Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review: When Wanderers Cease to Roam by Vivian Swift

Description: A charming, illustrated celebration of puttering, doodling, daydreaming, and settling down after years on the road. Following a lifetime of trekking across the globe, Vivian Swift racked up twenty-three temporary addresses in twenty years, finally dropped her well-worn futon mattress and rucksack in a small town on the edge of the Long Island Sound. She spent the next decade quietly taking stock of her life, her immediate surroundings, and, finally, what it means to call a place a home.

The result is When Wanderers Cease to Roam. Filled with watercolors of beautiful local landscapes, seasonal activities, and small, overlooked pleasures of easy living, each chapter chronicles, month by month, the beautifully mundane perks of remaining at home—from curious notices in the local paper to the variations of autumnal clouds. At once gorgeously rendered and wholly original, this delightful and masterfully observed year of staying put shows us how the details of travel and the details of our lives remain with us—how they can nurture and sustain us, and how the past and the present become, in the end, intertwined.

This was a charming and quirky book to read. It's part journal, part memoir and diary. It's very unique in style, filled with beautiful watercolor drawings created by the author. It's formatted by months of the year with stories and experiences and drawings that correlate to each of the 12 months of the year. Ms. Swift spent years traveling the world from the age of 19 to 39 and then she discovered the Long Island Sound and set roots there for 10 years living in a small village. I enjoyed the town newsletter clippings that shared small town events and news and the items that Ms. Swift found around the village. One one page is a set of all of the colored children's mittens she found. On another is a mish-mosh of various items including foreign coins. She shares favorite clothes ,old and new, and where she has worn them and her stories behind them. There are even a few recipes included along the way. There are beautiful sketches and drawings related to the seasons and for the winter there is a set of drawings of a snowman's activities. She intertwines stories and experiences related to her travels and life experiences along the way. You can read it month by month or just browse through the pictures or read the whole book as I did.
You can browse through some of the actual drawings from the book at Vivian Swift's website.

9 comments:

  1. what a great combination--journal, memoir, and diary!

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  2. I loved this book!

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  3. What a unique book, Bonnie. Nice review!

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  4. I think this book sounds neat. I've seen a lot of favorable reviews.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  5. This book sounds really interesting, and I really enjoy watercolour paintings.

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  6. This sounds like a nice book. I love the book cover-it's so cute.

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  7. This sounds like my kind of book!! Loved your review!!

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  8. I thought it was a really sweet book as well, its sort of found a permanent place on my coffee table. People seem to really enjoy picking it up and leafing through it.

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  9. This is one that stands out in my reading last year - unique! It makes a nice gift, too (lovely drawings, hand-lettered text, and an easy story to follow for those non-readers on our lists!)

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