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What’s Your One True Sentence? We want to know what has inspired you.

August 18, 2014 in American Authors, American literature, announcements, Classic Literature, Classic Writers, Literary News, Literature, One True Sentence, Uncategorized

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” – Ernest Hemingway

We have just launched something special at Literary Traveler, and we can’t wait to share it with you. Literary Traveler’s “One True Sentence” will be a series of short video episodes that explore the meaning of words and the people who are inspired by their power. Literary Traveler will take viewers behind some of the greatest words in literature, bringing them alive through the people and places that hold them close.

One sentence is often all it takes to convey your truth. And each one of us has a sentence that we carry with us – whether it is a line from a novel, a verse of poetry, a song lyric, a personal mantra, words of wisdom from a loved one, or a simple string of words that bring you meaning. We take this “one true sentence” with us on our travels, drawing inspiration, motivation, and solace in times of trouble.

The first two episodes of this series feature contemporary authors sharing the sentences that inspire their life and work and how they came to find the meaning in their true sentences.

Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D., shares a quote from Henry David Thoreau, and Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Comfort of Lies and The Murderer’s Daughters, finds reassurance in the words of Gustave Flaubert. For Bernier and Meyers, and all of us, a truly great sentence can not only inspire, but influence your life, change your course, and start you on your own unique journey.

Our goal with “One True Sentence” is to inspire — to harness the power of words in our lives, and examine how one short sentence can hold so much meaning.  And we want to hear from you.

If you have a sentence that holds special meaning for you, we would love for you to share it with us and tell us a little about how it has influenced your life, whether it has inspired you to take a leap of faith, provided strength during a difficult time, or otherwise inspires, motivates, or comforts. Please send us your short personal videos (Be as creative as you want, but no need to get fancy. A smartphone camera is all it takes.) You can e-mail us at submissions@literarytraveler.com or share your video on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #OneTrueSentence. Your video may even end up on LiteraryTraveler.com!

A New Take on Dramatic Adaptation: The Great Gatsby Opera

May 17, 2013 in Classic Literature, Classic Writers, Kickstarter, Literary News, Literature

Gone are the days when literature fans were ranting traditionalists, decrying other media besides quill and parchment.  These days we’re as much dependent on the screen to feed our reading habits as anyone else.

So how do we feel about an adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, The Great Gatsby, that makes the transition backward – to an older medium, from the page to the live action world of the stage? And how does a composer map out Gatsby’s world in the static setting of a theatre, without special effects, while mediating the characters’ sentences through the flowing notes of a score?

First performed in 1999, John Harbison was originally commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to write an operatic adaptation of Fitzgerald’s literary masterpiece in 1997.  A daunting task, but Harbison was up for the challenge.  In tandem with the release of the latest film adaptation, Harbison’s opera recently came to Boston, with a performance by the orchestra and chorus of Emmanuel Music.

One of the first things Harbison did when writing his opera was to take note of when everything was happening in Gatsby. He had to build the novel’s timeline in order to deconstruct it, and this was more difficult than you’d imagine, because, as Nick Carraway himself puts it, Gatsby is basically the contracted story of “the events of three nights,” big, dramatic parties that got snagged away from the stream of ordinary happenings.

It’s one of those things peculiar to youth, to remember long stretches of time in terms of dramatic parties and social events, celebrations and disasters.  Gatsby, the opera, may have sacrificed the fluid, romantic garden and water scenes for a closed-in stage, but it had the advantage of opera’s gripping musical crescendos to represent the heightened emotional drama of these scenes.

And perhaps in some ways, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby adaptation is as much an opera as it is a movie. Luhrmann, like Harbison, has previously reworked a classic (Romeo and Juliet), and his movies have been heavily dependent on spectacle and song. Perhaps the only way you can approach the classics is with bravado – and the whole brass section of an orchestra.

Harbison, for his part, ignored advice heard at Princeton that “you don’t set Shakespeare,” and wrote an opera for A Winter’s Tale anyway.  He ignored the traditional path of getting someone else to write the libretto – Gatsby’s libretto is his own, based in large part on scenes from the book.

