Tag Archives: Travel

CANADA – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleCanada: Visual Explorer Guide Series
AuthorNorah Myers
Publisher Amber Books
GenreTravel, Reference, Adventure
ISBN #981782749608


Norah Myers grew up in Winnipeg and has lived in Toronto and London. Having returned to her hometown, she can most often be found on a Pilates machine.

Biography from Amber Books website.


Canada part of the Amber Books Explorer Guide series is fundamentally a visual atlas; set out in 200 ultra-high definition, color, full-page 6 by 4 inch spread photographs. Whilst diminutive for a book of its kind, Canada would be a perfect book suitable for displaying on your desk or library. It could just as easily be carried in your pocket or bag.

This illustrated gallery encompasses the width and breadth of the nation detailing its vast array of unique environments and wildlife habitats. The visuals include both natural and urban images. Presented in landscape format that provides a superior viewing experience. Each section has a short clearly transcribed description and brief additional historic information about the location of the presented plate to each province and territory.

Canada covers many aspects that make the country an extraordinary place to live or visit. Myers has included information about: the local culture, national history, wildlife, unique culture, and even that most Canadian of foods known as poutine.


The exterior visage of Myers illustrated book of Canada was simply breath-taking. It engenders a very real sense of anticipation and a genuine frisson of excitement as the prospective reader.

I found my initial expectations were not entirely met. My initial visceral anticipation that was engendered by the cover quickly became jaded. I expected there would be an abundance of wildlife images, but I was disappointed. Almost 80% of the images were of cities, architecture, bridges, and in one case an image of an apartment buildings post boxes. Whilst I was disappointed, I still adored the wildlife and nature photography. 

I found the nature images together with the written narrative satisfying. I still enjoyed the overall viewing and reading experience. Amber Books are renowned for publications of this kind. They always produce memorable picture books and despite some small distractions, Canada is still a very memorable work. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Norah Myers, NetGalley and Amber Books for affording me the opportunity to review Canada from their Explorer Guide Series.


See more information on the Aber Books Site.



Litercurious Book Review

TitleWorld’s Greatest Wonders: From Nature’s Special
Places to Stunning Masterpieces Created by
Outstanding Artists and Architects
AuthorEditors of Chartwell Books
PublisherChartwell Books (August 11, 2020)
ISBN #ISBN-10: 0785837957
ISBN-13: 978-0785837954


Written by Editors of Chartwell Books.


Do you enjoy thumbing through travel magazines during the cold winter evenings? Would you like referring to a publication to refresh facts from an impressive reference book? Perhaps you just enjoy owning beautiful things. If you answered yes to either question then you might want to read on.


Once upon a time there was a list of seven wonders of the world. Chartwell Books have taken the concept and created the World’s Greatest Wonders. It is a high-quality gallery book. If you are familiar with the original seven wonders you will recognize a few included in the 30 locations presented in World’s Greatest Wonders.

The World’s Greatest Wonders, by Editors of Chartwell Books is a spectacular volume jammed full of impressive high quality, full color, high-definition illustrations, and photographs. The guide is sub-divided into two sections: man-made wonders and natural wonders.

There is a genuine sense of quality in this tome; from the materials employed in its construction to the multitude of creative techniques utilized to produce such a ravishing spectacular feast for the eyes. Some pages are designed using striking paneled images organized to sit comfortably alongside nuggets of clear and concise information. Other pages have cut away visuals or schematics that vary wide-angle and close up images alongside bird’s eye views of the greatest wonders in the world today. In the case of the Naska lines, there is a double page spread magnificent in its awe inspiring complexity. With each turn of the page, there is yet another full color, high definition heavenly picture with maps showing the geographic location. Other elements that give the work a real sense of drama and excitement are the two-dimensional cut away models, architectural illustrations and drawings, as well as city wide images. In addition, there are a multitude of highly creative diagrams, including not to be missed eco diorama’s and panorama’s that have to be seen to be believed. The visuals are accompanied by important details about the subject that include age, size, dimensions, height, weight, historic background, and associated myths or legends.

