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Hostels can be somewhat more bewildering than a hotel. How much do they really cost, what do you get for your money, and what do you need to know about them? These vary by country and city; here is some information about what you can expect for hostels in England, especially the pricier London area, and how prices compare in different areas of England.  There are also links of useful websites to book your reservation and read reviews, look at pictures, etc.

First off: What exactly is a hostel?  It is basically a dormitory-style budget sleeping accommodation, generally frequented by young backpackers and other people traveling on the cheap. 

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Just bored…and I thought other people probably are too, or they wouldn’t be reading this. The best way to cure boredom when you’re broke and have no life is to read a book. And with the way the economy is, I’m sure there are many other people broke and without a life. And then I thought, of course, that I should tell everyone about my favorite books. I would be reading right now, but I’ve read all my books. And the library is a long way away when gas is $3.32 a gallon.

If you want to read a book but can’t really find one or can’t make up your mind, I have a few suggestions for you.

If you’re looking for funny books:

Try Terry Pratchett’s series of Discworld books. The humor is along the lines of Monty Python, and if you’re into that sort of thing, they’re hilarious and also a quick, absorbing read. Very nice for airplane rides, doctor’s waiting rooms, etc. Not so great for people who don’t get British humour. You’ll think they’re dumb. My personal favorite is Going Postal. The best thing is, they’re cheap. You can go to Barnes and and pick a few up for six or seven dollars each. I highly recommend them.

If you like King Arthur fables, read Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. There have been thousands and thousands of remakes of the Arthur story, but this one is quite ingenious. It tells the story of Merlin (Merlinnus in the book.) Stewart’s writing style is reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings books, i.e., “epic.” But extremely fascinating. In my opinion, her best book . The others in the King Arthur trilogy are alright, but this one is really, really, good.

I loved Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. It’s Mark Twain. What more can be said? Everyone should read this book. Twain writes about a man who somehow gets transported into the past–into King Arthur’s time–and supplants Merlin as the greatest wizard with his knowledge of technology. Disaster ensues. It’s funny, thoughtful, and a little sad, like most of Twain’s work. Five stars.

For literature, read Amy Tan’s Saving Fish from Drowning. It’s a beautifully-written, poetic book, like all of Amy Tan’s work. A woman’s ghost follows her friends on a trip to Burma–she died, otherwise she would have accompanied them. She observes as calamitous things happen to them. I read this book a long time ago and need to read it again. I can’t remember what exactly happens to them. This is another one of my favorite books. For a serious read, or if you like travel, this is a good book for you.

I don’t know what category John D. McDonald’s books should go into. They’re kind of a philosophical mystery thriller adventure depressing book. His Travis McGee series is based in Florida. The hero(ish) of the books, Travis McGee, lives in a houseboat, scorns civilization, and is a kind of “rescuer” of lost money. People who have been cheated out of or who have had their money stolen come to him–he will get it back, but he takes fifty percent of the profit. In every book he gets a girl–he gets a “commission”–then there are unforeseen problems–the girl gets killed–he gets beat all to hell and still wins–he goes on a depressing philosophical rant–and it ends up with him with a new scar or two and a girl shorter, but ready to tackle the next job. McDonald’s work can most closely be compared to Carl Hiaasen’s books. Like Hiaasen, he expostulates on the industrialization and commercialization of Florida. Don’t get me wrong about the sameness of the storyline. Every book is different, and fascinating, and he is a really philosophical and thoughtful. But a lot of people die in almost every book and they are intensely depressing. Expect to be in a bit of a fug after reading one of these.

Hmmm, what else can I write about…

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. You have to read this book. In search of the American Dream… in search of pie, and Red Sharks, and giant lizards, and Las Vegas, and the Vincent Black Shadow… Hunter S. Thompson wrote this as so called “gonzo journalism” after his own drug-addled trip to Las Vegas. It’s a different look at the American system and the American Dream. I don’t know how to explain it. Just read it. You’ll never think the same way about Las Vegas again.

Well, that should get you all started and I’ll be back later with some movie reviews or whatever, maybe more book reviews, or song reviews, or something review. This was kind of fun. I’ll be back anyways. Until then,



August 2020


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