Books

By Richard West This month I come to praise the University of Chicago Press’s series, Cultural Trails: Adventures in Travel.  Here’s their manifesto from the website: “Whereas most travel books focus on a particular place—a country, a city, a region—these volumes take as their first subject the exploration of a

By Richard West In Scandinavia, unlike America,  independent English-language bookshops do not seem to be going the way of the last Tasmanian, the Dodo, the final passenger pigeon, politicians with a conscience.  Amidst every major city there’s a truffling of stores selling new and second-hand books, offering reading clubs, appearances

  Richard West As surely as Hardy follows Laurel, the most attractive books that cross my desk year after year come from Haus Publishing’s The Armchair Traveller series. It’s not just their beautiful endpaper maps, Claude Garamond’s elegant typeset, or the fine writing, no, it’s also their distinctive size and

By Richard West Anybodyanybodyanbody, don’t click and leave, give this a read, how ‘bout you now, one minute of your time, one 60th of an hour, we got some winners, right here, anybodyanybodyanybody, I miss a few, I get a few, no book’s easy.  In fact we got four recent

By Richard West In the world of mystery fiction cold Scandinavia is the hot spot these days. Increasingly readers are discovering Norway’s Jo Nesbo and Karin Fossum, Iceland’s Arnaldur Indridason, and everyone (including my cat, Fenway) has read the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”,

  By Ed Wetschler Central Park, a two-and-one-half mile-long swath of green in the heart of Manhattan, is right up there with Times Square and Ground Zero as must-see sights for visitors to New York City. And the part of Central Park that gets the most visitors per acre (yes,

  Reviewed by Richard West Imagine a  country  where astrologers  often  change the calendar, adding or subtracting days or months (no Mondays!); governed by a policy of Gross National Happiness,  where archery’s the national sport, traffic lights don’t exist,  stamps are sometimes made of steel or silk,  large, detailed,  painted

  Reviewed by Richard West Somewhere in George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” Will Ladislaw airily posits that some places should remain unknown, “preserved as hunting grounds for the poetic imagination.” I don’t believe Paul Theroux got Will’s message. In the 50 years since he first spread his canvas to the gale, Theroux

Reviewed by Richard West Are you about to get married? Be careful what you read.  In a book on language evolution, Julian Smith, soon to wed Laura, his girlfriend of seven years,  ran across  a paragraph about Ewart Grogan’s 4,500-mile walk in the late 19th-century  from Cape Town to Cairo,

Reviewed by Everett Potter So you think you know everything about Italian food? Okay wise guy, did you know that pasta was traditionally eaten with fingers as street food in Naples a century ago? That Harry Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice was the only real-life person to appear in