The Armchair Traveler Club

Archive for March, 2008


Posted by mukikamu on March 18, 2008

The reason why Daniel Kehlmann‘s novel is listed on MUKIKAMU is because it is all about exploration. In every sense. It underlies the very essential of this blog, namely that you can travel and make discoveries even if you don’t leave your room. Naturally, the book is about so much more. Refreshing in every idea it presents, the characters (famous scientists Gauss and Humboldt) are charmingly passionate geniuses and the plots are really very funny. Humboldt travels to the New World to diligently measure everything and Gauss explores the wonders of the world in his mind. There are many surprises in store. The author manages to bring the otherwise blurry and dull science world of the middle-ages to life and hints the German spirit with Latin American atmosphere. The more I think about it, the more the whole build-up of the book strikes me. The execution of the ending is structurally and literally thrilling as well as thought-provoking. A delightfully enjoyable read. No wonder this is the book that tops best seller lists in Germany.

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Posted in Books, Germany, South America | Tagged: | 1 Comment »


Posted by mukikamu on March 17, 2008

Japan. Again. I guess I am hooked. The honourable picnic is a LOL funny novel and a perfect way to get an insight into Japanese thinking and way of life. Even if it’s sarcastic and scandalous. I know I am over-enthusiastic but you can’t miss this if you are interested in Japan. I laughed myself insane because of the depicted worries caused by a little boy’s hat. The characters are so incredibly funny that you forget it’s insulting. Roger Poidatz truly caused a stir at the time when his book was written (1924). He had to publish under a false name (Thomas Raucat). However, cross-cultural experiences must be handled with humour and this book is just a treat.


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PS.: All editions of Terebess Publishing is appealing. They have delicious travel literature, but only in Hungarian. Anybody who knows travel specialised publishing houses world-wide, leave a comment!


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Posted by mukikamu on March 2, 2008

I know there are some harsh, intolerant and definitely not politically correct observations about the Japanese in the second volume of The Lotus and the Robot, but I still liked it . Sometimes reading an honest, no-fuss book is a breather for the mind. I felt it summed up Japan in the eyes of a confident European intellectual quite well and I was relieved to get rid of all pathos. The Japanese amaze me constantly. I see them as a nation where you never know whether certain traditions will amuse or stun and embarrass you. I am mostly amused but as I am aware that the outcome of cross-cultural encounters with the Japanese is unpredictable, I understand that they can be truly maddening for a European who lives among them. They have no street signs and arts like ikebana and gardening are too much for a rational and practical mind. Irony, humor and a taste for the grotesque is therefore essential for survival. Koestler has interesting points about Japanese history, society and politics, but fails to enlighten the philosophy of zen without a mocking.
I must note that Arthur Koestler is not a simple fellow. His life and books hint a slightly deranged mind and make him an exciting author.

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You can read it online in HUNGARIAN here>>

Posted in ASIA, Books, HUNGARIAN TRAVELERS, Japan | Leave a Comment »