8 Quick Reads for a Long Flight

August will be a travel-heavy month for From Ship to Shore. We’ll be bringing you articles, reviews, and pictures from Los Angeles and Scottsdale, meaning there’s going to be lots of flying involved. So, it’s time to plan ahead for some ways to pass the wifi-less time on all those planes.

While a 7-hour plane ride might sound like the perfect time to get cracking on that huge, classic tome that you feel obligated to read (I’m lookin’ at you, War and Peace), let’s face it: flying can be pretty exhausting and uncomfortable, leaving you with little will to cuddle up with lengthy Russian existentialism. Instead, quick reads are sure to pass the time and be the perfect, relaxing way to spend a few hours.

Whether you’re prepping for a long flight, a beach week, or just want some new books, here’s a few amazing options:

1. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
I just finished this book and it’s hilarious. Mindy Kaling, creator of The Mindy Project and Kelly Kapoor on The Office, has such a quirky, engaging voice. She offers some crazy stories about growing up, writing and producing The Office, and even her short stint at SNL.

2. The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo
This book is short and sweet, not to mention perfect for travelers. It follows a shepherd boy as he travels around the world in search of treasure, teaching valuable moral lessons along the way. It’s a modern fable and will surely be considered a classic in the future.

3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Semple’s novel is genuinely funny. 15-year-old Bee must set out to find her mother, an agoraphobic genius who runs away before the family leaves for a vacation in Antarctica. And this is all coming from a writer who’s penned several episodes of Arrested Development, which pretty much says it all.

4. Bossypants by Tina Fey
This is an autobiographical and comedic masterpiece. To me, Tina Fey can do no wrong (I mean, look at Mean Girls and 30 Rock). This book will only take a couple of hours to get through, and each page is enjoyable and brutally honest. Just read it!

5. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
While this is definitely a more serious book than the past four, tackling issues like cultural assimilation and struggling relationships, its short story format makes it fast-paced and always engaging. Lahiri, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, really is one of the greatest writers of our time: her stories are thoughtful and, despite their short length, leave a big impression on her readers.

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The Weekly Favorites: Cat cafés, waterfalls, and cherry pie dip (7/18–7/26)

Another week has passed and it’s time for more amazing articles from around the web. Check out our favorites!

Photo of the Week: Park Avenue, NYCpark

Travel

A Day in a Cat Café in Seoul, South Korea (Just One Way Ticket)
Any cat lover who can’t make it over to South Korea can live vicariously through Sab’s cat café experience that includes an adorable video documenting all the kitties. Now if only they’d make a dog café…

Stepping Back in Time in Mantua, Italy (Ordinary Traveler)
Whether you’re a Shakespeare superfan, love anything Italian, or just want to look at some beautiful pictures, check out this picture-heavy post on one of Italy’s most historic towns.

Friday Postcards from Snoqualmie Falls (Walking on Travels)
More really gorgeous photos, this time of a waterfall near Salish Lodge and Spa in Washington.

Food

Creamy Cherry Pie Fruit Dip with Rainbow Fruit Kebobs (Oh She Glows)
Yes, this is a thing. Especially good if you have any picky eaters in the family—what better incentive to eat fruit than cherry pie dip?

Mini Quiche Recipe (Add a Pinch)
These adorable mini quiches are great for pretty much anything (especially brunch!) and are easy to make.

Lifestyle

The Culture of Clean: Soap in Art (Into the Gloss)
Attention clean freaks! A look at the use of soap in art and design through the ages, from nineteenth century portraits to soap bubble lamps.

Remote working, Teleworking, Coworking: How to Make the Most of Your Atypical Job (The DC Ladies)
Even if you don’t have an atypical job and unlimited vacation days, this is still an interesting read—we can only hope that this lax, out-of-office style of working will only become more popular!

Budget Finds on the Upper East Side

No, “budget” and “Upper East Side” in the same sentence isn’t an oxymoron. When most people think of the UES, they imagine rich old people in tailored suits, designer storefront after designer storefront, and, of course, Gossip Girl. But once you go east past 5th Avenue and head into Yorkville territory, the UES is a very different place.

