Books Checked Out in August at A Traveler's Library

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Sep 08, 2009 / 1 comments


Books Checked Out in August at A Traveler's Library

In the month of August, at A Traveler's Library, where we discuss books and movies that inspire and inform travel, two new books made the top five. A Barry Unsworth novel flew to the top of the stack. Let's get to the books, in case you are looking for some inspiration for your next travels.

Pascali's Island, by Barry Unsworth, set on an unnamed Greek island, pits Turks against Brits and Americans and Germans against everyone. Each of the nations are represented by inhabitants of the island, scheming for control, as the nations struggle in the period before World War II. Pascali writes it all down in a verbose report to his Turkish boss, but he admits that he does not always tell the truth. The novel is a masterpiece of literary fiction, but tells us much about the history of the period as well.  And through Pascali's detailed reports, Unsworth paints an enticing picture of the islands of Greece.


Greek Fishing Boat

Greek Fishing Boat, Vera Marie Badertscher


Staircase of a Thousand Steps, by Masha Hamilton, came off my own shelf, almost as an afterthought. I read it and loved it when it came out in 2002. It deals with TransJordan--the pre-Jordan/Israel map drawing that failed to solve the struggles in the Middle East.  Hamilton, who reported news and wars from Israel for many years,understands the people and their customs and milieu and reports them through this moving story with thoroughly engaging characters.



High Country by Nevada Barr was the first of the National Parks mystery novel series that I had read. I love a celebration, and read High Country to celebrate the free days at National Parks this summer. High Country is set in Yosemite, and while its descriptions of landscape may make you want to go there, the story would certainly give me pause if I were considering a trip into the backcountry. Her offbeat, middle aged female Park Ranger/detective brings the story down to earth. Clever, often funny, and definitely terrifying, this story made me want to go back to the beginning of the Barr mysteries and read all of them.  Her next one sets a mystery in Maine's Acadia National Park.


El Capitan, Yosemite

El Capitan, Yosemit, by Jim outside



Paris Movie Walks, Ten Guided Tours Through the City of Lights, Camera, Action, by Michael Schurmann won me over because the author does not stop with just "this scene took place here" walks through Paris.  He adds tidbits about movies in general, about adapting to Paris, tips on saving money at pricey restaurants, which movies to see before you go, and much more. In other words, something for just about everyone. A delightful sense of humor goes with his dedication to digging up all the details. This book was recently released, and as the author points out, since Paris is a prime scene for movies, a 2nd edition will surely follow the first.


Paris Movie Walks



The Last Aloha, by Gaellen Quinn appeared at A Traveler's Library in conjunction with Hawaii's Fiftieth anniversary of statehood.  However, not everyone in Hawaii sees that anniversary as an occasion to celebrate. Quinn's book explains why, in this newly released historic fiction. Her main character works for one of the descendants of the missionaries and then she moves in with the royal family of Hawaii, so she is positioned to let us know about the thinking of both factions.  In case you thought you had read all you needed to know about Hawaii's history when you finished the huge Hawaii by James Michener--you did not.  This book fills in information about the actions of the United States that may make you cringe a bit, and will at the least, give you a better understanding of the beautiful state that you definitely want to travel to.


THe Last Aloha

The Last Aloha cover, a painting by Princess Ka'iulani



A Traveler's Library currently is planning a virtual road trip, and I am asking readers to help by naming a book or movie that best represents the place they live. I am also giving away copies of The Last Aloha and Irreverent Curiosity (favorite book last month) to two lucky people who subscribe to e-mail delivery this month. See



Vera Marie Badertscher is a freelance travel writer who blogs about books, travel and movies at A Traveler's Library and about a biography she is co-authoring of Navajo artist Quincy Tahoma
She is our Traveler's Library Editor at Wandering Educators.

Comments (1)

  • Jeff Lahr

    14 years 3 months ago

    I am a full time middle school teacher. During the summer I work as a ranger/naturalist in Yosemite National Park. I've read Barr's "High Country." The main idea is based on the true story of a plane carrying weed that crashed in the mountains of Yosemite during the winter. The story is legend. Supposedly, there was a well-worn trial in the snow to the crash site and the next summer many climbers had a lot of new and expensive equipment.

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