A few weeks ago I decided I wanted some light summer reading. So I bought the latest Jennifer Weiner, David Baldacci, and Gillian Flynn novels. And disliked each one more than the last.
So, when M (I can randomly introduce new characters into my blog, right?) suggested that I read Michael Crichton’s 1988 non-fiction memoir-ish book, Travels, I agreed. Actually, M didn’t suggest it so much as take my iPad, download the book, and read me the preface before turning it over. So it seemed like a good idea to read it.
As it turns out, I loved this book. There’s some strange stuff—psychics and exorcisms, auras and mysticism. There are also some amazing descriptions of place and subsequent experience—Mt. Kilimanjaro, New Guinea, Jamaica, Shangri-La, London. But ultimately it doesn’t matter if Crichton is writing about one of his Harvard med school classes or an afternoon tracking gorillas or a week meditating with a cactus, it’s his talented storytelling that makes this worth reading—that, and the fact that he has SO many stories to tell.
To me, the best writers are those who live great stories. Doing this requires an insatiable curiosity. That’s what made this book a new favorite for me—meeting a writer with an almost obsessive need to experience things in order to gain perspective and ultimately be more self aware.
So, I’m like 26 years late to the game on this one, but if you haven’t read this, add it to your list.