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review 2016-06-11 00:21
The Road Has Eyes: A Relationship, An RV and a Wild Ride - Art Rosch

This book takes the reader on an adventure with the great outdoors as a backdrop and a burgeoning supporting cast of characters from across the country, seen through the eyes of the author and his partner, through filter of life experience and a stark spirituality that eschews the written page to draw you in as if you were actually there to experience the stark joys, the near-crippling fears and aggravating frustrations.

The author explores the pitfalls and joys of life on the road with charming honesty that it reads less like a book and more like a great evening with friends and the slide show of their latest great adventure. Yes, I know that last sentence, seriously tells my age, however it is with fond warmness that I recall many evenings in my childhood spent in just such a way.

At the end of the book the Mr. Rosch includes his ‘information guide’ to owning, buying and running an RV, complete with anecdotes. If you are contemplating such a life changing journey of your own and the preceding book hadn’t kept your attention then a read through the appendix will probably convince you that this life is doable.

All in all I have to say this was a seriously enjoyable, not-to-be-put-down kind of read and I am glad to have had the chance to gain some insight into the RV travel lifestyle and learn more about this author.
5 stars

This book was well worth the price of purchase.

Source: ireadwhatyouwrite.wordpress.com/2016/05/21/book-review-the-road-has-eyes-an-rv-a-relationship-and-a-wild-ride
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review 2016-05-29 17:13
Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey - Brad Herzog
  Using The Odyssey and The Iliad as travel guides Brad Herzog travels the U. S. stopping in small towns between his home and his alma mater using the 30 days given to him by his wife to solve his mid-life crisis. This was an interesting travel story. He hits a lot of small towns with classic names to determine what he has accomplished and what has brought him satisfaction. He does come to an answer. I liked how he compared his life to Odysseus' life. It helps to have read The Odyssey for the frames of reference. I liked the people he met and the stories he told of them. An neat way to get through a mid-life crisis.
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review 2014-06-28 03:03
Three Men in a Boat /by Jerome K. Jerome ; narrated by Hugh Laurie
Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome,Hugh Laurie

The first time I heard of Three Men in a Boat it was while reading To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. Part of her story pays homage to Three Men in a Boat, and both stories are enjoyable.


I laughed out loud several times at the antics of George, Harris, Jerome, and Montmorency. I loved the British humor, the slapstick, the sarcasm and tongue-and-cheek remarks. The book was an entertaining and (mostly) pleasant trip down the Thames, and I can't imagine spending it in better company than with these three men and their dog.


Several times I thought of Mark Twain's writing as I read this, in particular Life on the Mississippi and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This book was significantly shorter than those two stories, and I wouldn't really say that it was laced with social commentary, but it was every bit as humorous and interesting as those works. Well worth it if you need a quick pick-me-up and a good laugh or two.


The version I listened to on audiobook was narrated by the marvelous Hugh Laurie, and I am certain that his narration enhanced the humor even further.

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review 2014-05-16 09:41
Interesting Twist on the Traditional Photo Travelogue
Rajasthan: India's 'Land of Kings' - A Photographic Journey - Jo Coad,Mike Coad

This short but fascinating photo travelogue by the husband-and-wife team of Mike and Jo Coad is one of many they’ve produced. The book is an entertaining, visual look at Rajasthan (literally “Land of Kings”), India’s largest state not far from New Delhi. It offers commentary and stunning photos of Rajasthan’s best tourist destinations, including Jaipur.


I’ve visited many places around the world but have yet to visit Rajasthan. This photographic journey gave me ample taste of what to expect. I suspect that the authors’ other travelogues offer similar adventures off the beaten path. Though short, their travel journal features beautiful color photos and enlightening personal commentary to help would-be visitors prepare for their own trips.


Publishing a short book with material often featured on blogs offers an interesting take on travel writing. While a novel concept, it faces the same challenges that all travelogues do; that is, a lot of travel information and photos are available online for free. It’s a crowded market. The Coad’s book offers some great information for the would-be traveler or armchair tourist, but it does not cover enough new ground to merit a substantial investment. Virtually everything in this travelogue can be found elsewhere for a pittance. Their travelogue may be worth a pretty penny for those planning a trip to one of their featured destinations, want to know what to visit, see, and do there, and/or want to live vicariously through the Coads. Their photography is also worth a look.


This photographic journal – and perhaps all of the Coad’s travelogues – merit four (4) stars for excellent photos and content. This rating is tempered by the reality that free information about places like Rajasthan is readily available online. Their travelogues may be ideal for those planning trips who want to read more personal accounts of their destinations.

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review 2013-05-19 20:22
A View of Thai Life
Tone Deaf in Bangkok: And Other Places - Janet Brown

Years ago I sat in a Thai restaurant in Kansas watching a young lady pour hot tea into my cup. I knew that day I had fallen in love with that woman. She has been my wife for ten years now. What I didn’t know was that another love affair had started that day as well, one with Thailand and her people. Over the years I have sought to learn all I can about the country and it’s people, all without having the opportunity to set foot on Bangkok's streets. Books have been one of my main sources of information and enjoyment. I have taken in any book I could find with fierce gluttony. That is why I am ever grateful when an author like Janet Brown shares their experiences of the land I have loved from afar. 


Mrs. Brown takes her reader through a small portion of her life as a westerner in Bangkok in the same way someone tells a story over coffee. There is no real sense of time, she just shares what has effected her most. She talks about small things with an acute focus, like a mattress being abandoned in an overgrown vacant lot. She focuses on the people she met, like her friend Eddy, who exemplifies the Thai philosophy of Sanuk, or having fun. She showcases many Thai attitudes about life like their concern over ghosts. A belief in the after life weaving it’s way through everyday life is a staple of Thai culture. Whatever aspect she discusses she keeps it personal, these are her memories of her spiritual home and she isn’t glossing them over for to convince anyone to buy plane tickets and stay in four star hotels.


Each of the chapters are short and vivid, like someone sharing photographs and explaining each one with more memory than detailed events. The actual photographs used in the book, taken by Nana Chen, are perfect complements to Browns Polaroid chapters. They are wonderful shots taken of Bangkok life not seen in travel brochures. She catches people at their most natural whether they are a vendor selling food or using the bus. 


This book is not a guidebook that talks about all the fun places you can shop at to pick up distinctively Thai items to bring home as gifts. This book is not a travelogue that recalls a pleasant vacation taken by someone expecting to go home when it’s all done. I wouldn’t even call this a memoir, for that would imply the author was leading you along a path of thought she wanted you to follow. This is not the kind of book that demands from you, it is the kind that gives.


This book is more like a collection of poetry, short glimpses of a life being led comfortably out of place, or like an avant-grade independent film. It gives you beautifully disjointed views of a time and place. It takes you through a loose knit story that is too internal to show and better implied and when it reaches the end it offers no conclusion, for that is for you to determine. Of course, everyone who watches this movie will disagree about what the point was. My view of this book is simple, it was written for the author herself first and foremost, but it was also written for anyone who has lived and loved in this Kingdom. It invites those who have not, to find in the real Thailand those special moments when you know you have fallen in love. 


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