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#33504 - 08/27/03 04:28 AM I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
lipgloss
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 02/15/02
Posts: 22
Loc: London, UK

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Going to Rome next week, what should I be reading?

Also any recommendations for Caribbean based novels.

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#33505 - 08/27/03 08:20 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Stephsdad
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/03/03
Posts: 102
Loc: Toronto

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Hi Lipgloss.Very envious. Went to Italy once. Best vacation ever.

"I Claudius" should get you into the spirit of the history.

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#33506 - 08/27/03 08:36 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
JaneJ
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Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 232

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Not sure what type of novel interests you most, or what part of the Caribbean, but here are a few:

When I was Puerto Rican - Esmeralda Santiago
In the Time of the Butterflies - Julia Alvarez
Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
Annie John - Jamaica Kincaid
Don't Stop the Carnival - Herman Wouk (very dated, but very funny)
Tar Baby - Toni Morrison

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#33507 - 08/27/03 08:08 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

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I'm going to move this thread to the Geography & History forum, where you might also find recommendations about places you're going (I know there's one about things to do in Rome).

Have a great trip!

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#33508 - 08/28/03 12:12 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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lipgloss, are you me? Because I'm going to Rome next week, too.

If you can get your hands on Gourmet magazine's special Rome issue from this past spring, I highly recommend reading that. It's chock-full of swoon-inducing ideas for what to do in Rome.

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#33509 - 08/30/03 11:20 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
builtwithlego
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Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 11
Loc: Canada

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If you're interested in ancient rome then I recommend The Roman Way by Edith Hamilton. For renaissance I would go with The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhardt. And I cannot recommend Rick Steves' Rome highly enough. Best guidebook ever.

Also, I might be going to Paris soon. Any suggestions?

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#33510 - 09/06/03 09:19 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
builtwithlego
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Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 11
Loc: Canada

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I am going to Paris! Yay! What should I read? Help a girl out, chickliterati.
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#33511 - 09/07/03 01:51 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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buildwithlego , I have 2 books for you.

Olympia, Paris in the Age of Manet, by Otto Friedrich. I was in Paris a year ago, and I felt completely in love with the Musee D\'Orsay . A friend then suggested I read this book, and I really whish I had read it before going, because it would had been even more special if I had know a lot of the gossip and historical background on many of the art work there. (Olympia, the nude picture that caused so much controversy in the 1860's is exposed there).

Versailles: A Novel , by Kathryn Davis is another book that was recommended to me after my trip, and that I thought I should had read before my trip (I actually never got around to reading it, but I still may do it - I also loved Versailles).

Now, another suggestion for you, try to go to the Musee Rodin , which is not as busy as some of the other museums, but is absolutely beautiful (are you going with a partner? – Rodin’s pieces are so sensual). I can't remember for sure, but I think Otto Friedrich also has a tidbit of information about Rodin in his book. Or maybe I read it somewhere else. But the story goes that some of his male nudes were so perfect, he was accused of making casts of his models and just pouring the metal in.

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#33512 - 11/19/03 07:02 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
dovey104
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 329
Loc: st. paul, mn

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I'm going to spend 10 days in Tuscany (rented a house near Siena) in June 04, so I have time to do a lot of reading. I need recommendations for books set in Tuscany--no Frannie Mayes please. Books on food, travel, history, or novels set in Tuscany--all will be appreciated.
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#33513 - 12/09/03 12:09 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
graceless
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Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 574
Loc: Illinois

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I'm to travel to London in March, and will have a winter break in a few weeks and will have time to read a few things about it, if anyone would care to recommend any books.
_________________________
"Sometimes I doubt your committment to Sparkle Motion!" - Donnie Darko

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#33514 - 12/09/03 11:31 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Promethea
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Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

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Your best bet is probably London: A Biography by Peter Ackroyd. It's the definitive work. A little long, but it's organised by theme so you could dip in and out. Actually, pretty much most of Ackroyd's books including his novels are about London.

Otherwise, what about one of the collections of 'extracts' from Pepys' diaries, or a Sherlock Holmes story for atmosphere? Brick Lane by Monica Ali is about a more multicultural London than the touristy image. I feel obliged to mention London Fields by Martin Amis but personally I hate his stuff.

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#33515 - 12/09/03 12:15 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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In the world of fiction, there's a ton set in London that gives an excellent sense of atmosphere. I love Dickens on London, especially Little Dorrit or even the very dark Our Mutual Friend, both of which are deeply embedded in the geography of London. Elizabeth Bowen's Death of the Heart has a lot of West End atmosphere from the 30s. Also, don't forget to haul out the children's books! Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, Paddington, Mary Poppins--all rich sources for getting a feel for the city.

Personally, I would also want to read about the Blitz (on which note, don't miss the Imperial War Museum while you're there--it's wonderful, despite the offputting name). I don't have a good book to recommend off the top of my head, though--anyone?

I'm sure I'll think of more!

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#33516 - 12/09/03 12:24 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
graceless
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 574
Loc: Illinois

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 Quote:
Mary Poppins
Can anyone remind me what area of London that took place in? I love the movie, I vaguely recall reading it in second grade.
_________________________
"Sometimes I doubt your committment to Sparkle Motion!" - Donnie Darko

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#33517 - 12/09/03 01:41 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Promethea
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Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

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About the Blitz - Darkness Falls From The Air, by Nigel Balchin. Very atmospheric, about the effect of the tension on people's relationships. Or also by him, The Small Dark Room, about bomb disposal, which I haven't read but was turned into a great Powell & Pressburger movie.
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#33518 - 12/10/03 06:20 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Loz
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/31/03
Posts: 297
Loc: Australia / UK

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I'm tentatively considering applying for a job in Slovenia (actually typing that seems to make it so much more possible.) Anyway, does anyone have any suggestions for books set in that part of the world?
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#33519 - 12/10/03 08:06 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

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Loz - I recommend Balkan Ghosts by Robert Kaplan. It's part travelogue, part history, part poli-sci, but has some good insights as to why the area is so troubled.
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#33520 - 12/15/03 11:40 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Kade Carrion
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Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 20
Loc: Northern Virginia

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For Tuscany, I prefer the slightly less syrupy book _The Hills of Tuscany_, by Feneric Mate. It's light, quick, and breezy. (I will read the first Mayes book when in the mood for poetry, but I don't mistake it for a book that depicts reality!) I also love the Tim Parks books, _Italian Neighbors_ and _Italian Education_, but he lives in Verona, not Tuscany, so you may not be interested. (Additionally, my favorite Italy book is Mary Taylor Simeti's _On Persephone's Island_, about her life in Sicily. Very rich, and a good exploration of the mythology of the island. Again, not Tuscany *g*)

Christopher Hibbert's _The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall_ is a good historical account of the lords of Florence, since you'll be in that area.

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#33521 - 01/14/04 05:49 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Stephsdad
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/03/03
Posts: 102
Loc: Toronto

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Going to Northern Arizona and New Mexico in April.
Have read all the Hillerman books and love them. Any recommended travelogues or fiction that captures the area.

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#33522 - 02/11/04 05:14 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Kwe
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/15/02
Posts: 75
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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In May I'll be travelling to Denver, San Fran and Las Vegas. Any reading suggestions?
Is there a guide book about the various Missions?

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#33523 - 02/11/04 05:56 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ainsley
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Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 614
Loc: north carolina

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Any suggestions for Germany (especially Dresden)? How about Alaska? Or Uzbekistan/Central Asia?
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#33524 - 02/11/04 06:27 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Betula
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/03/04
Posts: 34
Loc: Arlington, VA

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Stephsdad, Edward Abbey wrote a wonderful essay about rafting down the Colorado through Glen Canyon before the dam (but with the knowledge of its coming). I think it's included in Down the River and possibly also in The Serpents of Paradise. And there's always Powell's account of his exploration of the Grand Canyon.

Both states have excellent rock exposures - I never travel in the west without the appropriate Roadside Geology of ... book. Funny, I grew up in Arizona, but I can only think of natural history-ish books.

New Mexico: Rudolfo Anaya's books really have the right "feel" to me. I enjoyed Bless Me, Ultima (coming of age story set in the 40's) and raced through the Sonny Baca books, i.e. Zia Summer. I think the Baca books will remind you of Hillerman, although with somewhat weaker plots and writing. And The Milagro Bean Field War by John Nichols is terrific in its depiction of culture and class battles over land/water rights.

(Just a quick edit 'cause there was only one War, according to the title)

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#33525 - 02/17/04 11:12 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
StephA
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/13/02
Posts: 2744
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Stephsdad:
Going to Northern Arizona and New Mexico in April. Have read all the Hillerman books and love them. Any recommended travelogues or fiction that captures the area.
While searching for something completely unrelated, I came across this list of what this site calls Native American mysteries that I thought might be useful.

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#33526 - 02/19/04 07:39 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
kittythedog
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Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 12
Loc: Austin, TX

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For New Mexico, I recommend Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.

For Italy, a cute one is The Secret of Santa Vittoria by Robert Crichton. I second the nomination of the Ferenc Mate book, it is less sweet than Frannie.

Kwe-- if you go to Amazon and search "California missions" there are several results that look useful.

I am going to Monterey Bay in March and Hawaii in December. I am mostly interested in nature stuff, but I am also interested in some fiction. I am going to try to get through Cannery Row for the first time since seventh grade. Any other suggestions?

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#33527 - 02/19/04 08:02 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Platinum
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 58
Loc: Dublin, IE

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Kwe:
In May I'll be travelling to Denver, San Fran and Las Vegas. Any reading suggestions?
The Tales of the City books. Oldies, but goodies.

