Parenting book tidbits.
Anthony Shadid.

A less than titillating travel read.

I was underwhelmed by Denis Lipman's A Yank Back to England: The Prodigal Tourist Returns.

Mr. CR, continuing his surprising trend of reading some of the same nonfiction that I am, concurred in this evaluation.

YankLipman, originally from England, weaves a tale of several years' worth of visits back to his home country to visit his parents (with his wife and daughter in tow). He's the son of two Cockney East-Enders who are getting on in years, which makes for some generational (and cultural) tensions between them and Lipman's new family.

In addition to visiting his parents, Lipman also details their week-long stays in a variety of lodgings and cottages, and the day trips they take to various small towns, churches, and other off-the-beaten-trail attractions in (primarily) the southern part of England.

The trips frequently start in Lipman's hometown of Dagenham, a suburb of east London, where he starts be describing his parents' place: "In the States, where cold and hot water come gently together, mixing is not required. In my parents' house, the hot water faucet spat liquid that could produce third degree burns on contact. By contrast, the cold faucet pumped out ice water that could congeal a slashed artery in a matter of seconds. The only way to survive the plumbing was to mix...Probably another reason why the English are innately patient at supermarket checkouts, long suffering when waiting for hospital appointments, and very good at waiting for buses. Our Job-like forbearance is tested from the moment we wake up. The English who do not possess this kind of fortitude, like me, tend to emigrate." (p. 6.)

I know. I should have chosen a quote where he's describing some of the places they visit to give you a feel for his writing. But honestly? I didn't bookmark anything and I couldn't find anything that stood out when I flipped back through the book. They do travel through a lot of places you might not read about in more urban travelogues or guides: Chartwell, Aldeburgh, Barking, Rattlesden, Lavenham, Saffron Walden, Woolpit, Romney Marsh, Rye, etc. But none of it seemed all that interesting or well-written, and I mainly stuck with it because, of course, I am constitutionally unable to put down books about Great Britain. But for your less dedicated Anglophile reader? Meh.