Let me be the first to point out the obvious: travel = reading. Anyone who has gone on a road trip, found themselves aboard an airplane, dog sledded through Alaska, or used pretty much any other form of transportation, will tell you that reading is a necessary vice to make it to your point of arrival. Whether the material of choice is Sky Mall, the latest issue of Cosmo, a newspaper, a wireless reading device, or even just a good old-fashioned >gasp!< book, we all know it to be true that the time-tested ritual is necessary. With this in mind, I planned to put a major dent in my personal library, not only during our 4-day road trip, but over the next three weeks in our temporary abode as well. Within the first two hours of moving van takeover, I walked into my room only to find that my entire collection of books had been boxed away, including the book I was right in the middle of reading (“The Shack”), which happened to be on my bed. This still angers me immensely.Luckily, my trusty Kindle was safe from the ambush and has since served as my only way of connecting to the world of fantastical seclusion also known as literature. As I mentioned before in one of my video blogs, I already read “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett and “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin (for more on those, check out my Video Blog page). I did decide to drop “Brave New World”, but I do plan to finish it at a different time. Since then, I have conquered two books using my Kindle.
The first was “The Voice of Our Future? A Biography of Jon Stewart” by Jim Nikel. Anyone who has watched my vlogs knows that I’m obsessed with Jon Stewart, almost pushing unhealthily so. However, this book didn’t do him justice. It was a ridiculously easy read, to the point of being childlike. To be honest, I am confident that I could have written a better bio on the man. It wasn’t even fully comprehensive of his life and times, just a highlight of his major television appearances. Overall, definitely not worth the $2.99 I paid for it. Sure, it had some interesting tidbits and plenty of praise, but the lack of analysis was disappointing. Overall, I give it two stars – both for JS.
The book that I just finished (literally, just finished twenty minutes ago) was called “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World” by Eric Weiner. I admit, after reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, I have been intrigued by the world and studies of what we call “happiness”, but I found this book completely out of the blue. Cutting to the chase, I absolutely loved it! It brought out all of the points that Rubin’s book was missing, most importantly, insight and perspective. Basically, it’s about the author, Weiner (let’s try to be mature here – it’s pronounced like whiner), traveling the world in search of what makes other countries tick in terms of their general well-being. His research takes him to a variance of countries, including Iceland, Thailand, India, Moldova, Bhutan, England, and Switzerland. His accounts are meticulously recorded, down to every first impression and subsequent conversation, no doubt due to his reporting experience as a broadcaster for National Public Radio. He supports his observations extremely well using relevant statistics and research, and actually cites them appropriately. While the whole premise could easily turn overly analyzed, Weiner manages to overcome that by adding the flavor of each culture he visits into his writing. Oh, and did I mention that I got it on sale for $1.99? Overall, this is a terrific book for anyone who loves travel, studying other cultures, or just being/wanting to be happy. It’s definitely not one you’ll want to miss.
…and the truth comes out. I am a huge nerd. I realize this post is utterly drawn out and superfluously processed, but I’ll just blame it on all of that reading I’ve been up to.
Love & Summer,