Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Fun!

What’s the next best thing to taking a summer vacation to an exotic locale?

Reading about someone who did, of course!

This week’s post is about one such book (and includes a little contest!)
The book is Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes. It features Ginny, who is off on an adventure orchestrated by her deceased non-conformist aunt. Using the instructions found in a series of 13 letters, Ginny travels throughout Europe, living in the moment, learning about her aunt, and falling a little bit in love along the way!

If you’d like to win a copy of this book, you must follow this blog (if you don’t already!) and post a comment by midnight (Eastern Time) Saturday, June 18. From those who comment, I’ll randomly select one person (U.S. entrants only) to mail the book to (sorry, no little blue envelope).

Here are some ideas for your comments inspired by Maureen’s book:

1. Ginny has a cool aunt—do you? What fun things have you done with your aunt?

When I was nine, my own aunt predicted I would someday live in Paris. Sure enough, I did. My aunt also showed up to take me on a wild European adventure (which included nearly being robbed by gypsies on a night train to Prague)

2. Ginny’s aunt used a theme to paint a whole café in Paris. If you had to paint a café, what theme would you use?

I’m going to have to go with elephants, myself.

3. Letters—ah, that lost art form! What letter are you glad you saved or what is one that you wish you had saved?

O.K., I admit I still have that first love letter. (Clears throat). And I got rid of a whole series of letters from my grandmother in which she told her life story.

4. What other Y.A. travel stories have you read and loved?

Be sure not to miss Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins!

5. Yeah, sure, you can pick your own topic too!

Happy summer travels, whether real or imagined!


Kurt Hampe said...

Nice posting Tracy, I enjoyed your prompts, though I lean towards a Formula 1 theme for my Paris cafe.

My "almost got robbed in Europe" story is borrowed from Australian guys I met at a hostel in Lisbon, Portugal. A shaky young man had tried to rob them. He told them he had a knife contaminated with AIDS and to hand over their money. They refused. Unsure what to do next, the mugger threatened to call the cops. Apparently he didn’t read the entire Mugging for Dummies manual and missed the surprise ending.

I looking forward to reading the stories you prompt.

Jus Accardo said...

Awesome post, Tracy!

Hmmm I'm going with the letters. I'm a pack rat... I have all the letters from ALL my pen pals over the years. I have every letter my husband wrote to me while we were dating (and the ones before we started dating!) And while I love and cherish those, I think the most important one I have is from my grandmother.

The letter was written to me the day before I was born. I found it in a journal several years after she died. It was addressed to me by name--even though I wasn't named yet (that's an entirely different story) and went on to say how lucky everyone was that I'd come into the world. She told me that while I'd make some pretty big mistakes along the way, I was destined to live a happy, full life.

Tracy Bilen said...

What great stories, Kurt and Jus! Thanks for sharing!

jhunsickerwrites said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! I am going to Paris for the first time next year and enjoy sharing books and travel experiences with my 14-year-old niece. She would enjoy reading this book as well. Thanks for posting!

Kristin Lenz said...

I read 13 Little Blue Envelopes awhile back and enjoyed it - great choice to launch your summer reading!

I saved all the letters from my long-distance college boyfriend who later became my husband. On one of our anniversaries (10 years?), he dug them out of the attic along with all the letters I had written to him. (I didn't even know he had saved them.) It was a great way to get back in touch with those early, swooning love feelings, years later after careers and kids consuming much of our time.

Patti Shenberger said...

Great blog post Tracy! Enjoyed it. I have all the notes my husband gave me over the years. From when we had our first child, selling my first book, to surviving chemo. They all hold a special place in my heart. And like Ginny, I had a really cool aunt (still do). She was more like a sister to me than an aunt.

Tracy Bilen said...

Hope you have a great time in Paris, jhunsickerwrites!
What a great way to celebrate your anniversary, Kristin!

Tracy Bilen said...

So sweet, Patti! Thanks for sharing.

Neecy said...

Nice post, Tracy. I too, have saved all the notes and little drawing my hubby drew for me during our pre-marital bliss.

I put a collage together. Him and I are in the center, and all the art work and notes from the flowers he'd sent me surround our picture. I framed it and hung it in our bedroom. I get compliments on it all the time.

Tracy Bilen said...

I love your collage idea, Neecy!

Jeanette said...

Great post, Tracy! I can't wait to read "13 Little Blue Envelopes"--sounds like the perfect summer read!

And speaking of vacations and grandparents have a vacation condo in Hawaii that they've owned for 30 years with several other families (each family gets the condo for 1-2 months out of the year). At the end of their vacation, each family writes a letter to all the other families about their trip. They have a notebook in the condo where all of the letters are stored. My grandparents are not well enough to travel now, so I enjoy reading the letters when I'm on vacation there--it's fun to go back and learn about the fun adventures my grandparents have had in Hawaii over the years!

Tracy Bilen said...

Love the notebook idea, Jeanette!

Katie McGarry said...

My best friend and I exchanged letters and notes for years. When I moved out of my parent's house, I threw the letters and notes away, thinking there would always be more. She died several months later. I truly regret throwing those letters and notes away.

Tracy Bilen said...

Thanks for sharing, Katie.

Lisa Tapp said...

Great blog Tracy. When my daughter traveled through Europe and India, she would email her adventures. I made hard copies of her emails and saved them. Now, a few years later, we go back and relive those times.
A letter/travel book I enjoyed was "Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society." Not YA, but thoroughly engrossing.

Colette Ballard said...

Nice post, Tracy! The European vacation with your aunt sounded fun and unforgettable. And the book sounds wonderful--I'll have to add it to my reading list!

Tracy Bilen said...

What a great keepsake, Lisa! And thanks for the suggestion!
Colette,hope you get a chance to read it!