Sunday, May 30, 2010

Books: Some recently read

Dreaming of Jupiter by Ted Simon... The author traveled around the world in the early seventies on a motorcycle and wrote the book Jupiter's Travels (read a couple of years ago). At the age of seventy, he decides to reprise the ride around the world once again -- and again on a motorcycle. Retracing most of his earlier journey, he meets some acquaintances from his previous journey. Not surprising, he also finds things and places along his route had changed. In some cases nothing was the same and other places had not changed at all -- especially in the stretch through Africa. Frequently the author compares his younger self to his older self on the journey -- the wisdom of age and acceptance. The events of 9/11 and the ensuing war overlay much of his ride around the world. The author observes and comments on the effects of that in his travels. Most refreshing and quotable are his personal philosophical riffs and observations of the world today versus 30 years earlier.

Among The Cannibals by Paul Raffaele.... Following historical research of the subject, the author travels to some countries to get first hand accounts of those who practiced cannibalism. In some the case of some of these primitive tribes, there is evidence and first hand comments to ensure that it is still practiced. The most disturbing part of the book was finding about the 21st century Ugandan rebel forces making cannibalism part of the initiation into their army. A desensitization of humanity at its worst.

Let's Get Lost by Craig Nelson... subtitled "adventures in the great wide open". This is truly a journey to all the out of the way places around the world. Few places on the tourist paths. This author seems to have a need for a large dose of adrenalin to keep going as he travels where few have gone before to visit way off the path where some tribes live as their ancestors lived 1000 years ago.

Continental Drifter by Elliott Hester... With the downsizing of the airline industry post 9/11, the author gives up his flight attendant position, breaks the lease on an apartment and travels around the world. He visits all those places where he landed at the airport and never saw more than the airport and the hotel where he rested to get back on the plane. Traveling on the edge and taking a few chances, the author relates -- with lots of humor -- the life of traveling the world out of a suitcase.

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