Wednesday, July 16, 2008


This summer I am hosting a number of visitors up here in the wild woods of the Pacific Northwest. Visitors are always a bit of work, but they also mean that I get some extended vacation time: at least that's what I'm telling myself. In honor of that vacation, today I'm going to highlight a travel book. I'm not travelling this vacation, so I'll leave it to the books to take me there. I've chosen Jan Morris's A Writer's House in Wales. Morris is a renowned travel writer, and in this book she writes about her home with a travel writer's hand.

I really had no idea what I was going to get out of this book, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Being something of an Anglophile, I know far less about the rest of the UK. I've spend very little time there (though I used to live on the English side of the Welsh border), and much of it remains a mystery to me. This little volume did a nice job of giving a snapshot of the Welsh countryside. This book has no real narrative or plot. It is, as it sounds, a writer musing about her house in Wales, looking at how it fits in to Welsh history and into the countryside that surrounds it. The reader gets a good dose of Welsh culture. This is not the sort of book that can be read in one sitting. I read a few pages every night, and though the volume is short, it took me awhile to finish. Though the author is writing about her home, this is very much travel writing, in that it allows the reader to escape to a totally different place, and experience part of that world. For me, this was a rambling, amusing, and pleasant way to pass some time.

Jan Morris, A Writer's House in Wales (National Geographic, 2002) ISBN: 0792265238

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