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5 Great Fall Reads To Get You Into Balance

September 28, 2016 by  

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We used to do a lot more book reviews here than we have recently, largely because I haven’t had much time to read and it needs to be relevant to where WBTW is heading, which is all about having balance in our lives when we travel. Mindy/body/spirit balance is key to longevity and key to happy days on the road, particularly if you travel often. Here are five great finds, some newer than others, but life lessons are timeless. Let’s start with a new author I recently discovered in an OLD bookstore in New Hampshire on our trip back east this summer: Skye Alexander.

The Best Meditations on the Planet

By Dr. Martin Hart and Skye Alexander, think of this book as your own personal encyclopedia of specific meditations for physical, emotional, and spiritual health and healing. They offer 100 techniques to beat stress, improve health and create happiness in just minutes a day. A lot of people avoid meditation because they think there’s ‘something’ to learn, or they won’t “get it” fast enough, or they’re too busy or too frustrated when they start to meditate and start to get antsy real quickly. I’d fall into the latter category more than the others…

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Ten Great End of Summer Books to Read

September 2, 2016 by  

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end of summer travel books Flipping the calendar to September may signal a change in seasons, but it doesn’t mean the summer’s dead yet. With a bit of optimism and a last-minute trip – or a travel book that’s just as adventurous – you can stretch things out a little bit longer. These ten books, both old and new, feature summer and fall jaunts — each one shows how to turn those sunshine moments into a year-round affair. The Loose Ends List 1. The Loose Ends List, Carrie Firestone – “The end” seems faster when it’s not just the season that’s passing away, but your own grandmother. Maddie’s fun summer disappears when she finds out Gram has cancer, and wants the family to join her on a “death with dignity” cruise. Foreign destinations can’t distract Maddie from the tender lesson that goodbye is never a simple word. (Young Adult genre at it’s lovable, laughable best). Free Air 2. Free Air, Sinclair Lewis  – 1920s America isn’t ready for a feisty heroine like Claire Boltwood. The East Coast socialite drives her dad West for relaxing scenery and…

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Levison Wood’s Walking The Himalayas

April 18, 2016 by  

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img769It demands more than just a sturdy pair of legs to consider an expedition such as the one Levison Wood embarks upon in Walking The Himalayas. The promise of a Channel 4 series lessens none the daunting challenge at hand. That it has been done before offers little succour either. Because one man’s trudge across the ‘raised eyebrow over India’ (Michael Palin) could well be 1,700 high altitude miles through five (often hostile) countries over six months, for another. Ergo, it requires you to be a hard as nails ex-paratrooper, inhabitant of African and Asian wilds, globetrotter, photographer, and journalist, all rolled into one. Above all it mandates an old-fashioned notion of exploration to take you through what is irrefutably an endurance test rather than enjoyable tryst. ‘I decided that the aim of this expedition wouldn’t be to climb mountains or to try and break any records, but instead to use this opportunity to meet the people who call the Himalayas their home. For me, travelling on foot is the only way to really explore the back country and villages hidden from the main trails and roads. It is the way people…

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Cobra In The Bath, Adventures in Less Travelled Lands

January 14, 2016 by  

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img236Cobra in the Bath – Adventures in Less Travelled Lands, readers will find, is many things but what it is not however is your everyday travelogue.  Au contraire, this here is an engaging chronicle of a near-seven decade expedition–one that has an uncanny knack of catapulting headlong into history-shaping geographies across several continents. It revs up in an India on the cusp of her freedom, and then yaws along to Mossadegh-era Iran after hovering momentarily over an exhausted post-war England. It is found idling on pristine Greek beaches–celebrating surviving that most terrifying of British institutions, boarding school, and Oxford–before eventually parking itself firmly in financial adventuring. Morland’s early travels were a consequence of his father, a British naval commander, being posted in India. In fact, it was in the suffocating heat of a Delhi afternoon that he chanced upon the eponymous cobra in the bath at age four. Later, subsequent to the divorce of his parents, he accompanies his mother and stepfather (s) to Tehran where they were gainfully employed; the first by a fast diminishing British Empire, the second as Italy’s Ambassador. Given he was barely seven years at the time the author summons an elephantine memory to describe…

