Myth, History, and Border Concepts on Europe’s Frontier

Book review: Border, by Kapka Kassabova (Amazon / Book Depository) This book tells the human story of the last border of Europe. It is where Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey converge and diverge, borders being what they are. It is also where something like Europe begins and something else ends which isn’t quite Asia. This is... Continue Reading →

A Meditative Travelogue Across Russia In Napoleon’s Footsteps

Book review: Berezina, by Sylvain Tesson (Amazon / Book Depository) It's during a previous journey that the idea of a future one comes to mind. Imagination carries the traveler far from the trap where he's gotten stuck. While in the Negev desert, he'll dream of a Scottish glen; in a monsoon, of the Hoggar Mountains;... Continue Reading →

One Parisian Street in Profile

Book review: The Only Street in Paris, by Elaine Sciolino (Amazon / Book Depository) Former New York Times Paris Bureau Chief Elaine Sciolino's The Only Street in Paris is a travelogue memoir meets micro-history and sociocultural study of the Parisian street where she and her family made their home for a time. There's a lot going... Continue Reading →

Finding Clarity in the Alaskan Wilderness

Book review: The Sun is a Compass, by Caroline van Hemert (Amazon / Book Depository) Biologist and ornithologist Caroline Van Hemert was burning out. PhD completed, nothing about the next steps into work or research felt right. She was happily paired with Pat, the man she'd bonded with over their mutual love of the outdoors... Continue Reading →

The Wild, Wonderful World of Couchsurfing in Russia

Book review: Behind Putin's Curtain, by Stephan Orth (Amazon / Book Depository) Hamburg-based journalist Stephan Orth has written several books about his global couchsurfing adventures in unconventional locales. Orth brings a certain cheerful openness and humorous curiosity to his adventuring, and of the touristic method of couchsurfing, he mentions that it offers "the mutual gift... Continue Reading →

From Sheepshead to the Mediterranean

Book review: In the Company of Dolphins by Irwin Shaw (Amazon)  Originally published in 1964, this is author (among other talents) Irwin Shaw's sweetly inspiring memoir of chartering a yacht and sailing the Mediterranean with his wife and son and an amusingly difficult captain. As a boy in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, he watched the ships and... Continue Reading →

Best Notes for the Grand Tour

Book review: Leading the Blind, by Alan Sillitoe (Amazon / Book Depository) Leading the Blind is Alan Sillitoe's witty compilation of some of the most interesting, bizarre, quirky or hilariously biased and outdated bits from 19th century guide books to continental Europe, with a select few parts of the Middle East thrown in for good measure. These guide books... Continue Reading →

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