Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What I'm reading

These days, when I go to the library by myself I tend to look for books about writing professionally, books about finding one's perfect career and cookbooks for people who don't enjoy cooking.

The Lonely Planet Story
But the library book I've been reading lately is Once While Travelling - the Lonely Planet story, by Tony and Maureen Wheeler. Mostly told from Tony's perspective, it starts how he met and married Maureen and takes you through 20-odd years of building what's become a vast travel-publishing empire. It appealed to me because most of my travels were aided by Lonely Planet guidebooks, and I'd always wanted to become a travel writer. Despite the alleged hardships, I can't help feeling that theirs was the perfect life, because even having kids didn't stop them in their unbeaten tracks.

The story isn't all in chronological order, which can be confusing at times, but it's all interesting. Tony talks about the times when Lonely Planet was on the brink of financial collapse, as well as the time when his marriage was too. There is even a chapter on what it's like to be a guide book writer, which I found both enlightening and off-putting. Having read this chapter, I don't think I'd want to be one (I'd rather be like Bill Bryson - sort of a roving personality - than spend all my travelling time rushing around checking facts).

Still, reading about the Wheelers' adventures makes me quite wistful.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces
When a major new bookshop opens in town, I want to go and see whether they stock anything in particular that isn't already available in the exiting shops. So when I went to the new Borders shop, I was expecting to come out of there with some new American book.

What I did buy was a copy of Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which is so old I probably could have found a cheap copy at one of the many second-hand bookshops. Still, I wanted to read it because I'm quite interested in the universality of myths (plus it was mentioned many times in articles about Buffy), so I bought it. I haven't gotten that far into it yet, but at the moment I'm enjoying the the stuff relating particular Greek myths with psychiatric conditions e.g. the infamous Oedipus Complex.


Determinist said...

Love Joseph Campbell and have read quite a lot by him.

Best thing he ever did, and I really want it on DVD is "The Power of Myth", some interviews with him just before he died.

It is absolutely brilliant. I loved that guy.

Leo said...

That Joseph Campbell book sounds very cool, might have to go look for it. Thanks for the tip.

Violet said...

determinist: that DVD was mentioned on Gilmore Girls I think!

leo: you're welcome. It's lot's easier to read than The Golden Bough too.

Ronda Del Boccio said...

Ah, one of my favorite people who influenced me greatly. As a child I watched the Power of Myth series, which I now own on DVD, and I've read his books.

As a matter of fact, his wonderful way of bringing unity to the world helped me realize how much all humans truly are connected. Now I have created a system called Storyation that helps people tap into the power of their story.

I'm so grateful to Joseph Campbell who, thanks to the power of that PBS series, became a mentor for me and even helped my career.

Ronda Del Boccio
Creator of The Storyation Process(TM) at www.Storyation.com

Violet said...

ronda: wow, isn't that series aimed at adults? It sounds like this Campbell fella has some seriously loyal fans. I'll look out for this series on DVD.