To leave the politics aside for moment, let’s talk books. I’ve been reading all sorts of travel, pilgrimage, immigration literature, and thought perhaps I would start to share some of the better bits. To start with, I’ve just finished Alain de Botton’s The Art Of Travel. I really liked his book on architecture so I thought I’d try this one. And it was a great, fast read. In fact, I think I read it too fast. I’m gonna keep it lying around coffee-table-style (without the coffee table) to flip through and review at random. Each chapter addresses one aspect of travel and looks at it through one or two great travelling minds. I especially like the chapter that uses John Ruskin to talk about the importance of slowing down, and really seeing a place, even to the point of taking the time to draw it.

I’m also in the middle of Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines, a book which I had started 3 or 4 times over the years but somehow never managed to finish. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why, cuz its a great, effortless read. Perhaps I shouldn’t jinx though, it as I still haven’t finished it yet.

I love how he just takes a break in the middle of the book for 40 pages of thoughts, observations and quotes from his notebooks. Here are the ones I thought were write-it-on-a-scrap-of-paper-and-tape-it-to-the-wall worthy.

Our nature lies in movement; complete calm is death.
Pascal, Pensées

A Study of the Great Malady; the horror of home.
Baudelaire, Journaux Intimes

I was ripe for death. My debility led me along a route of dangers, to the world’s edge to Cimmeria the country of black fog and whirlwinds. I was forced to travel to ward off the apparitions assembled in my brain.
Rimbaud, Une Sainson en Enfer

It is good to collect things but it is better to go on walks.
Anatole France