Best Book + Destination Combo


A trip to Guatemala goes well with Miguel Angel Asturias. The President is a little more accessible. Men of Maize is his magnum opus, and it won him the Nobel Prize, though it’s quite experimental and requires more attention.

Some years ago, I read Mario Vargas Llosa’s Death in the Andes while traveling through the Peruvian highlands. Was also a really good combination.



Oh I love that book ! Read it last year , my first book by Asturias although there are two others I want to read eventually.

Also very good on a similar subject although set in the Dominican republic during the dictatorship of Trujillo “feast of the goat” by Llosa. One of the most terrifying books I’ve read!

Death in the Andes I wasn’t so keen on and in general I find Llosa a bit of a mixed bag. Some of his books “feast of the goat” and “war of the end of the world” about the war of Canudos in Brazil are mindblowingly good IMO. Others like “the bad girl” and “the green house” I just couldn’t get into.

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I read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals while on a Disney cruise to Nova Scotia. At the time it was one of those books a lot of people mentioned but nobody actually read, so I figured “what the heck”. It isn’t nearly interesting as people suppose and I think Mr ALinsky would have had plenty of trouble in our #metoo era. But walking around on the deck of cruise ship with a book that clearly says SAUL ALINSKY RULES FOR RADICALS on the cover was a great way to avoid strangers who might have otherwise started up some useless chitchat. In a similar vein, I was once walking through the busy midtown farmers market here carrying a soft cover notebook with a leatherette cover and one of those ribbon bookmarks built into the binding. It had been a gift from a friend. As it happened I was also wearing dark pants and shoes, a white button-down oxford shirt and a tidy backpack. I seemed to be having an easier time than usual navigating the lunchtime crowd that day.
Then I realized that people were giving me a wide berth because they were mistaking me for a proselytizing missionary of some sort. After realized its crowd parting power, I started carrying that faux-Bible notebook frequently, or should I say wielding?. No traveler should be without one!



This is fantastic advice.



My first trip to Kyoto in 2005 was made even more interesting by having a copy of Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha which had just hit the bookstores. It was great to read about Gion leading up to WWII and then getting out during the day and walking around the same area. I have stopped in on Japan almost every time I visit my wife’s home country of Thailand and it has become my favorite place to visit. We are retiring and moving to Thailand in two years, but I can see myself using Japan as my favorite “visa run” destination, enough to where I am currently learning to read and write Hiragana and Katakana (perhaps Kanji, once I do retire). I thought the film by the same name was pretty good as well, aside from the fact that many of the main actors in the film were not Japanese.



I’m going to Galway, Ireland for a conference in May. Any suggestion for that area?

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Not a book suggestion unfortunately but two film suggestions :“Disco pigs” and “Wind that shakes the Barley” both with Cillian Murphy and set in Galway

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There are certainly more serious and helpful picks here, but Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut made for a winning book + destination combo for me.



I love that book!



I would highly recommend Pete McCarthy’s McCarthy’s Bar for anyone traveling in Ireland.

Also Jeremiah Moss’s Vanishing New York for NYC locals or visitors.

If you find yourself in Tulsa, OK, then S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders is a great local read. Many places mentioned are still there.



The play The Cripple of Inishmaan is set on the nearby Aran Islands. Also, McCarthy’s Bar is a great Irish read in general.