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#33528 - 02/25/04 12:38 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
kinder
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/31/00
Posts: 272
Loc: Kinderhook, NY

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For light SF/Bay area reading try Dianne Day's detective series. The books take place during the pre and post SF earthquake era in 1906(?).
The first in the series is The Strange Files of Fremont Jones. Another title is Emperor Norton's Ghost. There is even a title set the in Monterey Bay area- The Bohemian Murders.

For a more contemporary slant, try Marcia Muller's msyteries featuring Sharon McCone. I prefer the older ones.

I lived in the Bay Area for 10 years and can highly recommend it as a place to visit- short term or long term.

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#33529 - 02/26/04 09:43 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
xenopi
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/06/03
Posts: 254
Loc: Paradise City

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 Quote:
Any suggestions for Germany (especially Dresden)?
Slaughterhouse Five.

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#33530 - 02/26/04 10:36 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Kwe:
In May I'll be travelling to Denver, San Fran and Las Vegas. Any reading suggestions?
Is there a guide book about the various Missions?
I don't know about what to read about Denver, but I can tell you where to go if you run out of reading material while you're there: the Tattered Cover. On a business trip with a fair amount of downtime, I was staying a block from the one in Lower Downtown (in a great hotel--the Luna), and I had a great time browsing.

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#33531 - 05/22/04 10:09 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
setara
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Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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My husband and I are heading to Europe this summer and taking the kids along (ages 13, 11 and 6). We are renting a car and doing a loop starting at Frankfurt, then going to Strasburg and Colmar in France, from there to Zurich, and finally Northern Italy, Florence and Venice.

I will be thankful for any suggestions of books, in special anything for the kids and books on Venice for myself, either fiction or non-fiction.

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#33532 - 05/23/04 02:48 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
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Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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setara, since you'll be going through Switzerland, it might be fun for the kids to read some of the Heidi books. Though I remember going through Switzerland and expecting goatherds and small girls and mountain huts at every turn, which was disappointing.

On Venice, you might look for an abridged version of Ruskin's The Stones of Venice on the architecture. It's wonderful but long-winded Victorian art theory (beautifully written, though), hence the wide availability of abridgements.

In Florence, you should certainly go to Vivoli for the gelato. It is wonderful. It's just steps from Santa Croce, so you can get your scoops and go sit in the big piazza--heaven. Also, a good casual, bustling, friendly trattoria that I think kids would like is I Latini.

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#33533 - 07/04/04 12:07 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
strwbrygal
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Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 49

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We'll be heading to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Diego in mid-July... suggestions? I've never been to the western US, so I'm pretty excited! Thanks in advance. \:\)
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#33534 - 07/04/04 10:42 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
calrunner
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Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 73
Loc: San Diego, CA

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strwbrygal-

I could make some suggestions for Los Angeles and San Diego. It would help immensely to know what you like to do - are you a beach person, museum junkie, star gazer (Hollywood, Beverly Hills), theme park wizard. . .

If you could give me a bit more information, I'm sure I could be of assistance. Best wishes on your trip!

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#33535 - 07/05/04 12:31 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Doppelganger
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 203
Loc: Vancouver, BC

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If you're looking for fiction, maybe Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? It'd be interesting to compare Thompson's drug-skewed portrayal of Vegas in the early '70s with Vegas today. And, though the second half slows down and loses focus a bit, it's still an entertaining book.
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#33536 - 07/06/04 10:33 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Reni
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Registered: 02/22/01
Posts: 186

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Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner - all about water infrastructure in the west - very interesting.

Really, it is.

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#33537 - 07/06/04 10:43 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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I second Reni's suggestion. What a great book.

Also on L.A., try Mike Davis's City of Quartz.

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#33538 - 07/06/04 09:24 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
strwbrygal
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 49

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Thanks for all of the recommendations! I've already consumed Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - definitely a good suggestion-- thanks!
When I travel, I tend to enjoy either fiction or nonfiction that pertains to the history of a place, or to an historical moment. However, all of the topics that you mentioned sound interesting to me (beach person, museum junkie, etc) with the exception of "theme park wizard." I'll read (or at least make a valiant effort) to read just about anything. ;\)

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#33539 - 07/07/04 09:57 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
gurpgrrl
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/25/04
Posts: 94
Loc: Knoxville, TN

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I hope to make it to Sapporo, Japan in the fall to visit my sister. What should I read? I would enjoy history books, pop-culture info, travel guides, literature set in Japan, or genre novels set in Japan. I guess I also need a simple introduction to the language. Thanks!
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#33540 - 07/07/04 06:02 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

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The Rei Shimura series by Sujata Massey would probably be a good start since the books are about a Japanese-American. They're mysteries but I like them more for all the pop culture references about life in Japan, especially if you're an American.

For literature and history, The Izu Dancer by Yasunari Kawabata, I Am [a] Cat, by Natsume Soseki (funny though kind of long), and The Tale of Genji by Murasaki (also long and unfinished), are all good. Liz Dalby's Tale of Murasaki is also excellent.

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#33541 - 07/08/04 09:51 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
gurpgrrl
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/25/04
Posts: 94
Loc: Knoxville, TN

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Thanks for the suggestions, naomism! I will look for these at work today. I'm especially excited about the mystery series you mentioned; that's EXACTLY what I want. I once read all of Edna Buchanan's crime thrillers before a trip to Miami, and I felt like I really understood the different areas of the city because of her books.
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#33542 - 07/11/04 11:37 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ainsley
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 614
Loc: north carolina

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I'm heading to Boston and that general area in late October/early November. What should I read? History, literature, whatever, I want to know more about eastern Massachusetts!
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#33543 - 07/12/04 07:27 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
betso26
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/28/02
Posts: 185
Loc: Vermont

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Ainsley, go classic and read or reread Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne then go to all their houses and the historic sites and museums in Concord - don't forget the Sleepy Hollow Cemetary and Walden Pond. I would think for late October it would be a really neat time to check it out - it's a really fun and engaging trip and not far at all from Boston. Check out this brief description
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#33544 - 07/12/04 07:35 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ainsley
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 614
Loc: north carolina

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betso26, thank you so much! I visited someone's house when I was in that area the one time I was there (school tour), and eastern Massachusetts is, without a doubt, my favorite place in the US. I'm looking forward to going when I have a lot of say in where I go and what I do. I'll definitely be reading those authors to help me savor the anticipation, and to enjoy the trip more!

Anyone else?

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#33545 - 07/12/04 10:02 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
anotherjen
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Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 50
Loc: Baltimore, MD

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I'm planning a cross-country road trip from California to Maryland (part car transport, part adventure) for August... The tentative route takes me through New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, etc.

Any recommendations to prep me for my journey? (no Kerouac!)

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#33546 - 07/13/04 01:53 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
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Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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anotherjen, look for William Least Heat Moon's Blue Highways , which is the story of the author's journey around America. It's very interesting and great road-trip reading. You might also look at stuff by Jane and Michael Stern, who have sussed out the great eating possibilities through America. Try Eat Your Way Across the USA, if you can find it (it's out of print). Oh, but I just realized, their Roadfood is in print. And try things by Bill Bryson, though I can't remember the title of the one I'm thinking of.

It might be fun to read the Little House books, too, and On the Way Home, Laura's travel journal of going to Missouri, could be interesting.

Have fun! I did almost that trip, with the slight difference of going through Utah rather than New Mexico, almost fifteen years ago. I loved it. Sounds like you're leaving from southern CA, but if not, take a picture of the sign in Sacramento where Highway 50 starts: "Ocean City, Md., 3073." There's a corresponding one where it ends.

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#33547 - 07/16/04 01:15 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
anotherjen
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 50
Loc: Baltimore, MD

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Thanks cat! I'm really looking forward to reading Blue Highways, that was exactly the sort of book I was looking for.

The Little House books sound like a fun idea too.

Yup, I'm leaving from Southern California. Too bad, I would have liked to see that sign. \:\)

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#33548 - 07/16/04 08:51 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

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You could hop on old Route 66 along the way - there's a ton of internet guides out there, but I used this one Road Trip USA when I did my drive from Chicago to Phoenix. There's a lot of fun old restaurants, I stayed in a cheesy teepee hotel, weird landmarks, etc.
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#33549 - 07/17/04 12:18 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
tangentgirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 97
Loc: Long Beach, CA

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The Bad Girl's Guide to the Open Road by Cameron Tuttle inspired me to take and got me through a summer-long roadtrip a couple of years back. I mean, who knew about all those uses for condoms, and ways to open your beer bottle with your car? And places to sleep when you couldn't get a room - that one, I'll admit, was key.

P.S. Yes, it's a novelty book. Yes, it has a pink vinyl cover. It works, and it works well.

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#33550 - 07/18/04 05:51 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
anotherjen
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 50
Loc: Baltimore, MD

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awesome. Thanks guys!
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#33551 - 08/05/04 03:12 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
polly#2
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 135
Loc: Ireland

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I realise it's months since the request for recommendations for books for travelling to Uzbekhistan and Central Asia. If ainsley hasn't gone yet, or if anyone else is considering going, I highly highly recommend going to the trouble of getting some of the following books. The reading was as much fun as going.

Marco Polo, Travels . Yes, no kidding. How often do you visit a part of the world for which a guide book from the 13th century is still as relevant as anything else you can read? And there are limited source materials for this part of the world. You can't afford to disregard the most famous travel writer in history.

Fitzroy Maclean, Eastern Approaches Readable, (once you accept the swashbuckling) book which although dating from immediately after the Second World War gives you a sense also of the previous century of British and Russian diplomatic manouevres across Central Asia.

