I just finished reading The Scenic Route: A Novel by Binnie Kirschenbaum. I came across the title in a spring 2009 issue of Real Simple magazine. The only reason I remember that is because I used to subscribe to it, but then I wasn't looking at the magazine because I was too busy, one thing lead to another, and before I knew it I wanted salads in November (instead of the hearty stews made from turkey day leftovers) because I was still trying to catch up with the June issue. The rest is history...they stopped coming in September. What's funny about the subscription ending is that I was really sad when October's issue didn't come, even though I wasn't faithfully thumbing through the magazines during their designated months.
Anyways, I am always looking for new authors and books to read because I'd like to read something published after 1817 (even though I do love me some Jane Austen) whose authors do not include Charles Dickens, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Sylvia Plath. Because of my reading habits in college (avg. 2 novels per week), every spring around the end of May, I avidly search for a couple of new books to read over the summer that don't necessarily have to bear the literary masterpiece stamp. So I was attracted to the article in RS that recommended a variety of summer reads; it showed different book covers and had a little blurb written about each one of them. First of all, I loved the cover of The Scenic Route: A Novel; I love the countryside and I heart heart heart road trips (please see picture above and try not to judge my frivolity). I think the article was something about budget traveling, and I recall the blurb saying something like, "Can't quite make it to Europe yet? Read about a captivating road trip through Italy and Eastern Europe with Binnie Kirschenbaum's..." Envision me raising my hand and screaming ding ding ding; how soon am I going to be road tripping it through Europe? So I chose to read it for obvious reasons, and although I didn't really like the book that much, I will have to say that the writing is absolutely splendid and I was impressed with it. I did think that she went a little overboard with regard to the Herman Melville-esque digressions scattered throughout; it didn't really work for her in my opinion, but then again, she's the one who has written and published 6 books, so I'm not complaining. The book just wasn't my cup of tea, even though there were some really cute sounding bed-and-breakfast joints in between the beautiful fields and forests through which they drove. My favorite thing that Binnie wrote in the book was about a moment, and it said this: "...And I was happy, a kind of happy that, if manifested into tangibility, would've taken the shape of a daisy."