Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Postcards from Across the Pond by Michael Harling + Interview

Postcards from Across the Pond: Dispatches from an Accidental Expat by Michael Harling

Review by Lauren

copy from author, but all opinions are my own

Michael Harling website

Michael Harling blog

Review: This is one of those review copies that I've had around for a long time, and for that, I'm very sorry because it's one enjoyable book! Postcards from Across the Pond is a collection of short essays (each one is usually about a page or two, so it's easy to read here and there when you have time) about Harling's time in England. He visited Europe...then ended up falling in love, getting married, and moving there. It's not what he had in mind, but he's enjoying his new life and quite humorously pointing out the differences between UK and US life.

I know a bit about England, but I've never been. However, I loved hearing about it from a fellow American. He loves the country, but he can see their weird quirks, and even how they are better than the U.S. in ways.

One of the highlights when reading this book is the essay on Thanksgiving...obviously England doesn't celebrate our Thanksgiving, so that was kind of fun to read about, but what made it even better is that I found myself coming across this essay on Thanksgiving.

While I said I'd never been to England, my sister has and I let her read this book too and she really enjoyed it. I actually gave it to another friend who will be studying in England this semester and she told me she loved it as well. If that doesn't convince you to check out this collection, then I don't know what will!! Remember, though, the author loves England (and he does repeatedly say so) so don't take anything to offence (especially if you are English, or you too love the country).

Now, I didn't get the book read/reviewed until now, but I did interview the author and had him do a guest post on my blog Bridge the Gap. I no longer use Bridge the Gap (everything that would go there just comes here) but it was originally where I wanted to focus on entertainment from other countries. I hope to do that moreso here, though, since I feel like I haven't in awhile.

Anyway, here's my older interview with Michael Harling (guest post will go up tomorrow!)

1. What made you decide on the title, Postcards from Across the Pond? Was this a first choice or did it come later? If it wasn't your first idea, what were some discarded ones?

It just seemed natural. It was the first thing that came to mind and I liked it and continued to use it; I have not regretted it.

2. When reading your book, what can people expect to find?

My book is very much like my website and blog; humorous articles on what it is like being an American living in the UK. The essays in the book are not featured on the website, but the style and subject matter is similar. So if you enjoy what you read on the website, you’ll like the book. And vice versa.

3. Do you have plans to write anything else in the near future? Will it be non-fiction or perhaps fiction?

My plan has always been to be a novelist. I fell into humor writing quite by accident and the fact that I have published a humor book still surprises me. I have written several novel manuscripts and my most recent one is still out there looking for a publisher. I am also working on my next novel.

Since this is an old interview, I wanted to let you know that Harling has other works out now (another Postcards from Across the Pond, as well as Postcards from Ireland) like his recently released first novel, Finding Rachel Davenport.

4. For those who don't live in or haven't visited England (especially other Americans), what would you tell them you like the best and the least?

Both are difficult to pin down; there is so much about England that I love and very little I don’t like. And it depends upon the person. History buffs can’t get enough of the castles, Roman ruins and places like Stonehenge, and others might like to tour the countryside and take in the views. And everyone likes the accents. As for me, I like the fact that I can get to so many places without having to drive for three days. What I dislike is the British Yob culture (football hooligans, lager louts, etc.).

5. What other books should everyone be reading these days?

If you like books such as “Postcards From Across the Pond,” there are others out there of a similar ilk. “Rules Britannia,” by Toni Hargis is a good one, as is Chris Rae’s “The Septic’s Companion.” Both are funny and informative.


Liviania said...

The English countryside is amazing.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the review and more

LHughes said...

I consider myself a bit of an anglophile despite never having made the trip to England, and have always wondered what it would be like to move there. This sounds like a book I could really get into, and I don't normally read a lot of non-fiction! So glad you did a post on it! :)

Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

Candace said...

I'm kind of obsessed with all things English, I want to go to England SO bad, so I would probably love this this book!

Erika said...

I know you should never judge a book by its cover, but I am in love with this one! :)

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

Lovely, sounds good!

Jasprit said...

Oh I'm glad that you had fun with this book Lauren, it does does sound like an interesting book to pick up. I always enjoy reading books about the US and hearing the American accent, as the English one doesn't do it for me anymore, ad I hear it all the time! ;/

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I would love to visit England. I just read Meant to Be and it took place in England and it made me want to go there. This looks like another great read. THanks for sharing.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Sounds neat to see this written this way. And neat with across the pond. ;) Thank you for sharing, and I know the feeling with great books waiting to long to read. If only we had more time. :)

Jess said...

Bah, I think England is one cool place. I mean, I don't know much about it - just stuff from TV and a little bit from what I hear other people say/learn in school. But from what I hear, I think I would really like it there.

Hearing an Americans view on England sounds like it would be so interesting. And that really is both weird and funny that you came across the essay about thanksgiving, ON thanksgiving!

This book definitely sounds like an interesting read!