Armchair Travels: What the Board is Reading

The board members of the Friends of the Seattle Public Library seem to be doing a lot of armchair traveling these days, even if it’s exploring what it means to be an outsider here in America.  Here’s a sample of what they’re reading in case you’re looking for recommendations:

Tall Man : The Death of Doomadgee, by Chloe Hooper.  This true-crime story explores the death of an Australian Aborigine who was arrested for swearing at a white police officer and then died in jail within an hour.  While the book follows the manslaughter trial, Hooper also explores Aboriginal life and the long history of institutional racism in Australia.  Board member Connie found the story tragic, exhausting, and worth reading.  Critics have compared the novel favorably to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song.

 

 

Nomad’s Hotel : Travels in Time and Space, by Cees Nooteboom; translated from the Dutch by Ann Kelland.  Nooteboom is a Dutch novelist and travel writer, and this series of travel essays covers trips made from the 1970s through 2002.  The Booklist review notes that “descriptive travelogue ranks second to considerations of the destinations as repositories of the past. Whether in Venice, Isfahan, or Timbuktu, Nooteboom sees a place through its physical relics and literary associations. The traveler’s innate foreignness, however well informed before arrival in a new place, burgeons with significance for Nooteboom. A traveler arrives, sees, and departs, not likely to return.”

 

Gertrude Bell : Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations, by Georgina Howell.   Board member Mary enjoyed this biography of Gertrude Bell, an extraordinary woman who took the world by storm in the early 1900s.   The starred review in Booklist by Donna Seaman notes that “Born to British industrial wealth and civic prominence during the Victorian era, [Gertrude Bell] possessed boundless self-confidence, courage, and vitality. The first woman to earn top honors in history at Oxford, Bell was fluent in six languages, and became an intrepid traveler and celebrated mountaineer. Tragically unlucky in love, she romanced the world instead. Discovering her spiritual home in the Middle East, Bell transformed herself into a cartographer, archaeologist, writer, and photographer as she undertook perilous journeys to fabled desert outposts, commanding the respect of powerful Bedouin sheikhs. During World War I, Bell became the expert on Mesopotamia for British military intelligence, and a more crucial force in the forming of modern Iraq than that of her friend, T. E. Lawrence. From Cairo to Basra to Baghdad, Bell, against fierce adversity, devoted herself to justice.”

Digging to America, by Anne Tyler (e-book read by Blair Brown).  This novel follows two families who meet by chance at the airport to greet their newly adopted baby girls from Korea.  One family is very “American,” while the other family has more recent immigrant roots.  As the two families get to know each other, the Iranian-born narrator grandmother explores impressions of American, and what it means to try to fit in . . . . or not.  Board member Joan especially enjoyed listening to Blair Brown’s reading of the book, so the link above is to the Books on Tape version, which can be downloaded electronically.  It is of course also available in hardback and in large print.

 

 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Armchair Travels: What the Board is Reading

  1. Houston, TX – The Houston Texans signed Andre Johnson to a two-year develop magnitude on Thursday, a see to that, according to the Houston Account, makes him the highest paid far-reaching receiver in the NFL.

    Johnson, 29, led the NFL in receiving yards the matrix two seasons and had five years and $35 million remaining on his existing contract.

    The Account reported the wing to be significance $38.5 million, including $13 million guaranteed. On normal, Johnson will at the moment manufacture $10.5 million per year all through the next seven seasons, not including fulfilment incentives.

    “I on all occasions said I wanted to act after single band, and to be skilful to frivolity representing the Houston Texans for my unbroken career is a tremendous honor,” Johnson said. “I everlastingly said I wanted to be mainly of something special, and I knew that coming to a unique constitution, things were wealthy to be a baby disrespectful in the beginning, and with it I have a hunch like things are enchanting that turn for the benefit of us.”

    The University of Miami-Florida product has dog-tired his thorough seven-year race in Houston after the Texans selected him with the third all-embracing pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.

    Johnson has recorded back-to-back 1,500-yard receiving seasons, including a 101-catch, 1,569-yard effort last year. He also scored nine touchdowns in 2009 to up his fly comprehensive to 42 TDs in 102 games.

    “For the mould two years, nobody has played to the level that this girlish chains has as protracted that I’ve been round, other than at one other person,” said head cram Gary Kubiak. “What he’s been doing has been primary, and there’s a collection more to come. So, that’s prospering to be exciting.”

    He has caught 587 passes for the sake of 7,948 yards over the progress of his calling, just two of the numerous confederate records he owns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s