A book I haven’t read but ecotourists might want to look at: Disappearing Destinations: 37 Places in Peril and What Can Be Done to Help Save Them (Vintage, 400 pp., $15.95, paperback). Kimberly Lisagor and Heather Hansen won the American Society of Journalists and Authors 2009 Outstanding Book Award for general nonfiction for this collection of travel essays on spots that face an arsenal of threats, including logging (Lapland), mining (Appalachia), overdevelopment (the Galápagos), rising waters (the Maldives), and melting permafrost (the Alps). Pico Iyer writes in his foreword that “many of the marvels of our collective inheritance are disappearing, and because of human neglect or corruption or greed,” and Lisagor and Hansen sought out spots that, if unique, represent the dangers facing many other places.
August 4, 2009
February 18, 2009
The number of yoga schools in my suburb might equal, on a proportional basis, the number of barbecue joints in Kansas City. Exactly why this is so, I don’t know. But we just got our third Starbucks: Maybe people are so hypercaffeinated, they have to go to yoga classes just to come down from their frappuccino highs?
Living in a town where hemp mat bags are a fashion accessory has turned me into literary infidel: a person who keeps recommending a book she hasn’t read. Or opened. Or even seen. It’s Lucy Edge’s memoir, Yoga School Dropout (Ebury, 352 pp., $22), which sounds like an Eat, Pray, Love without the eating, praying, or loving. Apparently Edge went to India looking for spiritual enlightenment and instead had revelations like: “Unfortunately, when you travel, you take yourself with you.” Her book has a whimsical cover that plays with a Hindu-goddess motif.
Obviously these facts don’t tell you nearly enough to recommend a book. But my town has so many yoga schools, people have to be flunking out of some of them. And because I haven’t read Edge’s book, how can I say it wouldn’t comfort the exiles? So I’ve suggested that a few friends visit the Yoga School Dropout Web site, where you can download the first chapter. If you’re looking for a gift for somebody whose Downward Facing Dog got kicked out of obedience school, you might look at it, too.
© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
August 4, 2008
Kerrie at the Mysteries in Paradise blog steered me to Jonathan Gibbs’s traveler-friendly post Around the World in 80 Sleuths in the Independent
www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/crime-fiction-around-the-world-in-80-sleuths-873660.html, which has thumbnail descriptions of 80 fictional crime-solvers and their haunts. The featured sleuths work in places that span the alphabet from roughly Amsterdam (Nicholas Freeling’s Inspector Piet Van der Valk in Because of Cats) to Ystad, Sweden (Henning Mankell’s Inspector Wallander in Faceless Killers). Kerrie covers additional ground on her unusually well-organized mystery blog paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com/, some of it in a recent review of R. N. Morris’s A Gentle Axe, set in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1866.
© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.