Special Camino Delivery from a U.K. Reader

A fantastic gift arrived just before Christmas in the form of a review from a reader in the United Kingdom: “I absolutely loved this book. I’ve read many Camino books and this is by far the best. So endearing and sweet and I felt like I picked up loads of tips for my upcoming Camino in 2021.”

When I sat on a bench for my first Camino lunch, I wondered if I would be able to walk across Spain to Santiago. I had no idea I would publish a book about Sue’s and my adventure. I am grateful to readers in 10 countries who have chosen to read Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows.

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.

Two Treks, Two Writers, Two Stories

My Journey around Mont Blanc PAPERBACK 2019 by Dan Karmi

Michael Tyler and his wife walked more than 40 times as far as Dan Karmi, but distance is not necessarily the defining measure of their accomplishments.

In Walking Thru, Tyler recreates his journey of more than 2,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. I am pulled to the PCT because of its incredible challenges in the desert of Southern California, over peaks more than 13,000 feet high in the Sierra Nevada, and through two more states, Oregon and Washington. Sue and I have walked five European distance treks, but none compare to the length and difficulty of the PCT.

Karmi, from Israel, walked 60 miles of the 110-mile Tour du Mont Blanc, but I have to give him credit for attempting something unlike anything he had ever done. Sue and I had done two other treks by the time we walked around Mont Blanc, something we could not have done without experience. Karmi’s story, My Journey Around Mont Blanc, is an honest sharing of his unusual experience.

Neither book was a gripping account, but I was drawn to their stories. Their adventures were so unalike, but distance walkers will find value in their words.

Ready Player Two: Does It Measure Up?

Imagine an alternate reality where people can do more than see, hear, and control a “game.” Instead, the events are real and the library is massive. And in the new world, people are actually reliving (that means all the senses) a person’s experience, feeling everything that person felt. Adults can choose something they would like to do and in whose body they would like to do it. For up to 12 hours a day. Yep, even sex.

Do you see problems with this alternate world? Ethics? Addiction? Confusion? Privacy? A devaluation of “real” life? An end of the world as we know it?

Those were some of my questions as I read the first part of Ready Player Two, Ernest Cline’s sequel to the hugely successful Ready Player One. I expected Cline’s story to explore more about these dilemmas within an adventure story comparable to the action of his first book. But, most of the time, I was left considering my questions on my own.

There was plenty of action. Maybe too much, too fast. Fans of John Hughes’ movies, Prince’s music and life, even the Lord of the Rings, may love the rapid-fire references.

The book is full of riddles, avatars, time travel, teleporting, dark events, “needle drops,” and more. It kept my attention most of the way. But, unlike how I felt while I read the first book, I was not on the edge of my seat.