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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Introduction to Turkey
I have made sure that daughters, sisters and friends have gotten copies of this book. It is an inspiration in a number of ways: two women want to live a life of adventure...and then they do. And it is deeply satisfying that these two stout-hearted women in hiking boots are also poets. Lucky for us, really, since we don't need another dry eyed travel book. We need...
Published on April 18, 2012 by Prestonfield

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I had hoped to learn a lot about Istanbul and Turkey by reading this book. I did learn a few things, but I was not interested in the personal lives of the authors which was part of the book. The relationships trumped the history and places, so I cannot give it a good review because it simply was not what I expected. Perhaps that is my fault for not doing the research...
Published 17 months ago by rolinda


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Introduction to Turkey, April 18, 2012
By 
This review is from: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Paperback)
I have made sure that daughters, sisters and friends have gotten copies of this book. It is an inspiration in a number of ways: two women want to live a life of adventure...and then they do. And it is deeply satisfying that these two stout-hearted women in hiking boots are also poets. Lucky for us, really, since we don't need another dry eyed travel book. We need the magic. These two determined women bring it!

Rather than memorizing travel statistics, it is so much more interesting to get to know a country by living in someone else's skin for a while. Brenner's and Stocke's adventures become my adventures. I'm wrapped in the sunsets, I taste the spices, my heart beats a little faster for the exotic romances that couldn't quite work out.

Nobody said Turkey was always going to be easy. But its enchantment seems to go on and on. When you have this sun-colored book on your shelf, you have permanent motivation to pack your suitcase, fly far away and ask yourself: "Why shouldn't I?"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traveling in Turkey: Two modern women take on the ancient world, November 5, 2012
This review is from: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Paperback)
Women "do" friendship differently than men. This is no surprise. In Anatolian Days and Nights, the loveliness and dedication of a friendship between two women who share the same travel interests is elegantly depicted. Joy and Angie first met at a hotel on coastal Turkey. That serendipitous meeting spawned a lifelong friendship and an exploration of the mysteries and cultures of Turkey that resonates with them both today.

The reader of this travel memoir is treated to a close-up and enthusiastic perspective of this friendship and the small nation called Turkey. The history of the Sufi Dervishes carries them to central Turkey, for the Whirling Dervishes Festival. This ceremonial festival, steeped in ancient history and imbued with religious meaning, touches the intrepid travelers, and gives them a sense of timelessness and oneness. Watching the Dervishes chant to themselves as they twirl, "We take from God and give to man, spreading grace to earth," the connection between the Dervishes and God is evident, and glorious.

Other explorations in Turkey take our intrepid travelers to a Turkish bathhouse, where the ritual bathing becomes a way to join women of different cultures and faiths. They learn to appreciate and honor the beauty of their own bodies as they participate in the ceremonial bath. "A wrinkle here, cellulite there, a mole on your hipbone, it all looks elegant in an envelope of steam."

The chapters alternate voice, between Joy and Angie, and as the reader travels alongside the wanderers, we come to appreciate their similarities and differences. Each chapter begins with a quotation that embodies the nature of that chapter and the character of the writer, with a wide variety of Turkish proverbs ("A good companion shortens the longest road.") and timeless poetry from Rumi, ("Listen to the reed as it tells a tale...") We see through their eyes the day to day experiences of women traveling alone, the pushy gigolos, the dedicated restaurateurs and shopkeepers, each with an agenda and a determination to be heard. Joy and Angie toy with the idea of buying a summer home in Turkey, only to be dismayed by the slow, drifting pace of Turkish life (and real estate.)

Touching bases with friends who are expatriates to Turkey, hearing various forms of Turkish music (including "harabat" which could be called the Turkish Blues), trying to understand the complications of Turkish politics, and learning to deal with their own yearnings to live in both worlds, the authors continue to struggle to bridge the cultural gap, with visits to Ephesus--said to be the final resting place of Meryemana, the blessed Virgin Mary, a place of worship and peace--and Yali, a Turkish bar in Kalkan, loud with insistent music and laughter.

In their explorations, and with quiet times for introspection, they discover they can embrace all the facets of the people, religion and culture of Turkey. Angie and Joy not only study the beauty and dark depths of Turkey and her people, but they realize that these qualities are present within them as well. Although they live on different coasts and embrace different lifestyles, the bond they formed in Turkey has lasted. Joining them on this journey, we can see how truly small the world is, and how events in the ancient world have echoes in our own daily lives. We, too, are enriched.

by Laura Strathman Hulka
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tastes of Turkey, July 25, 2012
This review is from: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Paperback)
An Aegean sunset, the breeze, soft and warm against my bare skin, dining in an outdoor café, senses assailed by the salty air of the Mediterranean and the fragrant spices of Turkish cooking -- something I can only dream about in wintry Melbourne, Australia, where I live.

