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Blog posts of '2014' 'April'

The Galapagos Affair: Read the Book, See the Film
In 1929, Friedrich Ritter, a German doctor obsessed with Nietzschean romanticism, and his partner in solitude Dore Strauch, settled on the uninhabited Floreana Island in the Galapagos. When news of this unlikely “Adam and Eve” leaked back in their native country, some saw the social experiment as a chance to live in paradise.
Easter Island
Kindly contributed by Susan A. Sternau, author of An Easter Island Sketchbook: An Artist’s Journey to the Mysterious Land of Giant Stone Statues.
 
Savage Harvest
It’s difficult to imagine a bad time in paradise – the soles of our bare feet strolling white beaches under graceful palms, a fruity beverage always within arms’ reach. But paradise is often not what it seems. Hawaiians killed Captain Cook. Antiquarian novels of exploration (Typee by Herman Melville comes to mind) are simultaneously fascinated and repulsed by pristine “uncivilized” societies, those scantily dressed villagers worshiping trees at the outskirts of Christendom.
North Mani Region, Southern Peloponnese
Kindly contributed by Marjory McGinn, author of Things Can Only Get Feta, an insightful journey through one of the last unspoiled regions of southern Greece, where two journalists and their dog lived in a hillside village as Greece slid into economic crisis.
 
In Memoriam: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel laureate whose novels, stories and reports introduced readers around the world to the passion, charm, corruption and enduring essence of Colombia, passed away on April 17 at 87. The master of magic realism—the literary technique that blends the real and fantastic until the distinction between the two fades—captured the spirit, setting and atmosphere of Latin America—even when the places he described never existed.
The Pulitzer Prize
Congratulations to Megan Marshall, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for her biography of Margaret Fuller.
The Galapagos: A Natural History
Even those of us who are Darwin-obsessed and tend to roam the world with binoculars in hand will learn something from Henry Nicholls’ thoroughly engaging and deftly distilled primer on the Galapagos Islands. From rocks to ocean, seabirds, plants, invertebrates, land birds, reptiles and humans (which get three chapters out of 10), he weaves the history of discovery in Galapagos with eyewitness reports, the ecology and evolution of the archipelago and conservation challenges — all in just 150 pages.
The Other Side of the Tiber
Well-traveled, well-versed and well-spoken, Wallis Wilde-Menozzi, who hails from Wisconsin, has lived in Parma, Italy for many decades, making an art of studying Italian culture. Her memoir, The Other Side of the Tiber, focuses not on Parma but on what she lovingly calls the “Rome Years.” Fleeing a failing marriage, Wilde-Menozzi impulsively left a tenure-track job at Oxford University and took up residence in a single room in the Arco degli Acetari with a single goal: to become a writer.
London
Kindly contributed by Jason Cochran, award-winning travel journalist, editor-in-chief of Frommers.com and author of two recently released guidebooks in Frommer's new EasyGuide series, Walt Disney World and Orlando and London. If you haven't seen one of these new lightweight guides, full of practical, easy to absorb information, you're bound to miss out on some important attractions, authentic experiences and expert advice.
In Memoriam: Peter Matthiessen
In the opening pages of The Snow Leopard, as he takes his first steps on a pilgrimage in the Himalayas in the wake of his wife’s death, Peter Matthiessen passes an aged man being carried by four servants on his last pilgrimage to the Ganges. “I nod to Death in passing,” Matthiessen writes, “aware of the sound of my own feet upon my path.”