Tuesday, September 6, 2011

30 More Days Book Challenge: Day 28

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 am!

My second 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.


  1. Alice can tell you all about Prague. She gets to travel all over the world. I married a guy who needs to tend to his tomatoes. My sister says
    Niagara Falls has always been the highlight of her forced visits to Cleveland to visit in-laws. She will only go every other year because they don't like leaving their neighborhood-really.

    Me-I've visited my dream place TWICE this year-the Appalachian Mountains. It helps that #1 son has become a mountain man. The hollers are everything I've ever read about-deep, wooded, and ripe with sin and guilt.

  2. doesn't your husband have to tend to grapes? i will call alice and ask about prague. the last thing you need by the way is more sin and guilt....