Liz and Gianna are two of a dying breed--traveling sales reps for book publishers--who sell books in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and the Deep South. Since we're constantly on the road hawking books, we must find ways to amuse ourselves. So here we've decided to share our anecdotes, adventures, favorite books, and efforts in making the world (or at least these few states) a more literate place to inhabit.
We are so close to the end. What are we going to do with our time after the extra-special extended book challenge is over? Gianna probably will go back to, uh, working the streets. I will spend an unseemly amount of time pondering Zorro's thoughts and whims. Any suggestions for our little blog? I mean, other than more pictures of my cat?
Day 28: Places We're Inspired to Visit Because of Books We've Read
I don’t think
my answer to this question will come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or
reads our blog on a regular basis. For me the town that just danced, that
absolutely came alive on the page, that to this day I have fantasies about
moving there...my choice is gorgeous Eldorado, Texas which
some refer to as the “Vienna of Texas." I recently drove out West and
passed this hidden gem – just 20 miles from Sonora, Texas (Sonora seems like a
futuristic city compared to Eldorado by the way), but alas I didn’t have time
to stop. Had I been lucky enough to build in an extra day or two into my travel
plans and stopped by picturesque Eldorado, I am sure I would have found the hot
bed of polygamy that Jon Krakauer describes in Under the Banner of Heaven.
I just can’t imagine another town where I would be accepted for exactly who I
choice is Prague. About a year ago I was shopping in a bookstore in
Florida and I happened upon a book of essays by Ivan Klima called The Spirit of
Prague and Other Essays. I don’t know why, but I have always been fascinated by
and wanted to visit the Czech Republic; it's always been on my top five
destinations list (before Alaska and after Eldorado). The highlights of the
book are the opening essays about Klima’s childhood in a Nazi concentration
camp and then an interview with Phillip Roth (he expresses his feelings
about Vaclav Havel and Milan Kundera). There is a interesting essay about
1989’s Velvet Revolution. This is a really good primer for the Czech Republic,
though I do think too much is packed into a few pages ( I mean, a non-violent
overthrow of Communism…you really do want more). [Like some violence?] If you want to be inspired,
read about the Velvet Revolution.
So there it
is, Prague and with any luck I hope to be there this year.
I have a long list of destinations for travel, but for the sake of this blog post I'm going to rule out places I wanted to visit before reading about them. My fascination with Russia is related to St. Basil's Cathedral pictures and an ongoing obsession with totalitarian regimes (Hello Mr. Stalin). I love Canada in part because of artist Emily Carr's paintings. Alaska? The bears. And the birds. And the snow. And Levi Johnston.
As for book-inspired travel spots, I never really considered going to Niagara Falls until I read Joyce Carol Oates's The Falls. A groom throws himself over the falls while on his honeymoon within the first few pages of the book? I'm there. It's no secret that I love Joyce Carol Oates, and one of the reasons for my super-fan worship is that her writing is so vivid that it makes me interested in topics. The history of Niagara Falls (and for that matter, scenic Love Canal) is woven throughout the story of the bride whose hubby jumped moments after consummating their marriage. It may be the ultimate tourist trap, and I doubt Gianna will take me or my sister wives there on our honeymoon, but dammit I want to go there.
My second choice is Beirut. Really. Read The Hakawati and ponder those pigeon wars and fantastic tales.