“I’m going to retire and travel around the world.”
“I’m going to stay longer in several places.”
(More pause.)
The attending bookseller hears, “What books should I read?”

Never at a loss to answer unasked questions, Roseledge Books suggests the following beginning list of books by people with purpose who have travelled to many places.

#1 choice, no question:
Maira Kalman’s And the Pursuit of Happiness
reports with words and drawings a yearlong investigation of democracy and how it works. She uses monthly visits to very different places to make her different, but finally inclusive, points. She and the book, which I read as a blog in the NYT, are charming.(I also love her unusual memoir, Principles of Uncertainty.)


Re: hand-knits, low-tide striped sweaters have wider bands of kelp-colored yarn.

Owen Gingerich’s The Book Nobody Read reports his 30-year quest “to see in person all 600 extant copies of the first and second editions of [Copernicus’] De revolutionibus, including those owned and annotated by Galileo and Kepler.  Part biography of a book, part scientific exploration, and part bibliographic detective story,” I enjoyed them all. In a similar vein, a friend of a friend is trying to see all the Vermeer’s in the world.

Timothy Egan’s The Good Rain reports his “travels through Washington, Oregon, and southern Vancouver, following the route taken by an earlier traveler, Theodore Winthrop, 150 years ago.” He looks at now, compares it with then, and comments. I love that his trek is replicable if you are energetic and physically flexible and that he works from an earlier report, much as do Tim Severin and William Dalrymple (see below).

Tim Severin’s Spice Islands Voyage reports his return to the Indonesian Archipelago that Alfred Russell Wallace explored 140 years ago as he wrote about and thereby, with Darwin, shared the discovery of evolution.

William Dalrymple’s From the Holy Mountain, replicates in reverse the late 6th C. travels of John Moschos and Sophronius as they visit and report on the monasteries from Egypt to Mt. Athos in Greece and notes, unexpectedly (as I recall), the twilight of eastern Christianity. In my post-1991 quest to learn about the Near and Mideast, Dalrymple’s was a most useful survey. Paul Theroux’s Pillars of Hercules and Eric Newby’s On the Shores of the Mediterranean cover similar territory but with different purpose.


More granite and floating kelp change stripe widths in hand-knit tidal sweaters.

A Roseledge Books Regular also recommended:
Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation “takes us on a road trip like no other — a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.” (All quotes are from Amazon’s Book Descriptions.)
Other suggestions?


“I’m hot and bored.”
(Indefinite pause.)
RB ears hear, “What book is perfect?”

Well, today I would suggest Norb Vonnegut’s Top Producer which I am just finishing.  It is my latest effort to learn about finance through fiction, and I like it a lot.

The fog has lifted, but I don’t see you coming up the walk.

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  1. Barb Minor says:

    Our book club at work just finished The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life by Ann Vanderhoof, in which she eats her way around the cuisines of the Caribbean. Recipes after every chapter enticed us to plan a outing to Marla’s for such food next week. This book is a follow-up to An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude, about her life aboard a 47-foot boat. A far piece from Tenant’s Harbor, but fun nonetheless. Oh how I wish I WAS coming up the walk to bask on your porch. It has been four years already since my friend and I stopped in.

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