Albany Park

Second Time Around




Today’s daily prompt on the Daily Post in my own words: Tell us about a book you have found unputdownable and to which you return at every opportunity!

You know those periods in your life when you are too busy or simply too disorganised to READ? I have the latter problem and a third complication:taking on too many responsibilities often with a trade-off apparent only to me, a person otherwise known as a pushover!

I therefore often read short stories of the unexpected or autobiographies of anybody old enough to have had a life! I do this also because I happen to LOVE a good autobiography. And it needn’t be of a famous person either,  although it sometimes helps – for practical reasons such as finding a publisher!  However. nowadays there is Kindle and free blogging sites such as this one so even I can one day talk about my (sometimes) tumultuous life.

A few autobiographies I would like to mention as addictively wonderful are   the Moon is a Balloon and Bring on the Empty Horses by the archetypal English gentleman actor David Niven and travel books by both British author Laurie Lee and our own Greek philosopher /travel writer Nikos Kazantzakis, who also wrote Zorba the Greek. I have read them all…a lot…..

If an autobiography has its focus on travel, so much the better! I recently purchased three used copies of the life of Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian who just wanted to explore, not murder the natives….. They cost me 1p each plus p and p!

In my thirties I returned again and again to two autobiographical travel/ young love books by  Patrice CHAPLIN, an  Englishwoman  who married into THAT family.  The books are ALBANY PARK and ANOTHER CITY. Her eventful life played out in Albany Park. London UK, Gerona,Spain where she escaped at the tender age of 15,  IN THE FIFTIES, when this kind of behaviour was unheard of! In Spanish newspapers nowadays she is referred to as a travel writer/pioneer. She recorded life in 50s Spain!

Her books are full of incident and a life long  obsession with a charismatic Spanish poet who rebaptised her Patrice (from Patricia), it meant she divorced after having two kids- but kept THAT name!

And then after the Chaplin marriage and divorce it was on to  Hollywood USA! Yes, it’s BEEN a  thrilling life for both herself and her readers such as myself, who now follow her on Facebook discovering secrets of The GRAIL and of course still writing thrillers about it in Gerona, Spain. Her young obsessive Spanish love has left a mark and she can’t abandon Gerona where she  has a house she uses on a  part time basis. Chaplin’s  writing style has been compared to that of her compatriot Laurie Lee!

More gushing words of praise by others on Amazon book reviews. Yes, I thoroughly recommend them/it!

I guess you recognise the legend in one of the little pics I have included!. She was his daughter in law and equally versatile and talented!



  1. I’ve recently gotten turned on to non-fiction (primarily biographical accounts). One of the last books I’ve read was Devil in the White City (about the fair in Chicago and its relation to H.H. Holmes (one of America’s first serial killers). It was so entertaining that I nearly forget it was a factual account! I’m looking forward to reading more biographies and autobiographies soon (also just finished one on Johnny Cash). Happy reading!

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