Category Archives: Books

“Neither Here nor There” by Bill Bryson

I like Bill Bryson and have enjoyed some of his other books, but Neither Here nor There, his account of traveling through Europe from Norway to Istanbul, is disappointing. The book is full of clichés that you already knew about … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Europe, Travel | 4 Comments

Thoughts of the Day 15

If you are ever going to attend France’s National Day parade on 14 July, watch out for the pioneers of the Foreign Legion.  More Orwellian news out of Russia. Romania: “Look, USA, that’s how you do an impeachment. Quick and … Continue reading

Posted in Afghanistan, Books, France, James Bond, Military, Politics, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Technology, Travel, UK, US election 2016, USA | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Thoughts of the Day 14

If I am ever on a quiz show, my telephone joker will be the dude who wrote Wikipedia. Suki Kim has done impressive undercover reporting in North Korea, fooling both her employer, by pretending that she was a devout Christian, and of course the … Continue reading

Posted in Bolivia, Books, China, Colombia, Economics, Education, Environment, Health, Language, Life, Mexico, North Korea, Religion, Saudi Arabia, Technology, Travel, UK | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Book Markets in the Middle East

In Iraq, booksellers leave the books at the side of the road overnight, thinking: “Readers don’t steal, and thieves don’t read.” That reminds me of an episode during my first visit to Iran. In a used-book shop, I found so … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Iran, Travel | Tagged , | 7 Comments

“Death in Venice”

… and there goes Gustav von Aschenbach: “Death in Venice“ is not my favorite book by Thomas Mann, but he is one of my most favorite authors. I have met a few people who have dismissed Thomas Mann as a writer … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Death, Italy, Photography | Tagged , | 1 Comment

My house in Colombia

Bogotá is actually quite green for a large city, but I wanted only nature, without the city. So I rented a little house north of Colombia’s capital, which I reached on smaller and smaller roads, shared with a surprising number … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Colombia, Photography, Travel | Tagged , | 33 Comments

Thoughts of the Day 11

Mohammad Mostafaei, the lawyer with whom I was arrested in Iran, has written a book. He says I am in it too, but I can’t read Norwegian, so I have to wait for a translation. Does anyone still remember José Echegaray … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Elections, France, Health, History, Human Rights, Iran, Language, Law, Mexico, Military, Politics, Sports, Statistics, Travel, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment