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.