Where would you like to go?
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
May 8, 2021
Travel has been curtailed for over a year now, and even though things are loosening up a bit from restrictions, we still do not have full freedom to travel wherever our hearts desire. But we are close.
In the meantime, why not travel vicariously in the world of books. You can start small, reading about somewhere near your hometown, like a book trip to Santa Barbara or even to Las Vegas and back with some desert stops. But I have a few suggestions a bit farther away from home…
“The Study” is a murder mystery by Kathy Grathwaite and takes place on Vancouver Island. It is a beautiful setting, though all the leaves have fallen and flowers have faded into winter. The town offers beautiful sea views and beaches, forests of green firs and when the winds become blustery and stormy, establishments welcome you in with a roaring fire, hearty meals and warming libations. Don’t miss a visit to the castle in the town of Castlecrest. But beware, a murder has taken place there. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Marlowe Flint is busy trying to figure out clues to the murderer, who set the victim’s cottage on fire and what is missing from the time capsule he has just dug up, 10 years early.
If you are up to a jump across the Atlantic, “Mysterious Invitation” by Bernice Bloom might entice you. A funeral is being held in South Wales and only six people are invited to attend. They do not know each other. They do not know the deceased. But the invitation said they are specifically invited with all expenses paid and an inheritance dangled as an enticement. Could you resist? Not just the money, but to figure out the mystery of why a stranger would invite you to his funeral? They travel all across South Wales, bringing you to sunny seashores and through rolling green farmlands, with an occasional trek into the big cities. I enjoyed the train rides. Care to join?
How about spending some time in Botswana, South Africa? Maybe a return visit, as the “No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith has been around for many years. “How To Raise an Elephant” is the 21st book of the series. Even if you have been there before, another visit with the female detective Precious Ramotswe and her secretary Grace Makutsi in the village of Gaborone should be enjoyable. Especially as there is a baby elephant involved. There have been some comments that after 21 books in the series, it has come to the end of the writer’s imagination. But each reader must judge for themselves. And if you are a first time reader of the series, give yourself a treat and a retreat from your everyday world and start with book one. Then, stay to read them all. Immersion is a 21st century trend for TV shows, series and movies with sequels. Why not books? Why not in Boswanta with Precious and Grace, culminating with a baby elephant?
If you cannot choose a specific destination for your book travels, I suggest “World of Wonders” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. A poet at heart, Aimee has taken her life experiences and woven them around the most beautiful, the most interesting and intriguing, the most down to earth and revolting but fascinating creatures this world has to offer. As a child of doctors, her mother from the Philippines and her father from India, she peels away at her childhood experiences as a little brown girl in a white world of America, using descriptions of nature that help form the layers of life for both her and birds, insects and animals large and small. My favorites were highlights of the Monarch butterfly and details about fireflies. But learning what makes frogs dance, where the knee of a flamingo is located and little known facts about Narwhals, Axolotl (salamander) and Ribbon Eels were fascinating as well. Such detail you don’t find everywhere. Especially written where one entwines nature and humanity around the world and reveals mysteries of both in poetic prose. I traveled one chapter at a time and absorbed the beauty of it, or the angst and struggle. Each chapter I grew along with the author. The trip was quite exhilarating!
For the young and lighthearted, I end my travelogue with “Wherever You Go” by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. An adventurous rabbit and friends journey across the page through steep mountain peaks, city skyscrapers and winding pastoral roads, opening up the reader to all the magic that awaits us right outside our doors. There are so many possibilities around the next curve in our lives.
As the world welcomes us once more, prepare. Prepare to embrace favorite places and new horizons, nature and humans near and far. There is much joy to be found in the diversity out there. In the meantime, travel in and out of books, real and imaginary. Life offers us treasures in so many forms!
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.