Book: Literary Trips, Vol. II, Victoria Brooks, Ed.
In Which I Have to Choose a Favorite Book
Given the opportunity to read about the haunts of writers like T. E. Lawrence, Tennessee Williams, Ayn Rand, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, the Beats of San Francisco and more famous authors, I turned immediately to…The Hundred Acre Wood.
What can I say? The thought of visiting the little piece of England that was the home of Christopher Robin, and A.A. Milne‘s inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh books was irresistible to a lifelong Pooh fan. Who knew that Ashdown Forest is preserved as a national protected area? And that Poohsticks bridge still exists? I loved the way that Yvonne Jeffrey Hope who wrote the essay, played with the style of the books in her piece.
When it begins to rain, she says:
In a distinctly Winnie-the-Poohish way, I began to wonder if striding over Ashdown Forest on a blustery October day was really such a good idea. I wasn’t concerned about coming across Hostile Animals, such as Woozles or possibly Jagulars, but I did have an idea that I was in danger of becoming rather late for lunch.
Pooh fans will know that lunch, like all meals and even snack times, is Not To Be Missed, and I was, after all, in Pooh territory.
It all made me want to scurrying over to the Children’s Books section of my own library and re-read my favorite House at Pooh Corner and Now We Are Six for the teen-hundredth time.
You can take tiny bites of Literary Trips, a collection of essays about famous literary figures and the places they inhabited. No need to try to gulp it all down at once. I admit that I have not read all the way through Literary Trips yet, but I did not stop reading because I became bored. Far from it. After Pooh, I leafed back to read about the San Francisco beats, the authors of New Orleans, Paul Bowles’ Tangier… I’m saving some for a tasty snack later on.
Literary Trips, Following in the Footsteps of Fame (2000), edited by Victoria Brooks starts out with a bang–an introduction by Paul Bowles– and continues throughout to exceed expectations. Literary Trips, Volume Two (2001) continues in the same vein.
An outstanding group of travel writers, mostly Canadian, wrote the entries here. Literary Trips II (2001) was introduced by Arthur C. Clarke in 2002–the year of his famous science fiction classic.
The essays that make up the book give you more biography of the authors than the guidebook approach one generally gets in reading pieces on visiting literary places. The first book covers 30 authors and 23 different locales. The destinations are as diverse as Tonga and Minnesota. Although the data on the destination, hotels, etc., that the editor presents in condensed form at the end of each essay will not help because it is outdated, you can always Google. These two books (Volumes I and II) are now permanent fixtures in my Traveler’s Library–inspiring me to read more words of the authors featured and visit the lands that inspired them to write.
[The books were self published by a company that is called Victoria Books, Great Escapes.com Publishing. Great Escapes is a web site that seems to be moribund, with no new entries since about 2002. ]