Believe it or not, sometimes the best part of traveling is staying in one place. Whether you’re parked by the sea reading a good book or waiting to board the plane, it is often the solitude of the journey and those periods ‘in between’ that teach us more about ourselves and world around us.
To that end, part of that glorious discovery is what we read along the way. I’d love to say that I remember where – and what – I was doing in the Czech Republic when I encountered a book that carried me to an ancient world and exposed me to an author that continues to excite me, but alas… it was many years ago. The most I can recall is a summer spent in Prague, gargoyles atop a Medieval castle, and the stark Polish countryside roll past as I flipped the page.
And yet, rainy days spent traveling throughout Eastern Europe are also tinted with a hint of gold for when I rested my head at the end of a long day in Krakow, the sweeping historical tales of Noah Gordon came alive to accompany me. So much so, in fact, that last week I picked up another book by Mr. Gordon and was thrilled to discover that he’s still got ‘it.’
So what’s my vote for adventurers, readers, lovers, and traveller’s worldwide?
The Physician by Noah Gordon.
If you’ve been stuck in the city for months on end and haven’t had the chance to hitch a plane to Mozambique or Montreal, here’s what you do. Pick up a copy of any of his books. In 1999, The Physician was voted by the Madrid Book Fair as one of the ten most beloved books of all time. You’ll be starting with his first book in the Robert Jeremy Cole trilogy. A fast, historically rich, yet easy read, it takes place in the 11th century so your imagination will run wild with the story of Robert Cole as he journeys from his childhood in England, througout Europe, and all the way to an Arabian medical school in Persia.
Timeless, full of intrigue and amusement, The Physician, along with my two other favorites (The Last Jew and Shaman, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize by the Society of American Historians), breathe new life into ancient times.
PS. I also hear The Physician might be coming to a theater near you. If my crystal ball tells me anything it’s… ‘Oprah’s gonna put this on her Book Club List soon’.
And won’t you be thrilled to say you knew him when?