Sunday, May 18, 2014

Book Review: 1089 Nights (not about dogs, but magical stil!)

Not About Dogs but Worthy Nonetheless

An exception - a magical book by a local author!
EverythingDogBlog #165: Once every two years, a non-dog blog!
1089 Nights: An odyssey through the Middle East, Africa and Asia by Ann von Lossberg (2008, 303 pages, iUniverse, $16)
Tourist or Traveler?
There are tourists and then there are travelers. In case you haven’t pondered the difference, Ann von Lossberg explains them and is, herself, the consummate traveler! As well as a gifted writer.
You are there with her. You smell the putrid smells and the flowery fragrances, feel the hot sun and searing heat, experience the often sun-burned skin and dusty dust which is omnipresent, feel the pangs of hunger and frustration when they cannot hitch a ride, and wonder at the wonders of third-world countries so full of rich history.
In the beginning, . . .
Starting in the 80s, Ann has traveled the world for months at a time with her companion-then-husband, and lived to tell the tales with wit and a sense of adventure - through Montezuma’s Revenge and the tribulations of no-means-of-transportation-ever-operating-on-schedule (translation: waiting for days). Her traveling world is not that of Germany or Japan with their rigid, strict adherence to time, but of third world countries with never enough room on the train for all who have a ticket (that’s what the roof is for, right?).
You will laugh and giggle and chuckle along with the author (who may not have laughed at the time, but, in retrospect, smiles at her accomplishment – her survival and the wondrous hardships she so successfully tackled).
Who should read this book?
Any traveler from the 70s onward. This includes college students, Peace Corps Volunteers, traveler-wannabees, and you!
To be a successful author, in my mind’s eye, one must have a good story to tell plus be able to tell it well. Ann does both and is the rare author who can. (She is also a gifted photographer who holds her own shows - photos of women across the third world, especially).
I first met Ann in a college class and was wonderstruck by how she (and Jim) managed to spend months at a time in such regions as the Middle East, Africa (my eternal ‘wanna-go’ place) and Asia (been there, done that but would love to do it again and again). I am not the kind of person to just sell everything, pick up and go – even when I was younger. (I had to have the security of a job in Asia in the 70s before I left the US.) I couldn’t just exist with one backpack but, oh, the adventures Ann relates and the truths she learns and shares about herself and society and other cultures.
1089 Nights should be required reading for all Americans. It is that good!
Odyssey is the word
According to Merriam-Webster, an odyssey is a long journey full of adventures AND a series of experiences that give knowledge or understanding to someone.  The latter definition is a better descriptor for 1089 Nights. And the cover  photois mystical.
Get it. Read it. Keep it.
(The author has also created a foundation to send Cambodian children to school – more information appears in the book and on the book’s webpage. Ann lives in Columbia, MD, and is available for speaking engagements. Half the proceeds from the book are also donated to her foundation.) 
Caveat: This first appeared in the Maryland Patch online newspapers on 18 May 2014. The blogger received no compensation for the review.

No comments:

Post a Comment