What I’ve Been Reading

1. Orhan Pamuk: Snow. Complex, sad, beautiful. A wonderful novel by this Nobel prize winning Turkish writer. Vivid images of Turkey – now I want to go there! It can be hard to follow the different threads, but I highly recommend this, especially if you don’t know much about Turkey or Turkish people.

2. Peter Greenberg: The Complete Travel Detective Bible: The Consummate Insider Tells You What You Need to Know in an Increasingly Complex World. Solid compendium of tips and how-to’s for the travel buff in us all. On the health/sanitation front I learned not to drink water served on airplanes unless you’ve seen them twist open the bottle water cap and to never snuggle up in the comforter in hotel rooms which is rarely washed. I also learned about “Rule 270” of airline travel – if your flight is delayed more than two hours for non-weather reasons on a major carrier, you can demand transfer to another airline’s flight.

3. P. J. O’Rourke: Peace Kills: America’s Fun New Imperialism. I love O’Rourke but this is not his best. Some funny lines for sure, but I’d pass and check out other of his work.

4. Frank McCourt: Teacher Man. Awesome. Why had I never heard of McCourt? This is a beautiful memoir about McCourt’s teaching years in New York City. Certainly one of the best I’ve read about teaching. I can’t imagine any teacher disliking this book.

I’ve also read two “Best American Essays” anthologies — will summarize and excerpt from those in a later post.

7 Responses to What I’ve Been Reading

  1. Tina says:

    McCourt is a great memoir writer. You should definitely take a look at his first book, Angela’s Ashes.

  2. carli says:

    Ben, I’m curious: How long does it usually take you to get through an average-length book? I’m envious that you’re able to get so much reading done. I need to cut back on the TV and newspapers.

  3. Jesse says:

    Ben, I still think you should finish Infinite Jest. I just completed it a couple of days ago and I’m kicking myself for not doing so sooner.

  4. ben casnocha says:
  5. @”not to drink water served on airplanes unless you’ve seen them twist open the bottle water cap”

    I would say when you travel, never drink bottled water anywhere unless you twist the cap off yourself.

    I got poisoned at La Boca in Buenos Aires by a vendor who pretended to twist the cap off, sticking a plastic straw in as cover for the fact I was being served bad water.

    I was sick with severe flu-like symptoms for two days.

  6. When I’m on a plane, I ask for juice. Avoids the “drink the water” problem altogether. And, yes, I do watch them open the container.

  7. andy says:

    Remember, no ice, Martha.


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