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Showing posts from November, 2014

Literary Tourism

I invite you to consider this a Part 2 to last week's blog post, which was inspired by my yearning to fast forward two years so that I can backpack through Southeast Asia.  But whereas in that post I listed books to enjoy in lieu of travel, in this one I will list destinations for people who enjoy books. 

1. London, England - I have heard great things about this city's bookshops.  Plus many great writers, such as John Keats, David Bowie, Virginia Woolf and Charles Dickens were born, inspired by, or resided here.  Plus the cold and rainy weather is ideal for reading (according to every Pinterest user ever, at least). 
2. Writers' houses-turned-museums - There are bajillions of them, but the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut sounds especially beautiful.
3. Walden Pond Reservation, Concord, Massachusetts - THIS IS THE NATURAL HAVEN IMMORTALIZED IN WALDEN BY DAVID HENRY THOREAU!  You can actually visit it! There's a replica of his shack!  You can look for the pond wh…

Book Substitutes for Travel

I have recently fallen in love with the idea of taking a gap year after I graduate from high school.  I think knowing that there is a spectacular backpacking trip to Southeast Asia at the end of the nightmarish, sleepless tunnel of high school will make it easier to endure :D  But while I am still trapped in the United States, I intend to travel vicariously through books instead.  

1. Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell - An unspontaneous, bookish 16-year-old girl (ohmigod, that's me!) is "kidnapped" by her bohemian grandmother and dragged through Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.  
2. City of Beasts by Isabel Allende - The story of another uptight young person - male, in this case - whose eccentric grandmother takes him adventuring - in the Amazon, in this case.  Allende tackles environmental issues and the persecution of native peoples by Westerners, all the while describing the jungle in ethereal detail and telling a great story.
3. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oli…

Book Review: Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card

The title of this book may sound vaguely familiar to you, even if you're pretty sure you haven't read it, and that's probably because its companion, Ender's Game, was recently turned into a mediocre movie.   Neither book is anywhere near mediocre, however.  Science fiction gets a bad rep because it is often described as cheesy and solely for geeks, but Orson Scott Card's novels are good stories by any standards.  Sure, they play into some stereotypes of the genre: both books are set in the future, at an outer space Battle School where children are trained to be soldiers in an impending war with a hostile alien race.  But all of this is merely a backdrop for Card to work out the answers to his questions about war, mercy, selflessness, community, humanity, success, and genius.
Ender's Shadow is written from the perspective of Bean, previously an enigmatic secondary character in Ender's Game, which was centered around the flashier Ender Wiggin.  Both boys …