Braided Streams

Reflections | Travels | Interests

Place-Based Books

For many years, I have loved learning about place through literature, and whenever I travel to a place, I seek out books from or about that place. I'm not sure when I started this habit. When I lived in Australia, I read books by Australian authors, and I discovered one of my favorites, Eucalyptus by Murray Bail. When I interviewed for a program associate position at SIT Study Abroad, I hoped that I would be selected for the Asia and Pacific region, as I had experience there, but when I found out I was being considered for the Middle East and North Africa programs, a region I knew next to nothing about, I went to my bookshelf. I found books like Damascus Nights by Rafik Schami and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al-Aswany, and I started reading. This was a natural way for me to learn. So when, at SIT, colleagues and I joined together for a TED Talk lunch and watched Ann Morgan's "My year reading a book from every country in the world," I was both excited (especially by this list of books she created) and surprised that this seemed like a novel idea to my colleagues. While essays have been sprouting up on the internet about bookshelves being too crowded with books by dead white men, I'm proud that the bookshelves I've curated over time are not only gender-balanced, but place-balanced.

I've been lucky over the past year and a half to have traveled and lived abroad quite a bit. So my reading for that time has been largely place-based, and what I've read and learned has contributed to my role as an educator and as a visitor to these places. Below are the books I've read.

My next trip is to Copenhagen and the Faroe Islands. Any recommendations?

The Caribbean