“The Tenth Island”

Diana Marcum

“Travel” is a new book genre to me, and it may be a dangerous one, because about 2/3 of the way through I finally sighed and admitted to myself that I now want to visit the Azores, and added them to the list. Helpfully, I’ve even got a few notes about where specifically to go and what things might be good to visit. Broadly speaking, as described in the book, the Azores are something like Hawaii, but with the old-world European cultural flavor. There was a remark at one point about “in the village where I was staying, the garbage truck was pulled by a mule,” is the idea.

As a book, I found this a good read; Marcum did a really good job of bouncing back and forth between her life and the experience of being in the Azores, and provided a great deal of historical context, as well. It makes a lot of sense when you consider her background as a journalist; the Pulitzer win just locks that feeling in.

There’s a lot of short chapters, which makes for a good bit of light reading, and quite often there’s a good little life lesson or memorable moment tucked in there to end them. A collection of vignettes, rather than a single long narrative. It works well! And who doesn’t love little bits of advice, like:

When traveling, one should forget constant exploration. Go back to the same spots. You’ll be recognized as a familiar face and you’ll discover more.

It was a fun read, nice and light, and I enjoyed it. Check it out!1

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.