Reading Anatolian Days & Nights, Joy E. Stocke and Angie Brenner's new book, subtitled: A Love Affair with Turkey, is almost as good as being there. The most aromatic book I have ever read, it had me salivating from page one; I haven't been to Turkey but I feel like I can taste it. Joy Stocke, a travel writer and editor of the online magazine, Wild River Review and Angie Brenner, freelance writer and former bookstore owner, write about Turkish cuisine, whether in private homes or cafes, in loving detail and oh-my-goodness, every meal they have is a feast for the eyes, nose and taste buds. Not surprisingly, Joy has compiling a Turkish cook book on her to-do list.

Experienced travelers in Turkey, Joy and Angie first met in 2001 when they volunteered to help a friend by running a small guesthouse on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The beginning of an enduring friendship they coped with the friend's sulky male partner while trying to turn a rundown pension into a profitable concern. Not so much a travel book as pages from a `day-in-the-life-of' diary, Joy and Angie share with readers the good, the bad and not ugly, but sometimes frustrations of travelling in Turkey.

The book maps Joy and Angie's trips back and forth between the US and Turkey between 2001 and 2009. The text alternates between Joy and Angie's depiction of people and events; friendships are forged and Turkish society is peeled back to reveal fascinating intimate detail of family life and values in large cities and villages where not much has changed since ancient times. The writing, uniformly good, the descriptive sequences are often poetic and always absorbing.

A Whirling Dervish festival, Istanbul, Ephesus, the Black Sea and Mesopotamia are all described with empathy and great enthusiasm for the people met and the places visited. Neither author moralises about Turkish cultural or traditional customs which may be at odds with western society's view of civilised practice - they write it like it is and allow readers to make up their own minds.

Joy, an indefatigable traveler, is supported in her wanderings by a sympathetic husband and daughter who wait patiently at home for the next instalment of her Turkish adventures. Angie, single, and I suspect, an incurable romantic, generously shares with readers a brief love affair with a Turkish guy. A crescent moon above, a dark eyed lover by your side - a romantic or not, it would be hard to resist.

If you are planning a trip to Turkey don't leave home without a copy of Anatolian Days & Nights in your backpack. It's a worry free guide to tripping around in Turkey and gives info on transport, tours, local customs, sights and sounds not to miss, and the whys and wherefores of safe travel in a country where adventure awaits around every corner. If you're not lucky enough to be going to Turkey, take the tour with Joy and Angie; read Anatolian Days & Nights, it's an exciting intriguing journey.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touches the Soul of Turkey, March 17, 2012
This review is from: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Paperback)
I've been slow doing this review because this book is special and is not one to be rushed nor fully appreciated in one reading. I could tell that when I first started it. This truly is a love affair between two women and a certain land. That land is not just a place but a feeling; a culture; a people of past countless souls; yet all blended into the present moment. I have always been intrigued with Turkey and have it on my list for this year. I was on a ship headed there ten years ago but the war rerouted me. This book is well written with a depth that goes beyond memoirs of travel. These two women have traveled into the soul of the land and that is something you don't find in the normal book on a particular land. For instance, "Her eyes seek mine, as if to say "Let's leave the men here. Let's talk about our lives as women." With a glance over her shoulder, she gives us a fleeting smile." Now that is getting into the heart of a people not just a political entity and a lot of historical ruins. It is touching lives in a way you and I will probably never see.

Or after climbing into a deserted place they see "a girl standing in a grove of olive trees" gathering "olives that have fallen to the ground and studies us, two women in sun glasses, tank tops, shorts and hiking boots. Gravely, she places a handful of the bitter, green fruit on a stone ledge, an offering. And darts away."

But as lovely and peaceful as they paint the picture of Turkey there are moments. When on a picnic and as "curfew approaches". A tank stops and four soldiers get out with "AK-47's in hand." One "his rifle site levels in our direction." "My back twitches, anticipating the sting of a bullet. Blood beats in my eardrums....." They demand passports and inspect Polaroid photos spread around. "'I told him they are just tourist photographs and the you are not spies,' says Basir." The three soldiers slightly loosen their grips on their rifles." as the girls offer to shoot photos of them they can send home to their girl friends. "Whatever fear Angie might feel, I see none of it in her actions as the soldiers take turns posing for their portraits, straightening their backs and positioning their rifles across their chests....."

Maybe I'll revise this review after I have had time to just find a quiet place and reread this wonderful adventure in real life in a fascinating land buy two girls who love the real heart of a land. Maybe I'll need to read it several times, a people and place most of us will never visit, and even if we do it will never be with such abandonment and depth into a people as they share in this book. You can actually feel the spirit of this place called Turkey.

