Category: Books

The Mystery in the Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry in Bayeux, France manages to make the Battle of Hastings in 1066 an adventuresome mystery. Photo credit: V. Laino

It’s Not Just about 1066 and the Battle of Hastings It having been a very long time since I learned about William the Conqueror, the Battle of Hastings, and the importance of the year 1066 to British history, it is…

The Book of Kells: Worth a Visit?

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the Long Room at Trinity College, Dublin. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Seeing “The Most Beautiful Book in the World” New Yorkers used to visiting the Morgan Library for their share of antique books might be tempted to skip a visit to Dublin’s Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospel…

Visiting the Revolution through Books

American history keeps coming to me as I travel in the northeastern United States. I realize that, as a political science major, I learned more about the French and the Russian revolutions than the one had here at home. French…

Shirley MacLaine’s Camino Adventure

Where will a walk on the way of Saint James take your mind, body, and soul?

A Journey of the Actor’s Mind, Body, and Spirit in One Volume Actress Shirley MacLaine—of Downton Abbey, Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, and Postcards from the Edge fame—also has a bit of a New Age-bent. She takes quite an interesting…

There Really Is a House of the Seven Gables

Author Nathaniel Hawthorne's cousin owned a house in Salem, Mass. that once had seven gables.

Surprises at the Salem, Mass. Building that Hawthorne Made Famous It has been a long time since I have read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables, but I am still excited to learn that he based his book on…

Bashfully Appreciated Places, 2016

Pisa beyond the Leaning Tower Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

What readers liked to visit over the last year Should it be any surprise that the bashful adventurers visiting these pages have eclectic taste? Their reading habits show their interest—in learning, in history, in practical matters. The most popular posts…

Slacking the Saint James

When the going gets tough, the tough get going . . . after a cappuccino or two, anyway.

Doing the Camino de Santiago Your Way The little nagging fear about embarking on a pilgrimage is, at least in my case, that everyone else on the trail will be a whole lot more religious than I am. So it…

New England History for Truth-Seeking Tourists

A statue of the sachem Iyanough, for whom Hyannis, Mass. is named. Iyanough helped arrange the return of 16-year-old John Billington, who got lost in 1621 and was taken custody by indigenous people. Iyanough died in 1621 while still in his 20s. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Of Pilgrims, Progress, Power I begin reading Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower with the hope that the ending is going to be a slightly different one. I resist picking up this work for a long time because I know it isn’t going…

Mont Saint Michel for Changing Times

Tides of Mont St.-Michel book cover

Roger Vercel’s 1938 novel about the mount still entices What I like about Mont Saint Michel is that the closer you climb to the top of the mount, the farther you are from the touristy crappiness that can accompany any…