A blog for people who don't want to spend all their free time in the real world. After all, we live and work there. Escape the mundane with books, travel, and writing.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Zion National Park

Zion National Park in southern Utah:  big crowds, beautiful scenery


Plan more time than you think you'll need, be prepared to park far away and shuttle in to the visitor center, and be sure to do some hiking.      

Thursday, October 12, 2017

This is a middle-grade novel, but plenty entertaining for adults.  

I’m not sure the premise and drastic transformation here are strictly realistic, but I loved them. The characters are interesting and likable but not perfect. (though I kept thinking they were a couple of years older than they were). The writing is effortless. The pacing is very good. Overall, a very enjoyable book about changing one’s life for the better. 

More accurate rating: 4.5

I've never read anything else by Gordon Korman, but it looks like he has a great many books to choose from.  I think I'll dip into another sometime soon.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

New Cover for Leaving Home

Check out my new cover for Leaving Home, a collection of short stories, travel essays, and flash fiction:

A train breaks down in the snowy Polish countryside. 

The jungle awakes. 

A blackmailer makes a mistake. 

On a cruise ship, paranoia strikes. 

Fairy godmother magic comes from an unexpected source. 

A neighbor's death reveals a dark surprise. 

Dance overcomes the barriers of language.

A young father leaves town.


All this and more...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer S Holland


Great book!  I loved these amazing stories of cross-species friendships.  I was particularly touched by the predator-prey friendships.  Amazing.  Beautiful pictures, too.  Each story is quite short, so it's a book even busy people will love.

5 Stars!

Click to Buy Unlikely Friendships on Amazon

Friday, September 8, 2017

Elk on the Mogollon Rim, Arizona

This magnificent elk wandered almost into our campsite right on the Mogollon Rim, south of Willow Springs Reservoir.  It was amazing.


It grazed for a while and then proceeded to sharpen its antlers by pretty much attacking innocent tree branches.  Spectacular to watch.




Saturday, September 2, 2017

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

Full title:  Get Well Soon; History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

This fascinating account of various plagues through history features plenty of heroes to counter the darkness. Jennifer Wright has a conversational style with plenty of clever humor that somehow doesn’t make light of the real suffering and death caused by these diseases. I found it very entertaining and educational, and more of a page-turner than the novel I was reading concurrently.

Okay, so it does get a little preachy in places, but I agree with the lessons we can learn from history.

Some of the stuff the author wrote about is so scary, especially about the American morale laws in WWI that pretty much threw away any semblance of free speech, punished journalists with 20 years of jail time for telling the truth, and inadvertently exacerbated the Spanish influenza. It made me wonder about the truth of it and other details in the book, despite the good footnotes. My preliminary search of the internet has yielded surprisingly little detail of the terrifying ramifications of the Espionage and Sedition acts of 1917 and 1918 or their connection with the spread of the Spanish influenza by means of blatant, criminal denial. Considering that the internet is full of passionate details about the terrifying ramifications of things like vaccines and celebrities’ divorces and leaving onions in your fridge overnight, this internet silence is extremely disturbing. If this book’s allegations are true, then these laws and the subsequent behavior of the people, the press, and the justice department are just as scary as the bubonic plague or the Spanish influenza itself.

Anyway, a very, very interesting book. Now I need to read Jennifer Wright’s other book, “It Ended Badly,” about famous historical break-ups. She brings history to life and delivers it in small chunks that anyone would have time for.

Highly recommended (though perhaps not for hypochondriacs or the squeamish).   

Rating:  4 1/2 stars

Buy it or read a sample on Amazon

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jungle Hostels

Fun excerpts from my 2008 Central America travel journal, which I'm currently transcribing:

Describing one of my favorite jungle hostels, Casa Perico, near Rio Dulce, Guatemala:
“WC: Far away, downstairs and across boardwalk. Pretty clean, with soap! Shower has kinda scary hole you have to reach your hand into to turn off the water. Other WC has bats.”


And Lydia's Guest House, in Placencia, Belize:
“WCs—clean, with plenty of TP (and baby frogs)”

I loved that trip!