ROAD TRIP READING: The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck’s books are always a good option to take on a trip. His adventures in Russia are amazing, and his most famous novels usually set the scene nicely in America.

John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath follows the story of a family moving from Oklahoma in search of a better life in California. It’s not an easy journey – and the road that they travel, alongside the changing landscape around them, serve as a nice backdrop to the story of Tom Joad and his family.

As ever with Steinbeck books, the story develops slowly, and you are taken along on the journey as you read the book. It was also beautifully adapted into a film by John Ford.

One to take with you on a road trip!

TRAVELLING ON FILM: 3 movies set in New York

New York has been on my mind a lot recently, but a trip to the city is not on the horizon… but one can dream!

Like many other big cities, NYC has been in many great films. Woody Allen alone has used the city as the backdrop in many of his movies.

Here’s a list of three good films set in New York:

1. Annie Hall

annie hall

Manhattan is probably Woody Allen’s most famous film, but Annie Hall is definitely my favourite.

It is an amazingly neurotic film, with hilarious quotes like:

“You’re like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y’know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.”

It really couldn’t be set anywhere else in the world.

2. Big


I’ve watched Big lots of times – the last one was just a few weeks ago! It is a classic 80s film, hilarious and light-hearted.

The ‘piano scene’ is a classic, and you can still play in the original piano at FAO Schwartz, which is ideally located on 5th Avenue, right next to Central Park.

3. Black Swan

black swan

Black Swan is a great film to watch on a cold night. The thriller is set around a production of Swan Lake in New York City, and although it is sombre, I’d still count it as light entertainment.

Plus there are some great dance scenes as well!


ny 02

I went to New York over 12 years ago, in 2002. It feels like that trip was a lifetime ago.

Back then I wasn’t even above the legal drinking age yet (!) and the city was still very much recovering from 9-11.

But I still remember how much I liked the place. At times, it was like stepping inside a film: everywhere you went there was another highlight I’d seen on tv many times before.

Somehow I never went back – for a long time all I wanted was to be in Europe as much as I could. Now that I live in London, I feel like another visit is well overdue.

Plus the city has changed too: Williamsburg is now all the rage, and the High Line seems amazing!

Where would you go back to?