Thursday, March 20, 2014


I've always been a big reader. My mother, a first grade teacher and a reading specialist, encouraged my siblings and me to use our library cards frequently. The library was on the corner of State Street and Main in the small town where I grew up, about ten minutes from home by bicycle. The adult section was on the main and second floors, and the children's library was downstairs. As if the library were not a big enough draw, next door was Roe's Bakery, home of the world's best freshly-baked goodies. We could grab a load of books and a giant sugar cookie in a single trip downtown.
Payson Library
The library still stands, although the books have been moved to a more modern facility, and the bakery is long gone.
My sister and I would come home with six or seven books at a time, and we'd devour them in a week before going back to the library for a new fix. By the time I was in sixth grade, the librarian in the "Junior" section was letting me read new books before they went on the shelves. (I distinctly remember reading The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton before anyone else had even heard of it.) I became a substitute librarian in the downstairs room during high school, a job I loved. It was a no-brainer for me to become an English major in college.

I still love to read, and I have found that reading can substantially enhance what I get out of a trip. When we used to travel with our children, I learned that reading out loud and books-on-tape made the long drives much shorter. Later, when we started to travel sans children, I would bring along a good novel and relish the extra time I had to read on the plane or in the car. A few years ago I started to try to tie in my reading to our travel destinations. It was so much fun that I wondered what had taken me so long to figure out how much that could add to my experience.

I've added a section to this blog entitled "Books I've Read."  It's a tab at the top of the blog, just under the photo and title.  Click on it and see the books I've included in some of my posts. A brief blurb about the book is usually found at the very end of the post. I am gradually adding more place-related books to past posts.

In the April 2014 edition of National Geographic Traveler, Editor-in-Chief Keith Bellows writes, "When I travel, I look for a novel that evokes the destination I'm visiting, with a strong sense of place and insights beyond those offered by a guidebook." Travel guides are great for background and history, but there is nothing like a good book to get to the soul of a place. I've included non-fiction, usually history and biographies, along with novels.

The point of this post is that I would like some more suggestions of good place-related reading. If you know of a good book that ties into one of my blog posts, please mention it and give a brief description in the comments section for that post.  You can click on the tab "Places I've Been" to see my posts sorted by country. Then all you have to do is click on the appropriate post and add your suggestions.

I'm looking forward to some new ideas!


  1. Ah, the good old days of Payson library and Roe's Bakery! Remember that the limit was three for the regular jr. library patrons, but unlimited for the Kenison girls? Many of my favorite childhood memories include journeying to the library and spending endless summer hours engrossed in a new book.

    I'm going to love your new blog section.

  2. You are getting me hooked into the travel related book mode. So far, I've pretty much just gleaned what you've shared from your readings. A very nice addition to what is already a fun adventure.