Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts

Find in catalogThis book is incredible. The fact that it is based on a true story is even more amazing. Robert’s life is a wild mixture of danger, passion and philosophy. He is constantly being challenged mentally, physically and even spiritually. The book is vivid with violence and pain but it also has an astounding balance of love. Roberts story is an epic saga that takes you on a journey through places unimaginable. Highly recommend this book to adventure seekers and travelers who might be able to relate to the thrill and adrenaline rush of Shantaram.

Hits Below the Beltway: A vicious and unprovoked attack on our most cherished political institutions by Dave Barry

Find in catalogDave Barry is just plan wonderful and I value his comic insight that never fails to make me laugh and make me think at the same time. What a wonderful and delightful combination. It is pure delight to hear his creative genius and I am excited to read or listen to anything else he has had a part of. I absolutely despise politics and this was right up my alley and while he says numerous times that this is a work of fiction, I found his insights on government right on the money. It is all sadly hilariously not far from the truth. Definitely a good book for a road trip!

Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

Find in catalogChelsea Handler’s latest book is my favorite thus far. Just imagine her in a crazy travel situation and get ready to laugh till you cry. Her travel advice is actually pretty sound and worth listening to. Her misadventures range from looking for tigers in Africa to getting lost in Montana when skiing on a ski resort.

You only live once: a lifetime of experiences for the explorer in all of us by Ann Abel

Find in catalogWow, what a gorgeous book! Extra large size with wonderful photographs on almost every page; the sky is the limit to the ideas you might want to put on your bucket list….but still you have to know these areas and events exist–and this is the book to put new zip into your ideas for life enrichment. Its scope is global, and not everything is expensive. Ideas are arranged by the time it might take to accomplish one item on your ‘list.”  A minute, an hour, a day, a month, and a year (for those who really love travel?).  Anyway, this is really fun; I recommend it if you need new inspiration.

The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews

The Traveler's GiftThe Traveler’s Gift contains the imagination of an excellent writer, blended with a provoking element that most “self help” books offer.

I started to read this book wondering how a story can motivate me to think deeply about my intentions, emotions, and attitudes. However, the connection to learning (or re-learning) good life lessons and my attitudes toward “circumstances” was made very clear in the passing of each chapter.

As a woman, I enjoyed the book and the discoveries and travels David (lead character) endeavored. However, I would like to believe that this book is a wonderful book for any male who is needing encouragement. The male perspective of loosing control, job, and heart are so magnificently written, I often read chapters aloud with my husband present.

Being a Christian, I wondered if this book would become “new age” savvy. I looked for the progressive enlightenments with every leap David made. I was pleasantly surprised of the integrity of the writer when I read the last place David traveled to was Heaven.

I’ll not share the details, but I was inspired to freshen my view of circumstances and began to adjust my reactions to the situations I thought were bad.

I encourage everyone (male or female, Christian or not) to look at this book as a story; reserving the motivational content when desired and enjoying David’s life.

Reviewed by Teri

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven: A Memoir by Susan Jane Gilman

This travel memoir of two young women from the East Coast, recent college grads, who set out to backpack around the world beginning in Asia in 1986 kept my interest up to the very last page.  I would recommend it to readers who may want a glimpse of China when it was first open to independent foreign travelers in the 1980s.  This was the draw for me, as I also was able to visit China in 1983, and I longed to be reminded of the earlier realities before “westernization” and the internet, etc. 

However, although her descriptions are fascinating and the bureaucratic system described at the time almost amusing, as long as one could survive and maneuver through it, the book sparkled for me mainly because of the author’s brutal honesty about her mixed feelings traveling with an unpredictable companion who finally draws very unwanted scrutiny to them by the Chinese authorities.  She is also very honest about her physical maladies, loneliness, fantasies, ‘hook-ups’, and other life features that don’t go away just because one is away from one’s normal surroundings. 

The book  rings true with situations (i.e., life) never being exactly what you expected, and everything being a mixture of unexpected serendipities and life-changing blessings along with trials and tribulations and messy endings.  I would recommend this reading experience.

Reviewed by Laura