Are you curious about Beijing now that the Summer Olympics have begun? Of course, on any given day you can watch NBC, PBS or the Travel Channel and see kaleidoscopic images and all the sights and sounds of this highly populated historic city. But, for a dose of the real unadulterated Beijing, pick up the book The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed by Michael Meyer. Meyer is a native Minnesotan who moved to China with the Peace Corps and volunteered to teach English in a Beijing elementary school. He’s one of the few Westerners who has had the opportunity to live among the native Chinese and experience the city, culture and cuisine in a manner that most outsiders could only dream of. This is a fascinating mix of history, politics and customs and gives an inside look at this mysterious city.
My First Summer Without Philip Craig
Technically, this is my second summer without Philip Craig. Last year I lived in blissful ignorance as I read the eighteenth mystery in his Martha Vineyard series not knowing that he had died in May of 2007. Then I stumbled across a tribute to him written by his good friend and Boston author, William Tapply.
If you didn’t love books you probably wouldn’t be checking out our Readers’ Advisory blog site. So, I imagine you’ve heard how books can inspire you, change your life or entertain you, etc, etc. But, have you ever heard that books can upgrade you to first class?
Here’s the scenario and how it worked for me. Try it at your own risk.
Ever since I read Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy and Tacy Go Over The Big Hill as a little girl I’ve traveled through my reading. I always wanted to know what was over that hill, around the corner or down the street.
I look for that strong sense of place when I’m picking a book for myself. I want that book to transport me to another city or place, one I might like to learn more about or visit. I love authors who can make you feel and smell and experience the essence of that “sense of place’ in their story. I’ve traveled a bit but not anywhere near as much as I’ve been able to travel in my reading. One day I might be sitting in a coffee shop in Seattle and the next day I’m riding a train through Switzerland. It’s just like virtual travel. How cool is that?