Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I’ve read and reviewed the last six books from the iconic travel writer Paul Theroux and was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the uncorrected proof of his next book which will be available in mid-April. Initially I was unenthusiastic about reading of the life of an aging surfer in Hawaii, but after reading “On the Plain of Snakes” about Mexico, I felt sure he’d manage to turn Hawaii into one of his ebullient tomes—and I was not disappointed. After all, the author has lived there for over 30 years during which time he’s been gathering stories and materials […]

Continue reading

How I Learned English by Tom Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I purchased this book as a Christmas present for my Guatemalan wife because, she like millions of other Latinos, has struggled to master the quirks and challenges of English. Ligia took English in school in Guatemala. But I’ve always insisted we speak Spanish in order to maintain my fluency and she patiently corrected my grammar, which she continues to do.  After our first year of marriage, I took her to my hometown of Evergreen, Colorado in the dead (cold) of winter, where she tried to communicate with my mother by writing notes. But my mother insisted that we get a […]

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