Currently Reading

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By: leelefever on June 3, 2006 - 8:02am

Currently Reading, originally uploaded by LeeLeFever_TwinF.

Throughout the trip I have been consuming one book after another. I set out to make the trip more interesting by reading books about the places we plan to visit and to varying degrees I've succeeded in that so far.

I started by leaving home with one-third read "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. The first international book was chosen in a bookshop in New Zealand on a bit of a whim. I went in considering a book about Capt. James Cook and left with the book "Genghis Khan" by John Man. I read this book aloud to Sachi while in our rented campervan and we both enjoyed it immensely. We knew so little about the legendary man before and now we're hoping to see the Mongolian steppe (Ghengis' home) later this summer.

Next we bought a couple of smaller books in Australia (not a cheap place to buy books): A Travellers History of Japan and a book of memoirs of survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Both short and interesting reads, but nothing to write home about. Oops.

Taking a break from non-fiction, I then read Barrel Fever by David Sedaris, who consistently makes me laugh out loud and inspires me to try more satirical writing. Following that was a short book that sparked an interest in me that I didn't expect: Ben Franklin's autobiography. Short and frank, I found myself wanting it to be longer or more complete.

A book that was perfect for being in the tsunami-affected region was "Krakatoa", by Simon Winchester. A truly interesting event in history that I enjoyed learning about very much. Did you know that the shock wave of Krakatoa's volcanic explosion rippled around the earth 7 times?

Back on the Cambodia tip, I read "The Lost Executioner" by Nic Dunlop, which was about his search the commander of Tuol Sleng, the famous Cambodian death prison during the Khmer Rouge reign. I have a fascination with modern Cambodian history and plan to read a Pol Pot biography soon.

Just tonight I'm celebrating the finish of a book that is sitting unread at home in hardcover form: "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. I read his Pulitzer Prize winning "Guns, Germs and Steel" a while back and said that it made me smarter than any book I'd ever read before - particularly regarding the creation of civilization in the last 10,000 years. Collapse is equally as informative and focused on what has undone civilizations in the past. I would recommend this book for travelers interested in environmental conservation issues. Smart guy that Diamond- I'm a fan.

Just last night I bought "1776- America and Britain at War" by David McCullough. The abrupt and pre-war end of Ben Franklin's autobiography whetted my appetite I'm sure. Sachi also bought "Under the Banner of Heaven" by John Krakauer, which is about the creepy side of mormonism. I'm sure l'll read that too.

If anyone is looking at these books and saying "I know some books Lee would like AND would be popular enough to find around world" please do let me know.