More Great Travel Books
As Seen on IVHE.COM Wednesday, July 27, 2016
A good book on vacation is a wonderful pleasure; a good book related to you travel destination is an even greater pleasure. This is the second in a series, to read the first click here.
Amsterdam – The Diary of Anne Frank
Deservedly famous, The Diary of Anne Frank is a must-read if you have ever, or you are planning on visiting Amsterdam. Though I read, The Diary of Anne Frank when I was just a girl, much of it came flooding back to me in my twenties when I visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. Because of the depth of the writing of a young girl and the tragic circumstances in which the diary was written, it is somehow surprising to learn that the Frank house is very beautiful, bright, and airy. Strangely, it is evocative of youth and thus the spirit of Anne Frank herself.
Hawaii - Hawaii
by James Michener
Considered by some to be a potboiler, Hawaii does indeed contain some melodramatic moments, but this saga by Pulitzer Prize Winner James Michener captivated me both in print and film. Abner Hale, a devoted and uptight divinity student soon-to-be preacher, needs to marry in order to go to Hawaii on a mission to convert the natives to Christianity. Abner meets the beautiful Jerusha, and soon they are married and on their way to Hawaii.
Outside of the sensitive portrayal of the Hawaiians and their traditions, Michener does a brilliant job of conveying that it is the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that matters. At least the film did for me when I was a child. When I read the book later as an adult, I was struck with how sweeping and ambitious the book was, and I was especially moved by “From the Boundless Deep,” and early chapter in the novel that details the birth of the Hawaiian Islands.
Greece – Nicomachean Ethics
by Aristotle – Translated by D.P. Chase
Going to enjoy the sunshine and beauty of Greece without tending a bit to your Greek history or philosophy is like going to Paris and not walking down the Champs-Élysées. When I was in Greece, I found that a taste of Aristotle a day helped to keep luxury hotel snobbery away (although I must admit, one can get used to such things).
In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle is concerned primarily with “the Chief Good” or “that which all Things aim at.” The book is a kind of ethical manual for becoming a refined person. Of special interest to me was Aristotle’s doctrine of “the mean” wherein Aristotle postulates that it is the person who manages a middle way who is most refined and balanced.
Also of special interest to me was Aristotle’s discussion of the meek:
“For the notion represented by the term Meek man is the being imperturbable, and not being led away by passion, but being angry in that manner and at those things, and for that length of time, which Reason may dictate.”
I found the passage above to be the perfect companion to explicating the Christian ideal of “Blessed are the meek . . .”