What the UTracks Team are reading now

Resting below the limestone peaks of Piatra Craiului National Park | Lilly Donkers
Resting below the limestone peaks of Piatra Craiului National Park | Lilly Donkers

What the UTracks Team Are Reading Now

Travelling vicariously through the pages of novels 

Now is really the perfect time to finish off all those novels that we've been meaning to read.
In their downtime, the UTracks team are escaping the limitations of their households by reading great books about adventures in Europe. Whether it's about food, intrigue, romance or mystery, these are the books that we are currently engrossed in. Let us know in the comment section what you're reading!

Dana Recommends

Dana is currently working from home in Sydney and to keep herself entertained she's doing a fair bit of reading and cooking. Her current shopping list makes me envious:
  • Bucatini all’Amatriciana – my go to comfort food – recipe by Marcella Hazan
  • Lots of curries & a chilli con carne, including now mixing my own spices! … 
  • Looking forward to: salmon on Good Friday (Ottolenghi’s ‘Bridget Jones’ recipe – very yummy, and maybe watch the film for some gentle English humour ) and Greek lamb on Sunday (if I get to the shops)
Jorge regularly leads our 'Best of the Camino' tours

Less – by Andrew Sean Greer

Arthur Less is turning 50 and his ex is about to get married to someone else – so to avoid responding to the wedding invitation Arthur accepts invitations to speak at literary events around the world. He travels from Mexico to Italy to Germany to France, then Morocco and India. 
It’s a funny and loving story – good for these strange times - full of mishaps and adventures. 
It won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I finished it last year, it's memorable. I loved it.

Normal People – by Sally Rooney

Set in Ireland, the story follows two people from high school in their small town to university in Dublin, exploring their relationship as well as their own psyches. 
For me, it didn’t quite live up to its glowing reviews but it’s a good read - and a lovely last paragraph, so ultimately a good read 😊.
I bought it at Shakespeare and Co in Paris last year, so happy memories of that trip too!
Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin |  <i>John Millen</i>

Once Upon a River – by Diane Setterfield

Set in the late 1800s along the Thames River in England (between Cricklade and Oxford, so different from the Thames Path East tour we offer ) and bought because the story and one review in particular ( ‘this enchanting historical story is full of folklore and intrigue’) appealed. I’m only up to chapter 3 but it’s a fine read so far, richly written.
Cycling along the Thames Path in London with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the background |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

Nat Recommends

Nat from UTracks in Auckland shares a book recommendation that transcends her to Italy.
Natalie Tambolash, General Manager UTracks NZ

The Little Italian Bakery - Valentina Cebeni

The blurb reads:
The scent of freshly baked biscuits, lemon and aniseed remind Elettra of her mother’s kitchen.  But her mother, Edda, is in a coma, and the family bakery is failing.  Elettra has many unanswered questions about Edda’s childhood – the only clue is a family heirloom: a necklace inscribed with the name of an island.  
Elettra buys a one-way ticket to that island, just off the coast of Sardinia.  Once there, she discovers a community of women, each lost in their own way, and eventually finds a way back to the past and herself.
Cycling along the quiet roads of Sardinia
Completely bought this book by accident and far removed from the usual crime novels that I read.  The essence of Sardinia is perfectly captured and it is easy to whisk yourself out of this world and picture yourself within that one.  A place where time has stood still for years on end, but where the secrets of the island have also been hidden in its past.  
A nice, light read, with a bit of mystery and some traditional Italian recipes scattered throughout the chapters that I cannot wait to try. 
Looking towards Finca d'Ofre from Soller |  <i>John Millen</i>

Efti Recommends

Like Dana, Efti is using this extra spare time on her hands to catch up on lots of reading and to further hone her cooking skills!
Efti Nure enjoying a hike |  <i>Eftie Nure</i>

A Wedding in Provence, by Ellen Sussman

A fictional story of a couple holding their second marriage in Provence, France surrounded by their immediate family in a quaint inn set in the small town of Cassis. The bride’s 2 adult daughters bring a little drama to the situation and it all quickly unfolds from there. Throughout it all, thanks to the author’s descriptive writing you can vividly picture yourself in the middle of the beautiful towns and countryside of Provence….. 
I read this to get me excited and inspired for my trip to France and Germany later this year...which has now been postponed. The book was still good though!
Barbentane Chateau, Provence, France |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

Junior Masterchef Australia (Series 2 Cookbook) – Around the world in 80 amazing recipes

It features a range of classic recipes from Australia (Anzac Biscuits), Spain (Tostadas), Italy (Gnocchi with Pancetta), Greece (Greek Lamb with lemon potatoes), China (Beef and Black Bean Stir Fry), India (Creamy Spiced Prawns with Basmati Pilau), England (Cottage Pie), France (Chocolate Souffle with Raspberry Coulis), Japan (Teriyaki Salmon), Morocco (Chermoula Fish with Orange Salad), Thailand (Chicken Pad Thai) and Mexico (Corn and Cheese Empanadas). All easy to follow, especially for novices like me!
Cooking class in Turkey |  <i>Nick Kostos</i>
What books are keeping you company at the moment? Let us know your recommendations in the comment section below.
Book Reviews, Recommendation, Book, Europe, Travel

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