I feel much better about my propensity to buy too many books when I am traveling after hearing one fellow bibliophile call it patronizing the arts. Yes, I am a patron of the arts. And it is much easier to tuck a beautiful special edition of The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield in your bag than a painting or sculpture!
My Auntie J and I volunteer to send postcards to potential voters to encourage them to be a good citizen. She found a box of The World’s Greatest Bookstores. There are 50 featured, and one is for Hatchard’s in London. I’d somehow never heard of it or been there.
I love Foyle’s in London. It is popular with television writers too and appears in the Netflix adaptation of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Christopher Foyle in Foyle’s War is named for the bookstore. It didn’t rate a postcard though.
I have only been to a couple of the book shops featured: City Light Books in San Francisco, The Strand in New York City, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee and Powells Books in Portland (as often as possible). With bookstores in Goa, India and The Bookworm in China, I can’t commit to visit them all. One thing I can safely guarantee, I will always return with more books in my bag than when I left home.
If you read my blog you know I have a fascination with penguins. I was looking for books on the Satellite Sisters summer reading list whilst in a Washington DC bookshop and The Black Penguin by Andrew Evans caught my eye. On his first assignment with National Geographic, he fulfills many of his geeky childhood dreams on this grand adventure.
It is a hybrid book–part personal memoir, part travelogue. Evans is an accomplished writer so every chapter kept my attention. I was particularly empathetic to the chapters about his experience growing up Mormon and gay. I have a few friends in my life from a similar background, but anyone who has felt like an outsider–and if you travel then you know this feeling–can relate to his pain of feeling completely misunderstood and alone.
He also decides to travel by bus from Washington, DC to Ushuaia, Argentina to board the National Geographic vessel to Antarctica. I enjoyed living vicariously through him and decided that I’d rather never travel by bus anywhere if I can avoid it. Lesson learned.
The first 258 pages are all building to the last couple of chapters of penguins! and stories from his month on National Geographic Explorer. Sheer bliss. I wanted to go to Antarctica before and now I want to go even more!
I just read the book The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell in one day. I was enthralled from page one.
I bought the book in Winchester, England and mailed it home with some other books. My cover was blue with a photo. I already love penguins so this book was a joy from beginning to end. It also makes me want to visit Tierra del Fuego, Peninsula Valdes and Punto Tombo even more.
The story of Juan Salvador, a Magellan penguin rescued from a Uruguay beach by the author, is also the story of mankind’s negative impact on the oceans. Penguin species have been decimated by pollution, especially oil pollution, and overfishing.
The book makes these points without bludgeoning the reader. It also shares life lessons he learned from the people he met through a mutual admiration of Juan Salvador.
My favorite story was about Diego, a shy student who was having trouble fitting in at the prep college where the author worked as a teacher. He loved Juan Salvador and was one of the small group of students who helped care for him. When the pinguino finally had a chance to swim in the pool, they were all stunned by his aquabatics. But the real surprise was Diego’s reaction.