At the pre-concert talk with Emmanuel Music, Harbison explains that his librettist editors told him: “You blew The Plaza scene. It was a complete disaster. I’m going to have to rewrite it for you.”

The scene was not rewritten, and The Plaza scene was riveting.  Alex Richardson’s Tom lashed out at Myrtle for mentioning Daisy’s name and, while you knew it was coming, it was still a shock. The opera setting provided the fireworks to incite that shock  – Richardson’s Tom was a barrel-chested guy with a deep booming baritone, and his outbursts were underlined heavily by the restive, melodrama of the score.

“People who remember everything and remember nothing have the best time,” said Harbison, of his opera, at his pre-concert talk. Like memory, a classic like Gatsby becomes a container and receptacle for associations that are personal and subjective – so Harbison explains that scholars with an objective viewpoint, or people who know nothing about the book, enjoy the opera. “I went into this piece thinking this was this little novel that I slipped into my pocket”, said one of Harbison’s librettists, with mystification at the expandable nature of Gatsby. Likewise, with the character of Gatsby himself, who Harbison describes as “transparent and opaque at the same time,” a man who could make people feel important, while he himself disappeared.

I have to admit that it was tough going watching the mobile, youthful characters of the book confined to the stage. But the opera’s ingenious score and 1920s-style faux pop songs (written by Murray Horwitz) went a long way to producing the sense of atmosphere that pervades the book.

The Great Gatsby, it seems, has given the ‘green-light’ for many interpretations of its nature. You get the sense that the difficulty of setting it for opera encouraged Harbison rather than put him off. For new artists adapting this work, if you can’t change the past, then the message is, don’t look back!

Luckily, at Literary Traveler, it’s not our job to worry about changing Gatsby. We will be looking back though, as we research Gatsby’s origins for our upcoming pilot –  Stay tuned and be sure to check out our Kickstarter page for more on Gatsby and our exciting project.

Literary Traveler Spreading the Literary Love on World Book Night!

April 1, 2013 in Literary News, Literature

Hey there, Literary Travelers! Last year on our blog we told you about World Book Night – an amazing event kicking off its second year in the U.S.  Many of you may be familiar with the fabulous organization, which promotes the spreading of book love to light and non-readers far and wide. The basic premise is this: On April 23rd, tens of thousands of “givers” all over the country will be out in their individual communities giving away a combined total of 500,000 free copies of one of 32 titles, ranging from classic literature and biography to YA Fiction, to those who do not consider themselves typically avid readers. World Book Night is a non-profit organization and all of the books are donated, made possible by the generosity of supporters ranging from community volunteers to book publishers.

“Givers” are volunteers, picked to cover a wide range of geographic locations and a variety of community environments. This year 6,200 towns will be represented on World Book Night, up 400 from last year’s event! Givers run the gamut from teachers to authors… to Literary Travelers!

Yes, that’s right. This year, Literary Traveler feels incredibly fortunate to be World Book Night givers! We feel doubly lucky because we will be spreading the love for one of our favorite early twentieth-century authors, Willa Cather, by giving away copies of her celebrated 1918 novel, My Antonia.

We feel a particular affinity for Cather because of her inspiring connection to Place. Many of her novels paint a remarkably vivid picture of early pioneer life on the expanding frontier of the Great Plains. We also feel that Cather’s novel is incredibly accessible and a great way to begin a long lasting love affair with the classics.

Please stay tuned over the next couple months for more on Willa Cather and World Book Night 2013.  In the meantime, check out the Literary Traveler article, “Red Cloud, Nebraska: Willa Cather’s Lifelong Muse.”

Staff Wishlist: Destinations in Ireland…and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 16, 2013 in Classic Literature, Classic Writers, Ireland, James Joyce, Literature, Modernism, Poetry, Staff Wishlist, Yeats

By Literary Traveler staff and interns

Jessica Ellen Monk, one of our amazing contributors, came up with the idea to do a staff wishlist about literary places in  Ireland we’d like to visit in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Let us know where in Ireland you’d like to visit…comment here or post on our FB and Twitter pages!

