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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

The Great Railway Bazaar

Paul Theroux’s The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia has been said to be, by some, the quintessential travel novel. If ever there were one travel book to read, this is supposed to be the one.

So, on the heals of the release of Theroux’s Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar, a book that is essentially a sequel to The Great Railway Bazaar, I decided to pick up the first and give it a read before I got in the second.
I felt secure in my purchases since I love another of his books, Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown, but unfortunately was let down in this one.
The book seemed incomplete, lacking in substance in most places, and essentially being too short. His descriptions of the different places he visted all came off as unfinished, thus making it very difficult for me to put myself in the different places he was describing.
About the only chapter I found engrossing was the last one on the Trans-Siberian railroad, and that’s simply because I’ve been fascinated by Soviet history, and particularly the railroad, for a very long time.
My interest in the line has been so deep as a matter of fact that I’ve looked into planning my own trip across Russia on the rail line. Unfortunately, at this time, I don’t have the time to devote to such a trip, but since my interest still holds I’m sure it’ll be one I’ll do at some point.
Still though, the rest of Theroux’s book was unable to campture my interest. Halfway through I was so bored with the book that I put it aside to reread the final Harry Potter book one more time in hopes that my curiosity on Theroux’s rail travel would be rekindled and that I’d pick up the book again with a renewed vigor.
Unfortunately, despite having finished the book, that never happened, and now I’m regretting purchasing Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. I worry that it will be much the same as the first and that I will struggle with it due to a lack of interest.
Thankfully my reading time on my Christmas vacation won’t be in vain though since I’m also bringing a couple of favorite novels that I know are sure to keep me avidly occupied…War and Peace, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
It ought to be an interesting time on Christmas break rereading some of my favorite classics if Theroux lets me down again. I hope that’s not the case though.
I’ll be sure to let you know.

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