Writing on the Edge: A Borderlands Reader, by Tom Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I’ve gotten to know the author over the years based on a shared appreciation of iconic writer Moritz Thomsen, whom Tom met in Ecuador. He accompanied me to the University of Arizona Library, which acquired his archives, including six boxes of materials on Thomsen that I used to research and write several articles. With Tom’s help, I’d write my anthology, Moritz Thomsen: The Greatest American Writer Nobody Knows About. Tom and I also share a love of travel and travel writing. His best-known book, The Panama Hat Trail, is one of my all-time favorites, and I was impressed to learn […]

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The Man Within My Head by Pico Iyer, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I came across Pico Iyer while reading and reviewing Ronald Wright’s Time Among the Maya, published by ELAND Press, as he wrote the introduction. His overview was insightful and concise, and I learned he’d written over 50 such openings. Initial research revealed that he was a revered travel writer and that he’d written a book about his fascination with one of my favorite writers, Graham Greene. The book is a meditation about Graham, as well as the author. Greene is the virtual man in Iyer’s head, raising the question, what causes a particular writer to resonate in our souls? I’d […]

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Entre Dos Mundos: Una Memoria por Victor Montejo, La Revisión por Mark D. Walker

Este libro es una autobiografía de un increíble antropólogo y escritor guatemalteco.  Él cuenta la extraordinaria historia de un niño Maya quien busca mejorar su vida a través de la educación. Es una historia de sueños y metas que atraviesa el mundo Maya y el Occidental. Supe del autor por primera vez, hace unos veinte años, al leer su novela, “Las Aventuras de Míster Puttison Entre los Mayas,”.  Esta otra novela es histórica y satírica, relatando las aventuras de un viajero norteamericano, que aparece en una aldea Maya aislada y la comunidad piensa que es un cura. La historia es […]

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The Bad Angel Brothers by Paul Theroux, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  I’ve read and reviewed the last seven books from the “Dean of Travel Writing,” Paul Theroux, and was fortunate enough to obtain one of the early copies of this book. I wrote my latest book, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road, in honor and appreciation of Theroux and another travel writer, “who personally knew and were inspired by Moritz Thomsen and passed their enthusiasm on to me.” Thomsen wrote the Peace Corps experience classic, Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Theroux’s book, The Tao of Travel, which celebrates 50 years of travel writing, inspired my series, “The […]

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“Perception and Deception: A Mind-Opening Journey Across Cultures” by Joe Lurie, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend. — Henri Bergson   I learned of Joe’s work and book from an interview on the Global TV Talk Show—whose host, Ed Cohen, asked many revealing questions. I learned that Joe and I are contemporaries—he was in Kenya with the Peace Corps when I was in Guatemala, but he took his knowledge of cross-cultural communications to new levels, and we have a more tolerant world as a result—at least among those who have read his book or participated in one of his classes/courses. I contacted Joe through the […]

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A Indian Among Los Indigenas: A Native Travel Memoir by Ursula Pike, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I first became aware of the author when she made a presentation at the Phoenix Writers Network.  I had an opportunity to share some similarities in our experiences, since Guatemala and Bolivia have a high percentage of the Indigenous population. I learned that she was from a Native American community, which gave her a perspective most volunteers couldn’t understand or appreciate. Like many volunteers, I was focused on just learning Spanish and surviving, so I wasn’t prepared to learn one of the 22 Mayan languages in Guatemala. When the author revealed that the pages of her copy of Moritz Thomsen’s […]

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Travelers’ Tales: Central America, Editors Larry Habegger and Natanya Pearlman, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  Fellow travel writer Tom Miller warned me about the book when he learned I was working on an essay about Central America, The Guatemala Reader, “Mark –Careful! You don’t want to duplicate anything from Travelers’ Tales Central America.” When I reviewed the table of contents, I realized my book would be very different, as I’d be the author of all the stories focused on one country, while in this book, the stories cover Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Panama, as well as Guatemala. Also, all the travel writers like Paul Theroux, Ronald Wright, and Tim Cahill […]

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Million Mile Walker Dispatch, Rave Reviews for My New Book–Not So Much With Our Guatemala Documentary! June,2022 Issue

  My Saddest Pleasures Gets Rave Reviews—not so much for our Guatemalan Documentary! Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World, My Saddest Pleasures received impressive reviews, although we didn’t have the same luck with our Guatemalan documentary, “Trouble in the Highlands.” I’ll tell some stories about excellent literature, documentaries, and classic rock music in Culture Watch. As always, I will share My Writing, Interviews, Reviews, Voices of the Day, What Others Are Saying, and an updated Calendar. First, check out a brief video of the new book and share it with friends you think will like My Saddest Pleasures. Find out what others have said […]

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Entre Dos Mundos (Between Two Worlds: A Memoir) by Victor Montejo, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

This is an autobiography of an incredible Guatemalan anthropologist and writer.  He tells the extraordinary story of a Mayan boy who seeks to improve his life through education. It is a story of dreams and goals that crosses the Mayan and Western worlds. I first learned about the author twenty years ago when I read his novel, “The Adventures of Mr. Puttison Among the Maya,” in English and Spanish.  This novel is historical and satirical, recounting the adventures of an American traveler, who appears in an isolated Mayan village, and the community thinks he is a priest.  This story is […]

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The World Against Her Skin: A Son’s Novel, by John Thorndike, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  I connected with the author through a shared appreciation of the author of Living Poor, Moritz Thomsen. He also reviewed Thomsen’s book Bad News from a Black Coast, and it was so good I asked to include it in a novel I’m working on about the influence of Moritz Thomsen on other writers, and he agreed. I learned that he traveled to Cuba with fellow author and friend, Tom Miller, which resulted in his best-known book, One Hundred Fires in Cuba. I soon became aware that the author was also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who also married a […]

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