Jess: 

Growing up in Ireland there were as many ways for a kid to be bored as anywhere else. For one thing, instead of Hemingway and Whitman, at school we were forced to imbibe the fanciful mysticism of Yeats and the Irish Literary Revival. With our parents and with school we often had to go on ‘educational’ trips up the country which, along with the literature, we had no instinct to appreciate at the time. I was travelling with my family up the west coast as a child, when I remember finally ‘getting it’. The sweep of the bay under Ben Bulben in Sligo was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. Yeats’ famous poem “Under Bare Ben Bulben’s Head” contains the inscription that was carved on his tombstone in Drumcliffe churchyard: “Cast a cold eye on life and death /  horsemen pass by”. I can’t remember if we ever made it to Yeats’ graveside, but if I were to take a trip anywhere in Ireland, free of the need to visit anyone, I’d visit Ben Bulben again.

Francis:

Born of Irish decent, I just want to go anywhere in Ireland.

Carly:

Reading Ulysses for the first time is like getting to know  your Irish neighbor who recently emigrated–you know, the one who usually keeps to himself–in intimate detail, and also–thank goodness–Dublin, Ireland. The beauty of the seaside, the green of the rolling hills, and the breath of the rollicking people are captured in the inane details of Leopold Bloom’s anti-majesty, his daily observational. Dublin, to me, is a city of confession and merriment; I would like to take a stroll along the water, take in the commute and the conversation.

Amanda:

I have absolutely no Irish blood in my lineage and therefore my celebration of St. Patrick’s Day consists of wearing an offensive amount of kelly green and and drinking a few too many pints.  I am a big fan of modernist fiction — so when choosing an Irish author I would definitely say James Joyce.  Because reading him can be intense, I have usually gravitated towards his shorter fiction.  I think I would very much like to visit Dublin per his aptly-titled Dubliners.  His short story “Araby” was always a favorite. It features a young boy in Dublin travelling to an Irish bazaar where be becomes disenchanted by the things he sees there.  While that sounds a bit depressing, it’s really a beautiful story about growing up.

*Related Articles*

Apps for the Adventurous: Dublin Ireland’s “Storymap”

James Joyce and the Golden Gate of Pula

Homesick and Happy in Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn

 

Special Event: “Self-Publishing in 2013 – The Year for Your Novel” … Literary Traveler Welcomes Novelist and Editor, Jennifer Ciotta!

February 5, 2013 in Literature, Self-Publishing, Special Events, Uncategorized, Writing Advice

Are you an aspiring writer who dreams of being published? Do you have an idea for a novel but just don’t know where to start?  Start here.

Event Details:
Novelist and Editor, Jennifer Ciotta
Thursday, April 11, 2013 6:30-8:00 PM
Cafe at The Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA

Please join us on Thursday, April 11, 2013 from 6:30-8:00 PM for an intimate night of literary conversation with writer and editor, Jennifer Ciotta, as she discusses her experience as a first-time novelist, and provides some tips on the business of self-publishing.  Jennifer will share her personal challenges and triumphs as a writer, and share the professional advice she has gained throughout her years in the creative editorial and writing world.

Jennifer will also give a short reading from her award-winning debut novel I, Putin, which imagines the first-person perspective of Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and his personal aide, Gosha, to create a vivid fictional narrative.

The event will conclude with a Q&A.

About the Author: Jennifer holds a master’s degree in creative writing from the Gallatin School at New York University. She self-published I, Putin in 2012, and it went on to receive Honorable Mentions at the 2012 New York Book Festival & Hollywood Book Festival.

Previously the Editorial Director for Literary Traveler, Jennifer is currently a book manuscript editor at Pencey X Pages, and an advisory editor at Author Salon, a community of writers, agents and publishers.  She is also the author of the No Bulls**t Guide to Self-Publishing, and her short stories have been published in Del Sol Review and New Voices in Fiction.

Light refreshments will be offered.  Beer, wine and more substantial fare will also be available for purchase in the Armory Café.

Tickets are $10 and should be purchased in advance to reserve a space.  A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $15.

For tickets please visit our Eventbrite page!

This event will fill up fast, so reserve your space today. For additional information please e-mail Amanda@LiteraryTraveler.com.

