Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Salon: Good morning from Thailand!

The Sunday Salon.comGood morning from Chiang Mai, Thailand!

What a crazy, fun, exhausting week it's been. Last Monday at 3:30 a.m., I met my co-professor and the fourteen students taking our J-term travel course at the Des Moines airport. After delays in both Des Moines and Chicago (fuel pump issue requiring us to change planes), we arrived in Tokyo after our flight to Bangkok departed. The airline arranged a charter bus to take us from one Tokyo airport to the other, where we finally boarded a flight to Bangkok and arrived at 6 a.m. instead of midnight. We spent two days exploring Bangkok, then we took the overnight train to Chiang Mai, where we're settled in for another week before heading to Krabi. After so much travel, it's nice to be in the same place for awhile. It's also nice to be in Chiang Mai, a city I adore and have had the privilege of visiting three times in the last year and a half. It's my last time in Thailand for awhile, so I'm trying to soak up every minute of it I can, while also taking some time to rest, relax, read and write.

One thing I've learned about traveling to Asia is that my body adjusts a bit faster than my brain. I don't sleep much or well on airplanes, so I choose my reading very carefully. Mysteries work because they typically have short chapters and a fast pace. I also spend a lot of time listening to audiobooks while playing games on my phone. Both are a great way to pass time, but I look forward to dipping into something a bit more serious this week.

Despite my travels, I'm really excited that I've posted every day of 2018. Perhaps my blogging finally is back. Most importantly, I'm having so much fun blogging. It's been delightful to change up my format and write more freely. I plan on using Sundays to look back on the week, share a little of what's happening currently, and sometimes look ahead at what's to come in the next week.

If you only read one thing I wrote last week...
Read A love letter to Chloe Benjmain, author of The Immortalists, my first 6-star read in two-and-a-half years. This book means so much to me, and I'm so glad it came into the world this year. Get a copy and enjoy.

...but if you want to read everything...
I wrote traditional reviews of two buzzy January thrillers, The Wife Between Us, which I enjoyed but didn't love, and The Chalk Man, which blew me away and still surprises me that it's C.J. Tudor's first novel.

I wrote about Explosion at Orly, a nonfiction account of the 1962 Air France crash that killed more than 100 Atlanta residents who were patrons of the arts. The 2018 release I'm most excited about is Hannah Pittard's new novel, Visible Empire, which is inspired by those events. I was ecstatic to get an egalley of it this week, and I can't wait to dig in!

I wrote a letter to Reza Aslan about his newest book, God: A Human History

I wrote a letter to people who tell me to read more classics about starting the year with the often-recommended The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. (Spoiler: I didn't like it.)

Lastly, I wrote two lists about the latest collaboration from Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke.

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