After ogling at all the stunning high end fashion along 5th and Madison, head a few blocks over to find these great spots that offer the quality you’d expect from the UES for a fraction of the cost.

 

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O Merveilleux
$3 for a great, authentic croissant? Yes please. Just the facade of this cute cafe is adorable—you can spot its yellow and white striped awning from blocks away. At least stop by to look at all the beautiful pastries on display. Small bites are as cheap as $1-$2.20, so be armed with cash: there’s a $10 credit card minimum.

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Dos Toros
This place has been lauded as a Chipotle counterpart and is working hard to destroy the stereotype that New York doesn’t have any good Mexican food. With $4 tacos, $7 quesadillas, and $8.50 massive burritos, it’s cheaper than Chipotle. The down side? Chips and salsa are not free; they’ll set you back $2.07.

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A Second Chance
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The Weekly Favorites: Turtles, ice cream, and wine bars (7/10–7/17)

Today we’re kicking off a new series: a weekly round-up of the best the Internet has to offer in the travel, food, and lifestyle worlds. Enjoy!

Photo of the Week

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A watermelon martini from Central in DC, plus some gourmet “cheese puffs.” Heaven.

Travel

40 Genius Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life Forever—Distractify
The article is as helpful as the title sounds. Even seasoned travelers will want to read these innovative tips!

Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys—Wander the Map
Who knew you could visit turtle hospitals? It’s a great story and the facility offers daily tours—as long as there isn’t a turtle emergency, that is! It doesn’t sound like it’s all fun and games, though, as the main goal of these tours is to raise awareness for saving turtles from the likes of boats and pollution.

Discovering Puglia, the heel of Italy—Mrs. O Around the World
Mrs. O’s travels around Puglia and stay in a luxury Italian villa looks absolutely incredible. Check out that pool!

Food

Honey Tarragon Strawberry Melon Salad—A Little Bite of Life
This looks so refreshing, perfect for hot summer days. I would’ve never thought to put tarragon in a fruit salad!

The Inside Scoop—Galavante
I never thought I’d hear the words “cupcake ice cream sandwich” (you can thank Sprinkles for that one). Everything sounds so incredible, but they left off one ice cream sandwich powerhouse: The Meatball Shop.

Paris Idyll—Saveur
The best wine bars Paris has to offer.

Lifestyle

Tribal Maxi—bishop & holland
What can I say? It’s gorgeous.

Why Leighton Meester’s Op-Ed Is The Week’s Must-Read—Refinery-29
Leighton Meester gives some thoughtful insight into audiences’ reaction to the character Curley’s Wife from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, who she currently plays in the Broadway adaptation. If you don’t have time to read the full thing, Refinery-29 gives a good summary.

Sitting Down with Nevin Martell, Author of Travel Memoir “Freak Show Without a Tent”

Nevin Martell Courtesy of Photographer Scott Suchman

Nevin Martell, courtesy of photographer Scott Suchman

 

From Ship to Shore‘s Hannah Josi recently sat down with Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations author and prolific D.C. food writer Nevin Martell to talk crazy travel adventures, D.C. food culture, and writing tips.

HJ: Thanks for meeting with me. I really, really enjoyed the book. It was wonderful how it wasn’t just a travel book—it was a coming of age story…Now, you end your book when you’re in your 30s with your dad, but in the chapter before that, you were seventeen. So, in the space in between, what were you up to? You mentioned a couple of trips—did your travel continue into your twenties or did it kind of fall to the wayside?

