Books, Writing, History, and Me

In “Books, Writing, History, and Me” I share my thoughts on travel, cooking, van-life, books, the process of writing, the experiences of an indie-publisher, WWII, the Holocaust, and anything else I feel might be of interest to readers of my books. Please send me comments and let me know what you like and what you want to know more about. Everything in this blog reflects my personal ideas and feelings–a memoir of sorts, it is my perspective and any errors or omissions are mine.

Finally Rajasthan (Part 3 of Return to India)

After five days in Northern India seeing the iconic sites of the classic Mogul emperors, we headed west.  Finally, I would see Rajasthan. The largest state in India, it hugs the Pakistani border and much of it consists of the inhospitable Thar Desert.  Once the home of the Rajput maharajas, Rajasthan literally means “the land of Kings.” […]

Elderhostel and Agra Revisited (Part 2 of Return to India)

After 28 years, I was again in India.  This time, rather than sharing a romantic adventure with my new husband, I was on an Elderhostel tour with my older sister, Una. I had reached the ripe age of 55, which at that time was the age the travel group considered elder-enough. Of course, younger travel partners were allowed to accompany their significant other, but Una and I both qualified on our own. […]

2021-05-02T20:09:40+00:00April 16th, 2021|Tags: , , , , |5 Comments

A Reading Challenge for Travel Lovers

I have been aware of book-reading challenges for some time but I never thought I would join one.  My own bookshelves offer enough of a challenge. I am a book buying addict and my shelves overflow with books waiting to be read. I love used book stores, Friends of the Library shops, and most of all, the shelves of college bookstores in the English literature section.  I have a weakness for YA fiction because of its edginess and always check out those shelves in bookstores. Even the neighborhood Little Free Library across the street from my home occasionally offers up treasures.  My Kindle library is almost as full as my actual book shelves. During the “stay at home days” of 2020, I, like many, read more than ever and made inroads into my stacks of unread books. And I have to admit I bought a few new books too. The [...]

2021-01-17T19:09:18+00:00January 17th, 2021|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Memory of a Beijing Market

March 2003. Tom burst into the room as I finished my second cup of tea.  “I’ve found the market,” he announced.  “It’s just around the corner.” We had arrived in Beijing the afternoon before.  After checking into the hotel, eating a Chinese meal in a dining room filled with western tourists, and wandering Tiananmen Square in the falling dusk, we fell into bed, heavy with travel fatigue. But our body clocks were not yet on Beijing time and we were both wide awake while the city still struggled to turn night into morning.  My husband, normally an early riser, decided to explore the neighborhood as dawn slowly crept through the alleyways. I opted for a quiet moment with hot tea and a guide book. […]

2020-08-30T04:13:35+00:00August 30th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , |1 Comment

A Lifelong Traveler Looks Back at her Passports

“I am a lifelong traveler, have visited every continent except Antarctica, and have not been without a valid passport since I was sixteen.” This quote, lifted from my Instagram bio, represents what I believed to be true until I began to write this post. . . . which says something about personal memory and the veracity of memoir.  But more on that another time. I love my collection of passports – each represents a different stage in my life and a different group of travel memories. […]

2020-07-18T18:22:20+00:00July 18th, 2020|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Paris Memoirs of Art and Love

Art and Paris memories flow from A Paris Year, by Janice MacLeod. I found this book just as the Covid-19 pandemic nudged into our consciousness. Days later, I regretfully cancelled a planned “April in Paris/Tulip season in the Netherlands” trip. Instead of walking the streets of Paris myself, I read Janice’s book, a delightful guide to the vicarious delights of France’s most famous city. […]

2020-05-25T19:51:01+00:00May 25th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Travel as Education (after the Pandemic)

For those of us with travel in our DNA, this is a difficult time. We are stranded in our homes with no place to go. Besides this, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents have unexpectedly found themselves home alone educating their children. As they struggle with this difficult role, many parents can’t wait for schools to reopen. They want their children back in a classroom environment. It seems like a good time to share my belief that education outside the classroom can be just as important to expanding minds as any normal schoolroom curriculum. Subjects like science, literature, art, history, civics, anthropology, and geography are easily pursued at home with the aid of the internet and books. Paradoxically, the current stay-at-home orders remind me of the value of travel for children. OK, I can hear you screaming, “But we can’t travel! We have to stay at home.” Very true. [...]

Comparable Books for A Travel Memoir

A nonfiction book (including a travel memoir such as Wherever the Road Leads) is first presented to an agent or publisher in the form of a book proposal. One of the most important elements of this proposal is the section of competitive and complementary books. These are often called “Comps.” I looked for narratives that matched my own in some way. I scanned memoir lists for woman authors who wrote of long road trips. These are popular, though most focus on solo travel and personal discovery. I found stories of travel with a man, told from the woman’s perspective, to be a rare commodity. Travel books that talked of the local cuisine were a  easier to find. Illustrated memoirs were also rare. Still, my search turned up many worthwhile books, and I developed a list of comps. […]

2020-03-20T19:19:11+00:00March 20th, 2020|Tags: , , |1 Comment
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