The charm this part of the world exercises, described by Evelyn Waugh as " ... the longing, romantic, reasonless, which lies deep in the hearts of most Englishmen ... simply to set their feet where few civilised feet have trod ..." is conveyed in other books, not literally based in Uzbekhistan: Eric Newby A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush and Peter Mayne The Narrow Smile

Alexandra Tolstoy (yes some kind of relation) The Last Secrets of the Silk Road is a factual account of the author and three other hearty horsey girls from England who followed part of Marco Polo's route on horseback in 1999.

Mirza Siradj ad-Din Hakim Souvenirs de Voyages pour les Gens de Boukhara I'd love if this existed in English but it may only exist in French. It's a translation of the travel journal of an Uzbekh merchant who travelled across Europe ultimately to London, in 1910, and sent practical travel tips back to his fellow merchants.

Very self indulgent post, I realise, these books are not handily available. But going to Central Asia is as weird as time travel, and traipsing round Hay on Wye to find 1950s editions of Fitzroy Maclean, with fold-out maps of his paths across moutain passes, felt like exactly the right kind of preparation.

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#33552 - 08/05/04 03:56 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ainsley
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 614
Loc: north carolina

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polly #2, I have not yet gone (to Central Asia or from Chicklit) and have always hoped someone would eventually recommend something! Thank you so much. I will have to do some serious online and used-store searches.
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#33553 - 08/06/04 12:39 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Mirren
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 136
Loc: Vancouver

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ainsley, I didn't spot your request first time round, but try The lost heart of Asia by Colin Thubron. And oooh, I'm so jealous.
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#33554 - 08/16/04 10:28 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Nicola
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/18/01
Posts: 31
Loc: England

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I know there have been recommendations for things to read on Paris but does anyone have any more? Also I'm planning a trip to New York next year for my husband's 30th birthday (possibly staying in Hotel Thirty!) so would love any recommendations on New York too.
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#33555 - 08/16/04 12:15 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Anne Wentworth
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Registered: 10/03/03
Posts: 259
Loc: NY, NY

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Nicola, read Dorothy Parker. Read James' "Washington Square" (and then go there-- and also Gramercy Park, which is probably more what Washington Square used to be like). Read "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Franweiler." As much as I hate her, read some Candace Bushnell.

Definitely read Wharton's The House of Mirth.

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#33556 - 08/16/04 01:47 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
setara
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Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Nicola:
I know there have been recommendations for things to read on Paris but does anyone have any more?
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong by Jean-Benoit Nadeau
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

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#33557 - 08/16/04 08:05 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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For Paris, you can't go wrong with Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. I'm not normally a big Hemingway fan, but that memoir is very charming.
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#33558 - 08/16/04 09:08 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
PrimulaMary
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Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 1061
Loc: London, UK

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Sarah Turnbull's Almost French is a great Paris memoir and has added a lot to my "list of places to visit".
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#33559 - 08/16/04 10:30 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
essay
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Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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I don't think Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon has been mentioned upthread, but it is quite charming and funny, and was an excellent preparation for my trip a few years ago. I also read Gertrude Stein's Paris, France , right after I got back. I don't know if it's much of an introduction, but I enjoyed it immensely after the fact. And then there are Diane Johnson's Paris based novels- L'Divorce and L'Marriage, which are perfect if you appreciate her sensibility--which I do.
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#33560 - 10/20/04 03:47 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
electriclady
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 37
Loc: New York

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I'm going to Thailand and (hopefully, if the travel logistics work out ) Cambodia--for Angkor Wat--next month. Any suggestions? I've already read The Beach, though I hope my travel experience will in no way resemble the one there!

Re: Paris, I second the recommendation of Paris to the Moon--it gives a wonderful feel for the city. Also, I've got The Book of Salt by Monique Truong on my to-read pile--it's told from the perspective of the (fictional) Vietnamese-born cook to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, in Paris in the 1930s. Might be a good pre-Paris read as well.

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#33561 - 03/16/05 11:37 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
sunflow
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Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

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Any suggestions for Prague? I haven't even planned what I'm going to do there (and I leave in just over two weeks), but it is definitely time to plan what I should be reading.
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#33562 - 03/20/05 05:59 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
heyalice
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Toronto

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My sister has decided that we are going to Spain next year.
Any suggestions?

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#33563 - 03/21/05 08:57 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
sprog
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 32
Loc: Sydney

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Washington Irvine's tales of the alhambra for Spain. Also some of the mysteries by Arturo Perez-Reverte, I like the Seville Communion. Also, A Woman Unknown by Lucia Graves (daughter of the poet Robert Graves) is an interesting memoir of growing up in Franco's Spain as a non-catholic English expat.
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#33564 - 03/22/05 03:59 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

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If you're going to Barcelona, I would recommend The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I love the way he uses the city as a character, and the entire time I was reading it I wished I was sitting in a local cafe in some narrow street, drinking their wine and watching people walking past. I'm sure it's an idealized version of an older Barcelona, but I still loved it.
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#33565 - 03/22/05 04:04 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
sprog
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 32
Loc: Sydney

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And, Homage to Catalonia, by George Orwell; and As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, by Laurie Lee.
Both about the Spanish Civil War but also the countryside.

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#33566 - 03/22/05 04:30 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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There is also Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho. It is quite mystical, but his descriptions of northern Spain did stay with me and to this day still make me think about walking the Camino de Compostela.
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#33567 - 03/26/05 10:53 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
heyalice
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Toronto

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Thanks for all the fantastic recommendations everyone!
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#33568 - 03/26/05 06:58 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
mollymauk
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 146
Loc: san francisco, ca

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I'm going to spend a month in Kentucky. Any recommendations?
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#33569 - 03/31/05 06:10 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
meesh
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Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 56
Loc: US

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For Spain (Barcelona), I read Barcelona the Great Enchantress by Robert Hughes. I realize he looks really mean in that photo, and I don't agree with all of his personal life choices, but it is a good book. He also seems to have written a book simply titled Barcelona, but I haven't read that so I don't really have an opinion on it.

I've been to other parts of Spain, but didn't read any pertaining books.

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#33570 - 04/01/05 09:56 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Reni
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Registered: 02/22/01
Posts: 186

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Mollymauk - one book that's been on my to-read list for a while is The Patriarch : The Rise and Fall of the Bingham Dynasty by Susan Tifft - about a newspaper family in Louisville. Rich people fighting, basically.

I should go see if my new library has that, actually. Somehow I keep failing to get my hands on it.

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#33571 - 04/01/05 10:51 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
AlexInBoots
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 03/15/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Boston-ish, MA

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Chicago..I've been flying there about every other month. Suggestions?
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#33572 - 04/01/05 11:26 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Anne Wentworth
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/03/03
Posts: 259
Loc: NY, NY

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It's almost decided that my boyfriend and I are going to Portugal this summer. Any suggestions? I know very little about the country.
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#33573 - 04/03/05 03:32 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
mollymauk
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 146
Loc: san francisco, ca

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thanks Reni, I'll have to check that out. You know, I should probably expand my request for reading suggestions to books on that whole region of the south. I'm a California girl who's only spent a total of five days, ever, in any southern states.
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#33574 - 04/03/05 05:42 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
betsytacy
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 169
Loc: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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mollymauk, the first Kentucky book that comes to my mind is Bobbie Ann Mason's In Country, which is about a young girl and her Vietnam vet guardian/uncle. It's an excellent book, and an early example of "Kmart realism" that became popular at the time. Actually, I think most of Mason's work is set in Kentucky. You might also want to read Jane Smiley's Horse Heaven, since Kentucky is known for horse breeding and racing.
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#33575 - 04/07/05 06:36 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Mara2
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 383
Loc: Canberra Australia

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I'm travelling to Thailand for work soon - but any suggestions for appropriate reading matter for my off-hours would be much appreciated!
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#33576 - 04/09/05 05:12 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

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I shall refrain from suggesting Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, shall I?
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#33577 - 04/10/05 07:43 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Mara2
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 383
Loc: Canberra Australia

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Heh. If Bridget has taught us anything, it's not to make friends with men called Jed.
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#33578 - 04/11/05 10:38 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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Heh, sunflow, thanks for going there before I did, because I was really, really working at restraining myself.
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#33579 - 05/27/05 01:07 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
miercoles
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

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It looks like I'll be going to Greece in September -- does anyone have any book recommendations? I'm planning on rereading Edith Hamilton's Mythology, but I don't know as much about ancient Greece as I probably should.
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#33580 - 05/31/05 07:06 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Emily G
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 442
Loc: UK

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I'll second miercoles's request, actually - I'm going to Greece in early July.
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#33581 - 05/31/05 09:33 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Ludmilla
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 302
Loc: USA

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I'm jealous of those of you going to Greece! Some books that come to mind are:

-Euripides (any of his tragedies will do)
-Mary Renault (The Mask of Apollo and The King Must Die come to mind, but she wrote so many during this period)
-Two books about Sappho:
*Sappho's Leap by Erica Jong
*Psappho by Peggy Ullmann Bell
-The Wreckage of Agathon by John Gardner
-The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley
-HN Turteltaub wrote a series of books about Greek sea-farers
-The Ten Thousand by Michael Curtis Ford
-Paul Doherty wrote various books about Alexander the Great
-Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield (about battle of Thermopylae)
-Cassandra by Christa Wolf

For something more modern, you might try some of Nikos Kazantzakis' books including Zorba the Greek.

