Travel Books

I work in Dupont Circle, right down the street from my favorite book store in the city, Krammer’s Books and afterwords cafe. When I need a break from work, to clear my head, to press the reset button I like to walk over there and walk around. Being with books has always been a calming thing for me, I noticed it long ago that I would send time in book stores or libraries and come feeling more relaxed, more interested in the world, more ready to take on the problem i was facing. Book stores use to be my churches, and then I became Jewish and now I go to shul (which still contains a lot of books, some things never change.)

One of the other things that make me feel better when I’m as my old co-worker us to say “rah rah rah” is thinking about travel. Letting myself day dream about where I would be, either on a vacation, working aboard, taking a year off, whatever it may be.

Today, which i have thought about other days is travel books. Not guide books about the locations, often new editions come out before I got somewhere if I buy one to go with my wanderlust, and i would just end up with a lot of $30 a pop guidebooks, I I have wanderlust A LOT. I thought I would look at travel writings, there plenty of books. Here finally is the point of this post- the travel memories out there often don’t mesh with me, often people have travel for a reason (mostly valid) to re-define or re-discover something in there lives- they often feel self serving, and whinny (the lack of gratitude expressed kind of amazes me) people who don’t realize how lucky they are to be able to afford to travel (in time, in money, in supports,) and then lucky enough to write about it- I don’t want to read someone’s travel journal – because I don’t want you to read mine but I also don’t want drab BS. I’ll own that part of my issue with travel writing, is that I’m jealous, people are getting to do not one but two things I won’t mind doing 1- TRAVELING and 2- WRITING. I haven’t read as much travel writing as I might want to, because I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the few that I’ve tried before.

I’m not sure what I want out of travel writing, I want it to temporarily fill the void that my wanderlust is creating. I want it be humble and vivid and I want them to get out of there heads.

I do like Anthony Doerr’s Four Seasons in Rome, he is funny and vivid and I love Italy. It’s also not after a break-up or other tragic life event. Chasing Chaos I enjoyed, but Wanderlust, Eat Pray Love, and a handful of others left me disappointed. I’ll keep looking.


Are you down with the H-P?!

Well after years of procrastinating and saying I was uninterested I FINALLY started reading Harry Potter.

My sister has read all of them, and asked if she did a job in Orlando again next year if I would want to come down to go to Disney and I asked if she’d rather go to Harry Potter World….

Which was a yes

I figured if we are going to go I should read the books. In telling my friend this, my friend who is one of the handful of Librarian I know, she Nerd shamed me that I had never read them – I started the next day.

Currently, I’m in the middle of the 5th book, I’ve taken the last week or so off because I needed a break after binge reading 1-4. in a both a months time. Here are my quick reviews of 1-4.

Harry Potter and Someone’s Stone: 

A nice start book that is a quick read, mainly because it’s written for kids, but really does keep the pages turning and as an adult I was rather engaged. I saw the movie when it was in the theater, but couldn’t remember a lot of the details and the first few kind of all blended together in my mind.

Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets: 

I really did not remember a lot of this one, so it was a fun read for me for the most part. The review of what happen and who was who got to be a bit much but I’m an adult and just finished the first one so the review wasn’t really needed for me. The build up the Tom Riddle elements made me even more excited to be reminded of what happens and the back story before Harry is even born.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I thought this was a later but and was surprised when it was the 3rd, from what I remembered it was darker and seemed a bit more scary that the others. Perhaps it was the brilliant “have you seen this wizard” posters with the yelling Gary Oldman that did it for me in the early 00’s. The book is pretty solid, I like the build up and the intensity that is created. It breaks the mold from the formulaic first two and lets you think one thing and has that great surprise in the howling house of what really has been going on. I love the charterers that are introduced, mainly Professor Lupins and Sirius himself .

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 

This was one of the movies I’ve seen the most, It was ABC family pretty often when I was in grad school, (aka when Twilight was huge). It seemed to take so much longer to relieve things that in the movie are done rather quickly and perhaps because I knew what was happening in this one more than the first 3 I was a bit more impatient to make my way to the big scene towards the end. It is also a bit crazy how this book like doubles to triples in length from the 3rd book, the jump is something that gave me a good work out carrying it around.

I read the first three paper back, the forth and fifth in hardback and have my sisters sixth and seventh in paperback again. I’m excited to get to the later books when I saw them with more time between them and don’t remember how everything works together.

How a book could be uncensored – lessons though a death notice

How a book could be uncensored – lessons though a death notice

Censored and Banned Books have different air about them, – not really the bad boys or bad girls over the libraries but a bit I suppose. I hadn’t considered much before how books become unbanned or uncensored but also just never really looked into it. Then I found this death notice in the NYTimes of Richard H. Hoggart, who’s testifying let Lady Chatterley’s Lover  be published in it’s original form.


