Just July

July was a nutty month. Lots of music: Phish three times, Warren Haynes at Tanglewood, Dead and Company twice, and Coldplay. (August is only Pearl Jam and Mieka Pauley.) We made it up to Monhegan for a week and down to CT twice. And! And. And, I moved a lot of rocks (don’t ask). For the books it was:

  • Milk in my Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey
  • Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill
  • Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (AB)
  • The Last Battle by Ryan Cornelius
  • Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
  • 8:55 to Baghdad by Andrew Eames

I think, once I got used to Dickey’s style, I grew to like Milk but my favorite by far was The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh. Is it a movie? Because if it isn’t, it should be. I said that in the review as well.

Full disclosure: I had Lost Upland on my list as well. I simply ran out of time and couldn’t get to it. I’m okay with seven books for the month.

8:55 to Baghdad

Eames, Andrew. The 8:55 to Baghdad: from London to Iraq on the Trail of Agatha Christie. New York: the Overlook Press, 2005.

Reason read: in honor of the first electric train (July, 1835).

In 2002 Eames embarked on a (mostly) train journey from London, England to Iraq to follow in the footsteps of mystery author Agatha Christie. It is a beyond brilliant idea for Eames is able to weave together a travelogue of his own experiences, historical snapshots of the regions he traverses and an abbreviated biography of one of the world’s best known crime writers of the century. Eames’s journey takes him through Belgium, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Syria; ending in Damascus on the eve of the Gulf War.

Quote I really liked, “Personally, I feel that travel writers have too much of a responsibility towards the unfamiliar to waste their time endorsing that is already very well-trodden” (p 51). Amen to that.
Another quote, “There is no room on the land for anything as frivolous as parkland in this city while there are still drill bits to be rented out and hub caps to be sold, so if you want a quiet moment to puck your nose, read the paper or hold hands with your loved one then a ferry is the place to do it” (p 196). Okay then.
Last one, “And besides, what sort of chat-up lines do you use on a nation with whom you are about to go to war?” (p 290).

Author fact: According to the dust jacket, Eames is an authority on the Nile. Cool.

Book trivia: I wasn’t expecting photographs but there is a nice sprinkling of Eames’s travels as well as a few of his subject, Agatha Christie.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter of course called “Making Tracks By Train” (p 139).