Saturday, June 20, 2015

reading while driving: Laos, Vietnam, Australia, Pacific Crest Trail, Armenia, Morocco....

Reading this week: reads to drive along to. Since this week, I have to drive about 1 to 1,5 hours on a route that often comes with traffic jams, and the destination isn't that great either: to the hospital and back, each day of the week, for 7 weeks. To make that drive less frustrating, I now revived my old e-book reader. Which comes with a really nice feature: it has an audio setting. So it can read stories and books to me while I drive. Works pretty well, and makes the drive easier. To add some spin to that, the idea is to read stories and books from different countries.

Here are the books and stories I read this week, and the places they took me to:


"Scared to Life: A Memoir Paperback" by Jillian Webster
This is a beautiful and reflective memoir of a long world trip, a trip that leads from Europe to Asia, and to Australia. What I enjoy is the mix of places, some I know and been to myself: Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy...and also the South-Asian loop: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. Reading those chapters brings back my own memories of travelling in South Asia, while the chapter about Australia takes me to a continent I've never been to myself.
Beyond the places, the book includes the time before and after the journey, which gives the book a larger horizon. Here's the summary: "After years of heartache, she walks away from the Jehovah's Witnesses, losing her family forever. Forging ahead with nothing but her backpack, Jillian sets out on a global journey across Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia in search of the life she risked all for."
Jillian Webster also has a website about her travels and the book:



"Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart" 
Another book I came across while browsing and searching for good "driving" reads is about a long-distance hike. Carrot Quinn is a long distance hiker, and like Cheryl Strayed with her memoir “Wild”, she wrote a book about her trail experience – and now is blogging from another trail. I started to read her current blog entries, and now bought the memoir "Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart", which starts near the border of Mexico and leads to Canada.

So far, I never hiked long-distance, but I once did long bike rides, including a marathon. And I have fond memories of going for short hikes in the French Alps, stunned by the way the scenery keeps changing every couple of minutes. Above is a photo from one of those hikes.

Just reading about being out there and reaching out to the horizon brings a freshness to the day. Plus, I hadn't thought about it when ordering, but some unexpected parallels between those long hikes, and long times of treatment come to mind: that you need to keep going, and get up each morning. That it's not comfortable, but that you do it anyway. That no one can take that walk for you, but that there is a solidarity growing between you and all other who are on that walk. And that there is, somewhere in the distance, the point that waits to be reached.

If you want to read a bit of the hike, Carrot Quinn's website is "Dispatches from the wild". She also  blogs there from her current hike.


Next to the books, I read some short stories - and just looking for interenational  short stories was interesting.

When looking for a story from Armenia, I arrived at a new online magazine: The Amenite, which is "an online media outlet of Armenian news, culture, politics, society, and history, with showcases of art and literature,"

Here are two links from it, the first is an essay on language and storytelling, and the second is a short story that reaches from Syria to Armenia and the US:

The same happened when I looked for stories from Morocco: I arrived at an online magazine of Moroccan writing. “al-hakawati Arab Cultural Trust is an independent non-profit educational organization. Management and staff are located in Beirut, Lebanon, and New Jersey, USA. al-hakawati is the Arabic word for “the storyteller”. They feature an online anthology of Moroccan stories called "The Moroccan Dream". The first dream is a dream about writing and stortelling: The Interpretation of Dreams


Global Reading Challenge 2015 + Currently Reading:

For 2015, I try to read books / authors from different countries, the idea is to visit all continents. Here's more about that plan: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books.

In a previous book post, I put together some reading statistics and book memories of 2014 - so if you are into geeky reading statistics, try this link: A year in reading in geek statistics +  book memories

For more reading notes, click here: life as a journey with books. A reading list by regions is online at: World Reads by country

1 comment:

Terry Branna said...

I was trying to read something while driving but so many things destruct me and inspire me, that's why I decided to write instead of reading. I was writing stories about what I see, what I feel, and add a little magic in every story. Than I started to write my homework while driving. I wrote amazing essay which I think can compete even with works of custom college essay writing service. That's how I found out that driving is my inspiration.