It’s obvious that a significant amount of time, money, and effort have been employed in the creation of the World’s Greatest Wonders. The graphic designers, architects and illustrators have seriously out-done themselves. You will often hear the phrase that ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever’ and it is also true of the World’s Greatest Wonders.


This hardback is definitely worthy of your home library. There are biodiverse cross-sectional illustrations that are absolutely captivating. If you want to know more about such varied sites as: Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, the Sidney Opera House, the Empire State Building, St. Peter’s Basilica; or natural sites of great wonder such as: the Amazon, Antarctica, the Galápagos Islands, the Sahara, or Kilimanjaro, then World’s Greatest Wonders is a must have.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


I would like to thank the Editors of Chartwell Books, NetGalley, and Chartwell Books for affording me the opportunity to review World’s Greatest Wonders: From Nature’s Special Places to Stunning Masterpieces Created by Outstanding Artists and Architects.


Litercurious Book Review

TitleWalking To Samarkand: The Great Silk Road
from Persia to Central Asia
AuthorBernard Ollivier, (Translator Dan Golembeski)
PublisherSkyhorse (April 14, 2020)
FormatKindle, Hardcover
ISBN # 10/131510746897 / 978-1510746893

Life’s caravan is hastening on its way;
Brood not on troubles of the coming day,
But fill the wine-cup, ere sweet night be gone,
And snatch a pleasant moment, while you may.

Quatrains of Omar Khayyam (tr. Whinfield, 1883). Vol. 1, Quatrain 137


Bernard Ollivier is a French Author who has become the inspiration for a generation. Once he retired he decided that rather than embrace leisurely afternoons in one locations he preferred the adventure of travel primarily by self perambulation. 7,456 miles later we have the benefit of his experiences, his reflections, and his opinions gleaned on his journeys, in a range exquisitely written travelogues.


All of those with an adventurous heart.


With the aid of Dan Golembeski, the translator of Walking To Samarkand, Ollivier has managed to cram his personal account into a seemingly impossible 312 pages.

Ollivier whisks us away with him from Bazaar to Bukhara across oceanic desert through multiple borders, and caravansaries (old world Bed and Breakfast, B&B’s). Our journey transports us to the magnificence of Samarkand in all its rare beauty. Along the way he introduces us to a host of characters including; the Robber-Cop, the pilgrims on the road to Mash-had, the Turkmens of Tehran and a myriad of other fascinating strangers.

We accompany Ollivier though our minds eye. We see and fell through his senses. We experience the sounds, the sights and the sensations through his exquisite descriptions. We feel as the heat rises and the competing demands of balancing hydration against the weight of carrying the priceless water press heavily on his mind. There is even a fleeting chance of a romantic liaison.

After Ollivier’s enormous effort the city of bright water and colorful people is finally in sight, and what a sight she is. For a millennia, Samarkand was the apple in many a tyrant’s eye. From the Khanates of Burkkara and Kniva to the Achaemenid Kings they all shared a thirst for her water resources. Samarkand is the very definition of an oasis in the desert. She has stood on the Great Silk Road from the beginning. Today however, Samarkand stands on the Great Cotton Road. White Gold, as cotton is referred to, has replaced the spices and other valuables. The road has had many names in the past; including the Golden Road during the time of the Achaemenid Kings. Who knows what it will called in the future. What we can say is that whatever the road is called, Samarkand will almost certainly remain a jewel of the desert.


It was a joy, a pleasure and an honor to have accompanied Bernard Ollivier on his journey, all be it vicariously though the pages of his manuscript. The phrase that ‘travel broadens the mindholds true. Ollivier includes a plethora of information about the culture, the language, and the people of the region. I am amazed he managed to consolidate all of his observations so succinctly. I can still sense the bustling Grand Bazaar, the heat of the day, and the sight of the once great Bibi-Khanym Mosque (now a UNESCO site).

If you have one adventurous bone in your body then you will love this journal. I heartily recommend Walking To Samarkand.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I would like to thank Bernard Ollivier, NetGalley, and Skyhorse for affording me the opportunity to review Walking To Samarkand.

I would like to make a special acknowledgment to Dan Golembeski for the exceptional job of translating Walking To Samarkand.