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#33582 - 06/17/05 08:57 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Crankybroad
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 07/22/04
Posts: 20
Loc: Atlanta, GA

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Anymore recommendations for traveling to Ireland??
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#33583 - 06/20/05 10:32 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
durga
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 39
Loc: New York

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I really loved reading Lawrence Durell's "Bitter Lemons" while in Crete. He was working as a British press liaison during the Turkish/Greek conflicts. I work as a press aide too, so I truly identified with him.

Also, "The Alexandia Quartet," set in Alexandria, and all around the Mediteranean, is a little hippyish and dated, but I still really like it.

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#33584 - 06/20/05 03:46 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Auroranorth
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 318

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This was asked WAAAY up-thread:

 Quote:
How about Alaska?
Home, sweet home... except that I currently don't live there but want to move back.

Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak mystery series smells like home. It's set mostly in the Bush with occasional forays to other locations in-state. The author was born and raised there, and her knowledge of the state comes through in her writing. I think she wrote herself in as a minor character in one of the series. Kate Shugak is an Alaska Native retired investigator for the Anchorage D.A. with a marvelous wolf hybrid who went back to the Bush she'd been raised in to hide, but who keeps getting dragged back into the world. Readers seem to come away with two things- the urge to visit the Bush and to acquire a Mutt of their own.

Stabenow also writes a second series with a male protagonist, Liam Campbell, an Alaska State Trooper in a tiny village. These aren't quite as good as the Kate Shugaks to me.

The Rescue Season by Bob Drury, about U.S. Air Force pararescue jumpers based near Anchorage doing rescues around the state, especially during climbing season on Denali (Mount McKinley to those Outside.) This is written so you can hear the voices of the men (there are no women pararescue jumpers since it's a special forces career like SEALs, only tougher.) I was surprised to discover how coveted Alaska is as a duty station for the jumpers, but when the author tells you that the average pararescue jumper who does not do a TOD in Alaska does as many jumps in a career as an Alaskan does in a year, it makes sense.

The Petaybee series by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Anne Scarborough. Set mainly in winter months in a fictional universe which has a planet resembling Alaska, its somewhat environmenental slant is really enjoyable. Also, I had a crush on Sean Shongili.

Scarborough also wrote The Goldcamp Vampire which I highly recommend, though it's set in the Yukon Territory rather than Alaska.

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#33585 - 06/21/05 06:24 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cocojosie
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/07/03
Posts: 391
Loc: Stockholm/Oxford

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Just chipping in to say that anyone who has half a mind to travel through America must bring Tori Amos's album Scarlet's Walk. Cross-country with a beat.


ETA: I do realise this is not a book, but you could always read the lyrics, right?

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#33586 - 06/21/05 11:00 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Molly Malone
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 25
Loc: Easten USA

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cocojosie,
your post made me wonder if everyone has some traveling favorites- music wise of course.

I'm partial to Terrapin Station (Yup the Dead...)
and also Brenda Fassie...and Schubert.

Oh and I am so thrilled, I am heading to Monrovia Liberia for the next six months this Friday!!!!

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#33587 - 06/22/05 04:02 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

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We actually have a thread for favorite music while you're travelling, so I suggest you post these over there instead. It's right here .
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#33588 - 07/01/05 07:44 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Sylver
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 248
Loc: Lexington, KY

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I'm driving to Maine the first week of October - driving through NY and then 4 nights in Portland and 2 in Bangor... any book suggestions? With approximately 16 hrs to drive (each way), I thought it might be fun for my friend and I to take turns reading aloud.

mollymauk - not sure if you've already gone to Kentucky (just found the chicklit site/forums last week or so)... I live here, so I know some good local authors. If you like poetry, Frank X. Walker (born in KY) Affrilachia is good (I heard him read at a cafe a couple years ago). Crystal Wilkinson was raised in Kentucky - she writes short stories, and her collections include Blackberries, Blackberries and Water Street. I've also heard her read, and she is amazing. Thomas Clark (who recently passed away at 101) is Kentucky's historian laureate - he wrote quite a few books. Hope this helps - and is in time!

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#33589 - 07/01/05 06:01 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ides
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/08/03
Posts: 211

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I was born and partly raised in Maine. I have a whole lot of family who is still there. We all agree that Empire Falls does a great job of showing what small-town Maine life can be like. With the exception of the final major dramatic event, it is, in my opinion, totally believable. I'm a Russo fan in general but I thought this was one of his best.
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#33590 - 07/01/05 11:08 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
betsytacy
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 169
Loc: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Sylver, for something modern about Maine, you might try the novels of Cathie Pelletier. I think they'd be great for reading out loud; there are lots of quirky characters, family drama, and humor (on the dark side). For something classic, try the works of Sarah Orne Jewett. And for something unusual (sometimes you'll find them in the mystery section and sometimes in fiction), I recommend Margaret Lawrence's novels about Hannah Trevor, a midwife in post-Revolutionary War Maine. The first is Hearts and Bones. I learned a lot about that era of US history; it was eye-opening to read about the lingering animosity between those who fought for independence and those who remained loyal to Great Britain.
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#33591 - 07/02/05 02:56 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
EstherGreenwood
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 06/30/05
Posts: 13
Loc: Melbourne

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I'm backpacking through India and Nepal over the (Australian) summer holidays. Any ideas?
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#33592 - 07/02/05 07:37 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

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What was the name of the Dalai Lama's book?

E.M. Forrester's A Passage to India
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
some of Salman Rushdie's work is set in India

If you're going through Pakistan, especially Karachi, Kamila Shamsie's Kartography and Salt and Saffron are excellent.

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#33593 - 07/05/05 05:18 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ainsley
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 614
Loc: north carolina

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I'd definitely recommend A Suitable Boy. It's long, but I feel like I have a much better understanding of India now (though it's dated, since the book is set in the 1950s). It has a lot of political stuff as a backdrop to the culture, which I enjoy.
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#33594 - 07/10/05 01:26 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
miercoles
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

Offline
Oh, Ludmilla, thanks for the Greece recommendations!

As it turns out, we'll have time to go to Crete, so does anyone have any recommendations for books about the Minoans, or Crete in general?

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#33595 - 07/20/05 08:50 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Sylver
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 248
Loc: Lexington, KY

Offline
ides and betsytacy, thanks for the recommendations! Empire Falls has a waiting list at the library, but I was able to check out Heart and Bones, which I loved, and a Sarah Orne Jewett collection of stories, which I haven't had a chance to read yet. Though because of the short story format, it is perfect for driving, and I am tempted to not read it before the trip so that we're both hearing something new at the same time...
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#33596 - 07/26/05 06:21 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
fennel
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 116
Loc: Canada

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A friend and I are heading to SE Asia for 3.5 months this fall. Does anyone have any good-book recs?

We're going to be in Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. I'll take non-fiction or fiction, as long as it's interesting and gives the reader a good sense of the place. Thanks!

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#33597 - 08/14/05 02:10 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Perdita
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 124
Loc: Scotland

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I'm also going to India - Calcutta via Delhi, in December - and someone recommended me City of Djinns by William Dalrymple. I haven't yet read any of the Inspector Ghote novels by H.R.F. Keating but those are on my list, as are various books by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

(Edited because I STILL can't use UBB.)

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#33598 - 08/15/05 02:01 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
blueberry
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 187
Loc: Jhb, RSA

Offline
Well, I'm not travelling myself, but I've gotten into the habit of asking others who are travelling to bring me books about the places they're going to, as a gift. My mother is in Bournmouth right now, and I need to send her a list of books she could get for me... any suggestions? Preferably something history-related (my new obsession).
_________________________
"...I can't eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

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#33599 - 08/16/05 02:37 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Auroranorth
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 318

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For anyone who's traveling to Europe, I'd suggest looking at Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door website. The 2006 tours all have reading lists. They also have film and mood music suggestions. The 2005 page has most of the same things in an expanded list- I think 2006 is still under construction.
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#33600 - 08/16/05 03:39 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
miercoles
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

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Oh my gosh, Auroranorth, that site is a goldmine! Thanks so much.
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#33601 - 08/19/05 12:48 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Auroranorth
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 318

Offline
Glad you liked it. I think the reading lists are new features. You might also check out the Graffiti Wall forum for reader tips.
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#33602 - 08/23/05 01:01 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
orchid314
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/08/03
Posts: 290
Loc: Austin

Offline
I'll be spending a week in Maine on vacation in mid-September. Yay! Our plan so far is to fly in to Manchester, NH and drive a car up to Portland, and then explore the coast north of there as we make our way to Acadia National Park. Are there any must-see places in this general area that you guys would recommend? Also, we're thinking about taking the ferry from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and spending maybe a day or two in the southern part of the province. Do you think it would be worth the expense of the ferry ride to do this? I would love to get up to Cape Breton Island, but time and finances don't allow it. Anyway, any suggestions will be gratefully received!
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#33603 - 08/23/05 01:22 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
mrstripeypants
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/23/04
Posts: 68
Loc: Bremerton, WA

Offline
The Big Chicken Barn ! It's swell. The entire top floor of a, well, big chicken barn - all used books! The bottom floor is 'antiques' and stuff. Plan to spend at least an hour (or two). Also, ABCD Books in Camden. It's a lovely shop that specializes in rare and out-of-print books. Oh, and Stone Soup Books also in Camden. Bar Harbor is nice, very touristy but still nice and Acadia is beautiful. Have fun!
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#33604 - 08/24/05 05:42 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
PrimulaMary
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 1061
Loc: London, UK

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I'm headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo for eight days in September. What should I buy to read beforehand and on the plane?

Note: I've already read Heart of Darkness.

