Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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The “deliciousness of exploring a new place” CAPTURED in ‘Travel Mania’

Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust

By Karen Gershowitz

Travel/Memoir/Non-Fiction

“It’s Summer!”

What a kick in the passport!” Mom hooted after finishing Karen Gershowitz’s Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust. “It’s fun and educational!” (She’s outside turning handsprings. Don’t tell anyone, okay?)

“But Mom,” says The Level-Headed One. “You say that about every travel book!”

Ever see someone try to stop hand-springing halfway through?

“I do not!” barks Mom.

Okay, fine. Whatevs, says I, Kimber the Magnificent. But tell me, Mom. What makes this book so splendiferous?

Well. Buckle up. Cuz here we go:

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‘Olive the Lionheart’: Roar or Whimper?

Olive the Lionheart: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman’s Journey into the Heart of Africa (St. Martin’s Press, 2020)

By Brad Ricca

Non-Fiction/Biography

In 1910, a strong-willed, flame-haired Scottish woman travels to Africa in search of her missing fiancé. Olive MacLeod was engaged to Boyd Alexander, one of the most famed naturalists of his time. When Boyd’s work leads him to Africa – and he goes missing – Olive teams up with explorers Mr. and Mrs. Talbot and sets out to find him.

What follows is the true story of the Talbot expedition across 2,700 miles of Africa. It made history.

Large chunks of the story are told by Olive herself through the extensive use of her diaries and correspondence. Included are detailed, vivid descriptions of Africa – its flora and fauna, tribes and villages and mind-melting heat. Bats. Rampaging hippos and crocodiles. Snake bites. Villages and chiefs and colonial powers vying for control.

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JUBILEE: Why Hermon Pettit May Be The Greatest Man You Never Heard Of

What?

Kimber Lugs-a-Lot here. I’ve been helping Her Momness lug stuff out of the resident black hole. (Mom calls it “the basement.” But it’s really a black hole where things go to vanish. Forever. Poof!)

Anyway, she lugged up this dusty old box. It hadn’t been opened since 1999. Inside? Books! Lots and lots of books!

“Oh, my!” Mom whispered, pulling out a dusty paperback. “I haven’t seen this since 1979!”

I have no idea what that means. But Mom was doing that glistening-eye thing again as she pulled out this book, Jubilee! Autobiography of Hermon Pettit.

Re-reading the remarkable saga of a man of God who devoted his life to intercession, we realized that Hermon Pettit may be the greatest man one of us has never heard of. Till now.

Here’s how and why Hermon’s story intersects ours:

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‘Bel Sogno’ Becomes Reality in Fresh Travel Memoir/Adventure

Braving the World: Adventures in Travel and Retirement (2021)

By Pam Saylor

Non-fiction

 

If you’re looking for a “travel guide” bulging with “must-see” destinations and tips on where to eat, what to see, and what to do, this isn’t it. But if you want to step into a year-long trip with a gentle, authentic narrative covering adventures in nine countries and two continents, managing diabetes Type 1, and rekindling romance along the way, then dip your toe into Braving the World: Adventures in Travel and Retirement. 

The author describes how she and her husband’s Bel Sogno – Beautiful Dream – of living in Italy and traveling for a year originated and came to fruition, and what they learned in the process, both as individuals and as a couple.

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Kimber to the Rescue with ‘Trail Angel Mama’!

Trail Angel Mama: Tales of a Pacific Crest Trail Angel (2015)

By Sue Holman and Trisha Faye

Non-Fiction

Mom was in a Blue Book Funk the other day. After wading through mountains of garbage disguised as “hiking memoirs” of the Pacific Crest trail (PCT), she was ready to buy stock in Pepto-Bismol. (For more on that, see 7 Skunkers and Clunkers.)

Well. You know me. I’m a rescue dog. I’m a rescuer. It’s what I do. So I says to Mom, “Maybe you oughtta check out The Book Place. Do the search thingy. See what else is available in the PCT category.”

Weeks later, Mom finally stumbled upon Trail Angel Mama: Tales of a Pacific Crest Trail Angel. (Mom’s nothing if not quick.) At less than 100 pages, Mom almost passed it over.

