The Pan-American Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego

Because any trip that requires you to zoom out to “the planet” to view is deserving of respect:

globe

http://www.tourdafrique.com/dreamtours/show/76

What is the What, Dave Eggers

I’ve seen it described as an African Huckleberry Finn, but even more it’s an extraordinary work of witness. “The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng” is powerful and funny and horrific and beautiful.

“I had forgotten that, and so many things. How could I put everything down on paper? It seemed impossible. No matter what, the majority of life would be left out of this story, this sliver of a version of the life I’d known. But I tried anyway.”

http://www.valentinoachakdeng.org/

Ohio spring

photo(28)

Staring at the Sun, Julian Barnes

Less interesting than Flaubert’s Parrot; a rather conventional tale until the very last chapters, and then an oddly specific discourse on mortality.  Always worth reading, but not (to me) as witty as FB or as clever as A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters.

An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England, Brock Clarke

Novel disguised as a memoir, but “wacky”, “searingly funny’, “absurdly hilarious”?  Not to me.  Clever and a spot on satire of literary… everything, but not so much laugh-out-loud funny. Best line from a review: “Books, Clarke seems to be asserting, do not make you happy; they’re much more important than that.”  The reader’s guide following the text where the author and main character bicker might have the most humorous bits of all.