A New Year

new-years-cards-girl-pulling-resolutions

It’s been a slow-moving year at The Global Reader, but I’m still here, and still reading. Cooking, not so much but that’s for another post on another day…

I hope to map many more miles in 2017; it’s at the top of my resolution list, and I’m optimistic my actions will match my goals.

Right away in January I’ll be reading about Japan, and then circling back to a couple of previously-visited countries. Singapore was one of my first stops, and I totally dropped the ball. That’s ridiculous; words will be read, and food will be cooked. I’ll also stop back by Guinea-Bissau. I’m a much better book sleuth now, and it’s a place that I want to know more about than something written 25 years ago…

So, those are a few of my thoughts about this blog that I care about very much. Thanks for following along this journey with me. I appreciate the time you spend here, and hope to make it a more vibrant place to visit. Happy New Year!!!

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Mixing up the Mix: 6 months of religious reading

My poor, poor blog. I’m 4 1/2 years into this thing, and only 35 countries deep. And don’t even get me started thinking about the foodie side of the coin: I’m 12 or 13 countries behind even my slow literary progress…

And now I’m getting all crazy and throwing something else into the mix: Religion.

I’m a Buddhist. Have been in some form or another for coming on 30 years now (what?????). I was raised Catholic, but the words that seem to inspire so many in my culture never, ever resonated with me. I loved Greek Mythology as a child, and I went from there…

As an adult, I have to admit I’m worn out by the battles over belief, both figurative and literal. I’m tired of hearing words written ages ago, by people that I have zero connection to, being cherry-picked, interpreted seemingly at-will, and used to justify horrible things.

So. I’m going to read those words myself. As stated above, my natural inclination is towards a more Eastern-based spiritual life. I’m 100% comfortable with that, and it works very well for me.

I’m not shopping for a new path.

What I am looking for is Understanding. Information. Knowledge.

I will attempt to find it by reading the major texts of the Abrahamic religions, since they are the ones kicking up all of the dust lately. The schedule will be:

  • January 2016 – February 2016
    1. Judaism: The Tanakh
  • March 2016 – April 2016
    1. Christianity: The Bible
  • May 2016 – June 2016
    1. Islam: The Quran

I will view them as works of literature and articles of faith. I will engage these ancient texts in a respectful, open-hearted way, and if all I can walk away with at the end is a greater understanding of the beliefs of billions of people…well, I win don’t I?

I will NOT be reviewing them, because really, what’s the point in that?

I’ll also be catching up on the cooking I’ve not done for my previous countries, which will be awesome fun. And maybe throw in some menus from the cultures that were around when these books were written…

In July, my earth-bound travels will re-commence.

Please join me in this adventure of discovery and learning, if the spirit moves you!

iltni

 

 

 

 

 

Some Thoughts on Thoughtful Eating

There’s gonna be some changes around here…

My husband and I have been together for over 20 years. We were certainly not brought together in our bonds of love through food; when we first met, I was a vegetarian with 50 recipes for lentil loaf, and he existed on the All-American Male diet of hamburgers and pizzas. Then, about a decade ago, I woke up one day and wanted BBQ chicken and that was that.

Through the years, my husband has developed a much more adventurous palate, and happily joins me on my culinary adventures. And he has recently made his own dietary turn in a different direction: he’s now a pretty-much-all-of-the-time vegetarian. Which I love!

We are both ready to take much more responsibility for everything that we eat; where it comes from, who makes it happen, and what are the real costs of what’s on our plates. Life and death are all part of the cycle of existence, but does some other being really need to suffer so that I can get a cheap cheeseburger? Maybe not so much…

So, while neither of us are staking any permanent claims in  “I-am-this diet” territory, we’re going to flow where this much more humane stream takes us. There will still be periodic posts about chicken soup, and other yummy things that once walked around. Just not anyway near as much.

Highland cow sitting near the road.
Emo Cow
(image by Derek Harper via Wikimedia Commons)

Reading about: The Sahara

The Sahara is a big deal. Geographically, environmentally, psychically; it’s a pivot point that life on this planet revolves around. Huge in scale, it’s the largest hot desert in the world (Antarctica wins the big prize, but that’s all cold, all of the time). If it were its own country, it would be between Brazil and China in size. People have lived there for millennia, but have never conquered it; it’s almost always the other way around. It will absorb you, cover you up, obliterating your presence. Lovely at times, but truly deadly.

Sahara by satellite
Sahara by satellite
(image via NASA)

I think I’ve daydreamed about it my whole life. It’s also been a persistent character in my literary travels. So, with Mali a few stops back, and Niger and Djibouti on the horizon, I figured it was a good time to try to get a sense of place. I couldn’t have picked a better book: Sahara Unveiled by William Langewiesche. Satisfyingly spare prose, and even more sparse emotions. He doesn’t view the desert or the people that live there as enemies, through a prism of exoticism, or as some sort of harsh mystery to figure out; he states what he finds, and is very succinct in expressing his sometimes mixed emotions. I came away still wanting to see it with my own eyes, but with a better sense of what is really there.

Tadrart Acacus, a desert area in south western Libya
Tadrart Acacus, a desert area in south western Libya
(image by Luca Galuzzi, via Wikimedia Commons)

A funny, but telling moment in the book…

The author:”I want to see the desert”.

A local in a desert town: “Why?”