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#33605 - 08/24/05 07:18 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
blueberry
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 187
Loc: Jhb, RSA

Offline
Ooh, lucky you, Primula Mary. A friend of mine was there a few months ago and loved it. I myself have to go to the DRC. My suggestion isn't a book, but a movie / documentary - you really should make an effort to watch Lumumba before you go. It's by far the best depiction of the DRC's history that I've seen. And unless you're into "bush meat", it would be best to stay away from red meat and fish that you can't tell for sure has scales and fins. Have a great time \:\)
_________________________
"...I can't eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

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#33606 - 08/24/05 07:29 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
PrimulaMary
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 1061
Loc: London, UK

Offline
Thanks, blueberry! That sounds great, I'll try to track it down.

And yes, I shall certaintly stay away from suspect foodstuffs -- as we are visiting primarily for a conference on great apes (and partly working on sustainable ways to decrease reliance on bushmeat) I think I'll leave well enough alone.

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#33607 - 08/24/05 10:49 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
blueberry
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 187
Loc: Jhb, RSA

Offline
I probably should have warned you upfront - it's not a very cheerful story (and it's really quite depressing in quite a few bits) but it gives quite an accurate picture of teh DRC's history. As for the food, the food in that part of the world is the best, if you get the good stuff (I've ranted about it in another post), so if there's anything you're tempted to try, go for it. And one more thing - don't drink any water unless it's bottled, sealed, and you open it yourself, and don't forget to take your anti-malaria and carry some insect repellant.
Sorry for hijacking the thread... I'll leave it there so everyone can get back to the books \:\)
_________________________
"...I can't eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

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#33608 - 08/24/05 10:53 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

Offline
PrimulaMary, I'm sure you've thought of this already, but I really liked King Leopold's Ghost. Again, not at all cheerful, but very interesting.
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#33609 - 08/27/05 08:05 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Loz
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/31/03
Posts: 297
Loc: Australia / UK

Offline
This is more a case of "I've just travelled to ... and what should I read", but anyway - I was in Vienna very recently and fell in love with the city. My previous cultural encounters with Austria have all been through music, so I'd love some book recommendations. Not Schnitzler, though.
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#33610 - 08/28/05 04:21 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
PrimulaMary
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 1061
Loc: London, UK

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Loz, have you read The Third Man? I love Vienna too, but I'm sadly clueless on Viennese books, so I'm looking foward to seeing what others come up with!

Would you believe, cat, that I'd never even heard of that book? I own it now (along with In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz, which I picked up yesterday) and I'm going to crack it open this afternoon.

Blueberry, I don't know that there are many cheerful reads about recent history in that part of the world -- but they're awfully interesting and really challenging of assumptions.

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#33611 - 08/28/05 08:10 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
betsytacy
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 169
Loc: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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PrimulaMary, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible is set in the Congo in 1959. The country's independence movement is seen through the eyes of a Baptist missionary and his family. I loved the book and would think it's a must-read before a trip to the DRC.
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#33612 - 08/28/05 02:03 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
polly#2
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 135
Loc: Ireland

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 Quote:
...Democratic Republic of Congo ..
Redmond O'Hanlon 'Congo Journey'.

Caveat number one,I've never been to the country, and caveat number two Redmond O'Hanlon is deliberately looking for a nineteenth century naturalist's version of any country he goes to, so it's not a practical guide, but he does give me the feeling in this, and in his Borneo book that in his impressionistic way he's hitting upon something real about the country. Am prepared to be contradicted by anyone who's ever actually been there, of course.

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#33613 - 09/03/05 05:43 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Perdita
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 124
Loc: Scotland

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I was going through the stack of Books I'll Read Soon Honest and found The Book of the Heathen by Robert Edric. It takes place in the Belgian Congo and unfortunately my knowledge of Africa is not all that great so I don't know what connection that might have to modern DRC or not. It's set in 1897 so it's colonial Africa.

The cover blurb makes it sound very Heart-of-Darknessy, but since no one can hold a candle to Conrad it doesn't much matter.

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#33614 - 09/03/05 06:09 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Ekaterina
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/16/01
Posts: 275
Loc: USA

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I read King Leopold's Ghost for a class, and it gave me nightmares. My little cousins were having their heads chopped off in my dreams, and I stormed into the professor's office and angrily demanded for her to warn me that I shouldn't read such engrossing, fascinating, yet utterly horrifying history homework before bed.
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#33615 - 09/15/05 04:13 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
PrimulaMary
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 1061
Loc: London, UK

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Between King Leopold's Ghost and Michaela Wrong's In The Footsteps of Mr Kurtz (about Mobutu), I felt like I had a decent background to the desperately troubled history of the DRC (which was formerly the Belgian Congo, Perdita, so you're spot on.)

Thanks all for the recommendations! I want to do much, much more reading on the subject now that I've been there. It was an incredible experience, particularly the east.

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#33616 - 09/16/05 12:55 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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PrimulaMary, this is not a book recommendation, but the last issue of The National Geographic magazine (Sept 2005 special issue) is completely dedicated to Africa. I have only browsed through it but want to dedicate some time to reading it from cover to cover, as it did seem very interesting, unbiased and in depth (as much as a magazine can be). One of the many articles is about Congo.
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#33617 - 09/18/05 05:10 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
PrimulaMary
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 1061
Loc: London, UK

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You lot are just spoiling me now. Thanks, setara! I was able to nip down and pick up a copy -- heartily recommended, it's a beautiful edition of the magazine.
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#33618 - 09/18/05 05:41 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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PrimulaMary, I want to hear more (much more!) about your trip!
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#33619 - 09/19/05 07:23 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

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I'll second fennel's request above for anything on Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma/Myanmar. Am heading there for 3 weeks in December and realized that I know precisely squat other than "Vietnam War", "Khmer Rouge", and that movie "The Beach". Which is pathetic. I'm going to Angkor Wat and I don't even know when it was built or by whom... other than it looks pretty in the National Geographic pictures.
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#33620 - 09/19/05 11:06 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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viva, this is fiction, but on Myanmar you might try Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace. I liked the first part of it the best, but it was a pretty interesting read. There's also the classic George Orwell's classic Burmese Days, "Shooting an Elephant," and (I think) "A Hanging."

For Vietnam, try Graham Greene's The Quiet American.

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#33621 - 09/20/05 08:01 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

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Thanks cat...I definitely prefer fiction or personalized accounts - they just give such a better picture for me. Those are great recommendations!

For Cambodia, I was thinking of When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge by Chanrithy Him. I will be visiting the killing fields and the genocide museum, and I know I will learn things on the tour, but I would like to respect the people and history by understanding a bit more before I go.

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#33622 - 09/21/05 10:54 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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Viva, you may enjoy Tiziano Terzani’s A Fortune-Teller Told Me. It is his account of the year (1993) he traveled through Asia by any means of transportation other than airplane, as a fortune-teller predicted that if he did so he would die. He was (is ?) the Far East correspondent for the Der Spiegel and his knowledge of Asia’s recent history shows throughout the book. I did get a bit tired of his visits to fortune-tellers during that year but I still enjoyed the book overall.
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#33623 - 01/23/06 08:51 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
always-anne-shirley
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 190
Loc: Knoxville, Tennessee

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Okay, I've got a challenge for you all.

I'm going to Bolivia.

Any suggestions? Anyone? Bueller?

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#33624 - 02/01/06 03:28 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
goo
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 459
Loc: London, UK

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The only book I can remember reading set in Bolivia is Marching Powder by Thomas McFadden and Rusty Young, about the bizarre San Pedro prison where prisoners run shops and massive cocaine manufacturing and distribution operations, living with their families in cells they had to purchase. It's a great story, and you can tour the prison - it's in La Paz.

Lucky you. Bolivia is beautiful.

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#33625 - 02/03/06 04:58 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ee-fah
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/19/00
Posts: 119

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We are thinking of going to Korea in April/May, mainly because we love the food. So far I have only read travel guides so any and all suggestions both literary and practical are most welcome.
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#33626 - 02/03/06 01:34 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
miercoles
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

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Does anyone have any recommendations for books about the south of France? I vaguely remember The Provincial Lady in London goes on holiday there, but that's it.

In addition, we'll be driving from Rome to Florence to the south of France, so any recommendations for books about European road trips would be great.

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#33627 - 02/21/06 09:13 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Ada_Doom
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/11/01
Posts: 160
Loc: Worcester, UK

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ee-fah I'm not sure if it's really what you're after, but The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble is set partly in Seoul. It's a novel based on the story of an 18th century (I think) Korean princess, but the second half of the book has a modern setting.
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#33628 - 02/22/06 04:55 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ee-fah
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/19/00
Posts: 119

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Ada_Doom, that is probably the only book by Drabble I have yet to read so I will give it a go!
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#33629 - 06/20/06 06:58 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Corinne
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 72
Loc: Castlegar, British Columbia, C...

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I am planning on going to the U.K. and Ireland to work next March. To be a bit more specific, I'll be living in Dublin and then in London.

I also plan on travelling to Spain, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Norway.

Broad, I know, but I figure I should get a move on if I'm going to be seeing so many places. So, any recommendations would be lovely!

(Oh, and I am trying to refrain from jumping in circles right now; Europe? Two and a half years? And I'm not yet eighteen!)

