Literary Companion: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Default / 31/08/2020

Twain’s “(The) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is notable for many things, including its unique position as the first novel to feature contemporary slang in the first person. While the book is well-known for its frequent use of an ethnic slur, to the point of having a character named “[expletive] Jim,” it also serves as a satire of the American South by comparing that region to what it was like two decades prior.  Travel fans will note that this particular story also involves a lot of adventure along the Mighty Mississippi River, the second-longest river within the United States of America (the USA’s longest river is the Missouri, by less than 200 miles). This winding river allows Finn and Jim to see many different parts of the country while sharing their insights about the world.  For those unfamiliar with the story, it begins in a fictional Missouri town, St. Petersburg. Judging from the description and geography of the area, it is likely that Twain based this town on Hannibal. After a run-in with Finn’s shiftless father, he is dragged to Illinois but escapes to Jackson’s Island along the Missisippi. While in safer surroundings, Finn runs into friends and hears that Jim wants to head…

Literary Companion: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Default / 20/05/2020

Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” is not only regarded as the man’s best work of literature but also his most important. It also happens to be a great piece of literature for anyone with a drive to see new places or even expatriate to a country that seems different but not to the point that it would be impossible to make a living. It also happens to be broken up into three books as Hemingway was never fond of traditional chapters.  Hemingway published this particular tale just one year after his own experiences visiting Europe. There, he witnessed the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain with several expatriate friends. While he had initially intended to write a book about bullfighting, something that was a great passion of his, he succumbed to his creative urges and wrote this piece of literature known as a “roman à clef.” This French term means “novel with a key” and is used to describe fiction that basically files off the serial numbers of people and places that actually existed and participated.  The protagonist of the book is Jake Barnes, an American and former soldier who is unable to engage in sex. Barnes is an expat living…

Wanderlust Read: Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman
Default / 20/03/2020

“Tales of a Female Nomad, Living at Large in the World” is the memoir of Rita Golden Gelman. Gelman is an accomplished writer who has published over 70 children’s books and a pair of adult books. The urge to write this particular book struck Gelman during the process of a painfful divorce. Wanting to seek out the best in life, she chose to flee her Los Angeles residence and sell off all of her material possessions in order to become a global wanderer in 1986, beginning with a trip south of the border to Mexico City. To this day, Gelman “maintains” no set residence and has few possessions to her name.  This book is filled with Gelman’s stories of mendicant meandering in pursuit of connecting with the world’s many peoples and cultures. Some of these anecdotes include the following.  A stint residing within an indigenous Mexican community of Zapotec.  Encountering the curious and clever orangutans of Borneo’s verdant rainforest.  Sleeping on the Galapagos Islands with only the sounds of sea lions and the gentle crashing of waves against the coast as her lullaby.  Multiple brushes with mysticism and the occult, from meditative healers to Santeria.  Communing with dozens with women as they cooked,…