“No way!” barks I! Order that puppy!’

She did.

We loved it!

A Border Collie mix, Kimber is a rescue dog. She’s also The Smartest Member of the Family.

Did I mention I’m a rescue dog? And totally brilliant?

Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. Trail Angel Mama is the first PCT/hiking-ish book we’ve ever awarded marks. Here’s why:

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‘A Time to Seek’: Honest & Effervescent

A Time to Seek:

Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality at Midlife

By Susan Pohlman

Non-Fiction/Memoir/Travel

What is “midlife”? How does it affect perspectives, relationships, family, priorities, goals, self-worth and expectations? Is “midlife” a state of mind or a number? What do we do once we find ourselves approaching this new season of life, and how?

Touching, Incisive

These questions and more percolate throughout Susan Pohlman’s touching and incisive memoir, A Time to Seek. Beautifully written and spiritually sensitive, the narrative invites readers to join the author as she returns to Italy, the site of a significant turning point in her life as she hits another major life milestone: middle age.

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GUEST POST: Interview With Intrepid World Travel Author Kaitlyn Jain

Kimber the Magnificent here. The other day Mom and I came up with another brilliant idea in the guest author department: revisiting a heartfelt and often hilarious travel tome we recently reviewed. (Well, okay. It was mostly me. Mom helped a little.)

Mom and The Kimster. (At least ONE of us is awake. Most of the time.)

Today we’re chatting with the author of an interesting, insightful, and often very funny travel-ish book, Passports and Pacifiers—Traveling the World, One Tantrum at a Time. Her name is Kaitlyn Jain. Let’s tune in and see what she has to say. You won’t want to miss this, if I do bark so myself! (For our full review of Passports and Pacifiers, click here.)

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Looking for Peter J.

One of the most inspirational “travel” books I’ve ever read is Peter Jenkins’ A Walk Across America (Harper Collins, 1979).

Do you remember?

Remember?

Disillusioned and cynical about society, newly minted college graduate Jenkins decides to hit the road with his faithful half Alaskan Malamute and “forever friend,” Cooper. (The book is even dedicated to Peter’s “forever friends: Cooper Half Malamute and Barbara Jo.”)

Together, Peter and Coop discover America. The resulting tome, A Walk Across America, is the compelling, uplifting account of the reawakening of Jenkins’ faith in himself and his country. It topped the New York Times Bestseller list for months and remains a beloved classic.

A Return

Weary of plowing through a mountain of mawkish drivel posing as “hiking memoir,” I recently decided to return to the Real Deal. The “Grand Daddy” of the genre and its trail-blazing author, Peter Jenkins.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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7 Skunkers & Clunkers

Ever get a whiff of skunk? You don’t need to get close. One whiff is Plenty. (Don’t ask how I know that.)

Mom and I, we read. A lot. Like, 300+ books a year on average. We know what we like. What we don’t. What works. What stinketh.

We try to approach every book with an open mind. Give it a chance. That being said, it doesn’t take us long to smell out a stinker. (We don’t look for this stuff. It finds us.)

When we can, we pass on our 100% unscientific, totally subjective “olfactory discoveries” to you. No extra charge. Consider it a Public Service Announcement.

So here’s our newest list of literary skunkers and clunkers. Four topped our most recent DNF (Did Not Finish) list. Here’s why:

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GUEST POST: The ‘Gentle Journey’ Continues With Author Cathay O. Reta

“Hey Mom!” says I. “How ’bout we do something special for Valentine’s Day?”

“What’d you have in mind, Kimber?” replies Mom. She’s doing that smiley eyes thing again.

“How ’bout we invite one of our new favorite authors to do a guest post? We could ask the Camino de Santiago walk lady. Cathay O. Reta and Keep Walking: You Heart Will Catch Up. Tell us what she’s up to. Any new books in the pipeline. Lessons learned. What’s next. What about Ray?  Perfect for this Valentine’s thingy!”

“Kimber, you’re a genius!”

Mom’s nothing if not quick.

So here, without further barking, is Cathay’s guest post. You’re gonna enjoy this! Take it away, Cathay:

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