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#33630 - 06/20/06 07:45 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
AlchemyGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 175

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Wow Corinne, what an awesome list of destinations!! I lived in England for a year, and I highly recommend the following (with the warning that I am a history dork with an addiction to museums, castles and cathedrals):

* Day trip to Cambridge (where I lived) -- a gorgeous old university town with wonderful gardens in the spring. The Fitzwilliam Museum is worth a look but doesn't really hold a candle to anything in London.
* Day trip to Ely, which is just north of Cambridge. It has one of England's most treasured and beautiful cathedrals.
* Day trip to Leeds Castle, just north of London.
* Weekend trip to York, which is a really neat old city (still has most of its old walls!) with lively nightlife. Also has a great museum (the York Museum) and an awesome cathedral.

I didn't see Paris on your list, but if you're in London you should consider that too -- it's so easy to hop the Eurostar to Paris, and it's such an amazing city.

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#33631 - 09/08/06 04:06 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
polly#2
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 135
Loc: Ireland

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I’m going to Chicago, for the first time, (whee!) what should I read?

Read a fair amount of Sarah Paretsky, and Saul Bellow years ago, I’m not looking for exactly that this time.

For this trip I think I want either trashy mysteries set in Chicago; or, entirely different thing, is there a Great American Novel set in the city?

Or, it doesn’t have to be fiction, is there any particularly good book about Mayor Daley, or the city’s architecture, or any other aspect of the city?

From what I can see on Amazon, I think I do like the sound of Kris Nelscott, Smoke-Filled Rooms , and William Maxwell's The Folded Leaf and I’m not that interested in Andrew Greeley’s books about Irish American priests in the old neighbourhood, or “The Devil and the White City”.

Grateful for all suggestions.

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#33632 - 09/08/06 02:24 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ainsley
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 614
Loc: north carolina

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polly #2, I've heard multiple Chicagoans rave about how well Niffenegger uses the city and creates a sense of place in The Time-Traveler's Wife, which is kind of between the two things you said you most want. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it apparently does well by the city.
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#33633 - 09/08/06 08:00 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Exxie
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/18/03
Posts: 147
Loc: Chicago, IL

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The Time Traveler's Wife does do well by Chicago. I'd also suggest...

-Division Street by Studs Terkel, which is probably one of our most famous books and put oral histories on the map
-Boss by Mike Royko is about Daley Sr
-Chicago Noir is edited by Neal Pollack and features mystery type stories written by local authors
-Cast of Shadows is by one of the Chicago Noir authors (Kevin Guilfoile) and while it doesn't focus as much on the city as TTW, it's an awesome read
-Chicago Stories features essays about the city
-Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno is about punk teenagers living in Chicago
-Crossing California by Adam Langer is about Jewish teenagers living in Rogers Park, one of Chicago's neighbrhoods
-The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a classic story about a Lithuatian family who moves to the city and works in the stockyards...lots of people read this in school
-The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren...haven't read it but it was a smash at our book club
-anything by Ray Bradbury, less because he's from the Chicagoland area and more because he's just a wonderful writer

In full disclosure, I help run a Chicago-based book club, so we've read many books about the city and by local authors. If we have a great American novel, it would probably be The Adventures of Augie March, but I'm guessing you've read that, right? Personally, I'd go with The Jungle for a bit of literary history and either Hairstyles of the Damned or Crossing California for a constrasting contemporary read.

It's a great city and we have many amazing writers and stories...you'll have some great fun getting to know it!

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#33634 - 09/09/06 05:14 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
betsytacy
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 169
Loc: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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Polly#2, to Exxie's list, I'd also add Dreiser's Sister Carrie, which is another strong candidate for the great Chicago novel. For something more modern, you might try Larry's Party, by Carol Shields. There's also a long Chicago section in Willa Cather's novel Lucy Gayheart. You might also try Richard Wright's Native Son, Edna Ferber's So Big, Sandra Cisneros's House on Mango Street, or Frank Norris's The Pit. And Scott Turow's legal mysteries are mostly set in Chicago I think.
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#33635 - 09/11/06 06:33 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
polly#2
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 135
Loc: Ireland

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These are great recommendations. Can't wait. Can't get hold of a copy of Boss till I get there, dammit, but the serendipitously-found secondhand copy of Sister Carrie is sitting neatly with my passport, to read on the plane. Thanks, v much appreciated.

ETA

1. Had a whale of a time.

2. And boy, am I glad this got me to read The Time Traveller's Wife which I was resisting reading but which, now I've read it, I would hate to have missed out on.

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#33636 - 10/24/06 11:02 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Priscilla
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 21

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I'm heading to Paris for the weekend! This is a major dream come true, all the better for being so unexpected.

My boss comes up to me a few days ago, and says that since Air France is starting direct flights from Paris to Chennai at the end of the month, I've been invited along to cover the inaugural trip for our newspaper. Have I ever cribbed about the life of a reporter? I take it all back!

So tips on what to read, anyone? And any particular places to see, especially those with a "book connection"?

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#33637 - 10/24/06 01:11 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
PitaGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 118
Loc: Ontario Canada

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I'm so jealous, Priscilla! I really enjoyed the Palace of Versailles. It's not in Paris - I think it was about an hour train ride out. So it may not be the best choice for a weekend excursion. I read a lot of historical romance growing up that included Versailles, so it was a must-see for me.

Enjoy your weekend!!

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#33638 - 11/13/06 03:24 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
orlando2
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 79
Loc: Western Australia

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Florida - specifically Orlando. It's a part of the US I've never been to before and probably wouldn't now if it wasn't for a meeting I'm attending in early December. I'd love to be proven wrong though - is there more to it than theme parks and outlet stores?
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#33639 - 11/13/06 10:23 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

Offline
You could read Their Eyes Were Watching God, which is set in Florida. Zora Neale Hurston was from a little further south than Orlando, though.

I think Florida has a lot of neat stuff along the coast - things like acquariums, turtle rescues, nature boat rides (I'd say "cruises" but that's a little misleading), etc. Last winter I went on a boat ride with my mom and saw lots of birds and three dolphins! That was awesome. Also, Florida has great seafood if you're into that.

Oh hey! orlando2, you're going to Orlando! That's neat.

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#33640 - 11/13/06 11:08 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
kandiam
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/16/04
Posts: 69

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Carl Hiaasen's novels tend to be set in Florida. I've only read his childrens' books but I like them, and Mr. Kandiam really enjoys his grown-up books.
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#33641 - 11/13/06 11:54 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
lsugaralmond
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 160
Loc: London

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orlando2, it's not a book recommendation (although I second the Carl Hiaasen suggestion, his books are hilarious) but the Kennedy Space Center, which is about a two hour drive from Orlando, is great fun and totally fascinating.

Otherwise I'd say just embrace the cheese and enjoy the theme parks, they are very well done and my boyfriend and I - normally deeply cynical people - had a great time at the Magic Kingdom and at Sea World.

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#33642 - 12/01/06 10:45 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
SevenDeadly
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US...

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I'm considering transplanting myself to Kabul. Any recommendations for books specifically on the city? History, art, architecture, politics, present day, it's all good.

I'd also love recs on Afghanistan that give a sense of the recent history of the country and its people, but that aren't focused on US military actions. (I'm running scared from all the Iraq books that seem to feature approximately two ordinary Iraqis.)

Any suggestions are much appreciated!

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#33643 - 12/02/06 09:28 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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Seven Deadly, although I have not read The Bookseller of Kabul , I thought it may interest you. I did read an article about it, which made the book sound more interesting than the blurb at amazon. The author lived with a family in Kabul for months and wrote about her experience. She was later sued by the patriarch of the household (the said “bookseller”) because of the way she portrait him.
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#33644 - 12/04/06 11:02 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Priscilla
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 21

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The Bookseller of Kabul is good, so long as you remember that its basically reportage, rather than history or plain story-telling.

I remember reading James Michener's Caravans: A Novel of Afghanistan several years ago. If I remember right, it's about an American girl who marries an Afghan engineer, but then either gets kidnapped by or runs away and joins the nomadic caravans. If you like Michener's rich descriptive style, you'll probably enjoy it. It's set at least half a century ago, so don't expect a sense of recent history. Then again, much of Afghanistan's recent history is built on the more distant past.

Ken Follett also wrote a novel (I think it was called Lie With Lions) set in an earlier era, the time when the Russians occupied the country, and faced much of the same problems with Afghan warrior rebels as the US Army does today. If you can look past the typical thriller elements, it provides an interesting insight into Afghan politics. (If I remember right!)

ETA: a very late thank you to PitaGirl for the tip to visit Versailles last month. I wish I could have managed it (I also read a lot of romance and historical fiction set there when I was growing up), but I just couldn't fit it into the weekend. Still, Paris was magical!

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#33645 - 12/05/06 10:16 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
polly#2
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 135
Loc: Ireland

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I’m going to Milan (why yes I *am* gloating a little, perhaps) what can I read as a speedy easy intro to modern Italian politics? Fiction or non-fiction both fine. I appear never to have read a book by an Italian in my entire life, apart from Primo Levi. Saw “ Good Morning, Good Night ” about the Aldo Moro kidnapping, seemed like a good insight to me.

All ideas gratefully received.

ETA SevenDeadly, this is off-topic and maybe inappropriate on general principles, since I don't know your circumstances, but I am aware - anecdotally - of two instances of experienced officials, one from the UN, one working directly for the Afghan Government, having abandoned postings to Afghanistan, in the past twelve months, because the risk levels were simply too high. Apologies for the busybody nature of the posting, you are undoubtedly very much better informed than I am about the situation. Back to the topic.

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#33646 - 12/05/06 10:13 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
SevenDeadly
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US...

