seekers from crossing from mainland China. From what he told me though, he seemed to spend most of his time entertaining the native female population!

    I'm not at all sure that this is any use to you in understanding the place better, but if you come across a local with european features, say hello from their Uncle Riversiderouge!!!!
  • SilverMarie
    9 months ago
    Hello all! I am heading to Hong Kong and Singapore this summer to travel a little with my son who will be finishing up an internship in Hong Kong. I have no connections with the area and only a limited knowledge of the history, so would like to get up to speed with the culture but not in a dry way - it would be fantastic to get Silver Traveller recommendations of books, art, poetry or whatever you feel will give me a sense of the place. Thank you in advance!
  • AndrewMorris
    10 months ago
    @Claire_S - where did you spend your disappointing weekend break in Sardinia? What a shame! It's such a beautiful island with a rich history and multiple influences, you really must go back. I've been to Alghero, a really interesting Catalan port on the west coast - with incredible food - but I'm really looking forward to exploring more places in Sardinia, in the footsteps of the book's character, and reporting back to Silver Travellers. Hopefully, I'll have some ideas to help give you a better experience next time...

    @Riversiderouge - I haven't read The Island yet, but I can imagine a trip to Spinalonga Island would be a very moving experience. Victoria Hislop does vast research for her books, and captures places and history really well, doesn't she? I loved learning about Thessaloniki's tumultuous history through her characters in The Thread. I don't think she has strayed far from Greece in her novels yet, but perhaps she might one day...

  • Claire_S
    10 months ago
    The only time I went to Sardinia was for a weekend break which turned out to be extremely disappointing, so it would be great to discover Sardinia through this book - it might inspire us to try again!
  • Riversiderouge
    10 months ago
    I enjoyed reading "The Island" by Victoria Hislop, based on the Leper Colony on Spinalonga Island in Crete.
  • AndrewMorris
    10 months ago
    Thanks for the encouraging feedback @Geoff....we hope plenty of others love the Silver Travel Book Club too!

    Did you enjoy Thessaloniki? A friend lent me The Thread before going there, and it really helped us to understand the city's history better. I even tweeted Victoria Hislop when we were there, to ask where one of the churches in the book were.

    The essence of TripFiction and exactly why we set up the Silver Travel Book Club.
  • Geoff
    10 months ago
    Just a brilliant idea. It is great to get a sense of a place when you're preparing for a trip, and even more fun to identify the places once you're there. I've done that with a couple of Victoria Hislop's books, The Thread particularly.
    Looking forward to reading more and getting the recommendations.
    Enjoy Sardinia.
  • AndrewMorris
    10 months ago
    Well...are we right about Silver Travellers loving books as much as travel?

    Welcome to the first adventure for the Silver Travel Book Club.

    Rosanna Ley's The Little Theatre by the Sea takes us to Sardinia, where newly qualified interior designer Faye is hired to restore the beautiful - but sadly now crumbling - old theatre in Deriu. It turns out to hold some rather interesting secrets...

    Where have you been in Sardinia, and what captivated you most? The two best entries on this forum thread will each win a hardback copy of the book, and we can follow in Faye's Sardinian footsteps together.

    Looking forward to loads more adventures with you and the Silver Travel Book Club. Where would you like to go next?