October at A Traveler's Library

by pen4hire /
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Nov 04, 2009 / 1 comments

A Monthly Review of A Traveler's Library by

Vera Marie Badertscher

No one should be surprised to learn that a Halloween post was one of the most popular in October at A Traveler's Library. I talked about the spookiest place I had visited this year--Mystere Mansion in New Orleans, which becomes the Haunted Mansion in the fall. Not only was this 3-story house an actual mortuary, but it cozies up to a graveyard AND it is certified haunted by ghost experts.

Instead of just walking through Mansion Mystere, visitors get a short training in ghost hunting, and then wander through the darkened house with equipment such as night goggles, in search of spirits from beyond. When you recall that Anne Rice lives in New Orleans, and spins her tales of vampires and avenging angels from a similar mansion, it all begins to make a spooky sense.

Before Halloween, however, we visited Crete, Africa, Northern Michigan, and France.

Crete: In What Zorba Taught Me about Greece, I talked about both the book by Kazantzakis and the movie staring Anthony Quinn, and how they echoed in my visit to Crete, the largest island of Greece. I said: 

Zorba continued to haunt our travels in Crete, not just because
you cannot get through an evening without hearing the song and watching
somebody try to do his best Zorba imitation on the dance floor. But
also because his spirit so reflects Greece.

Africa: Guest writer Craig Martin of Indie Travel Ipod wrote about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and a kind of reverse effect the book had on him. He said:

In the end, Heart of Darkness is a book that has inspired me to stretch my viewpoint, to act compassionately for social justice, to travel.

Pictured Rock National Lake Shore,on  Lake Superior, Michigan

Upper Peninsula of Michigan: On a press trip to the U. P., I time traveled back to a land that I had learned about through an American classic, Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha. I remembered my mother reading the poem to me and when I saw a children's book edited and beautifully illustrated by Susan Jeffers I bought it for my granddaughter. Here is what I said:

I remember her reading from Longfellow's American literature classic, The Song of Hiawatha about the boyhood of Hiawatha, Ojibwa brave.  Her voice pulsed dramatically with the drum beat of...

By the shores of Gitchee Gumee,

By the shining Big-Sea-Water,

Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,

Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.

France: M.F.K.Fisher, the Ultimate Foodie, the post declared. When I discovered Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, she quickly became one of my favorite writers.


Here's why:

I love food. I love to prepare it, to eat it, and to read about it. So
does Fisher, but her sense of food is so much more educated and refined
than mine will ever be that I will never stop learning from her.

The post explored two of her many books about France, including As They Were, which talks about her early years in France. This was the second of a new series called France on Fridays at A Traveler's Library.

I inaugurated France on Friday with the newly restored version of Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. (And yes, that's the way he spelled it.) I highly recommend this book to travelers, writers and historians.

Other new books included Heart of the Buddha by Emily Sze, which provides the traveler with interesting cultural information about Bhutan, but fails as a novel; Weird World, a book I thought might be suitable for a nine-year-old boy; and Strange Maps by Frank Jacobs, an endlessly fascinating book that I whole heartedly recommend to all who might be mapophiles.

Vera Marie Badertscher travels when she can and reads constantly. She brings these two loves together at A Traveler's Library, where she writes about books and movies that inspire travel. You can follow her on Twitter @pen4hire, and find her on Facebook or Linkedin with her whole name.



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