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Thanks, setara, Priscilla, and polly#2 for the great suggestions. I'll definitely check them out, along with the many handbooks, briefing papers, and survival guides I've found online.

polly#2, thanks for your concern-- not inappropriate at all. I am aware (and making myself more aware) of the risk levels, but want to work in conflict and post-conflict zones as a career, so at some point, I have to go to one. So I'm being cautious but for now, proceeding apace.

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#33647 - 12/09/06 08:33 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
ainsley
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 614
Loc: north carolina

Offline
polly#2, you may want to give Italy and its Discontents a try--I read it this past term for a course on 20th century Europe. It's nonfiction, and the professor thought it was the sort of book that would appear on the shelves of the history section at BN and the like. I didn't necessarily agree with that, but it would be a good starting point.
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#33648 - 03/07/07 04:54 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Rain
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 238

Offline
I'm most likely going to be visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg in about a month. I've read almost no Russian literature (which I'm kicking myself for now - I have been meaning to read things like Anna Karanina and War and Peace forever).

Any recommendations? I probably only have time to read a few things before I go...

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#33649 - 03/07/07 11:13 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

Offline
Aha - I did this very thing a few years ago and was in the same position. It was a great opportunity to discover Russian literature (and you'll love Petersburg, particularly!). My favourites:
Gogol - short stories - especially The Nose which is comic genius, also The Overcoat, poignant.
Dr Zhivago - a beautiful, beautiful story and I'm not ashamed to say that - so much more to it than the film, though that was good.
Crime And Punishment - yes, it's long, but it's brilliant. Seriously.
A Great Love / Love of Worker Bees - two shortish sexy novels by Alexandra Kollontai, one of the October revolutionaries.
The Master and Margarita - find out why everyone who has read it LOVES this book, it's very satirical.
A Hero Of Our Time, Lermontov - kind of like a Russian Dangerous Liaisons.
For something modern: The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko - agents of good and evil (incl. vampires, magicians, etc) in Moscow, think Angel. Not, in my opinion, the best fantasy novel ever, but readable and interesting as an easily available contemporary Russian novel in English.
Have fun!

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#33650 - 03/08/07 12:57 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Rain
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 238

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Wow, thanks Promethea! I'm off to the library's website now (and as a bonus, Dr. Zhivago is one of my shelf-sitters, so it's first up!)
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#33651 - 03/08/07 07:20 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

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Oh, I forgot: Ten Days That Shook The World - American journalist John Reed's (Warren Beatty played him in Reds) first person account of the 1917 revolution. You'll see his grave if you go to the Kremlin (which you must do - and the Hermitage & the Fortress of Peter and Paul, both in St P).
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#33652 - 03/10/07 11:28 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Rain
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 238

Offline
Thanks - I'll check that one out too (and I will definitely visit all three places!)
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#33653 - 03/11/07 10:29 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

Offline
Let us know how it goes!
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#33654 - 03/12/07 12:47 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
Rain
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 238

Offline
I will! I'm getting very excited!
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#33655 - 03/15/07 09:12 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

Offline
I am going to be in Prague for 5 days in July. I am already planning to read Milan Kundera and Franz Kafka, but can someone suggest any other authors? I would also welcome any hints of places to see. (I am going by myself and I am really excited about it, it is my first all solo trip and it feels like a rite of passage somehow).
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#33656 - 03/18/07 11:33 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
SevenDeadly
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US...

Offline
setara, some of my favorite times in Prague were spent boating on the river, reading on a park bench on the (one of the?) islands in the river, and walking by the river. Can you tell I like bodies of water?

I'd also recommend walking around what used to be the Jewish Quarter, visiting the synagogues that are now part of the Jewish Museum as well as the ones (like the Old-New Synagogue) that are still functioning. They're all beautiful in very different ways and the exhibits in them are fascinating. One is provoked to admiration for the preservation that's been done and sorrow that these places are no longer needed for community life and worship.

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#33657 - 03/19/07 11:52 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
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Loc: Alberta/Canada

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Thanks SevenDeadly, I will certainly include a visit to the old Jewish Quarter and the synagogues. And I am already wondering what book to bring to read by the river…

Did you visit the concentration camp of Terezin? I am planning to go there in a day trip, but I am still looking for a book, fiction or not, about it.

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#33658 - 03/24/07 10:40 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read?
SevenDeadly
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US...

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No I didn't, setara, but others who did found it a very moving experience. And no suggestions on a book about it, unfortunately.
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#82422 - 04/04/07 09:56 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: SevenDeadly]
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

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Any suggestions for novels set in Madeira?
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#82726 - 04/18/07 12:33 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Promethea]
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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My sister is heading to Istanbul this fall (Yes, I am green with envy) and her birthday is coming up. Can anyone suggest a book on or about Istanbul I could get for her? I think she would prefer fiction to non-fiction – a murder mystery in the harem, type of book - but any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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#82747 - 04/19/07 10:40 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: setara]
cat
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Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, is set in part in Istanbul. I actually enjoyed its copious descriptions of places (of not just Istanbul but also a lot of European cities) more than the book's main plot, but that might be just me. I feel like I've read other stuff set there, too--I will think.

I'm going to Belgium and the Netherlands this summer--suggestions for that also appreciated! I would like anything from interestingly written history about the medieval wool trade (yes, really) to twentieth-century war history (a really good book about the Dutch resistance?) to novels.

edited to say: setara, did you see the Turkey thread? I'm going to bump it for you.

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#82767 - 04/20/07 07:40 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: cat]
naomism
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 757
Loc: Iraq

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I immediately thought of The Historian as well. I don't actually have a book to recommend, but I have one to warn your sister away from, setara: Orhan Pamuk's Istanbul. It's a memoir and while it has some interesting stuff about the city itself, definitely not a murder-in-the-harem type of book.

When I was teaching a course on Turkey last semester, we didn't use that much Turkish fiction, and the majority of that came from Kemal Silay's Anthology of Turkish Literature. We did, however, watch several movies. My favorite was Istanbul Tales which uses Western fairy tales, sets them in Istanbul and retells them with some interesting twists and conncection--but you can only get this on a Region 2 DVD and therefore can't watch it in a standard North American DVD player (though computers usually work).

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#82774 - 04/20/07 08:03 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: naomism]
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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Thanks cat and naomism. I read The Historian before, but somehow didn’t remember it until you mentioned, it is probably perfect for her. (The Historian makes me think of Amsterdam and Oxford primarily). Naomism, my sister lives in Brazil and may be able to watch the movie on DVD there, I have to check it out. As for Ohram Pamuck’ memoir, I saw it when I searched for books on Istanbul on Amazon, and thought it sounded quite interesting. I also probably sold my sister short with my request of “murder mystery in the harem,” she probably would be interested in the memoir too, so thank you for the input.

Cat, thanks also for bumping the thread about Turkey, I don’t remember ever seeing it before.

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#82786 - 04/22/07 07:58 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: cat]
vanillabean
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/12/06
Posts: 123

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Cat,

Resistanceby Anita Shreve wasn't bad, a love story mixed up with the WWII Belgian Resistance movement. Actually one of my favorite Shreve books.

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#82860 - 04/27/07 11:04 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: setara]
Rain
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 238

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So, I'm back from Russia. I actually got very busy before I left and didn't have time to read many of the recommended books (with the exception of Night Watch, which had the unfortunate side effect of making me think about vampires attacking me whenever I left the window open at night, but that's beside the point!)

Anyway, I find that now that I've been there (and had a really great time) I am now even more interested in reading the rest of the books I didn't get around to before I left (particularly Pushkin - I visited like 10 things named after him, including the State Pushkin Museum which was all about him and his poetry/literature).

I actually think that, silly as it sounds, Night Watch prepared me the best for what it would actually be like in Russia (even though it was a fantasy, it had a lot of peripheral details about life in mid-2000's Moscow). Now that I've been there, I will be able to better appreciate the historical stuff in the older novels. Or so my theory goes.

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#83155 - 05/23/07 08:47 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: lipgloss]
Sarah Kathryn
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 92
Loc: Suburban Maryland

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I'm heading to Reykjavik and Amsterdam in two months, mostly on a whim. I'm from the US and have never crossed an ocean before. I plan to go generally all around Iceland while I'm there; when in Amsterdam, I'll probably travel somewhat into the countryside, but I think I'll mostly stay in the immediate Amsterdam area. I know very little about either place. What should I read? I'd appreciate any recommendations--good histories, fiction, biography, whatever.
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#83191 - 05/28/07 01:24 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Sarah Kathryn]
essay
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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Sarah Kathryn, although I haven't read him yet, the Icelandic mystery writer Arnaldur Indridason has been recommended to me as excellent by several people. Jar City and Silence of the Grave are readily available.

As for Amsterdam, you can't go far wrong with a classic mystery series by Janwillem Van de Wetering, starring the detective duo of Gripstra and de Gier. Outsider in Amsterdam is a good place to start.


Edited by essay (05/28/07 01:24 AM)

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#83268 - 06/02/07 03:01 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: essay]
Sarah Kathryn
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 92
Loc: Suburban Maryland

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Awesome! My library system has Jar City and Outsider in Amsterdam. Thank you! (Okay, can you tell I'm just a bit excited about my trip?)
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#83286 - 06/04/07 08:55 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Sarah Kathryn]
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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At the end of the summer I'm going with my auntie to a conference in Bethlehem. Does anyone have ideas for fiction/nonfiction about Bethlehem, Jerusalem, or Palestine/Israel in general? There's the Bible, of course, but I've read that one already. :)
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#83299 - 06/05/07 09:18 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: VegetarianOnHiatus]
betsytacy
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 169
Loc: Grayslake, Illinois, USA

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VegetarianOnHiatus, you might have fun with James Michener's The Source--especially if you have an interest in archaeology. It'll give you a broad view of all the many cultures and people who have lived in the area throughout history.
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#83301 - 06/05/07 11:29 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: betsytacy]
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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betsytacy, I actually have a copy of that! I totally forgot about it. My mom gave it to me ages ago and I felt intimidated because it's nearly War and Peace-sized. But hey, it's summer and I have time so I'll give it a crack. Thanks!
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#83331 - 06/06/07 10:10 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Sarah Kathryn]
essay
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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I'm a little late catching up with this thread, Sarah Kathryn , but I'm glad you're interested in these. And basically, there's no reason to suffer the inconveniences of travel if you're not excited about where you're going!

