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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Knitting Novels set in MANHATTAN and ENGLAND

Hmmmm.... interesting! Both these book covers are similar, a pair of gorgeous pins (and of course fabulous shoes!) and some wool: hello publishers, is there a spot of social stereotyping going on?????

Anyway, we are pleased to introduce you to two lovely books that bring knitting, gentleness and Manhattan and England (plus a quick side trip to Venice) under one umbrella.......

Put your feet up, get the needles out and enjoy The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs which has the plus of recipes and patterns, all set in wonderful Manhattan. Walker and Daughter yarn shop is the venue for the Friday Night Knitting Club. This is the gentle story of single Mum Georgia and her daughter Dakota. Dad left early in Dakota's life and returns to re-build his relationship. And if you like this book then pick up Knit 2, the sequel!

And for more knitting and yarns in fiction we chose this book Divas don't knit by Gil McNeil. Jo is looking for a new life after the death of her philandering husband, so she decides to up sticks and relocate to the English coast and take over her Grandmother's yarn shop. She wants it to become the vibrant hub of the community, she teaches a local celebrity to knit and survives a trip to Venice with her Mother. Reader beware, this book is the same as  the Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club.

Let us know your favourite knitting themed books in the Comments Box below! Always happy to hear from you.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Origins of Ice Cream in a novel set in 1670s LONDON

a sorbet of medlars.....white strawberry ice cream and a dusting of white pepper....pomegranate sorbet.....a ratafia of green walnuts....parmesan ice cream.....(from the Book of Ices)

"The Empress of Ice Cream"  by Anthony Capella

In this novel Anthony Capella takes his readers to the London of Charles II, with a bit of Florence and Versailles added into the mix. London is a city that is still recovering from the Great Fire of 1666. Thorough research permeates this delightful and informative book, from the little details (how the game of Paille Maille became woven into the fabric of London and evolved into Pall Mall) to the intrigues between the Courts of France and England. It is also the time when ice cream is just coming into vogue and he recreates  wonderful concoctions of 'cream ice',  and charts the experiments with combinations of flavours - from the 4 early flavours of cardamom, orange, mastic and rosewater to wonderful frozen dolci.

Take ice cream blended with pineapple, the ultimate in luxury fruit..."I knew, of course, that even in France a single pineapple cost almost as much as a new coach. Here in England, they would doubtless be even more expensive. But they were the epitome of aristocratic luxury. Louis's courtiers built heated pineries at their country estates where the fruit - which was imported from the colonies on the tree, roots and all - could be replanted under glass and ripened. Lesser people hired ripe pineapples by the day at enormous expense, just to adorn their tables and perfume their dining rooms, while only the very wealthy could afford to actually eat one..." (extract from The Empress of Ice Cream)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Two Books travelling with Tinies around Britain and Europe

    "The wheels of the bus go round and round..... "     

Keeping Tinies entertained is an artform and one of the most helpful things one can do is read inspirational travelogues written by others who have chronicled their trips with their own little ones. You CAN travel and you CAN have fun!

So, we have picked a couple of books which chart the ups and downs of life on the road with the young ones and would love it if you would leave some comments on your experiences of travelling with children - your thoughts can encourage others to be brave and take the plunge! And at the bottom of this blogpost we have a link to the  which is full of handy hints for travelling with kids!

These books cover terrain including Britain, Norway, Greece, France and Spain

Our first choice is written by Alice Griffin, who shares the story of how she embarked on a travel adventure with her young family during the first two years of her daughter's life. Taking in Norway, Greece, France and Spain on the way, Alice weaves an inspiring travelogue with practical advice to help other mums and dads who enjoy interesting and authentic travel with their baby or toddler on board. Tips-a-plenty....

Our second choice is "Are We nearly there" -  'A family's 8,000 miles round Britain in a Vauxhall Astra' they were bored, broke, burned out and turning 40, so when Ben and Dinah saw the advert looking for a husband and wife team with young kids to write a guidebook about family travel around Britain, they jumped at the chance. With naive visions of staring moodily across Coniston Water and savouring Cornish pasties, they embark on a mad-cap five-month trip with daughter Phoebe, four, and son Charlie, two.......

