Wilde's hotel, Austen's Bath and other places in and around London to stay this summer

Want to go to the Summer Olympics in London but wary of hotel prices? There’s still rooms to be had but prices are going up and even cabinet ministers like Bev Oda may find costs a little steep. The Cadogan Hotel in London which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year has availability still for the Games. Oscar Wilde stayed in room 118 when he was arrested in 1895 and charged […]


My humans in Paris...by Big Honey Dog (Part 3)

These are excerpts from the Big Honey Dog blog – by Honey the Great Dane, who recounts what her humans did when they went on a Big Flying Machine and flew to visit the faraway place called France. These are their adventures in the French capital… . . . ****** . Before my humans, Hsin-Yi & Paul, went to France, they would sometimes meet French people who would tell them […]



Literary Travel: In the footsteps of John Steinbeck in California

SALINAS, CA.—The first sign this region is still all about agriculture is the life-size mural of Marilyn Monroe just a few steps into the National Steinbeck Centre — she holds up artichokes as provocatively as if she were offering up herself. Marilyn Monroe was crowned Miss California Artichoke Queen in 1947. But despite her outsized personality, this region has never been known as Marilyn Monroe land. This is Steinbeck Country. […]


Literary Travel and the North Carolina of the Hunger Games

ASHEVILLE, N.C.—Out of the ashes of a place that was once called North America is a fictional world that fans of The Hunger Games know as Panem and that residents of North Carolina know as their home state. The southern Appalachian mountain range, the thick forests and the modern architecture of North Carolina’s provide all the location needed for the futuristic world that is the setting for The Hunger Games […]


My Humans in Paris...by guest poster Big Honey Dog (Part 1)

These are excerpts from my friend writer Hsin-Yi Cohen who lives in Australia. She is the creator and writer of the popular Big Honey Dog blog . This is the first of three parts. Please check out Hsin-Yi’s blog to read more adventures. The second and third parts will run over the next two weeks which will include her long-awaited literary visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral for one of […]


Literary History Today Feb 27: John Steinbeck born in Salinas, CA

  On this day in 1902, John Steinbeck, the grandson of German immigrants who settled in central California, was born to failed businessman Ernst and schoolteacher Olive. “He will either be a genius or amount to nothing,” Olive once surmised about her son. At the John Steinbeck National Center in Salinas earlier this month, I met a group of visitors from Germany who were big fans of the author. They […]



The Biltmore Estate and the Downton Abbey connection

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA — There’s something familiar about the largest private residence in the United States. Not that it looks like any house I’ve ever been inside nor even the grandest hotel I’ve ever stayed in on my travels (or ducked into to find a public washroom while pretending I was a guest). It was the Downton Abbey connection. Watching Downton Abbey before my arrival in Asheville, North Carolina where George […]


A Walk on the Wild Side of Hong Kong

HONG KONG—Most first-time visitors to Hong Kong spend their days in this city of skyscrapers looking up and dodging the crush of people.


Changi Beach in Singapore: Beautiful and haunting

CHANGI BEACH, SINGAPORE — By daylight and by moonlight, this is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Asia Pacific and it has one of the most horrific histories of any place.


Spooky Places: Deacon Brodie's Edinburgh

Drink a toast to the man who inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but don’t leave him your keys.