The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores

The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores

From a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer comes an exuberant memoir of personal loss and longing, and finding connection on the remote Azorean islands of the Atlantic Ocean.Reporter Diana Marcum is in crisis. A long-buried personal sadness is enfolding her—and her career is stalled—when she stumbles upon an unusual group of immigrants living in rural California. She follows the...

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Title:The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores
Author:Diana Marcum
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The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores Reviews

  • Sue

    A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from California, Marcum let go of everything to go alone to the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal to explore the California-Azores connection. Although not Azorean herself, she felt a special connection on her first visit and took a year-long leave of absence from her job at the Los Angeles Times to spend more time in the Azores, mostly on the island of Terceira. She lived in houses rented or loaned to her and spent her days exploring. She made friends,

    A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from California, Marcum let go of everything to go alone to the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal to explore the California-Azores connection. Although not Azorean herself, she felt a special connection on her first visit and took a year-long leave of absence from her job at the Los Angeles Times to spend more time in the Azores, mostly on the island of Terceira. She lived in houses rented or loaned to her and spent her days exploring. She made friends, took off with near-strangers on hikes and car trips, and became part of the community, all without speaking more than a few words of Portuguese. It’s Eat Pray Love Portuguese style. My ancestors are Azorean, and I have been to the islands, so I loved reading about them. When she describes the street bullfights or the lava pools, I’m right back there. Marcum, now back at the LA Times, is a wonderful writer, her style informative yet easy.

  • Karen M

    I am a voracious reader and generally choose detective/sleuth, action-packed adventure stories but, agreeing with other reviewers of this book, it was the only one of the July free reads that remotely appealed to me, perhaps because of my love of travel and exploration of new places.

    I found this book relaxing and thought-provoking. Ms Markum has an extraordinary way of not only describing the sights and smells of the Azorean Islands, but she is also very

    I am a voracious reader and generally choose detective/sleuth, action-packed adventure stories but, agreeing with other reviewers of this book, it was the only one of the July free reads that remotely appealed to me, perhaps because of my love of travel and exploration of new places.

    I found this book relaxing and thought-provoking. Ms Markum has an extraordinary way of not only describing the sights and smells of the Azorean Islands, but she is also very deft at revealing inner thoughts and truths. The Portuguese word 'saudade' for an indescribable longing resonated with me. I've never bookmarked or highlighted more passages in any other books.

    I'm even considering buying the tangible, physical copy of this book to keep in my otherwise limited collection of great reads.

    A must for those who are armchair travelers and enjoy living virtually through other's experiences!

  • Goth Gone Grey

    I enjoy biographies and learning about other places - traveling without ever leaving my couch. This semi-fiction, semi-autobiographical book seemed a great choice for this month's First Reads selection.

    The book is filled with her experiences, but more with her longing for more. More peace, more romance, more beauty, more.. Saudade. The indescribable longing for something that you're not sure of, whether it be happy or sad, that's just out of reach with your fingers, and slipped away from your to

    I enjoy biographies and learning about other places - traveling without ever leaving my couch. This semi-fiction, semi-autobiographical book seemed a great choice for this month's First Reads selection.

    The book is filled with her experiences, but more with her longing for more. More peace, more romance, more beauty, more.. Saudade. The indescribable longing for something that you're not sure of, whether it be happy or sad, that's just out of reach with your fingers, and slipped away from your tongue so it can't even be described.

    The author shares stories of her life in California and Azorean Islands, as well as her career as a news writer. She leaps headlong into stories, with hiking boots and fire gear at the ready during droughts and fires, a sad normalcy in California for part of her career. Worn from experiencing this, she headed back to the Azorean Islands, where life is slower, and simpler... Except while bulls are charging at you, narrowly held by handlers with ropes.

    Between and during the narrative, she adds in theories that she believes to be true. I liked the first, but they soon grew a little tiring, distracting from the narrative and self-serving. An example:

    "The Importance of Dawdling Theory: This theory holds that there is nothing more valuable than time to waste. The most interesting things are the ones tucked away in the empty spaces to be discovered when dawdling, loitering, lying in bed. It's the only part of the universe you can truly call your own."

    Overall, the book is filled with the author's passion, but the factual, blunt manner is sometimes tinged with a hint of despair that makes it a less enjoyable read than I'd like. She touches on her romances, and issues thereof, in a manner which sings for sympathy, but I couldn't generate it. I wish her well, of course, but some of this portion could have been skipped with no impact to the tale.

  • Mandy

    This was neither a travelogue, nor a history book, nor a "lost my shit and found love in a foreign land" book. And I'm good with that.

    I was initially concerned that I was reading another version of Eat Pray Love (based on the notes on Amazon) but found that the author was less a lost soul and more of a searching one.

