5.1 Homage to Heroes and Helpers, Part two, Post Script

The early comments on yesterday’s post were mixed.  Christine suggested a re-read of the Odyssey and the Iliad.  There’s a thought.  It would be the first time I will have read them in English.  I believe I read them as a junior in high school in my third year of Latin.

My pal, John, writing from his desk in Istanbul, mentioned his childhood hero, Richard Halliburton, a name I am not sure I’ve heard of, but I found a review dated as recent as 2004,

“Hardly anyone knows his name today, but in the 1930’s Halliburton’s name was well-known and his travel/adventure books were best sellers. . . .

I guess the same thing happened to me when I read “The Royal Road to Romance” around 1952 and was permanently bitten by the travel bug. . . .”

       From a review at Amazon.com, August 17, 2004 By Michael Everett (Santa Monica)

A writer from the ‘30’s whose work still has the power to move someone out of the house and onto the road is a writer worth reading.

And I can always count on a unique offering from Dr. Mike. He suggests “Divine Right’s Trip: A Novel of the Counterculture,” originally serialized as inserts on consecutive pages of The Whole Earth Catalog.  Divine Right Davenport and his girlfriend travel across the country in the standard hippie staff car, a VW van with a psychedelic paint job.

Bruce, from his seaside villa in France,  sent in his suggestion of Stephen Fry.

“Travels With Maggie,” Pat Bean’s daily blog, opens today with a quotation.  This morning it was from Bill Bryson, 

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing so familiar is taken for granted.” — Bill Bryson

 A statement that rings so true, I will take it for granted.

I’m not sure why Bill Bryson did not make yesterday’s list–probably because I have not read enough of him.

Bryson is a prolific writer.  A scan of Amazon reveals dozens of titles–many I am unfamiliar with and many with irresistible titles.

Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words

Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States

The Mother Tongue

Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors

Are ya’ seein’ a pattern here, Bunky?


The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America

I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away

And the intriguing

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir

with 236/of 371 five-star reviews on Amazon.

My great friend, Dave, with whom I join in a most elite fraternity of former chapter presidents of the California Writers Club, suggests I quit fooling around reading the Old Master Travel Writers and get on with my own version of A Year on the Road Travelin’ With Lightnin’ on Highways Etched in Blue Getting my own Sense of America. I am grateful for his persistent encouragement.  The book of my travels has begun to gel in my mind, and I am targeting July to begin wringing something out of the blog postings.

I will re-read some of my favorites and read some of the new suggestions, not so much for the map of their travels, only slightly for tips of style or technique, but for what is triggered in their mind by the experience.  Steinbeck said it very well:  “External reality has a way a being not so external after all.”

8 Responses to 5.1 Homage to Heroes and Helpers, Part two, Post Script

  1. karen wittgraf says:

    I think Dave’s advice is right on. Want to hear what YOU see, what YOU feel! You’ve got the talent, Baby- and the words!!!

  2. Linda says:

    I love it when you come up with this wild stuff, you should right a book and who the hell reads latin other than botanists and and and you! L

  3. Linda says:

    Write a book

  4. michael joyce says:

    Have a look at the works of Ethan Hubbard. His photos alone are worth it!

  5. Leslie Martin says:

    I’m delighted to be coming along for the ride, at last, Al. I understand what Anne means when she talks of your voice. Very distinctive and compelling. As for favorite authors of travel lit, Jan Morris is high up there on my list.

  6. I read “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” (really good) and “A Walk in the Woods” (great) Bryson’s book on hiking. I like to travel, but, oddly, haven’t read much travel literature.

  7. Christine Thomas says:

    Then there’s Umberto Eco-anything this guy writes is super! Or, any number of sea-travels. There’s super book alled “By the Grace of theSea”-Patricia Henry. I saw her speak at EncinalYC..she is probably the most gracious person ever-inspite of her husband and buiness partner destroying her career and job as an archtect, she is never bitter. Her account of sailing alone around the world makes a great read.. She now lives in Puerta Vallarta and teaches sailing there.

  8. In the beginning, my travels were involuntary, then afterward I discovered it could be fun….

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