Author Interview in SIETAR Newsletter (Soc. Intercultural Education, Training & Research) on Moritz Thomsen

CRAIG STORTI BOOKMARKS: LIVING POOR AND THE SADDEST PLEASURE 14 Dec 2020 8:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator) TWO BY MORITZ THOMSEN: Living Poor and The Saddest Pleasure Reviewed by Craig Storti There’s a movement afoot (led in part by Mark Walker, see the interview below) to elevate Moritz Thomsen to the status of a Very Important Writer, someone whose books stay in print for generations and get assigned in college literature classes, someone whose name every well-read person should know. And we here at BookMarks are happy to do our part. We briefly mentioned Thomsen in one of our previous columns (where we reviewed […]

Continue reading

Africa Memoir by Mark G. Wentling, Review by Mark D. Walker

I’ve read and reviewed several of the author’s books over the years. We were both Peace Corps Volunteers in Central America and worked in West Africa, although Wentling went on to work and travel in 54 African countries over the years. My favorite book from his “African Trilogy” is “Africa’s Embrace,” which is fiction, but reflects his experience working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa in the 1970s. The well-developed characters force the reader deep into the heart of Africa. Wentling worked with USAID and the State Department, so his book, “Dead Cow Road,” is an authentic and […]

Continue reading

On the Road: The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac

  After writing several “counter culture” articles on my experiences in the early 1970s, the first entitled, “Crested Butte 1970: Reflections of a Town in Transition,” I decided it was time to re-read perhaps the most influential beat generation book, “On the Road.” This book is now ranked number two on Amazon’s “Beat Generation Criticism” list, after “Dharma Bums” by the same author. The New York Times hailed the book as “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac named years ago as “beat.” In 1998, the Modern Library ranked On […]

Continue reading

Borges and Me: An Encounter by Jay Parini

This seemed the perfect time to read a story that took place in the early 1970s, when Jay Parini arrived at the oldest university in Scotland in flight from his draft board in the U.S., which had designs on sending him to Vietnam. I had just published an article about my flight from my draft board that same period, “Crested Butte 1970: Reflections on a Town in Transition.”  My flight would be to Guatemala with the Peace Corps, but I also had ties to St. Andrews Scotland where Parini had escaped. My wife and I visited my mother’s cousin and […]

Continue reading

Book Review, Travel; To Timbuktu: A Journey Down the Niger

  One of the reasons this book caught my attention is that I was working in Sierra Leone several years before Mark Jenkins started his trip down the Niger River in 1990. I traveled up-country on the border of Guinea with some missionary friends and have never forgotten the steady beat of drums in the darkness, a reminder of what a different world I’d just entered. Mark Jenkins, a travel fanatic and writer, sets out with three friends to attempt their first descent of the Niger River in kayaks, with the goal of reaching the legendary city of Timbuktu. The […]

Continue reading

Book Review – Travel: Topographies

Topographies by Stephen Benz Reviewed by Mark D. Walker I was drawn to this book because the author had written about my favorite part of the world, Guatemala, as well as several parts of the Wild West. The reader is taken through a diversity of locations starting with the Everglades and the sad story of the mass killing of egrets. Forty to sixty hunters would descend and let loose a “barrage,” killing hundreds of birds. The author goes beyond the location and even its beauty with a dramatic focus on history. In Nebraska, we are introduced to the plight of […]

Continue reading

Book Review – Travel: The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road

The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road By Paul Theroux Reviewed by Mark D. Walker This book celebrates 50 years of travel writing and is just one of the reasons Theroux is known as the “Godfather of contemporary travel writing”. It’s an invaluable portal into the world of timeless travel on a global scale by one of the great travel authors. Theroux shares some of the books and authors who influenced and inspired him. He intersperses selections from his many books as well as those of the best travelers like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Graham Greene, James […]

Continue reading

Book Review – Travel: On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey

On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey By Paul Theroux Reviewed by Mark D. Walker I’ve travelled much of the world over the last forty years thanks to Paul Theroux’s many books which now number 56. I was especially eager to read this book since I’ve made the journey through Mexico several times with my wife in a car (VW bug) and a pick-up truck, so I was familiar with some of the challenges, dangers not to mention adventures the author would encounter. The “Godfather of Travel Writing” follows his own critique for what makes a superior travel book, […]

Continue reading

Book Review – Travel: My Two Wars

My Two Wars by Moritz Thomsen Reviewed by Mark D. Walker This would be the last time we’d hear from “one of the best American writers of the century,” according to the Washington Post review of this book. Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway’s third wife and one of the best war correspondents adds, “wonderful sentences sound like a speaking voice, and the voice belongs to a man alone, a man both deeply grave and very funny, ironic and compassionate, totally honest, and without vanity.” As this book was completed shortly before his death and wouldn’t be published for four years after he’d […]

Continue reading

Book Review – Travel: Living Poor: Peace Corps Chronicle

“Living Poor: Peace Corps Chronicle” by Moritz Thomsen Reviewed By Mark D. Walker   This would be Moritz’s first and best known book, about his volunteer work in tropical Ecuador, where despite language and cultural barriers and a serious fatalism amongst the local population, he pushed ahead with a series of projects which would impact him and his village in ways he couldn’t imagine. As a Peace Corps Volunteer he put down roots, which allowed him to immerse himself in the local culture and economy and understand its dynamics like few other ex-pats. This allowed him to enter the skin […]

Continue reading