Good Books Lately


If you are like me, when the weather begins to turn I start looking for new books to settle in with. It happens to me in the spring too, summer reading begins to whisper to me and I'm itching for some new print and plots and characters to take me away. And so it was last month when I happened upon Eliot Pattison's "The Skull Mantra." It's the first in a series of four mystery novels that feature Han Chinese detective, Shan Tao Yun. Set in the high Himalayas of Tibet, it's as much about a people and a place as it is a mystery thriller. It's a page turner with a historical back story and Tibetan back ground that I found intriguing and informative. I can't wait to pick up the second in the series, "Water Touching Stone". You can find it  here or at your favorite independent bookseller.


An Echo In The Bone is patiently waiting for me on my bedside table. I am a HUGE!!!! Diana Gabaldon fan and this is her 7th book in the Outlander series. If you like historical fiction and a story to be swept away in, this is your series. The story of Scottish Highlander Jamie Fraser and time traveling Claire Beauchamp will have you lugging these tomes everywhere you go for weeks. History, characters to fall in love with, adventure, science and science fiction – it's all woven into a fantastic story told by a master storyteller. Really, you should run to the book store to get started on this series. I came to this series late and was able to read the first six back to back. What a luxury! And now the long awaited 7th is here! I'm just rereading "The Breath of Snow and Ashes" (the 6th), so I'm up to speed when I turn the first crisp page of "An Echo In The Bone."

Time Suckage Alert: Time will stop, laundry will pile up, dishes will grow mold- you will want to do nothing but read for weeks. And if you are like me, you will don your sound canceling headphones, click your click wheel over to Yo Yo Ma's Cello Suites, settle in….and you won't hear them calling your name…


And this little gem is actually a newly minted magazine, hot off the presses. Afar's tagline is, "Where Travel Can Take You," and it certainly delivers. Independently published, it is "for readers who are curious about everything the planet and it's people have to offer. That's what the magazine delivers: fascinating individuals, intriguing neighboorhoods, cultural discoveries, unusual and local places to stay and eat, and reports on the world's arts, languages, products and music." Ambitious to be sure, but they are off to a great start. I get really tired of the glossy travel magazines who feature long paragraphs about their groovy travel writers and 10 page advertising sections to well worn destinations and feature stories on hotels that cost $500/night. This indie magazine seems to really get it – it's TOC (Table of Contents) is divided into SeeConnectGo – a nice way to approach and think about travel journalism. Although I'm sure they'd like the ad revenue, so far no "advertorials" about the latest spa vacation. Thank god. Instead sink your teeth into "Everybody Into The Bog" a quirky and informative story about the World Bog Snorkeling Championship in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales…who knew? Or journey into Morocco's Berber territory to discover storied artisans working a very old fiber tradition in a modern world. Click here to go to their website, or you can pick up a copy at Barnes and Noble or Borders.


I loved this spread out of Afar's maiden issue and put it on my bulletin board. What a great way to see the world. I think I'll be pointing my lense down to where the soles meet the street, the next time I hit the road.

So find a cozy spot and enjoy the shifting fall breezes. And leave me a comment if you've read a good book lately. I'm always on the lookout for a new one.

One Response to Good Books Lately

  1. Stephanie says:

    oh man Fran! you are set in the reading department! Thank you for ALL these titles. Did you tell me about the Skull Mantra? I have had this on my list….and I saw this new magazine detailed in Dwell last month, they had a teaser article about tree house stays in Laos that looked INCREDIBLE!

    thank for this great post!


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