    The Azores sound so beautiful and welcoming, and the format of each chapter almost as a short story was very effective. The Murphy stories in particular were very entertaining.

    This

    This was neither a travelogue, nor a history book, nor a "lost my shit and found love in a foreign land" book. And I'm good with that.

    I was initially concerned that I was reading another version of Eat Pray Love (based on the notes on Amazon) but found that the author was less a lost soul and more of a searching one.

    The Azores sound so beautiful and welcoming, and the format of each chapter almost as a short story was very effective. The Murphy stories in particular were very entertaining.

    This book was I think a great deal about community and how she could appreciate it while still being something of an outsider. The theme of drought was both disturbing and effective. The Azores were both a verdant change of scenery (with looming active volcanos) but also a cure for an arid soul.

  • Calzean

    The author is a journalist, she is in a slump with nothing going right - no permanent job, no love life and no fulfilment. Through her work she meets some of the many emigrants from the Azores who make an annual pilgrimage back to their homes. She decides to visit this set of islands firstly for a couple of weeks, then a few months and years later for a year.

    Not surprising she finds happiness in the simple, community-based life style. She writes well, always with the respect of a visitor who is

    The author is a journalist, she is in a slump with nothing going right - no permanent job, no love life and no fulfilment. Through her work she meets some of the many emigrants from the Azores who make an annual pilgrimage back to their homes. She decides to visit this set of islands firstly for a couple of weeks, then a few months and years later for a year.

    Not surprising she finds happiness in the simple, community-based life style. She writes well, always with the respect of a visitor who is grateful for the chance to live in such a welcoming, laid-back and fun-loving people.

  • Ieva

    None of the other Kindle first books for July appealed, so I defaulted to what I thought would be a charming travelogue about the Azores. This book did not turn out be what I had expected. I think I learned more about California than the Azores. I was reminded of how different the USA is to the UK and that we are divided by a common language. The narrative was rather introspective and very autobiographical and I had trouble being into the book because I kept wondering why I should be

    None of the other Kindle first books for July appealed, so I defaulted to what I thought would be a charming travelogue about the Azores. This book did not turn out be what I had expected. I think I learned more about California than the Azores. I was reminded of how different the USA is to the UK and that we are divided by a common language. The narrative was rather introspective and very autobiographical and I had trouble being into the book because I kept wondering why I should be interested in this woman I don't know and her friendships and relationships. Somehow I kept going, thinking the story would become clearer with time, but even by the end part of me wonders why it was written and why I read it. the other parts found it quite intriguing and with the additional help of Google and Wikipedia, I learned new things about both the people of the Azores and of California.

  • Lauren

    I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The book overall is in chronological order (I think), but wow do the stories bounce around within certain time periods. It is very inconsistent and annoying with peppering of history about the islands/people/California to the point you just wonder, how is this relevant to what is going on? And I'm someone who appreciates historical context, but I got to the point, especially towards the end of the book, where my eyes would just glaze over when

    I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The book overall is in chronological order (I think), but wow do the stories bounce around within certain time periods. It is very inconsistent and annoying with peppering of history about the islands/people/California to the point you just wonder, how is this relevant to what is going on? And I'm someone who appreciates historical context, but I got to the point, especially towards the end of the book, where my eyes would just glaze over when Marcum went into one of the long history lessons. I started skipping over all of it so I could just finish the book. For this being a personal account of her own experiences, the story felt a bit distanced. There's no real emotion or much POV thought - like the author is telling a friends detailed account of her experiences, but not her own. Also, if you're committed to reading this one, get a notepad to write down every person's name & how Diana met them because there are a lot, and I would forget who was who (or who was married to who) even reading the book consistently every night. I kept going back and forth on whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars, but because I really only liked small bits of it - not the entire thing so 2 stars it is. One of my lowest rated books. Which is sad because the idea and experiences behind this book deserve more than that, but in my opinion, it was just so poorly executed. I'm feeling deadline pressure or something going on here. The beginning of the book is so much better than later on - I even marked several quotes that really resonated with me (and thats not something I do often). Overall, it could've been much better storytelling - it's almost not worth the read because it wasn't done well.

  • Francesca

    I really wanted to like this one - it started out strong and the culture and history of the Azores was very interesting. I just could not get on board with Marcum's writing style - the jumping back and forth in narrative was really confusing and I found myself skimming the pages and then just didn't finish it. The Azores are a very compelling topic but I think a more linear writing style may have worked better?

  • Wendy Orford

    Sorry but I did not enjoy this book. I continued reading it because I thought something interesting may happen to Diana on her Azores adventure but it didn't. I found the book rather rambling and difficult to keep up with the different people mentioned. Having said all of that and as a result of reading this book I am planning to visit the Azores next year for a holiday so it cant have been all bad.

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