Something New: Books and My Backpack

What’s in your backpack?

Get out your drum and give it a roll; my blog has a new name, Books and My Backpack. I offer you spoiler-free reviews of books that will take you on adventures around the world. Selections include the Pacific Crest Trail, Costa Rica, the Silk Road, and Mont Blanc.

If journeys of the mind are your thing, authors include the Dalai Lama, Thoreau, Hesse, and Seneca. See the drop-down menu for a list of book titles (and quick links to each review).

There’s much more coming from the trails and pages ahead, so stay tuned.

Where am I in my wife Sue’s photo? In the Alps, taking a break from the Tour du Mont Blanc, which will be part of my next book. My first book is Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows.

I hope you like my blog’s new name. Have a suggestion for a book or a trail? Please send it along.

Books: Find Your Next Page Turner

Here are links to book reviews I have published:

Rail Trail Hall of Fame

Thunderstruck, Erik Larson

Bicycle Odyssey, Carla Fountain

Another Kind of Madness, Stephen Hinshaw

Making Friends With Anxiety, Sarah Rayner

Chasing Himalayan Dreams, Susan Jagannath

Rocket Boys, Homer Hickam

Oregon Hiking Guides, William L. Sullivan

Chasing Zorba: A Journey of Self-Discovery in a VW Bus, Jerry Steimel

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Bruce Wilson

Over the Top and Back Again: Hiking X the Alps, Brandon Wilson

Two West Highland Way books

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson

Free Country, George Mahood

Walking Thru, Michael Tyler

My Journey Around Mont Blanc, Dan Karmi

Ready Player Two, Ernest Cline

The Boy Between, Josiah Hartley and Amanda Prowse

The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Gavin Extence

An Adventurer’s Son, Roman Dial

Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century, Jessica Bruder

Gillybean in China, Gill Puckridge

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

Escape From the Ordinary, Julie Bradley

The Trail Provides: A Boy’s Memoir of Thru-Hiking the PCT, David Smart

Narcissus and Goldmund, Hermann Hesse

Henry David Thoreau: A Life, Laura Dassow Walls

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World, Hans Rosling

How to Practice, Dalai Lama

Opiod, Indiana, Brian Allen Carr

Land of Lost Borders, Kate Harris

Trespassing Across America, Ken Ilgunas

Walden, Henry David Thoreau

The Accidental President, A.J. Baime

The Salt Path, Raynor Winn

Way Out There, J. Robert Harris

Beyond Religion, Dalai Lama

Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse

Big Little Man, Alex Tizon

Walden on Wheels, Ken Ilgunas

Beyond the Pale, Ken Grossman

On the Shortness of Life, Seneca

The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner

How Not to Get Married, George Mahood

If Cats Disappeared from the World, Genki Kawamura

Sedona Hiking Guide, Greg Stevenson

The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz

Seneca Says: Get on With Your Life!

“Life is short.”

Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life is likely to transform your thoughts about those three words.

The Roman stoic philosopher’s vision of human existence viewed life as plenty long enough, if you use it.

“Just do it! What are you waiting for?” he would say if he were writing a self-help book in the 21st Century. Time is your ally if you don’t put things off.

Here are a few from a wealth of jewels from the English translation available on Amazon:

“Let us turn to private possessions, the greatest source of human misery. For if you compare all the other things from which we suffer, deaths, illnesses, fears, desires, endurance of pains and toils, with the evils which money brings us, the latter will far outweigh the others.”

“…it is easier to bear and simpler not to acquire than to lose, so you will notice that those people are more cheerful whom Fortune has never favoured than those whom she has deserted.”

“So we should make light of all things and endure them with tolerance: it is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it.”

“Fortune hands out such unfair rewards.”

“…there is a healthy moderation in wine, as in liberty.”

Seneca, an advisor to Nero, accumulated great wealth and was a controversial figure two thousand years ago. His words may make you wonder about the originality of current self-help writing.