Grand Tour

Moore, Tim. the Grand Tour: The European Adventure of a Continental Drifter. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001.

Reason read: April Fools Day

Tim Moore is a little obnoxious. The best way I found to deal with him is to think of him as another Bill Bryson. Turns out that’s what everyone is supposed to think, thanks to the dust jacket and other review. What makes Moore different from Bryson is that his obnoxiousness is on another level and his humor is much edgier. He’s a bit more condescending and sarcastic, using words like ridiculous, unspectacular and disgusting to describe his surroundings during his adventures. But, that’s not my main gripe with Moore. I want to know more about why he chose to follow Coryate’s journey and what he hoped to get out of it along the way. After all, he wasn’t following Coryate literally. True, Coryate was mostly on foot while Moore was insistent in having the perfect, attention-drawing touring car, a Rolls Royce. True, Coryate didn’t wear a plush purple suit to further draw attention to himself either. According to the dust jacket I was to expect “snorts of laughter” while reading The Grand Tour. Unfortunately, none came for me. A great deal of the time my mind wandered while trying to read Grand Tour.

Weird quotes, “The whole thing was clearly an extended fart analogy” (p 10),”the patron came out to watch me as, wild of hair and damp of arse, I bundled armfuls of wet polyester into the back of the Rolls while his dog peed on my hubcaps” (p 77), and “For every vineyard there was a dark satanic mill – no wonder Soave tastes like that” (p 213).

Author fact: Moore also wrote French Revolutions which I found hysterical.

Book trivia: Surprisingly, Grand Tour has delightful illustrations.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Explaining Europe: The Grand Tour” (p 82).

April Comes Quickly

I don’t know where March went. I’ve looked under calendars and in date books and I still can’t figure it out. The month went by so fast! Here are the books finished for March:

  • Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
  • The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
  • Family Man by Jayne Krentz
  • Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (AB)
  • The Brontes by Juliet Barker (DNF)
  • Means of Ascent by Robert Caro (DNF)
  • Center of the World by Jacqueline Sheehan (Fun)
  • In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White (would have been an Early Review book a long time ago)

On tap for April (besides a little Noodle 5k run):

  • A Considerable Town by MFK Fisher ~ in honor of April being the best time to visit France
  • The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman ~ for fun
  • Green Thoughts by Eleanor Perenyi ~ in honor of gardening month
  • Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot ~ in honor of April Fools
  • Don’t Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock ~ in honor of April being Food Month (AB)
  • The Grand Tour by Tim Moore ~ in honor of Harvey Ball passing in April

French Revolutions

Moore, Tim. French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France. Read by Andrew Wincott.  Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 2009.

Funny. Funny. Funny. I like that Moore’s writing is unapologetic snarky. If you are sensitive to sarcasm and foul language, stay away! This book is lightly peppered with words only a hearty rant could benefit from. Take a slightly out-of-shape, thirty something year old British guy who gets it into his head he can ride the Tour-de-France. Outfit him with a bike and ridiculous clothes and the fact he has no idea what he’s doing. Suddenly you’ve got a beyond hilarious story. Tim Moore ignores all common sense reason and sets out to bike all 2,256 miles of the race before the actual professionals take the stage. Each chapter is a different leg of the Tour and what’s great about Moore’s account (aside from his incessant bellyaching) is the historical perspective he gives along the way. He isn’t shy about providing graphic descriptions of the trials and tribulations of the male body after eight to ten hours in the saddle, either. I could open French Revolutions any page and find something hysterically funny, and more often than not, off color.

Quotes: As I said, nearly every page had something worthwhile and funny, but here are just a few of my favorites: “Sadly, Dennis was an awful boy who cheated at Monopoly and avenged yet another Belgian victory in that year’s race by running amok in our flower-beds with the big lawnmower, so I did not at the time ascribe positive attributes to the focus of his obsession” (p 5), “I didn’t know whether to be glad or sad when I looked down while grabbing for a towel and saw that the elemental rigours of the day had apparently inspired my genitals to eat themselves” (p 116), and “The blathering torrent of self-pity was by this stage a staple of our telephonic encounters, and she listened patiently, as, dispensing with respiration or punctuation, I stated that I was in a town with no hotels, that she had the hotel book, and that having cycled 94,000 miles I had forgotten how to speak French” (p 255).

As an aside, I don’t know why all my audio books are read by people with accents.

Reason read: May is Bicycle Month…so go out there and ride!

Author fact: Moore has an incredibly patient and understanding wife named Birna.

Book trivia: Moore makes mention of taking photographs while “on tour” but sadly, none of them make the book. Not even one of himself.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Bicycling” (p 35). Simple and to the point.