To learn more about Jennifer Ciotta, please see her website and watch our short video interview.

 

Fauxscar Nominee: Les Misérables

January 7, 2013 in Classic Literature, Classic Writers, European Writers, Fauxscars, Film, French Authors, History, Literary Movies, Literature, Movies, Political History

Strictly speaking, Les Misérables is not a Literary Adaption; it’s based on the musical, not the Victor Hugo novel. The story has traveled far since it was first published in France. It’s always been a big, hulking phenomenon, and it’s always had its critics. What demolishes the criticism, however, is its emotional forcefulness. And the funny thing about the criticism of each successive adaption, is that it tends to focus on the new version’s faithfulness to the original, despite the fact that the novel was criticized at the time for being sentimental – unfaithful to reality itself. Flaubert deemed it “infantile” and Baudelaire privately called it “tasteless and inept.” But in the preface, Hugo outlined a social purpose for his book that was greater than literary accomplishment:

So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.

In 1862 when Les Misérables was published, the American civil war was being fought over the emancipation of slaves. The noble hero of the book, Jean Valjean, is an ex-convict whose unnatural strength reveals his identity as a former galley slave. He is on the run for most of the film, trying to build a better life as a factory owner, and then stepping up to the role of adopted papa of the orphaned child Cosette. The film of Les Misérables, though based on the musical (it uses all the songs from the 1985 musical bar two) goes where the stage production cannot in portraying the misery of the poor peasants – and in this it rejoins the book. I’ve rarely seen a ‘costume’ production, where the cast is made to look as filthy and downtrodden as this. Most of the characters’ teeth are blackened – though I did notice that Hathaway’s angelic Fantine flashes a cleaner set than some of the lesser cast members. Also Helena Bonham Carter is allowed to get away with her usual steampunk, hallucinatory version of historical costume. This role finds her once again as a flouncy, amoral proprietress of a low dive establishment, even making sausages out of suspect bits of meat, just as she did in Sweeny Todd.

Aside from the comic filthiness of Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, there’s no getting around the sentimentality of the movie and its antecendents, the musical, the book, and numerous film adaptions. But because it’s a musical, a version of willing suspension of disbelief sets in. Call it, “willing suspension of cynical running commentary” (we’ll wait ‘til the movie’s out on Netflix to relax our standards on that). But it’s more than that. The movie packs real emotional weight, especially through the performances of the leads. No one could fail to be moved by Anne Hathaway’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream.” While they’re delivering their soliloquys, the shots are trained on the characters’ faces – often from above, as if to capture the desperation and abandonment which makes them invoke a higher power. By the time Hathaway’s Fantine bows out of the film, she is a broken woman, shorn of her locks and her dignity; the camera does not flinch from describing the dirt and tears on her face.

Hugh Jackman is also a great, sympathetic lead as Jean Valjean, and Samantha Barks is a sad, forlorn Eponine.  Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried are fairly wooden, but as the fairy prince and princess characters, they don’t have much to do besides adorn the happy ending.

Overall ‘Les Miz’ works because of its great cast rather than originality – but really, who was looking for that? It manages to stay true to the form of the musical – and to the intentions of the book: to portray the victims of poverty. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of those soliloquys bag a few Oscars for the leads.

Announcing the 2013 Literary Traveler Fauxscars!

December 14, 2012 in Film, Literary Movies, Literature

Awards season is fast approaching, which means discussion–from the subway to the water cooler–will revolve around movies, movie scores, movie locations, characters, and this year, books.

2012 has been a spectacular year for literary films, with adaptations of everything from classic literature to young adult juggernauts. Here at Literary Traveler we think it is only fair these adaptations receive an award show of their own…

Welcome to the First Annual Literary Traveler Fauxscars (not to be confused with that other winter award show).

We will accept public nominations, so please send us your favorites via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail and stay tuned for the nominations, which will be posted on January 10th.  After that, make sure to vote before we announce the winners on February 24th!

In order to be eligible, films must have a theatrical release date in 2012, and have been adapted from some form of literary work.  Check out our 2012-2013 Literary Adaptation List for ideas, as well as some of the cinematic releases from this past summer, and of course, a film sure to find its way into a category or two, Anna Karenina.