Well, actually I suppose there are reasons, but I'm glad you have good ones.

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#83785 - 07/18/07 09:07 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: essay]
miercoles
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

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I'm moving to Santa Barbara at the end of this year, and so any recommendations for Santa Barbara or the California coast would be great. I want to re-read Grapes of Wrath, especially as we're driving across the country next month. There are a few American road-trip books mentioned in this thread -- any new ones I may have missed?
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#83789 - 07/18/07 10:22 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: miercoles]
Sarah Kathryn
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 92
Loc: Suburban Maryland

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miercoles, if you want to combine John Steinbeck with road-tripping, I'd recommend his memoir, Travels with Charley. He drives US highways from the East Coast to the West Coast and back with just his dog and, especially when he gets to California, writes brilliant prose about the scenery and comments thoughtfully about how much things have changed since the horse-and-buggy days of his childhood. I don't usually enjoy his writing, but as far as I'm concerned, he's at his most likeable and interesting here.

(And Essay, thanks! I've got one week until I leave, and I'm still really excited, to the point where I get annoyed at how my job takes up valuable time that could be spent reading up on where I'm going...)

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#83815 - 07/19/07 10:15 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Sarah Kathryn]
miercoles
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

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Ooh, thanks Sarah Kathryn -- we'll have our dog with us, so that's perfect.
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#84565 - 10/08/07 05:37 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: miercoles]
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

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Here's one: Kenya and Tanzania. In January - yay!

Any recommendations?

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#84583 - 10/11/07 02:30 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: viva]
finedarkchocolate
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/22/06
Posts: 50
Loc: Scotland

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morocco in march - whadya say?
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#84659 - 10/20/07 11:06 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: miercoles]
kandiam
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/16/04
Posts: 69

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Miercoles, I hope you have a very easy move, and a wonderful trip west. You can't go wrong with Steinbeck for western imagery, and don't hesitate to dip into vintage Joan Didion (Play It As It Lays). It's hard not to recommend a bit of Raymond Chandler and Dasiell Hammett for noir mood and Sandra Tsing Loh for satire. Kevin Starr's history of California is the best around; the State Librarian of California, he's written a sprawling 5-volume series, but also a condensed version just out this year. I'd also highly recommend Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert, that frames water politics around California's history (and is gloriously readable).

Welcome to California!

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#84665 - 10/21/07 11:41 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: kandiam]
kandiam
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/16/04
Posts: 69

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I'm heading to South Australia and the North Island of New Zealand. What should I read? (Many thanks in advance!) Without other advice I'll be browsing Mary Martin Bookshop on Rundle St in Adelaide...a find if ever there was one.
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#84814 - 11/07/07 11:21 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: kandiam]
library hooligan
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 17
Loc: Australia

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kandiam, have you read The Bone People by Keri Hulme? It's set in New Zealand, and although it's heartbreaking in places, her descriptions of New Zealand are gorgeous to read.
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#84850 - 11/12/07 09:46 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: library hooligan]
turtlegirl



Registered: 11/12/07
Posts: 29
Loc: new york city

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I'm travelling to Berlin this week. Any quick ideas. I know about movies "wings of Desire," etc, but so much about literature.
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#84852 - 11/12/07 11:05 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: turtlegirl]
kandiam
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/16/04
Posts: 69

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Thanks millions, hooligan! The Bone People has been mouldering on a back shelf for ages...I'd even (gasp) forgotten about it. Thanks for the nudge.
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#84853 - 11/13/07 12:36 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: kandiam]
Crescent Moon
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/19/03
Posts: 155
Loc: Australia

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Kandiam: Just off the top of my head: Famous Australian authors include Bryce Courtenay (Of The Power of One fame, although most of his other books are set in Australia), Tim Winton, Peter Carey (Oscar and Lucinda etc) and Miles Franklin (My Brilliant Career). Maybe these are all a bit too obvious??

I have a YA book somewhere that is set in a NZ farming community. I can dig it up if you want. I also have lots of random university press YA books that are set in various parts of Australia.

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#84858 - 11/13/07 09:58 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Crescent Moon]
turtlegirl



Registered: 11/12/07
Posts: 29
Loc: new york city

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Bump. Books about Berlin, anyone?
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#84874 - 11/14/07 04:24 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: turtlegirl]
polly#2
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 135
Loc: Ireland

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Certainly. Excuse me if any of this is stuff you know already but

- Nancy Mitford's biography of Frederick the Great, because you'll see his statute and the buildings he built everywhere;
- any of Christopher Isherwood's books set in Berlin; "I am a Camera" as the book on which Cabaret was based;
- there was an excellent book about living in West Berlin when the Wall was in place - "Zoo Station"? Not to be confused with a spy novel recently published of the same name;
- "Stasiland", Anna Funder, an account of what various individuals in East Germany think in retrospect about the DDR regime. Best journalistic writing I've ever read. She would take issue with the picture painted by the film "The Lives of Others" as sentimentalised, inaccurate.

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#85224 - 01/02/08 08:45 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: polly#2]
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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I am in the very early stages of planning a trip to Southern France. Any suggestions?
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#85273 - 01/06/08 01:45 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: setara]
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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Um, bring me along?

A large chunk of Michael Ondaatje's new Divisadero takes place in southern France, but it's the rural southwest, not the more-visited Provence. MFK Fisher has a book called Two Towns in Provence that you might enjoy; in general, I think writing that leans toward the culinary might be a good bet! And there is of course Peter Mayle for something very light.

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#85387 - 01/21/08 01:56 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: cat]
setara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 471
Loc: Alberta/Canada

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cat, thanks for the suggestions, and, hey, you are welcome to tag along. I missed it when you posted and only now saw your reply. I have not yet read Divisadero, and never realized where it took place. I also enjoy MFK Fisher. My TBR list just got bigger. Thanks again.
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#85437 - 01/31/08 10:34 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: setara]
turtlegirl



Registered: 11/12/07
Posts: 29
Loc: new york city

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Thanks polly#2. I loved Stasiland. Very chilling about East Berlin. I knew the subway stations and landmarks she was talking about.
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#86438 - 07/30/08 11:12 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: turtlegirl]
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

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Edited by Promethea (07/30/08 11:16 AM)
Edit Reason: doublepost

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#86439 - 07/30/08 11:14 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: turtlegirl]
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

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I'm going to Cornwall - apart from Daphne du Maurier and Susan Cooper, what would be a good enjoyable (not massively heavy) read? I've heard of the Poldark novels but am not a real historical fiction aficionado, what are they like?
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#86444 - 07/31/08 01:44 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Promethea]
essay
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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I haven't read the Poldark novels either, but they did quite a good series from them on PBS some years ago, so I suspect they are very intriguing.

Aren't some of John Fowles books, like The French Lieutenant's Woman, set in Cornwall?

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#86445 - 07/31/08 03:35 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: essay]
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

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That's Dorset, although I suppose near enough.
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#86446 - 07/31/08 05:53 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Promethea]
liz_isabella1
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/25/06
Posts: 202
Loc: Milton Keynes, England

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There's always Rosamund Pilcher, but that's only if you don't want intellectual stimulation. Coming Home is particularly Cornwallian.

Edited by liz_isabella1 (07/31/08 05:54 AM)

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#86449 - 07/31/08 07:45 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: liz_isabella1]
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

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Heh. I'll check it out, thanks.
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#86865 - 10/27/08 07:48 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: graceless]
Nicola
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/18/01
Posts: 31
Loc: England

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I'm not travelling to, but moving to, the south east of England. So can anyone recommend any novels written by Kent authors or based in Kent, preferably around the Sandwich/Deal/Canterbury/Whitsable area? Thank you
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#86897 - 10/30/08 03:00 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Promethea]
finedarkchocolate
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/22/06
Posts: 50
Loc: Scotland

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Terribly late replying - you'll have been and come back months ago, but I thought I'd just mention 'Warnings of Gales' by Annie Sanders about three women who share a holiday house in Cornwall with their children. It's a light read but acutely observed with lots of tension between the women, whose style in everything - particularly child rearing - is at odds with each other.
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#86901 - 10/31/08 07:43 AM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: Promethea]
turtlegirl



Registered: 11/12/07
Posts: 29
Loc: new york city

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I am traveling to Budapest in a few weeks. Any good books about Budapest or Hungary I could read while traveling there?
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#86903 - 10/31/08 10:36 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: turtlegirl]
essay
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

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Well, Arthur Phillips Prague: a Novel is actually set in Budapest, and he's a wonderful writer.
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#88641 - 11/23/09 04:58 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: essay]
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

Offline
Hey guys! Any recommendations for good fiction or historical fiction set in Tibet or Nepal? I'm heading there next year and am once again woefully ignorant of culture and history.
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#89818 - 07/13/10 08:07 PM Re: I'm travelling to ______. What should I read? [Re: graceless]
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

Offline
Anyone read anything set in Ibiza?
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