NM: When I went to college and then moved to New York City I had, at first, fewer chances to travel but that was just because I was a broke kid out of college with his first job trying to make his way in the world. It kind of picked up steam, though, as I got a little bit older in my mid- to later-twenties. I went to Cuba with my father and my sister, and I got a chance to go to Finland, and I had a chance to go to Costa Rica a couple times, and I had a chance to go to Mexico a couple of times. I tried to travel somewhere new internationally at least once, about twice, a year. That was kind of my goal, and, you know, for the most part I was able to follow that philosophy…

My wife and I, when we first got engaged, we ended up in Honduras, in the Bay Islands, and we tried to travel a lot, up until we had our child a year and a half ago—you know, we’re waiting to take our first big trip with him. He’s been to California a couple times, he’s been all over the East Coast, but we’re just gearing up for the right international opportunity. But, um, no, in the in-between years, I would say my love of travel grew and, you know, I was always just looking for the best way to make that happen and the most feasible way…

Now that I’m in this new stage as a father, it was interesting writing the book because I look at the way my family traveled as a kid, and then think like, “Okay, how do I want to do this with my own child and wife, and where would that take us, and would we go to some of the same places that my dad took my family? And, if so, would we do the same things?” Probably not, but how could we do them in the right way for us? So travel is something that’s been super important, and it’s something that I can’t wait to introduce my son to, because travel was always something amazing for me, and I think he’ll really appreciate it, too. I definitely think it’s important for forming a world view.

HJ: So once your son does grow up a little bit and he is able to travel more, do you think that you’ll kind of go the route of your father and try to go to these really exotic, authentic, crazy places—for those who haven’t read the book, Nevin’s been to Fiji, Venezuela…all over. Do you think you’ll go that route or are you going to play more by the book?

NM: I think it’s going to be somewhere in the middle. I’m certainly not going to be a pre-packaged, Club Med kind of guy, ever. You know, that doesn’t really have any appeal for me…But by the same token, do I necessarily want to take my son fishing for piranhas and things like that? Maybe not. I would love to show him some of the far corners of the world, and I would love to introduce him to some really lesser-known elements of the world, but I want to do it in a way that—no offense to my dad—is a slightly saner way to doing it.

For example, top of the bucket list are like Morocco—I would love to do that. But really top of the bucket list is my wife’s home country Ghana, which I haven’t visited either. So, I would love to take him there, introduce him to his relatives…spend some time in West Africa. But then I would like to do some crazy things, like…since I was a little kid I always wanted to go to Stonehenge, for example. I think that would be something fun. I’ve always wanted to go to Easter Island, which I know is not the most practical of destinations because it’s literally the most remote point on Earth, but I think, again, it’s something he would really enjoy. I think it’s going to be somewhere in the middle, probably closer to my dad than I’m probably thinking, but as I say in the book, more airbags, more seat belts, more helmets.

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HJ: When it comes to actually going out there, finding the right spot to vacation, finding that nice balance between authentic but visitor-friendly, do you have any advice?
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Looking Back at Arles, Van Gogh’s New Home

My trip to France was the biggest fourteenth birthday present I could ever imagine. My dad and I went on a 7-day whirlwind tour of Paris and pretty much all the major cities in Provence, plus an unexpected layover in London that left me yearning to return for a proper visit.

Paris was cool, Nice was incredible, but what really stuck out was Arles, a medium-sized city in Provence. The town is rich with history and an old-world feel. A large Roman amphitheater and obelisk remind visitors of its Roman past. Boulangeries and small French bistros lining the winding stone streets make it seem like a storybook. For a town like that, it comes with no surprise that it has been a major destination for artists, most notably Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Picasso.

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My dad had long been obsessed with Van Gogh, so much of our time in Arles was spent retracing his steps. While many of the most famous landmarks in his paintings were destroyed during World War II, we stopped by the recreation of the yellow awning from Café Terrace at Night and the vacant lot where the apartment he shared with Gauguin once stood. We walked along the Rhone River, which might sound familiar thanks to the beautiful Starry Night Over the Rhone (although it’s not the Starry Night), and visited the small center dedicated to his life in the town.

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When we got to the aforementioned center, we were expecting to see a Van Gogh painting or two—it was, after all, a space dedicated to his life and his work in France, and it only seemed natural for a painting to be there to represent such an important, penultimate phase in his career (just a year after he left Arles, he committed suicide). But there was nothing.

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