Reading takes you places. As Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Where in the world will your next book take you?
When I was young, I dreamt of seeing the world. Coming from the back country of the Philippines, I was curious to know what other places look like. I did not get out of Batangas, my home province till I went to college in Manila. I always had that nagging feeling to go abroad and widen my horizon.
When I went to college, I thought of majoring in Foreign Service or Journalism so I could get out of the country. But Dad got a different idea and I ended up in Accounting. He needed an accountant in the family. But that did not thwart my dream of going abroad. I pursued my dream and in 1966. in spite of my fear of flying, I left the Philippines on my first trip abroad when I went to Hongkong and then Japan. There’s an interesting story about that trip which should be an interesting post for later. A year later, in 1967, I left for New York.
While working in the business world, I had no time to read. So fast forward to 2011 when I retired to South Carolina. I started reading in earnest. Here are a few of the books I read which took me to interesting places:
1. Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd – United Kingdom
2. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – 12th Century Feudal England
3. A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford – England
4. At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen – Scotland
5. A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt – Ireland
6. Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella – Paris and Troy
7. The Bells by Richard Harvell – Switzerland, Austria, Italy
8. Raised from the Ground by Jose Saramago – Portugal
9. Winter of the World by Ken Follett – Germany, England, Russia and Washington DC.
10. The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot – England Lake District and Russia
11. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – Russia Federation, Soviet Union
12. The Archimedes Codex – Constantinople, Greece, England and New York
13. The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly – England, Africa
14.Through a Glass Darkly – Karleen Koen – England, France
15. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre – England, East Germany
16.Hawaii by James Mitchener – Hawaii, Bora-Bora
17. Day of Infamy by Walter Lord – Pearl Harbor
18. The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck – China
19.The Fall of Japan by William Craig – Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan
20. Rescue at Los Baños by Bruce Henderson – WWII Philippines
21. Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder – Peru
22. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers – Iraq
23. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Afghanistan
24. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande – India and New York
25. Don’t Fall off the Mountain by Shirley Maclaine – Virginia, New York, California Africa, India and the Himalayas.
26. Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins – New York
27. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin – New York and Ireland
28. A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert – Wisconsin, Kansas and New York
29. The March by E.L. Doctorow – Georgia to the sea and up the Carolinas (Civil War)
30. The Only Way to Cross: The Golden Era of the Great Atlantic Liners – From the Mauretania to the France and the Queen Elizabeth 2 by John Maxtone-Graham. – Atlantic Ocean Voyage
There you have them – 30 of my most memorable books that I read and travelled worldwide. I hate plane rides and ocean voyages but I have travelled the world through books, experiencing new authors and cultures along the way. I will keep on reading because as Irwin Shaw said, “There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough.”
Until next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.