Where to Why
Before the Storm: Memories of My Youth in Old Prussia by Marion, Countess Dönhoff
June 17, 2020 by Philippe, 2 minute read time
Although the memoir of Marion, Countess Dönhoff, takes place in East Prussia, now an exclave of Russia, her experiences shed light on what life was like on the great estates of Mecklenburg, as well. “Before the Storm” becomes a page-turner as she flees the advancing Red Army on horseback, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of others seeking refuge farther west.
Paris was Ours edited by Penelope Rowlands
June 12, 2020 by Catherine, 2 minute read time
The 19th-century American writer Thomas Gold Appleton famously said, “Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris,” and this is certainly the premise behind “Paris Was Ours,” an anthology of essays about the city by 32 writers, compiled by editor Penelope Rowlands. Discover a curiously mixed assortment of very personal vignettes about living in the City of Light.
China in Ten Words by Yu Hua
June 11, 2020 by Philippe, 4 minute read time
Relatively unknown in the United States, Yu Hua is one of the most respected novelists in China. Nevertheless, he elected not to publish this part-memoir, part-cultural critique in his homeland.
The World of Venice by Jan Morris
June 09, 2020 by Philippe, 2 minute read time
Morris’ engaging work, first published in 1960, captures the soul of this celebrated city in the sea, uncovering legends, mysteries and fascinating historical titbits around every crooked, cobbled lane. Among other highlights, the description of Sant’ Ariano, the ossuary island, is simply unforgettable.
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
June 06, 2020 by Catherine, 8 minute read time
Touching the Void is a book I recently read for the first time and was the first book in a while that I read continuously, without putting down. A nail-biting account of mountaineer Joe Simpson’s terrifying encounter with death in the Peruvian Andes, hundreds of miles from help.
Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey by Madeleine Bunting
June 02, 2020 by Catherine, 2
Londoner Madeleine Bunting travels to seven of the major Hebrdean Islands off the coast of Scotland, a region which even today has a rather exotic air to many English. Although Bunting is clearly taken by the islands’ natural beauty and Gaelic culture, she does not romanticize their sometimes-dark histories.
The Worst Journey in the World by Appsley Cherry-Garrard
June 01, 2020 by Mark
This book describes the author’s harrowing experiences as a member of the disastrous 1910-1913 British Antarctic Expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott, who did not survive. It ranks as one of the great adventure stories..
The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng
May 27, 2020 by Mark, 6 minute read time
Malaya 1949 and the country is in the midst of what came to be known as The Emergency. During the Second World War an alliance of former foes had united in opposition to the Japanese occupation of the Malaya Peninsular.
Kingdoms in the Air by Bob Shacochis
May 02, 2020 by Dean, 2 minute read time
“Kingdoms in the Air” is a collection of Pulitzer Prize finalist Bob Shacochis’ travel essays from 1989 to the present, full of signature bravado recounting death-defying adventure. But in addition to rugged action stories, nuanced portraits emerge of his travel companions and global plights.
Letters from Hawaii by Mark Twain
May 02, 2020 by Philippe, 2 minute read time
Working as a newspaper correspondent, Mark Twain spent four months in 1866 exploring the Sandwich Islands, as Hawaii was then known in the West. Descriptions of his travels among the islands will inspire you to book tickets on the next available flight.