Hall of a Thousand Columns

Registered by SKingList of New York City, New York USA on 9/12/2011
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by SKingList from New York City, New York USA on Monday, September 19, 2011
[A pre-numbered label was used to register this book. No additional comment provided.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingthegoaliegirlwing from Vancouver, Washington USA on Monday, September 19, 2011
Thank you for finding this book and welcome to bookcrossing! Bookcrossing is a wonderful place to share your love of reading with people all over the world. If you decide to register instead of remaining anonymous, when someone else journals this book you will get an e-mail notification. It is a lot of fun to follow the travels of a book that passed through your hands. Again, welcome to bookcrossing!

Journal Entry 3 by wingthegoaliegirlwing at Spokane, Washington USA on Monday, September 19, 2011
This book came home in my travel narrative bookbox. Since I haven't read this one, I'm adding it to my TBR pile.

Released 10 mos ago (8/25/2021 UTC) at By mail / post / courier, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases


This book is finally traveling! It is on its way to another bookcrosser through the mail. Happy travels little book!

Journal Entry 5 by mrsjones at Hamilton, Ohio USA on Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Arrived in a box of books. I may or may not read this book before I release it.

Journal Entry 6 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, March 8, 2022
I'm claiming this softcover from the Bookbox with Legs (see its bookbox journal here). I enjoy travel narratives, and this one's new to me. (Its inspiration - the 14th-century travel journals of Ibn Battuta - is not; I discovered him via Traveling Man, a beautifully illustrated children's book featuring excerpts from Battuta's writings.)

Journal Entry 7 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, May 17, 2022
This was an enthralling read, often quite funny in a dry sort of way, with plenty of modern-day travel adventures to contrast with the historic ones gleaned from Ibn Battuta's writings. [This book's part of a trilogy that began with Travels with a Tangerine, which covered the journey from Tangiers to Constantinople. The third book, Landfalls, goes from Zanzibar to the Alhambra.]

Mackintosh-Smith made this journey in different stages; he does mention that sometimes he'd like to stick to his inspiration's actual maps and itineraries, but that doesn't always work out in the real world. Indeed, this book opens with a lengthy wait for the completion of a classic-styled but very much up-to-date in technology and comfort dhow, on which to sail to India to commence that leg of Ibn Battuta's travels. But the work on the boat seems endless, with delays caused by weather, loss of crew, and the gaps between auspicious days for sailing, and eventually the author has a minor revelation: "Take a plane." So he does, only mildly regretting the dhow voyage - regretting it less when he notes that it took seven more months over the months he'd already waited before the thing reached India.

The book meanders between history and travel notes - often including chats with his companions, usually the artist Martin Yeoman, whose pauses to capture specific colors or textures or facial expressions sometimes caused the two to part for a time. The historical aspects involve deep-diving into Battuta's own works, other documents from various localities, and the inevitable shifts in landscapes, buildings, and accessability that result from the passage of centuries. There are some pretty grisly accounts of the behaviors of some of the 14th-century potentates, and also some impressive examples of ancient architecture - contrasted with not-always-pristine modern-day settings. The author definitely includes both the positives and the negatives of his travels - which means I can enjoy all of these things vicariously, without actually getting injured, sunburned, sick, or terrified. A feature, right?

I found myself marking lots of potential quotes - too many to actually cite, in fact, an indication of how much I enjoyed the book. Here's one example of the author's descriptive style, upon first spotting Lal Gumbad, an unusually-shaped tomb mentioned in Ibn Battuta's writings: "It was as if the building hadn't quite decided whether it wanted to be a pyramid or an obelisk when it grew up, then had suddenly changed its mind and tried to lay an egg." And, upon entering the structure: "Inside, the tomb was filled with a gloom so thick that, could you have removed the building like a jelly-mould, the darkness would have stayed behind." [Side note: the book includes lots of black-and-white sketches by Martin Yeoman, but doesn't have a color-photo section, so I did a lot of Googling to see images of some of the more notable sights. Do be cautious, though; some of them, especially the erotic sculptures from the Khajuraho temples, are delightfully explicit!]

Given that the author's trips took place in the early 2000's, I was often surprised at how little the modern world intruded; many of the locales must have appeared very much the same in the 1930s, with quite a few relatively unchanged from Ibn Battuta's own visits.

Released 1 mo ago (5/17/2022 UTC) at Little Free Library, Hunter Drive in Epping, New Hampshire USA


Guidelines for safely visiting and stocking Little Free Libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the LFL site here.

I left this book in this beautifully-decorated (and new-to-me) Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

** Released for the 52 Towns in 52 Weeks challenge. **

** Released for the Keep Them Moving challenge. **

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