Egypt Tops My List

temple of luxor
I first became enamored with Egypt as a young child. A photogravure of Karnak in ancient Thebes captivated my imagination. Still does. Mummies were cool and still are, but the architecture and necropoli are unmatched. Pyramids are wonderful, everywhere they’re found and let’s face it there are a lot of them scattered around the world.

In fact, there are numerous prehistoric sites featuring monumental architecture: Tenochtitlan, Macchu Picchu, Aksum, Khai Dinh, Hagia Sophia, Poverty Point, Brugh na Bóinne, Catal Hoyuk, the Qin Shi Huang mausoleum…the list is extensive. Darn near the entire country of Egypt is an antiquity, complex and extensive in temporal scope and depth.

And there are camels. I like camels. Yes, they spit, bite, stink and kick…but c’mon they’re snorty cute beasts with humps!


My parents took me (and the sibling, lest he complain about being abandoned at home to fend for himself) to see the King Tut exhibit when it visited San Francisco back in the 70s. In addition to the traveling exhibit we attended the gallery exhibition at the museum (can’t recall which one) where there were a large number of Tang Chinese ceramic horses on display.

Wow, those were some sexy muscular animals.

My adolescent senses were overwhelmed by the suggestion of strength and power, the grandeur contained by the artist, and I never forgot those impressions. That’s what I look for when I pick up a good read. There must be more than good craft and well-developed structure. I want to be captivated and my breath to catch.

king tut

Of course I can’t read an entire book of that…but a word that evokes a sensation, a phrase that draws out a tenous connection to a personal memory, a plot turn that elegantly exposes a line of reasoning that blows my mind….that’s all I want in a good read. And I find them in every genre and style that exists.

The next one might be yours and imagine just how cool that would be for us both.

What’s your bestest read ever? Which stories, like old friends, do you revisit year after year? Have you ever read a book so good you finished the last page and immediately started all over again?


  1. #1 by Ali Dent on September 26, 2011 - 4:54 pm

    Well, my favorite book now is Uncle Tom's Cabin. I wouldn't read it for a long time because I thought it was about the horrors of slavery. I don't like to read things that are so real that they depress me. Recently I read this book with my high school literature club kids and boy had I presumed the wrong theme for this book. The message about salvation and redemption and it's setting is slavery. Before I read this book I like Les Miserable the best. I guess my favorite them is when the underdog is rescued or he rises above something to something greater.

  2. #2 by Angela Wallace on September 26, 2011 - 11:10 pm

    Hm, my best read ever? That's tough to pin down, though I think I will say A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. Man, was I moved by that one: the characters, the story, the ending. Yeah, it stole my breath away.

  3. #3 by Lesann Berry on September 27, 2011 - 2:25 pm

    Ali- I've done the same thing…avoiding a particular book because I thought it was about something different, and then discovering my error and having such appreciation. I also loved Les Miserables and the epic journey the characters undertake to discover who they really are. Almost always it's the underdog who most appeals to me – which is why I wind up rooting for the antagonist sometimes because he's a more flawed character than some protagonists.Thanks for visiting!

  4. #4 by Lesann Berry on September 27, 2011 - 2:28 pm

    Angela- I know! Asking for somebody's best read ever is tough because mine changes when I find a new "wow". I haven't read A Voice in the Wind so I'll definately check that one out. I still find myself a fan of some classic literature pieces – love O'Henry, Kipling, even good old Shakespeare, but I really like obscure translations too. Books are just so much fun.

  5. #5 by jennifer tanner on September 27, 2011 - 10:35 pm

    Hi Lesann! Geez, I've read lots of great books that I've started re-reading within reaching the last page. My tastes are all over the board so it's tough to name one. Love the pics. I'm bidding on an Egyptian travel poster from the sixties right now.

  6. #6 by Lesann Berry on September 28, 2011 - 2:14 pm

    Hi Jennifer! I love old travel posters – I'll have to check them out. My reading tastes are all over the place too and for the life of me, I can't think of a single book (right now) that I've turned over and started immediately although I know there've been a bunch.Thanks for the visit!

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