Thursday, June 26, 2008

If you like Eat, Pray, Love: Take Big Bites

Take Big Bites, Adventures Around the World and Across the Table (c 2005) by veteran newswoman and iconoclast, Linda Ellerbee delivers a delightful tour of the world, and recounts wonderful meals and her further adventures following her two earlier memoirs, And So It Goes and Move On. Baby boomers may remember the author from the news program, NBC News Overnight that she and Lloyd Dobyns anchored in the 1980's. The younger generation and their parents may know her from her work on Nick News. Wherever Ms. Ellerbee turns up, in print or on the air, she is usually described as irreverent, wry, funny, original, creative and so on. She is all that and more. Contemplating English food, she observes"How could a people who ate something called mushy peas have conquered half the known world? " And the toast in racks? "Let's see, we lost an empire, now how can we screw up toast?" (p. 35) Of course, English food is an easy target, but when she describes the memorable meals, the reader may start to salivate.
For readers and book clubs who liked Eat, Pray, Love, Ellerbee's book covers similar territory, with some philosophizing and recipes, but the tone is that of an old friend, if you had a friend who was a world famous reporter, klutzy but lovable, adventurous, outgoing, sharp as a tack and didn't take herself too seriously.
Post Script 10/20/2010: This post gets lots of hits, so we are adding 
more "read-a-like" titles for fans of Eat, Pray, Love:

Elizabeth Gilbert's sequel of sorts to EPL, Committed, a Sceptic Makes Peace with Marriage (2010)
Laura Fraser's An Italian Affair (2002); and  All Over the Map (2010) I read An Italian Affair a few years ago and even though the author seems a bit self-centered like Gilbert, I did enjoy reading it.
The Lost Girls, Three Friends, Four Continents, One Unconventional Detour Around the World (2010) by Baggett et al. Ellen liked and reviewed this book on the blog.
Honeymoon with My Brother, a memoir by Franz Wisner, this male version of traveling to find oneself is funny. The author's fiance dumped him, so he takes his brother on the already paid for honeymoon and then they travel for two years together. Recommended by Our Fearless Director, S.B.!

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