by Lisa Niver Rajna that have appeared at Huffington Post Books, Huffington Post World, Technorati.com, Wandering Educators, Jewish Journal and Westside Today.
During this sabbatical year in Asia, my husband, George, has inspired me to follow the road less traveled. Over the last seven weeks from Kolkata (Calcutta) to Mumbai (Bombay), we have spent nearly 130 hours on buses and trains traversing and learning about parts of the East and West coasts of India. During the 10- to 20-hour rides, my companions were travel literature by incredibly creative authors. Several of them offered to share personal encouragement and enlightenment. Read the full article on Huffington Post Books.
Revolution 2020: Does Life Imitate Art? by Chetan Bhagat
Huffington Post World Section: Reading Chetan Bhagat‘s Revolution 2020 in December 2012 while traveling by bus throughout India, it has seemed that art imitates life. The newspaper has been alive with the protests in the street with the “pink revolution.” The people of India are angry about the mistreatment of women and the lack of government response and protection.
Read the full article here.
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
Bohjalian’s narrator tells us: “History does matter. There is a line connecting the Armenians and the Jews and the Cambodians and the Serbs and the Rwandans. There are obviously more, but, really how much genocide can one sentence take?” I agree with the Jewish World Watch that we must not stand idly by, and I want to recognize his story and all it represents on this day, April 24.
To read the full post: CLICK HERE
Have Mother, Will Travel by Mia and Claire Fontaine
Can Mothers and Daughters be friends or are they always foes? Mia and Claire Fontaine’s travels together in Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World
tell a story in two voices of each women finding their footing in their complicated lives. One in a quarter life crisis and one in a mid-life crisis–although they desire to support each other, they have been ignoring each other. Mia wonders how her mother could move across the country, bought a crumbling home which mirrors the state of her latest marriage and changed to a completely unsuitable job. As she says, “Mom, is this how you pictured your life would be when you’re fifty?” CLICK HERE to read my full review.
The Voluntourist by Ken Budd
The Voluntourist: A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi i Bethlehemby Ken Budd starts with the line, “I want to live a life that matters,” and so he does. Inspired by the need to deal with the loss of his father, he searches for answers, but this quest requires a passport and patience. Patience to wait in line at customs, for airplanes, for young children in China and Costa Rica, for Ecuadorian birds to fly in the cloud forest, and for all things in Palestine. During his journey, he states, “I’m not only working for free, I’m paying for the privilege.” Read the full review
In Chetan Bhagat’s One Night at the Call Center, six Indian coworkers share their life stories while working together during one night at Connexions. Due to their hours, the story begins with Shyam Mehra (Sam Marcy) missing a family wedding. Over the course of the narrative, each team member reveals various secrets, dramas and personal traumas. Issues from arranged marriage to relations between genders and generations were all pertinent issues dealt with in this novel. At one point, on the verge of personal and physical disaster, the team is asked, “Are you going to answer the call?”
The conflict is estimated to have killed up to 80,000 people with over one million displaced…Both sides may have committed war crimes…Sri Lankan refugees are still living in transit camps while the land is being de-mined…The government continues to hold 11,000 alleged LTTE in ‘rehabilitation centers with no legal representation, no access by human rights groups or relatives.” BOOKS: Not Quite Paradise: An American Sojourn in Sri Lanka
by Adele Barker. Ru Freedman’s A Disobedient Girl: A Novel Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost: A Novel
The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux
His new book talks about types of travelers and travel books: those in search of food, who travel to break a record, who travel alone or “lie” about being alone, learning about how long do people stay in a place, those who survive an ordeal, those who never actually went to a place they write about, and those who stay home like Emily Dickinson. I enjoyed hearing the categories from the books and his incredible anecdotes about different authors and locations.
In answer to the question, “are you still traveling?,” Theroux said “it is a stimulating way to live my life.” I agree travel is amazing. When asked about writing, he said, “Writing is not hard. Living is hard. Being a plumber lying on your back is hard; writing is not hard. Art is easy. Life is difficult.” Read the full article
Gorillaland by Greg Cummings
Greg Cumming’s Gorillaland describes a compelling and terrifying trip through the heart of Africa. The reader is treated to a cast of characters like individual strings in a Byzantine intrigue, from the pristine to the corrupt, to the archetypal and historical. When each is tightened into place and woven more completely together the story’s tapestry reveals the chaos, greed, natural beauty and power of Earth’s largest continent. Read the full review on Technorati.com
Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves
Elisabeth Eaves, in Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents,tells tales of love, misadventure and wringing every second of life out of every moment. She says:
My life wouldn’t be so easy to fix. I’d woken up at the age of thirty-four to realize that I wanted to go home, only to discover that I had no idea where that was. Wanderlust, the very strong or irresistible impulse to travel, is adopted untouched from the German, presumably because it couldn’t be improved upon.” Her questions about life are important to me …what will I do with the year ahead? What are my goals and what should they be? Read the article.
Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole
In Heather Poole’s insider memoir, Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, she says, “Just goes to show anything can happen if you just take a chance!” Her story will inspire many to finally take that next step and make their dreams a reality. While her anecdotes are not all of the fairy tale variety, many of her moments along the path to dream come true are sticky in many unpleasant ways! But she does share her hopes, and her disappointments and she does get to live the life she imagined. Read the full book review at Wandering Educators.
Saved by Beauty by Roger Housden
Red Goddess Rising by Halle Eavelyn
by Rachel Friedman
The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Jennifer Steil
All Over the Map by Laura Fraser
Glass Geishas by Susanna Quinn
Susanna Quinn’s Glass Geishas is a compelling and cautionary tale. Just reading the sub-heading: “Every Girls Has Her Price,” I was drawn in. From the first lines of the prologue, “Breathe in, Breathe out,” I felt like I fell down a rabbit hole. What world had I tumbled into? The stories of young blond Western girls made me think of my hometown of Hollywood, where naive young girls hope to make it “big.” The mystery of “Where is Annabelle?” and the drama of Julia not knowing Steph, and the many parallels of Mrs. Sato’s daughter, and Mama-san’s desire to support her missing daughter all create a fascinating read. I rooted for the main character, Steph, at every turn and could not put this book down. Read the entire review.
Business of Life:
I read Contagious: Why Things Catch On because as a traveler, teacher, and writer it sounded extremely compelling. I too wanted to learn how to “create contagious content!” As Wharton marketing professor, Jonah Berger, explains in the book, “putting up a Facebook page or tweeting doesn’t mean anyone will notice or spread the word. 50% of YouTube videos have fewer than five hundred views. Only one-third of 1 percent get more than 1 million.” Read the full review.
Regrets? Are you Living Your Best Life? Many of us are unhappy with our current reality. Games may be the solution!
In Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal states that the solution to hedonic adaption is “to make our own happiness [by focusing]on activity that generates intrinsic rewards — the positive emotions, personal strengths and social connections that we build by engaging intensively with the world around us.”
Make a choice for 2013 to live your best life with no regrets so that on whichever day is your last, you can truly say, you lived fully in every moment.
Five years ago I went on a New Year’s cruise and made two resolutions: To buy a condo and to find a long-term relationship. I had been focused on these items already but now I was ready to make them happen. I as inspired by Atul Gawade’s book, BETTER. He says, “The core requirements for success are diligence, to do right and ingenuity.”
His five suggestions for improving your life include: “Don’t complain!” and “Count something important.” What do you keep track of?
Hope will Find You by Rabbi Naomi Levy
Dieting Is War! Are You Ready For Battle, Soldier? My review in the Huffington Post: Laura J Wellington’s book: The Four Star Diet
Deciding to take control of your life, the impossible will become possible. In the words of General Powell, “You don’t know what you can get away with until you try.” Or as Wellington stated, “Live fearlessly! Life is a privilege! Many people fail to appreciate the gifts they have been given in both opportunity and time.“
I Can See My Shoes Again: Technorati Lifestyle: Walter Scott Allen
Tony Danza’s I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had
“Never smile before Christmas…They will eat you alive.” This advice, given to countless new teachers for decades, is given to Tony Danza as he starts his next adventure as an educator. Danza’s warm banter makes me feel I have a front row seat in his classroom and to his dramatic moments—crying over classroom poor performance (his), enthusiasm for team sports (staying in Philly instead of returning to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving), encouraging other teachers in a talent show, and field trips to Washington DC and New York City. Extravadanza, the student run show, raises money for the crisis in Haiti—at every step you can hear Danza engaging students in their own learning.
Teaching Digital Natives by Marc Prensky
Twenty Miles Per Cookie
As a long term traveler myself, people called us crazy to quit our jobs and go to South East Asia for a year, so I surprised myself when Nancy Sathre-Vogel’s family trip sounded even nuttier! Early on she says, “There are moments on a long trip when you just want to go home: while your son is falling asleep on the triple bike, when it is raining on you and you have no tarp or when you run out of water in the desert but then you remember why you did it and how it is all worth it.” I was wondering would I agree with her? Read more….