Thursday, April 28, 2011

Have You Read Any Good Travel Books Lately? 3rd Edition!

I confess, I am addicted to travel literature, as well as traveling every chance possible. It is time to again share with you some of the books I have recently completed and which I think you might enjoy. As you review my selections, think back on some of the travel literature that you may have enjoyed, then send me an email suggesting what I might read next!

Mediterranean Summer by David Shalleck with Erol Munuz (Broadway Books 2007)

Five Stars by both Barnes and Noble, and Amazon  This is not just a travel book about the French and Italian Mediterranean coast, but also a book that will appeal to those who love cook books, and like to sail. David Shalleck was a San Francisco and New York Chef, who decided he needed European cooking experience. After four years of interning in Italian restaurants he signed on for the summer season as Chef of a classic sailing yacht owned by one of Italy’s most prominent couples. He then spent five months cooking out of a small galley for the rich and famous while sailing in and out of the great Mediterranean ports of France, Italy, Sardinia and Corsica. The book contains all of his delightful Italian food recipes and the great experiences of the summer. I heartily recommend the book as did Amazon and Barnes & Nobel, who both gave the book five stars.

the media relations department of hisbollah wishes you a happy birthday by Neil MacFarquhar (Public Affairs 2009, paperback edition 2010)  A Washington Post and Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Year

I have to admit that my understanding of the problems of the middle east and the impact of Islam have been lacking. We have traveled to Israel and Egypt but, alas we were pursuing Christian education rather than paying a lot of attention to the developing politics of the region. Neil Macfarquhar was raised in Libya and after a Stanford education became a mid-east correspondent for the Associated Press. He then became the bureau chief for the New York Times in Cairo. Neil brings an interesting perspective to the stress and trauma from Morocco to Iraq and everything in between. He speaks fluent Arabic and his long tenure covering the wars, dictators, fatwa’s, and growth of extreme religious governments has given a unique look at the current situation in the Arab and Persian countries. He gives many stories of his contacts with dissidents and their struggle for human rights. Neil pulls no punches with criticism of the U.S. government in their foreign policy and dealings with these countries. For a real eye opening travel/history/politics book about the middle east this is a great place to start.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (Penguin Books 2007)  #1 New York Times Bestseller

I know, I know, I probably was one of the last readers of this book in America. I had seen it on the bookstore shelves for years and for some reason could just not get interested in it. When I did buy it, my reading of it was pretty slow, as the first few chapters really seamed to bog down. Eventually, though when you get into Greg Mortenson’s efforts to create schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and battle the Taliban to educate girls where no education had ever happened before, it literally brought tears to my eyes. As a result of his work he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. His foundation to help build and fund additional schools has become one of our new charities. He has become quite a world famous humanitarian. I now have his new book “Stones into Schools” and will be embarking on it soon. Greg is speaking to the Rotary International convention in Montreal this summer and we plan to not miss his presentation.

I’ll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a small village in Brittany by Mark Greenside (Free Press 2008)

For those of you who have previously read my travel book recommendations, you know I really do have a soft spot for stories of expatriates living in France. I swear, they just jump out at me off the book store shelves (and Half Price Books). Maybe I am looking for successes of foreigners who can conquer the difficulties of traveling and living in France. This book is a really funny story of one problem after another of a guy who buys a house in Brittany having never lived in France, did not speak French, and ultimately ends up being continually rescued by his neighbors. Naturally, he ends up falling in love with his rural town and the people in it. There are so many incidents in the book that you will recognize if you have ever traveled in France, that it is really fun to read. Presently I have loaned the book to one of the couples that have traveled with us to France, so they can also chuckle through it. So, you will have to buy your own copy!

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