Prayer book sells for 14.2 m

Loot an Unluckily and Accidental Guide book to World’s leading museums.

Loot an Unluckily and Accidental Guide book to World’s leading museums.

I was looking for something else I think when i came across Sharon Waxman’s book Loot: The Battle of the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World


at the DCPL last month. It took me a while to read but was one of the most interesting and well researched book’s I’ve read in a long time. The amount of research she put in to so many details was outstanding, and at moments overwhelming. One thing I wish the book had was more photos of pieces she writes about, I googled a lot but wish i didn’t have to put down the book and stop the reading but often I just need to see it. I realize some (or most) because of the right and photos being owned by organizations that she puts a pretty good lenses on. I had seen the book on my amazon recommendations before I got it at the library. I just got a used copy in the mail I brought for the Denver goodwill for $5 or so,  while I might not re-read it right away it will be a rather interesting reference for the future trips I’ll take to the British Museum, back to the Louvre, the Getty, the met, and some other here and there. I wish and update for the section in Egypt what is the status of things post revolution, maybe someday there will be and I’ll read it.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Book Club meet up

I finished The Reluctant Fundamentalist last night just in time to met up with the book club after work today. I forgot how much i enjoy book clubs, the discussion, the different things remembered or forgotten, the opinions, and we always seem to go to places with good food. Tonight it was the Nation’s Capital Alum Club group for a book I don’t think I would have found on my own. Even though it’s a New York Times Best Seller and was on the short list for The Booker Prize. It came out a few years before I cared about books or the NYTs. 

The book it’s self i enjoyed, it was different and I so enjoy that surprise me and brake the model. How it was written was unlike anything I had read before, and it was written in such an unique way. 

Possible Spoilers from here on: 

We had a great conversion about how it was a coming of age story, in a way that American stories don’t tell it. The things that are left for you to wonder about. You assume what happen to Erica but you are not sure, you can guess what happens on the last page, but there is so much more going on in this book. I appreciate  a story that in 184 pages that got me thinking so much. We talked about how we viewed our storyteller, how his name is downplayed (almost like Holden Caulfield i though), and the nature of how the Chargez is so young and we can forget that so easily.

Two liked the book one didn’t but the convo was really good, I really liked the book. I realize how young I really was in the 9/11 time and how little I knew of the world then. I can see now how American I was and how I had no idea what the global impact of build up to war had on nations other that ones fighting. 

Highly recommend this book, and a convo after you read it. Image

Diary of Bridget Jones a review

While I’ve loved the movie of Bridget Jones for YEARS. I finally read the book. I brought it a year ago, then it sat on my shelf until I went to Bridget Jones: Mad about a Boy event at Sixth and I. Realizing I’d read read them books I decided to start them. I had started the first one a few times, but struggled since I know the movie it was tough to get started. I knew there would be difference but often when trying to read a book I’ve already seen the movie I notice the differences or can’t engage because I know (or think i know in the case of the Scarlet Letter) what will happen.

Review of Bridget Jones Diary:

While at the Helen Fielding event during the Q&A someone asked about the movie being about Bridget’s love life where the books is more about her relationship with her friends. I found that an interesting point that I could hold on to and see as a positive difference during the time I read the book. Her friends are very supportive, funny, and are the ones that love her “just the way she is.” Bridget’s constant feeling about needs to do and be better, is something that I think everyone (especially women) can relate to. Something I found interesting was the mirror she puts to women’s weight, Bridget is obsessed with loosing a rather small amount of weight, and yet will over eat and stave herself is cycle that is very true for most. The humor, wit, and honest that Fielding rights about is spot on to what it like to be a woman. The over thinking, the worrying, the love, the fear, and even though the book was written and first published in the mid 1990’s and Bridget and I are different generations there is a true and reality that I connect with.

I feel like a cheat for being a book love and a Bridget love that hadn’t read the books, but now I’m hooked and will be starting the second one soon.

Around the same time I read this I had starting writing daily and where my writings every morning are not a novel, or put together as Bridget’s reading this diary helped inspire to process my life and thoughts in written.


Nazi Art Crime books

Nazi Art Crime books

I have this interest in Nazis’ relationship with art. It spans from seeing Rape of Europa but that’s based on some books like monuments men and rape of europa also saving Italy and the the venus fixers came out after i believe. But then there are novels, white collar talked about it, and I keep coming across it. It’s rather interesting intersection of crime, art, history, war, and storytelling. I found this list tonight of novels about Nazi art crime. 

The Madonnas of Leningrad have been sitting on my bookcase for a LONG time maybe its finally time to read it. 

Best Fall 2013 Book Club Books

Best Fall 2013 Book Club Books

A few that were on my list to read just need a book club now…


then we read! 

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