A Traveler’s Library will close down for a few days between Christmas and New Years Day, but if you need a little something to read over the holidays, here are this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas Reading suggestions from previous posts here and essays I posted elsewhere. And if my posts lead you to read and view books and movies, so much the better.
Drop Dead Gorgeous, about Insomnia, a movie thriller set in Alaska
Raymond Chandler Nails So. Ca. I love noir, and think Chandler knew L.A. of his period as well as anyone. Had fun reviewing this classic, Farewell My Lovely.
Movie Searches for New Lama in Nepal. The amazing movie, Unmistaken Child documents the search for the re-incarnated lama and Nepal’s scenery knocks your eyes out.
In Search of Treasure in Afghanistan. Classic travel memoirist Frey Stark writes about a mid-twentieth-century journey across Afghanistan in The Minaret of Djam. The picture I found of the Minaret–now a World Heritage site– is worth the trip to the page.
Egypt: Still on Traveler’s Lists? This was a guest post by Traveler’s Bro, which tells a story and recommends old movies about Egypt. Part of a series A Traveler’s Library did this year on countries in the troubled Middle East.
Understanding Libya. When I wrote this review of In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar, the Libyan rebellion had barely begun. One of my favorite reads, this book would have made my Best Books of 2011 list (coming soon), but alas, it was published in 2006. After the review, I was asked by BBC to submit a question to Matar for an interview, and they actually used it. You can find the link on the same page as the review.
Seeing Africa Through African Eyes. I am woefully ignorant of Africa, a continent I have not yet visited. I was delighted to belatedly read Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, dean of African writers. It is a classic that should be better known to people outside Africa.
Dining With Al Qaeda. Part of my series on the Middle East, the memoir Dining with Al Qaeda by Hugh Pope travels through several countries, and earns a rare “Must Read” from A Traveler’s Library. I read the book during reporting on the death of Osama bin Laden and speculation about the future of Al Qaeda. After the review, Hugh Pope, aka Mr. Q, consented to an interview, and proved to be a most congenial guest.
And now to travel farther afield, some of these posts are much more about travel than about books or movies, but they are ones I particularly enjoyed writing and thought you might like them, too.
Sister Road Trip. My sister and I went to Nova Scotia. I wrote several things here at A Traveler’s Library about books set in that lovely province of Canada, but at Your Life is a Trip, I wrote about my thoughts on sibling travel.
The Shawshank Redemption: When Hollywood Comes to Town. I visited Reel Life With Jane to talk about the impact that the filming of The Shawshank Redemption had on Mansfield Ohio. (You can read more about Shawshank and Mansfield here at A Traveler’s Library.)
Keeping It Real, the Myth of Authentic Travel Back at Your Life is a Trip, I wrote a riff on what happens when tourists flock to find authenticity and destroy it in the process.
Visiting a Pioneer of Sustainability. At Attainable Sustainable, a blog that is all about small things you can do to improve the environment, I wrote about how impressed I was by Malabar Farm in Ohio and its founder, Louis Bromfield, who, in the 193o’s was way ahead of the curve.
Did you have a favorite post that you’ll be re-reading as you curl up by the fire during the holidays? Tomorrow is Travel Photo Thursday, and Friday I hope to have an announcement from Passports With Purpose. After that, a week off, and back in 2012. Don’t drink too much eggnog.
Photos here are from various sources (for instance Alaska and Egypt were pictured by Donna L. Hull at My Itchy Travel Feet). You can learn more by visiting the individual posts and looking for the attribution. I took the picture at the top of the page in early December when we stayed overnight in the lovely Best Western Payson Inn in Payson, Arizona. Doesn’t it just make you want to curl up by the fire??