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The Book Cafe in Pretty Dhalpur

May 16, 2015 by  

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Kullu, or Kulu, is the capital town of the Kullu District in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and is located on the banks of the Beas River in the Kullu Valley about ten kilometres north of the airport. A summer visit to Kullu Valley generally mandates bye-passing the eponymous township en route Manali, its poster destination.   Unsurprising, as what you see of it from across the Beas is unremarkable and uninviting. Having choked up both banks with thoughtless habitation, it is steadily crawling up the mountain-face behind it. In the bargain one is guilty of forgetting that Kullu is home to the 17th century Raghunath Temple honouring the vale’s chief deity, and hosts the iconic Dussehra unfailingly each year. Another draw includes the Bijli Mahadev Temple perched high on a ridge above the town with fabulous views of the Kullu and Parvati vales. Recently, it has added another more youthful one – The Book Cafe. Sitting pretty in Dhalpur, within a gaily painted pre-fab structure, this cheery little place is more than a good cause to weave through the busy bazaars of Kullu. IMG_20150409_112939 Joined at the hip with a freshly refurbished building, the cafe is fronted by a large ground which has long been used as a resting…

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Book Find: Minakshi Chaudhry’s A World Within

April 2, 2015 by  

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“…He looks at me. His eyes full of tears, ‘You will not understand.’ Something snaps in me and I blurt, ‘Dadoo, will you forget us?’ He looks at me in shock, ‘It is not possible to forget your children, one cannot forget one’s children even if one forgets everything else.’ I am deliriously happy. But this turns out to be an illusion.”   img675Book churner Minakshi Chaudhry’s latest literary outing, her 13th, is a clear departure from her earlier works. A World Within is a two-year conversation between a dementia-struck father and his daughter even as he slowly and surely disconnects from his familiar former self. It is the heart-wrenching story of a helpless parent building bridges to nowhere on a despairing child’s watch.  Told with her trademark humour, this time encasing her pain, this prolific teller of ghost stories, lovers’ litanies, and valleys afar, brings you an extraordinary tale about dealing with her father’s losing battle with the debilitating Alzheimer’s disease. Though fictionalised, the book has been penned from an up-close and extremely personal perspective given the author’s own close-quarter view of a malaise that is socially scoffed off as memory…

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Top Ten Book Read For Your New Year’s List

January 6, 2015 by  

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At the beginning of last year, I started out with a specific reading challenge in mind: I chose to read 35 books in 2014, but at least 10 of the books I chose had to be a five-star book and the rule was that I had to choose from several genres. Otherwise I’d just stick with fantasy and historical fiction, which I adore. I spent some time in advance getting my reading list worked out. As luck would have it, I spent a lot of time in bed this year from painful arthritis flares, and I also did quite a bit of traveling and long-haul flights, so I had plenty of time to crack out some long-count novels and business books that I’ve been wanting to read for ages. Between the real travel journeys I embarked on this year and the fantasy travel that I completed with my reading list, I feel like I really got to see the world this year. Carrie Kellenberger By the end of 2014, I had 61 books on my list, and I relied on my grandmother’s tried and true technique of going back through my notes and book…

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Book Review: Amaltas Avenue By Manju Jaidka

December 28, 2014 by  

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Amaltas_AvenueAmaltas Avenue, Manju Jaidka’s third novel, is set against a backdrop of campus happenings over a period of three days during a sultry Chandigarh summer. The book focuses on a number of characters who share a common milieu, including the eponymous residential neighbourhood, even as they drift through seemingly ordinary lives, playing out mundane everyday roles at an individual level. It is not to be confused with other breezy campus writings as Amaltas Avenue in fact brings to attention more complex issues through its protagonists–often antagonists–when they are confronted by unexpected turmoil in their personal and professional arenas.   An insider for over forty years, the author has had a ringside view of the intrigue, manipulation, fraud and power games that go on within the realm of academia. In contrast, student ragging and indiscipline takes on the reminiscence of a Sunday picnic, while education moves to the backburner in her narrative. Such is the story-teller’s craft that the reader is often found searching for the proverbial fine line between fact and fiction. Borrowing heavily from her own role as student, teacher, warden even, at the Punjab University in Chandigarh, Jaidka is able…

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