To help you make an informed decision, we will be posting on our favorites throughout the next two months.  Join the conversation in our comments section. Don’t forget to vote via FacebookTwitter or e-mail.

And the Categories are…

Best “Almost as Good as the Book” Film

Best “Stand Alone” Film:
Best Film, even if you didn’t read the book

Best Adaptation of Classic Literature:

Best “Young Adult” Adaptation:

Best “Guilty Pleasure” Film:

Best “Remake of a Previously Adapted Film”:
Films have already been adapted at least once

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Best Cinematography:

Best Character Portrayal by an Actor in a Leading Role:

Best Character Portrayal by an Actress in a Leading Role:

Best Character Portrayal by an Actor in a Supporting Role:

Best Character Portrayal by an Actress in a Supporting Role:

Best Portrayal of a Literary Couple:

Best Book made into a Film:
Regardless of how bad the film may have been!

Most Anticipated Literary Adaptation of 2013:
Upcoming Scheduled Film Releases for next year

The Bazaar and the Beautiful at the Boston International Book Fair

December 2, 2012 in Bookstores, Classic Literature, Literary Festivals, Literature

In these days of instant information, it’s not often that readers get to indulge their fascination with physical books as objects of desire. At first glance, the 36th Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair looked like any trade expo held in a harshly lit convention room. But it turned out to be somewhere between an art exhibition and an exotic bazaar. With only a few hours to inspect the stalls, I felt like a tourist stumbling into a city’s hidden market on the last day of holiday. This is one of only three American book fairs endorsed by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers and the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.  It’s an outing not only reserved for the serious collector, but for anyone interested in books and the art of books.  Because this is an International event for the small world of Antiquarian booksellers, it’s also a lively gathering for the booksellers themselves.

With cocktail in hand, Ken Sanders of Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City gave me a sense of the camaraderie of booksellers who meet for a couple of days each year for banter, bartering and the renewing of old friendships.  Booksellers have taken a variety of routes into the trade. Ken told me how he quite literally worked his way up the (step) ladder from stacking shelves at a bookshop.  Erin, of Royal Books was an art student with a printing background who started out restoring books in her college library. Erin’s employer at Royal Books, Kevin Johnson, stocks first editions that were made into films and has written about forgotten detective novels that were turned into noir cinema. The Lucius Books stall, which specialized in first editions of crime novels, was manned by suave looking ‘agents’ from York, England.  A selection of gorgeous Ian Fleming first editions drew my eye, and founder James Hallgate explained to me that they were illustrated by a guy named Richard Chopping, who also wrote The Fly.  According to Hallgate a lot of British illustrators in the 50s and 60s were also writers.  Fleming and Chopping were friends, so Fleming’s influence is stamped all over these editions. The gun on the copy of From Russia With Love is a drawing of a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver belonging to Geoffrey Boothroyd, a weapons expert who wrote to Ian Fleming expressing his admiration for the series, but advising that Bond use better weapons. As a tribute, Fleming used his weapon of choice for the cover and created the official armorer character called Major Boothroyd who appears in the novel Dr. No.

One of my favorite booksellers was Ian Kahn of Lux Mentis Booksellers in Portland, Maine. Kahn is an ex-hacker and self-confessed lover of ‘shiny things’. Lux Mentis is located on ‘Marginal Way’ in Portland – an ideal address for an esoteric bookshop.  Kahn describes the logic behind his collection as ‘idiosyncratic crap that I love’. He affectionately maintains a ‘sex ‘n’ death’ section, where I was drawn in by the sublime and the ridiculous, including an interesting high concept art book (not for the sensitive reader) and the gorgeous Séance for a Minyan by the renowned copper engraver Michael Kuch. The book is a moving meditation on the death of Kuch’s lifelong teacher, the renowned sculptor and printmaker, Leonard Baskin. Khan also recommended a book of woodcuts by a Dublin artist about the sinking of the Titanic. The story is cleverly told from the point of view of the printers onboard the Titanic. As strange as it may seem, the Titanic really did have a printing shop aboard.  One of the most exciting things about the fair was the mixing of rare productions by modern printers with older books. Unfortunately, because of the relationship between scarcity and desire, it’s not just old books that have a high price tag, but limited edition zines and relics of pop culture too.  At Brian Cassidy, Bookseller, I saw such treasures as a proof copy of Fight Club, a first edition of the cyber-punk zine Boing Boing and a framed self-portrait doodle by Allen Ginsberg as a cartoon Buddha.  An original photograph of Patti Smith by Robert Mapplethorpe was priced at $6000.

