Lonely Planet’s Armchair Explorer

I thought I should pop out a post today as southern Tasmania is in a three day lockdown due to a “Covidiot” with Delta Covid escaped hotel quarantine coming from New South Wales then through Melbourne airport (sorry Lisa) and frolicked around our neck of the woods for a day before being arrested. We are fortunate though as so far our lockdown is only three days. Victoria (Melbourne) is just coming out of a 250 day lockdown. They have done it tough.

I have been thinking of reading projects for 2022. Haha, that makes me laugh as I am not one to ever finish reading projects though I generally get a good start on them. So I do get something out of them.

I had a good look at what I really enjoy reading. My own picks, not the picks of book groups, other challenges that may or may not be what I like. One day while lurking around all the new books at Fullers (my personal bookshop😁), I came across this book. The complete title is: Lonely Planet’s Armchair Explorer Discover the Best Music, Film and Literature from Around the World.

The book is divided into continents beginning with Europe then going to South America, North America, Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Middle East before hitting the index at page 282. (No idea why left off Antarctica- there must be something though no permanent residents.)

Each page is then a country from one of those continents. There are many colourful photos too of one or two iconic images from each country. Of course the book is not conclusive in any of its areas but it is a fun ‘taster’.

Sitting down recently on a very rainy day, of which we have had days and days of, I opened this book to explore it more carefully. The first country I came to was Austria. Of course it would be alphabetical.

The layout of the book is two pages as the book lies flat. The first page left column is a Reading List of five authors from Austria. They mention Joseph Roth, Robert Musli, Stefan Zweig, Elfriede Jelinek and Christoph Ramsay here.

Column two of the left hand page is the Watch List. It lists the films Sissi, The South of Music, Funny Games, Museum Hours and the Dreamed Ones.

The right hand page, left column has a lovely colour photograph of Hundertwasser House, displaying the architecture. Then there are a few notations alongside of some trivial facts about Australia related to the final column on the right of the Playlist. The Playlist consists of the Marriage of Figaro by Mozart, music by Joseph Haydn, Falco, Christina Stürmer, Schönberg, Edenbridge (Heavy Metal), Schlager, some Stelar (Electric Swing) and Kruder and Dorfmeister (Electronica).

For my project (sorry, I can’t say that without laughing) I am going to pick one selection from each column to enjoy. That is, if I can find it. The Reading list and Playlist are easy to access between the library, cheap kindle books and Spotify or Amazon Music. The films might be trickier to find but I did have a look around and did find one of them on Vimeo I think it was. Unfortunately some of the streaming services only have the more arty films in their libraries in the USA or Europe which Australia is not privy to.

I did think of going through this book from beginning to end. But as I probably won’t get all the way through it I think I’ll just choose a page randomly with random.org and see how I go. The books and music interest me much more than the films so if I am unable to find a film that will be ok. But I will look.

The rest of this week has not gone so well as a long time friend of ours passed away suddenly so next week has us attending her funeral, assuming our lockdown ends Monday evening. We continued to read Life and Fate at our shared reading. We are up to page 400 now. Such a wonderful book.

I am continuing to read Klara and the Sun for November book group which I will finish soon. I am almost finished with the audio version of Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy and I finished the crime book I was reading. The Alex Cross series number 24 by James Patterson. The only James Patterson book I have ever read. I am attached to the detective’s family in this series and began the series in 1993. All of us need popcorn books from time to time.

On that note I will move along here. The sun is shining which is such a treat after two weeks of rain. Now if the temperature would only jump up about 5 degrees more I’ll be happy. Bring on summer. I hope all of you are well.

22 thoughts on “Lonely Planet’s Armchair Explorer

  1. That Lonely Planet project looks like fun. I’ll enjoy following your random journey through it.

    Very sorry to hear about your friend, though it sounds from the later post that it was a peaceful death for her which is good.

    Do you recommend Klara and the Sun?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sue. The Lonely Planet will be slow going as finding the books can be tricky. I’ve given up looking for the films as just not available but music is easier to locate. I would recommend Klara and the Sun but there is so much in it that is ambivalent. Did this really happen? Or this? It is a wonderful book to read carefully looking for clues but also to discuss with someone else, especially the ending. What did it mean?


  2. i’m sorry to hear about your lost friend… that’s always sad… totally agree re popcorn books. i’ve been posting about heavies lately so now i started on Asimov and his daughter’s “Norby Chronicles”… it’s a bit silly but entertaining as well… speaking of well, i hope you are… i liked the bit of Zweig i’ve read… don’t know the others, tho…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I have always heard the Zweig books are good. Am enjoying the Hotel Years by Joseph Roth, travels around European hotels between the world wars. A very funny man. I think you’d enjoy it. We are staying well. Lockdown ends tonight. No cases of Covid so far. Need to mask up until Monday. All the best.


  3. What a good project. Does the book pick authors from the country or books set in the country? I’m thinking if it’s the former it will be a good resource to help me finish my own round the world reading adventure

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The book picks authors who are from the country. That’s why I like it so much. The comment from thecontentreader below mentions Stefan Zweir and Joseph Roth. I downloaded a book from Joseph Roth on Kindle as our library didn’t have it and I will read from that. I just started it and so far it is very humorous.


      1. So glad to hear the choices are authors from the country. It will make a good companion to the book I have by the wo,an who read a book from every country taking part in the 2012 Olympics.

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  4. Unbelievable, how irresponsible some people are. I hope he/she did not spread it widely.
    Interesting book about countries and their cultural achievements. I am in Austria for the time being (my husband is Austrian) and have been enjoying some of the cultural treats from here. We were last week in a spa which has Hundertwasser as architect. His architecture is quite different. Reminds me a little bit of Gaudi’s design.
    I have not read many Austrian authors but love Stefan Zweig. Another one I have read is A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler. It was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, and the 2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award . It is a wonderful story about a man who is different from his surrounding. Very touching story. Can really recommend it. Joseph Roth is waiting to be read. I got a couple of books by Elfriede Jelinek when she received the Nobel Prize, but they were so strange, I could not read them. Good luck with your choices. Might look around for the guide. Could be interesting to look at countries from which one does not read very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not read Stefan Zweig but have certainly heard of him. A Whole Life by Seethaler was one of our book group reads a few years ago and I loved it. I could always read something else by him but I did download the Hotel Years by Joseph Roth and so far finding it very good and also it is so funny. He is such a good writer. Austria has so many choices. I have been there twice and love the country. Thank you so much for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Pam, first, condolences about your friend. You will miss her.
    Also commiserations about the lockdown, such a shame with all the celebrations for the new Antarctic icebreaker this weekend as well. But one small correction; the covidiot who caused your lockdown is not from Victoria, he’s from NSW. It’s unfortunate that these people can cause so much harm with their selfishness.
    I love your project. I saw that book advertised, and told myself not to get it because I know what will happen if I do! But I shall enjoy your adventures:)
    Stay safe and well, Lisa

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Lisa. I will change that in the post. I knew that. I had forgotten. He came here from New South Wales via Melbourne. Evidently he’d attempted to fly on two other planes but couldn’t get on them but the third one flew him here. Not sure.

      It will be fun to travel through the Lonely Planet book as long as I keep motivated and other books that look wonderful don’t interrupt. haha. Stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy it. I’m finding it lots of fun to look through. I imagine it’s readily available in many places as it’s a Lonely Planet publication. I love their books.


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