East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Hard Case Crime in ebook

The good news is that I have discovered that finally a batch of Hard Case Crime novels are available in ebook format.
The bad news is that now I’ll spend a lot of money on Hard Case Crime ebooks. And I have already started, actually.

thieves fall outYesterday night, to give myself a prize for a job well done – and for discovering it was only Wednesday while I thought it was Friday already – I got me a copy of Gore Vidal’s Thieves Fall Out, a “lost” pulp novel the American writer originally published as Cameron Kay in 1953.

I had set my sights on the paperback a while back, but it was way too expensive for my tastes – especially considering I have a love/hate relationship with Vidal.

But then… the plot seems fun – a story of scoundrels abroad. And an Egyptian setting.
Also, the novel has been compared to the work of Eric Ambler – and that’s high praise as far as I’m concerned.
And the cover is absolutely fantastic – as per Hard Case tradition.
All this, for one buck? C’mon – how could I resist?
Now I have something for the weekend. I’ll let you know my impressions.

And as I said, it’s very likely that more titles will follow.
Don’t you hate it too, when that happens…?

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The Challenge Page

As you can see from the menu in top right corner of this page, there is now a static page for the Karavansara Reading Challeng 2016 – this will serve as an introduction to the project, and a repository for links and other information that might be required.

reading challenge patch 2016 1Also, I’m refurbishing the @karavansarablog channel on Twitter, and will use the #KaravanChallenge hashtag for announcements, blog post diffusion and, why not, scheduled live chats on Twitter.

AND we have a badge, that you see here on the left – feel free to steal it and expose it on your blog, website or social media to spread the word about the Challenge.
You can link it back to http://Karavansara.live, or to the above mentioned page.

Cheers, and thank you!

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Looking for traveling companions (a guest post and want ad)

guestpostfeatToday, something different.
Carlos, one of the regular readers here on Karavansara, is looking for companions for a trip along the Silk Road.

Check out his plan, and if you’re interested, use this blog’s contact form (up in the right corner of this page), and I’ll get you in touch with Carlos.
Now, I leave the stage to him, so he will illustrate his plan…

I had a dream

When I was working in China, back in the nineties, when China was somehow opening to Western Industry, I often told my agent that I would like to travel through the Takla Makan.

Of course, being Chinese, my agent told me that he would be glad to organize the trip for me, and that we could go together, “when the right moment came”. And, of course, right moment never came. Either it was winter (too cold) or summer (too hot), or autumn (this autumn the moon is red, and we cannot travel under these circumstances), and of course, spring is the peak time for business.

So, I never fulfilled my dream.

Now I wonder if the moment has not arrived. I love deserts, I love to travel, I love adventure (but not too much), and I seek people with same interests. Continue reading

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A new toy!

I’ve been made aware of a cool thing called PlacingLiterature, which does… well, what I’m planning to do as part the Karavansara Reading Challenge 2016: make a map, plot book scenes on it.

Placing Literature is the global clearinghouse for location-based literary information, collecting crowdsourced information about books and the locations where they take place—and displaying them all on an interactive world map. Since launching in June 2013, readers, educators, librarians and authors have mapped nearly 3,000 places from novels, short stories, poems and plays ranging from Shakespeare to Kerouac.

The site has been freshly relaunched, and while I still like the Google Earth because it has more features, functionalities, whistles and bells, it almost seems a pity not to use PlacingLiterature.
I mean, new launch two weeks before the beginning of the Challenge?
If this isn’t a sign…


On the other hand, it looks like they are chiefly interested in fiction.
But check out both the site and their blog – there’s lot of stuff in there.

I might start submitting scenes from pulp books1.
Anyone cares to join in?2

  1. starting with my own, of course 
  2. ok, you think about it, we’ll talk about it after the Challenge. 

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Eating the mammoth

The first time I heard about eating a mammoth was in the mid ’70s – a huge exhibition was held in Turin, sponsored by the government of the USSR, and among the exhibits there was a baby mammoth.
And there was this brochure that explained that mammoths were found along the Lena river, in Siberia, and almost certainly one or two specimens had been “consumed as food” in the decades immediately before and after the Revolution.fav6_3_09_Lorie_KarnathExplorer004294

But it turns out that there’s been a long-standing… story, or legend, or piece of spurious news, about that time they served mammoth meat at the Explorers Club in New York.
It was in 1951. The story was reported in The Christian Science Monitor, and a newspaper like that would never lie, right? Continue reading

karavansara challenge 2016 header updated

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Otto & Carl’s Excellent Adventure

I’m still collecting material about Otto Torvik and Carl Persson – that were part of the Swdish Mission in East Turkestan in the 1930s.
While I collect more stuff, anyone interested in the Swedish Mission might like to get a look at the Swedish Mission Project on the Internet Archives – which collects all of the films and audio recordings from th eexpedition, plus a link to a nice book on the subject.

An excellent resource.


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