Friday, 20 April 2012

Two novels set in America's Deep South

“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett was one of the top books to peak in 2011, a button-pushing and hugely popular novel about black domestic servants working in white Southern households in the early 1960s.  Set in Jackson, Mississippi you can just feel the tight mores of that era pulse through the pages and the story leaves you in no doubt that things are going to change forever. Just by the feel of the book you know you are in the South, the hot humidity, the wonderful dialogue and traditional domestic values.

If you enjoyed that book then you might enjoy "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" by Beth Hoffman set 650 miles away in Savannah, Georgia (we were surprised by just how many books are set there!)

Monday, 16 April 2012

Heading to MILAN with a couple of novel book recommendations

Milan is often the gateway to Italy from Northern Europe, and arriving at the imposing station of Milano Centrale is a fitting start to any stay in Milan. Milan, the city where men still feel "Italian" and the women perfect the seductive swing of the hips. This is the city where the dolce vita and cosmopolitan glamour exist!

Main Hall at Milano Centrale
Milan doesn't get the kudos that other Italian cities do when it comes to Italian tourism, but it is an utterly fabulous city. Whether you are attending La Scala for opera, or choosing to walk through the halls of La Rinascente department store, seeing the Duomo in its restored glory, enjoying a few Cicchetti at Peck delicatessen  or visiting Leonardo's Last Supper,  Milan is a city that is catching up fast in the tourist stakes.

Treat yourself to our two book recomendations that are hugely evocative of the city in different ways:

Leonardo's Swans is a historical novel by Karen Essex that sets the scene for some of the grandeur that still remains today, and highlights the relationship between the Sforzas and Leonardo, set at the turn of the 15th century. It bowls along at a cracking pace (and apparently Leonardo da Vinci invented scissors!).

Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita by Barbara Conelli is a modern take on this vibrant city. Milan is a life experience! And if you want to know more about Milan, Barbara Conelli also runs a terrific blog  on the city and environs:

Click on the covers to find out more and you can find more books set in Milan here

Visit  the TripFiction Website to see our full range of novels set in over 870 locations around the world

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A dip into the Eternal City

Iain Pears does for Rome what Donna Leon does for Venice. Here is a small extract that just perfectly captures that quintessential "eternity" of Rome...(Click on the cover for more information)

"It is one of the great delights of Rome that not even a long-term, assiduous resident is safe from surprise. Any street in the city, no matter where and no matter how seedy or shabby it looks at first glance, is capable of containing some little gem tucked away in an obscure corner, passed by nearly all the time and waiting to astonish. Sometimes it is a toy-box-sized Renaissance chapel, around which a twentieth-century developer has squeezed a vast, lumbering block of flats, or which has been accidentally turned into a traffic roundabout. Or the remains of a Roman palace nestling between a truck stop  and a railway line. Or it is a Renaissance pile, converted into flats and hammered incessantly by fumes and noise of traffic, but which still has its delicate, colonnaded courtyard, with moss on the cobbles and a sculpted fountain of nymphs and goddesses tinkling away to welcome home the weary commuters in the evening."

Want to delve in a bit more into Rome? Our collection of books set in Rome can be found here

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Tropical Island Life

If you can get to a tropical island any time soon, then reading fiction set in paradise is (more or less) the next best thing. It's hot, it's sunny and you can almost feel the sand beneath your feet, dive in and enjoy a good read "See a location through an author's eyes"

The Maldives  Tuin KoPhi Phi Island

The TripFiction team conjectures from events in the book, that this book is set in The Maldives; however the book only acknowledges that it is set somewhere "exotic". It encapsulates island life through the eyes of a hotel manager in a 6* resort....
How does it feel to live and work in the world's most beautiful and luxurious tropical island resort, surrounded by white sandy beaches and aquamarine seas? How does it feel to be in the lap of luxury when you're thousands of miles from anywhere else? And when the guests are some of the richest and most demanding people in the world, where do you find the energy every day to smile, smile and smile again?

