Books Magazine

Hitting The Books Again

By Bookpassage @bookpassage
By Dick Jordan
Normally, I’m a fairly voracious reader, but in 2009, I went on an unplanned “book diet”.  It took me four months to read a single novel.  In the meantime, my waistline expanded and my brain shrank.
Hitting The Books Again I didn’t pick up another book for four more months, but I finished that one (Marco Polo Didn’t Go There by travel writer Rolf Potts) in about a week. Rolf and I talked briefly (I’m not sure what about; I didn’t take any notes) at the 2009 Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference (which now includes food writers, too).  Someone (maybe former San Francisco Chronicle Travel editor, John Flinn) recommended Rolf’s book to me, so I bought it during the conference, then promptly went off to Europe for a month, left the book at home, and didn’t begin reading it until a week or so after I returned.
Marco Polo Didn’t Go There is full of great stories about places such as Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and more importantly, about “locals” Rolf met, such as Mr. Benny the Barber, and Mr. Ibrahim, the man who held Rolf hostage in Beirut.  And as a writer, I’m very glad that he included end notes to each chapter explaining how he went about writing the stories.
Reading Rolf’s book helped me sort out in my mind the type of stories to write based on my just-completed trip through the not-so-wild, but tourist-invested regions of Western (and part of Eastern) Europe, dragging my rolling bag behind me, and figuratively hacking my way through a wall of living flesh using my digital camera as a pseudo-machete.
Although Rolf has reported from more than sixty countries for many major U.S. magazines and National Public Radio, he now lives on a 30-acre farm in Kansas.  The map of the United States that I carry around inside of my head has a large region marked “Terra Incognita” running roughly between the meridians of longitude coursing north and south through Denver and Chicago. Kansas lies in my No-Fly-Or-Drive-To-Zone, but maybe (unlike Marco Polo) I’ll get there one day.
Lunch Swiss Style (Rosti with a Friend Egg Washed Down with Beer)(From time to time travel writer Dick Jordan posts book reviews under the “Armchair Travel” section of his blog, Tales Told From The Road. His last post to the Book(ed) Passage blog was “"Getting Taken By 'City of Thieves'.”
When he isn’t traveling, you can usually find him hanging out with other members of Left Coast Writers at the Book Passage Corte Madera store on the evening of the first Monday of each month.)

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Giant Books in Iowa City

    Giant Books Iowa City

    A long time ago, I was a graduate student in art at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and I trudged up and down the hill from my downtown apartment to the ar... Read more

    By  Carolinearnoldtravel
    BOOKS, CULTURE
  • BOOKS: Clarence Darrow Twice.

    BOOKS: Clarence Darrow Twice.

    Clarence Darrow in his natural habitat, a packed courtroom weighing life or death for two unpopular defendants, in this case Leopold and Loeb in 1924 Chicago I... Read more

    By  Kena
    BOOKS, CULTURE
  • 15 Weird And Mysterious Books

    Weird Mysterious Books

    image credit Amongst the many reasons to prefer a book over a file on your e-reader: books have history. Sometimes, the history is obvious and evident. A book... Read more

    By  Gerard
    BOOKS, CULTURE, HISTORY
  • British Murder Mystery Books

    British Murder Mystery Books

    Murder mystery is a favorite genre for many, especially those that love little plot twists and suspense. If you love murder mystery books, a great way to get... Read more

    By  Alison_wood
    BOOKS, CULTURE
  • Results for Banned Books Hop

    Results Banned Books

    RESULTS ARE IN!! Congratulations to Ryan from Wordsmothonia. He has won a banned book of his choice. According to the form, Ryan has chosen The Handmaid's Tale... Read more

    By  Bookaholic
    BOOKS, CULTURE
  • Books: Roman Pagans & Islamic History

    Over at The New York Review of Books, Peter Brown covers Alan Cameron’s recently published tome The Last Pagans of Rome. For those of us who are not classicists... Read more

    By  Cris
    CULTURE, HISTORY, RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY
  • Opera Review: Hitting the Mark

    Opera Review: Hitting Mark

    Rossini's Guillaume Tell at Caramoor. His aim is true: Daniel Mobbs as William Tell. Photo by Gino Palacio © 2011 Caramoor Festival. Friday night's performanc... Read more

    By  Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA

Magazines