Monday, October 1, 2012

Currently Reading: Invisible Cities, Forgotten Highways

this blog post is inspired by the blog series "It's Monday! What are you reading?" which is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. more about that, at the bottom of this post

Currently i am reading two books that feel like counterparts: the first is about imaginary cities, the second is about (very real) historic walking trails through the wilderness:

Invisible Cities
The author of "Invisible Cities" is Italo Calvino, who was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. A web friend of mine read his "Winter Night" a while ago and recommended it, saying: "..that book really wowwed me – it is a writer’s book, a book for writers. I’ve posted several entries while reading it, the final entry sort of sums it up: If on a winter’s night a traveler – Finale."

The same Wow goes to Invisible Cities from my side. The book, on first glance brief, describes a fictive ongoing conversation between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo, which includes 55 portraits of imaginary cities, and each city reads like a zen riddle that hints at society, architecture, the shapes we form to live in. Both a metaphorical and philosophical book, it also adresses the nature of journeys - and of language. A quote from it and an abstract photo it inspired, here: Cities and their Mirrors

Forgotten Highways
Again, it was a blog recommendation that I followed here: Shonna in Canada blogged about the book in September: "This fascinating book details one summer in the lives of the authors who were inspired by history to hike five mountain trails first found by four early explorers." (full review: Forgotten Highways)

The book turned out to be a great follow-up on the 2 other walking memoirs i read this year, and both immensly enjoyed: Wild by Cheryl Strayed and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, with "Forgotten" Highways adding more of the historical dimension of those trails. The first 2 books already made go and look for the classic long-distance walking route here in Europe,the "Jakobsweg", and find that it crosses through near here, which lead to a walk there already (walking "El Camino de Santiago", or: a home journey)

Open City, Empty City, Invisible City - Walk, Wild, Highway
Like the "Walk" theme, the "City" theme is now starting to form a book chain, starting with reading "Open City" by Teju Cole earlier this year, and then "The Empty City" by Berit Ellingsen not long ago, and now Invisible Cities. I tried a book collage, to visualize the reading journey - if you know of other books that might fit well into this picture, let me know.

Print books and e-books
Another thing that the collage is showing if you look at it closer: both "Wild" and "The Empty City" are e-books, their titles are only printed for the collage. "Wild" is the first book i read as e-book, and if it had been available i the format, i probably had ordered "Invisible Cities" as e-book, too - but i found it as second-hand version with this wonderful cover, and Forgotten Highways has photos and maps included, so for both books it feels, print is the more fitting option. The same goes for the "long-term" book i am currently reading -- which is missing in the picture, thinking of it - it's "A History of the World in 100 Objects". In the book at a reading pace of 1 object / day, i reached the chapter on "First Cities" just now while reading "Invisible Cities". (More about the 100 Objects, here: a History of the World in 100 Objects)


It's Monday! What are you reading? This blog post is inspired by the blog series "It's Monday! What are you reading?" which is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. participating blogs are listed in this Linky Book List

Previous reading blog entries are collected here: bookshelf + monday reads. there also is a visual bookshelf, just click it to get there:

Some lines about me: I'm into roads, stories, places, crossings, and all the things they lead and connect to. I edit BluePrintReview and the blueprint book + lit blog. Apart from being an editor and blogger, I am also an author myself. My new book Worlds Apart just launched:

Worls Apart: the true story of 2 friends, 2 journeys, and 10 life lessons  
In the global world, a traveler from Europe and a teacher from Asia meet in the web, share their journeys, and the joys, longings, and life lessons that wait along the road. Captured in letters and photos that reach from China and India to Germany and the Mediterranean Sea, a dialogue across continents and cultures unfolds: Worl(d)s Apart


Marie said...

Great selections for travelers + places lovers. Here's my Monday post.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Very tempting books! Hope you enjoy them all, and here's MY MONDAY MEMES POST

Dorothee Lang said...

Marie, Laurel: thanks for stopping by and adding your links. i'm really enjoying this monday-book-linking. and so interesting to see what everyone is reading.

Berit Ellingsen said...

Great to hear you enjoyed Invisible Cities, along side The Empty City and Open City!

Thank you so much again for mentioning The Empty City and for blogging about the very cool Invisible Cities.

Winter's Night sounds like a very awesome book, it sounds so tempting when you call it a writer's book. That immediately makes me want to read it. :)

Best of luck with the continued reading and blogging! :)

Heidi’sbooks said...

Invisible Cities and Following Highways sound awesome. I'm checking my library. Thanks for visiting my blog.