Books

 Reviewed by Richard West     “Press my pents and shine my shoes/gimme twenny cents to pay my dews/for I’m goin’ far a-waaay tidday. Be heppa!” This classic cartoon runaway ditty sung by Krazy Kat (perhaps escaping Ignatz Mouse) often comes to my mind just thinking of traveling to Italy, undoubtedly

  Reviewed by Richard West “Habent sua fata libelli,” books have their own destiny. Should you doubt the wisdom of the Roman playwright Terence’s aphorism, consider later morphings of Homer’s “Odyssey”: “Ulysses,”James Joyce’s version of the king of Ithaca as ad canvasser Leopold Bloom in his day-long wanderings through Dublin;

-Richard West An automobile is just a mobile box, airliners isolating metal tubes whizzing through space. But a train is its own world with great character: mysterious, romantic, and, yes, also ordinary but where commonplace actions can gain a new perspective. When we travel by rail the train itself, unlike

Review by Richard West "How pleasant ’tis to travel brisk," wrote Samuel Coleridge after riding the Liverpool stage in 1812. "The horror" Paul Theroux (left) surely would reply thinking of today’s even brisker air travel: the complete absence of mystique, delays, obtrusive searches, impatient passengers, the jet-lagged, hemlockian sleepiness that

–Alexander Lobrano Like many Americans, I find myself with a complex set of feelings towards China. At once, I am fascinated by the country, at once admiring of and apprehensive about its rise to power and its impact on the economic well-being of the United States, and slightly befuddled by

Richard West It’s true, the best way to drum a place into your head and heart is with your feet, ideally, on a walking vacation. You notice the scents, discover idiosyncrasies, meet the locals. Many travel writers have put one foot before the other before you and written about it,

  Reviewed by Richard West Sometimes you can tell a book by the cover. One of the many charms of Robbins’ work is a striking cover image/photo of a bright red apple with a Kazakhstan-shaped bite on the fruit’s faintly imposed map of the Russian Federation. Apples, specifically the Aport,

Looking for adventure? And I mean an ultimate adventure, not a mere walk in the woods? Then check out Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic Ocean: A Guide to Fifty Extraordinary Adventures for the Seasoned Traveler, by Don Mankin and Shannon Stowell (National Geographic). Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel

  Reviewed by Richard West. Tramps there a traveler who, upon arriving at a delightful destination, hasn’t thought, lo!, I could happily live here? Bet they are rare as pinto flamingos. Kauai, Vancouver, Paris (who hasn’t?), New Zealand, Iceland (summer cottage only), Crestone, Co., and Vienna are a few of

Back in the 80’s, I was one of those Americans who never went to Paris without my dog-eared copy of “The Food Lovers Guide to Paris” by Patricia Wells. Wells opened my eyes, and those of countless others, to the bounty of Parisian restaurants, food shops and market places. But