This really is an unusual book and one everyone can relate to regardless of your travel interests. It is one you must read for yourself since a review will never do it justice. This is truly an insight into a people which seems such a mystery to most of us. And it is a fun adventure of two girls truly in love with life, with people, and with Turkey.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mommy Moments with Abby Book Review, April 9, 2012
This review is from: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Paperback)
I have wanted to travel for a while and love learning about other area's of the world without really having to sit and read a boring travel guide. This book offered both the personal experience to draw you in plus the cultural and historical facts mixed in give you an insight into an area that you have heard about, but maybe haven't know about. I will be definitely re-reading this book as it is one that you can read once and then read a second time and pick up on things you missed the first or still find just as enjoyable as the first time you read it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great travelogue, April 6, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this for my Kindle for a recent trip to Turkey. It was great to have the authors viewpoint/experiences to read while traveling through many of the same areas. It would be a great read before or have a special trip or for anyone that loves the country and people of Turkey.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friendship, Shared Experiences, an Education for Readers, October 30, 2012
This review is from: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Paperback)
Women "do" friendship differently than men. This is no surprise. In Anatolian Days and Nights, the loveliness and dedication of a friendship between two women who share the same travel interests is elegantly depicted. Joy and Angie first touched bases at a hotel on coastal Turkey. That serendipitous meeting spawned a lifelong friendship, and an exploration of the mysteries and cultures of Turkey that resonates with them both today.

We, the readers of travel books, get a close-up and enthusiastic perspective of this friendship, and this small nation called Turkey. The history of the Sufi Dervishes carries them to central Turkey, for the Whirling Dervishes Festival. This ceremonial festival, steeped in ancient history, and imbued with religious meaning, touches the intrepid travelers, and gives them a sense of timelessness and oneness. Watching the Dervishes chant to themselves as they twirl, "We take from God and give to man, spreading grace to earth," the connection between the Dervishes and God is evident, and glorious.

Other explorations in Turkey take our intrepid travelers to the experience of a Turkish bathhouse, where the ritual bathing becomes a way to meld with women of different cultures and faiths. They learn to appreciate and honor the beauty of their own bodies, as they participate in the ceremonial bath. "A wrinkle here, cellulite there, a mole on your hipbone, it all looks elegant in an envelope of steam."

The chapters alternate voice, between Joy and Angie, so as the reader travels alongside the wanderers, we come to appreciate their similarities and differences. Each chapter starts with a quote that embodies the nature of that chapter, and the character of the writer, with a wide variety of Turkish proverbs ("A good companion shortens the longest road.") and timeless poetry from Rumi, ("Listen the reed as it tells a tale...") We see through their eyes the day to day experiences of women traveling alone, the pushy gigolos, the dedicated restaurateurs and shopkeepers, each with an agenda and a determination to be heard. Joy and Angie toy with the idea of buying a summer home in Turkey, only to be dismayed by the slow, drifting pace of Turkish life (and real estate.)

Touching bases with friends who are expatriates to Turkey, hearing various forms of Turkish music, (including `harabat' which could be called the Turkish Blues) trying to understand the complications of Turkish politics, and learning to deal with their own yearnings to live in both worlds, the authors continue to struggle to bridge this gap, with visits to Ephesus, said to be the final resting place of Meryemana, the blessed Virgin Mary - a place of worship and peace, and Yali, a Turkish bar in Kalkan -loudly insistent with music and laughter.

In their explorations, and with quiet times for introspection, they discover they can embrace all the facets of the people, religion and culture of Turkey. Angie and Joy not only study the beauty and dark depths of Turkey and her people, but they realize that these qualities are present within them as well.
Although they live on different coasts, and embrace different lifestyles, the bond they formed in Turkey has lasted. In joining them on this journey, the reader can see how truly small the world is, and how events in the ancient world have echoes in our own daily lives, and we, too, are enriched.
(I received this book for review for[...] who also published this same review on their site.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Beautiful!, August 22, 2012
This review is from: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Paperback)
Anatolian Days and Nights teaches all of us how to explore a country with openness, with unreserved curiosity, and with trust in its people even though we may have little knowledge of the culture from the beginning. This is one of the few books ever written about Turkey and its people that makes you appreciate how wonderful it is to delve into a culture and its extraordinary history and write about it with honesty. And having this beautiful travel memoir written by two brave women traveling the forgotten paths of Turkey makes this book an exceptional gem. At every page, I lived the moment with them. At every place they visited, I smelled the flowers, I tasted the food, and I talked to the people. I imagined the color of the bougainvillea cascading down the creaky balcony at the Sunset Pension in Kalkan while I sipped the delicious Turkish wine sitting across the authors. I watched the moonlight enveloping the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. I was angry with a few Turkish men who were thinking they were "irresistible" and acting totally ridiculous. I can attest that this happens in many cultures when some men find two attractive women traveling alone. But, kudos to Joy Stocke and Angie Brenner; such instances did not break down their eagerness to learn the depths of Turkish culture and did not taint their love for people of Turkey. Thank you so much for writing this wonderful book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Escape to Turkey, April 13, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Paperback)
Bought this book and couldn't put it down from the 1st page. Love it when a book can captivate an audience from the beginning. With an adventurous story in a magnificent backdrop of Turkey, it reads like a movie- martin scorsese? Perfect pairing with this book is a nice glass of pinot!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, entertaining read., March 31, 2012
This review is from: Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Paperback)
I loved this book. It was a light hearted tour of two women in Turkey. A great read, and I can't wait to go to Turkey myself. What a lovely country.
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Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints
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