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TraveLit--A blog about travel literature. 

     Even with the best of maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys.

Book Review

One Boy's Boston 1887-1901
By Samuel Eliot Morison. With a Foreword by Edward Weeks. First published in 1962, by Houghton Mifflin. Northeastern University Press, 1983, 81 pp.

This charming book about a charmed boyhood provides an occasion for time travel. In 81 pages filled with historical detail, anecdotes, even limericks, the historian Samuel Eliot Morison takes us back to a Boston where horses, not cars, rode the streets, where houses were lighted by gas, not electricity, and where—hard to imagine in our own time—telephones were rare.

Morison, the author of more than 25 books—including The Maritime History of Massachusetts and Admiral of the Ocean Sea, a recreation of Columbus’s voyages—paints a portrait of the city as well as one of his own childhood, and he finds delight in both. As a boy, he loved the horses, the colorful trolleys, the winter sledding, and his rambles downtown with friends. He also takes great pleasure in depicting the eccentricities of the adults who surrounded him.  Read More 

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Book Review

The Way Winter Comes: Alaska Stories
By Sherry Simpson. Photographs by Charles Mason. Sasquatch Books, 1998, 164 pp.

For the armchair traveler, books about place provide a kind of journey, and in The Way Winter Comes, Sherry Simpson takes readers deep into Alaska. In these 8 essays, she writes her way through an icy landscape, describing, reflecting, and pondering.

Alaska, of course, is not all one place. As Simpson observes in the title essay, a meditation on winter, “The fundamental grammars of darkness and cold seem familiar enough throughout Alaska, but the idioms of climate and geography make each place exotic and difficult in its own way.” Growing up in Juneau, now living in Fairbanks, she finds that in the high Arctic—Barrow—where she is visiting an archaeological dig, she is a “stranger.” Read More 

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