A few years ago, Alice Steinbach, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist decided to take a break from her life. She took a leave from her job, friends and family to go on a European journey of self-discovery, and her first book, Without Reservations, was the exquisite result of that trip. But once Steinbach had opened the door to a new way of living, ...Read MoreA few years ago, Alice Steinbach, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist decided to take a break from her life. She took a leave from her job, friends and family to go on a European journey of self-discovery, and her first book, Without Reservations, was the exquisite result of that trip. But once Steinbach had opened the door to a new way of living, she found herself unwilling to return to her old routine. She left her job and went travelling again, only this time her objective was not so much one of self-discovery as it was a reaching out. She wanted to learn, by taking lessons and courses, but also by connecting to and learning from the people she would encounter along the way. Choosing exactly where to go and what to study turned out to be harder than she'd anticipated, but Steinbach found herself repeatedly drawn to the interests and fantasies of her youth. And so her lifelong fascination with writing, animals, gardening, and food led her to study dog training in Scotland, writing in Prague, gardening in Provence, calligraphy and flower arranging in Kyoto, music in Cuba, cooking in Paris and Jane Austen in Exeter. Her weeks and months spent with fellow students of all ages are, as she'd hoped, every bit as educational as her courses. And studying side by side with people preparing for careers in these various fields gives Steinbach a second chance at some roads not taken - a chance to reconnect with her past, when so many options were still open to her. In pursuing interests she's never had time to fully explore, she finds that her sense of curiosity is as strong as it ever was, and, as she discovers during the course of this wonderful trip, we are never too old to learn.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-03-01 Steinbach had so much fun running off to Europe to find herself, as recounted in her first book (Without Reservations), she decided to quit her job writing for the Baltimore Sun and devote herself to similar educational adventures. Following the advice of Japanese poet Basho ("To learn of the pine, go to the pine"), Steinbach takes off again and recounts eight endeavors, including studying French cooking in Paris, attending a Jane Austen convention in England and meeting geishas in Kyoto. She captures the uniqueness of each setting, aided by a sharply curious sensibility she claims stems as much from her childhood admiration for Nancy Drew as from her reportorial training. That spirit of openness also enables her to strike up many spontaneous conversations easily, frequently launching other discoveries. A search for a bonsai garden in Florence, for example, winds up becoming a tour of several palaces normally closed to the public, which leads to an old priest's tale of rescuing priceless paintings from a flood. Yet for all Steinbach's attention to others, her account remains resolutely personal, as her experiences unleash bittersweet childhood memories, and an ambiguously romantic relationship with a Japanese gentleman is never far from her thoughts. Her stories are powerfully seductive to anyone who's ever been tempted to get up and go, following interests wherever they may lead. Even during the occasional setbacks, from language barriers to confusing geographies, Steinbach makes such a life look highly desirable. Agent, Gail Ross. (On sale Apr. 6) Forecast: Steinbach's book could be a reading group favorite. The publisher plans to advertise and target literary and women's interest Web sites and book clubs. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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