If I’d had the time, I would have looked at more children’s books and maps, or lingered at Scientia Books, with its beautiful meticulous anatomy books and its intriguing box of books ‘signed by Nobel laureates’. Among the most impressive items I saw were the propaganda prints of the epic funeral of Charles II. The dynasty was reinforced by over the top public mourning, which lasted for months after the king’s death, throughout France. I was reminded of the theatrical scenes of public mourning at the funeral of Kim Jong Il.

Before leaving, I asked Ian Kahn whether he was ever reluctant to part with his treasures. He said wryly that if he really values something, he prices it ‘aggressively’. But I wonder if he still minds when someone comes along who is prepared to pay the price.  Kahn explains that in the trade, getting the books to their ideal owner is the goal. At the point where someone is willing to pay the price, the right owner is the one who wants it most.  However, Kahn holds on to some old James Joyce editions that were read to him as a child, just in case.

The Truth About Cuba: Seven Recommended Reads for the Curious Traveler

November 7, 2012 in Cuba, Literature, Politics

1. The Old Man And The Sea

Ernest Hemingway (fiction, 1952)

The Old Man And The Sea was Ernest Hemingway’s last fiction published during his lifetime. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1953. The novella tells the story of Santiago, an aging fisherman, and his attempt to transcend natural laws. In Santiago we find a hero, and a representative of Cuba and its people through the eyes of Hemingway.

2. Trading With The Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro’s Cuba

Tom Miller (non-fiction, 2008)

Tom Miller chronicles his eighth month trip with unrestricted access to the country and its people in this recent and eye-opening account of modern day Cuba.  Ripe with literary history, Miller follows the paths of Jose Marti, Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway.

3. Cuba Diaries: An American Housewife in Havana

Isadora Tattlin (non-fiction, 2003)

Tattlin, after moving to Cuba in the early 1990s because of her husband’s job, kept a detailed narrative of her time in a country full of contradictions, and her reflections of being a wife, a mother, and an ex-patriot in a simultaneously beautiful and troubled country. It takes place during the peak of Castro’s reign.

4. Our Man In Havana:

Graham Greene (fiction, 1958)

A true page-turner and espionage thriller, Our Man In Havana follows the story of former vacuum cleaner-salesman-turned-secret-agent James Wormwold and his experience working in Cuba. Written by British author Graham Greene, (who was a part of M16) the book is part satire, part black comedy, and is a humorous and eye-opening view of Cuba during the Batista regime.

5. Cuba: Another Side of The Story: Memoirs of A Cuban Childhood

Iris M. Diaz (non-fiction, 2010)

The story of Ms. Diaz is the story of many Cubans who left the island in 1961, with no money in their pockets and dreams of a brighter future. Diaz’s story is one of struggle and tenacity, and her eventual success as a contemporary American citizen who remains loyal to her Cuban heritage.

6. The Splendor Of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors

Written by Michael Connors, Photographed by Brent Winebrenner (Art, architecture 2011)

In this stunning visual and literary history of Cuba’s architecture, Connors and Winebrenner capture not only the derelict Cuba of Castro’s reign, but also the lavish beauty of Cuba’s Spanish Creole aristocracy.  The book travels from Havana to Finca Vigia, (Hemingway’s home) and provides close-ups of balustrades, grilles and all that is Cuba’s faded glory and meticulously kept majesty.

7. Lonely Planet: Cuba

(Travel, 2009)

Included is a full color section on Cuba’s music, festivals, natural beauty and architecture, and a unique green index that makes eco friendly travel easy. Lonely Planet provides vital information on anything from deep-sea fishing to dining and traveling safely and efficiently.