Read, Review, Travel: Female Nomad and Friends

I found this book at a local library’s book sale. The book caught my eye because I had noticed it was written by Rita Golden Gelman, the same author who penned one of my favorite travel memoirs, Tales of a Female Nomad.

This book, however, is an anthology of travel stories and recipes titled, Female Nomad and Friends: Tales of Breaking Bread Around the World. The stories fall into sections on different topics: Connecting, Mixed Messages, Language, Passion, and Food. I felt that the stories from Mixed Messages and Language could have been combined into one section. The title of the book makes the reader assume that Rita collected tales and recipes from female travelers, but there are actually at least two male authors included in the book. It certainly does not matter the gender of the author, but I would rather she not title it “Female Nomad,” if not all of the stories are written by female nomads. It seems a bit like false advertising, but I think she just wanted to capitalize on the success of her first book and use a bit of that title for this new book.

There are several stories from two particular authors, which doesn’t give much variety to the voices provided in this anthology. I did not care for these two authors, and I did not care to read several stories from each of them. Rita mentions in the beginning of the book that she wanted to give a voice to several nomads, but including more than one story from two of the same authors does not give variety nor a voice to several authors.

Furthermore, at least two of the stories were about the exact same situation but written by different individuals! The stories recounted a time when the authors asked someone on public transportation to let them know when they were at a certain stop because there was a language barrier, and the author was afraid of missing their stop. And each time, the person who was asked forgot and put the author in a pickle. I did not need to read two different stories about the same situation — one was on a train and the other was on a ferry boat.

Even though the recipes were a nice addition to this book, I don’t plan on making any of them, because there are no pictures of the foods! I am a visual person, and if I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like, then I’m hesitant to try to cook it. How do I know if it looks appetizing or not? How do I know if I messed up or not? Thus, I will not try any of the recipes. If you are a more adventurous person than I am, then you will enjoy this cookbook!

Overall, this was an ambitious project, and I felt that it missed the mark for me. I would not recommend reading this, and I will be donating this book.

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