Another Maldives set novel: When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's holiday home in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation: a tropical island beats the library any day!
T.J. has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and has had cancer. Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Marooned on an uninhabited island, Anna and T.J. work together to obtain water, food, fire and shelter but, as the days turn to weeks then months and finally years, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man...

Now take yourselves back to the 1980s and 1990s and there are two outstanding books which delve into the vagaries of tropical island life, one read, the quintessential "The Beach" was turned into a film with Leonardo di Caprio and charts the demise of the good life on an island near Ko Phi Phi in Thailand; the other is "Castaway" a year on the island of Tuin, just off the coast of Papua New Guinea and Australia - Lucy Irvine responds to an advertisement " Writer seeks "wife" for a year on a tropical island" and this is an account of her time spent experiencing remote island life with a man she barely knows. Both books in their different ways capture the heat, the tropics, the isolation and how people face challenging situations....

Come and follow us on Twitter @TripFiction, on Facebook and of course Google Friend Connect, just to your right. Support us to make this website fly. Click on the covers to find out more about each book, you can certainly buy via Amazon and your local bookshop!


Saturday, 7 April 2012

Books set on Ko Phi Phi Island, THAILAND

We were really pleased to come across these two books about the islands of Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Leh in Krabi Province, Thailand. Such a beautiful place, sadly devastated by the Tsunami of 2004, but up and running again and welcoming tourists. If you click on the Tripfiction logo below and you will be taken to our blogpost on Phuket, which adds a couple more fabulous reads that evoke this part of Thailand.

Let Not the Waves of the Sea by Simon Stephenson tells the sobering story of one brother visiting the island after his brother Dominic's death in the Tsunami of  December 2004 and how he and his family come to terms with such a premature and devastating event. The book was serialised on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.

Cross Currents by John Shors sets the scene so incredibly well for Thai island life, the smells, the cuisine, the heat, the tropical downpours and is a great example of what TripFiction is about.

And no list of books set on Koh Phi Phi would be complete without Alex Garland's The Beach. In our ever-shrinking world, where popular Western culture seems to have infected every nation on the planet, it is hard to find even a small niche of unspoiled land--forget searching for pristine islands or continents. This is the situation in Alex Garland's debut novel, The Beach. Human progress has reduced Eden to a secret little beach near Thailand. In the tradition of grand adventure novels, Richard, a rootless traveller rambling around Thailand on his way somewhere else, is given a hand-drawn map by a madman who calls himself Daffy Duck. He and two French travellers set out on a journey to find this paradise.

And to see all our books set in Thailand click here 

"see a location through an author's eyes"

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

One final thought on Klimt, Fin de Siècle Vienna and a bit about artist Egon Schiele.....

Hollywood legend John Malkovich played Klimt in a little known 2006 biopic of the artist. The film was high on nudity, low on plot. Malkovich himself admitted in a press interview that art nouveau wasn't really his thing....

Egon Schiele, a protégé of Klimt, struggled to gain recognition amongst the art community that Klimt had, and this novel really sets the scene for Vienna at the turn of the century.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

2012 Vienna celebrates Gustav Klimt's 150th birthday

We have a huge selection of novels that bring Vienna to life through words, and especially turn of the century Vienna - the height of café society, grand Fin de Siècle architecture and a lively "Wiener Secession" artistic community. To celebrate the 150th birthday of Gustav Klimt in 2012, we have chosen just one of our many books. This novel imagines the life between Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge, who was reputed to be his model for his painting “The Kiss”.  Perhaps over a good cup of coffee, a Verlängerter  (which to you and me is an Americano), get to know 19th century Vienna via excellent prose.

And if you would like to buy a copy of this excellent novel, please use the link below - this will take you straight to Amazon where you can make your purchase. receives a small percentage from every click-through from our site and this, with no cost to the purchaser, helps to fund development of the site going forward. Your help would be much appreciated.

"See a location through an author's eyes"