Recently out in paperback, Turn Right At Machu Picchu is a uniquely charming travel tale. When Mark Adams, a travel editor in New York city decides heRecently out in paperback, Turn Right At Machu Picchu is a uniquely charming travel tale. When Mark Adams, a travel editor in New York city decides he needs an adventure of his own he doesn't start small. Instead he heads to Peru to trace the path of Hiram Bingham III, the explorer famous for the discovery of Machu Picchu. Adams, a mostly desk-bound sort, faces the epic journey with charmingly told trepidation. He begins the book by interspersing tales of Bingham's life with sections of personal memoir. The men share certain similarities, they are both well-educated family men, ambitious scholars with a major streak of wanderlust.
Adams has a talent for self-deprecation and his adventure is full of blister-induced silly walks, fast-kicking mules, a nearly indestructible and taciturn Australian guide, and one jabber-jawed cook. Adams is such a good storyteller that at times the passages about Bingham seem to fade into the background as his own perilous adventure begins. His descriptions are deft and sensory: the soft Quechua handshake, he says, is like being handed a baby bird. What is particularly appealing is that his tale is devoid of the swagger that can pervade some modern travel memoirs. Adams lets his subject, Bingham, have the heroics, although his view of Bingham is far from white-washed. He covers both Bingham's obsessive quest for glory and the sputtering end to his career with an unvarnished eye.
Machu Picchu has, despite its remote location become a bit of a tourist trap. By chronicling Bingham's journey, Adams brings back a bit of the mystique and magic of the earlier days of exploration. He does so not by positioning himself as the hero of a modern epic but instead by giving us a view of what happens when the everyman attempts something extraordinary.
This seemed like more a medical memoir then a foodie memoir but it is well-written and gives the uninitiated a look at the devastation that can be cauThis seemed like more a medical memoir then a foodie memoir but it is well-written and gives the uninitiated a look at the devastation that can be caused by Crohn's disease. The author seems to be aware of his self obsession which makes some of the more maudlin patches bearable. The book also shows a bit of what it is like to have a chronic illness and navigate the Ametican healthcare system....more
A fascinating look at the domestic history on the English people. From how we are born to where we die and everything in between from banquets to bathA fascinating look at the domestic history on the English people. From how we are born to where we die and everything in between from banquets to bathrooms, this book is an unflinching look at domestic habits. There's plenty to cringe over, we live in a greatly sanitized world compared to the earlier ages. What's perhaps most interesting is how habits cycle and fall in an out of fashion. We tend to think of development and innovation as a straight line moving ever upwards but the truth is a lot more complicated and interesting. The book focuses a bit too much on how the upper classes lived but that's partly because there's simply more documentation available. ...more
As Southern as they come with an emphasis on fresh, local food and traditional flavors. The vegetable section of the book is perhaps the most interestAs Southern as they come with an emphasis on fresh, local food and traditional flavors. The vegetable section of the book is perhaps the most interesting with intriguing options such as cardoons gratin and saffron-braised celery. It's Southern so there's a lot of ham, a lot of greens and more than a few breaded options. Perhaps least inspiring are the desserts with homespun but generic options like peach pie and apple brown betty. Still, the style and heart of the book make this one a charmer. ...more
A lovely look at the nation of Qatar by the wife of the former ambassador to the country. Untermeyer spent several years there and chronicles the struA lovely look at the nation of Qatar by the wife of the former ambassador to the country. Untermeyer spent several years there and chronicles the struggles and triumphs of a nation dealing with a massive upswing in money and development. Photographer Henry Dallal creates stunning images of this unique nation poised on the edge of a dramatic new future.full review on Pursuitist.com....more
What happens when there is no "leader of the free world?" How does the world function if every nation only considers its own best interests? The impliWhat happens when there is no "leader of the free world?" How does the world function if every nation only considers its own best interests? The implications go beyond the potential for wars and terrorism. Who will set the global standards of trade, currency, and international networks? If all countries are out for themselves how do they work together on issues like climate change? The consequences of such a situation are frightening to contemplate but they are also with us on a daily basis.
Bremmer does not see G-Zero as permanent. He envisions it as a state that will eventually lead to a crisis point and the creation of a new state. Will it be a state where China and the U.S. join forces or are in conflict? Will another nation or group of nations band together or will nations and regions war against one another? Could we be facing Cold War 2.0, a battle not of weapons but of trade? Like other similar books that are able to aptly convey where we are now but not confidently predict where we will be, Every Nation For Itself leaves us stuck. Hopefully the United States will realize it doesn't always have to save the world but it owes it to is citizens to save itself. In an ideal world, opposing political parties would work together for the greater good. As Bremmer shows, we really don't have much of a choice....more
A well-written consideration of the nature of money. Vanderkam addresses common ideas about money, shares a few of her own financial foibles, and inteA well-written consideration of the nature of money. Vanderkam addresses common ideas about money, shares a few of her own financial foibles, and interviews a host of experts. Not all of the money we spend can/should bring us joy but thinking about the ways we spend our money and how we can allocate more wisely makes good sense. This isn't a smart money book, it's a joy money book and there's a certain relief and pleasure in that after reading many books about saving. There's nothing particularly revelatory here, just a reminder to think about the ways we spend and how we can use what we have already to make us happier. ...more
I read Dana Thomas's book Deluxe about luxury shopping a few years ago, this one is even better/more powerful because it went after not just those aspI read Dana Thomas's book Deluxe about luxury shopping a few years ago, this one is even better/more powerful because it went after not just those aspirational items but those cheap pieces we buy every week. The author combines research, statistics and interviews with personal narrative to create a very compelling argument for why we need to look closely at how we are spending our money on clothing. The issue isn't just a sustainability one or an ethical one, we've also lost some of the pleasure of wearing classic, well-fitting clothing. Full review over on Pursuitist....more
The saga of the two As, the blonde co-founders of Gilt Groupe, the popular private sale site. The pair, who attended Harvard Business School togetherThe saga of the two As, the blonde co-founders of Gilt Groupe, the popular private sale site. The pair, who attended Harvard Business School together have charmed lives but are also very hard workers. Together with a small team they created a site that has become one of the leaders in the growing flash sale industry. The book chronicles their fast rise and is written in a co-narrated style that has the voice switching, often mid-paragraph. The book is at its most successful when the women describe the specific steps they took in founding and growing the business as well. It's not the most well-written book but it's full of inspiring words for other young women looking to start a business. Full review over on Pursuitist http://pursuitist.com/style/gilt-grou......more