In your writer’s simple little mind, everybody should at least get a glimpse of the Mississippi River at some time during her, or his, life. The picture, by the way, was taken several years ago at the Trail of Tears State Park near Cape Girardeau, on a very hot summer afternoon. An overlook and viewing area at the park offers a breath-taking view of the Mississippi River.

A thousand books to read...and places to visit...

Please read this. . .

This week, we’re about books...and places to in a reading list with 1,000 books...and a list of 1,000 travel destinations... often happens when this writer sits down to write, one thing kind of led to another...

Last week, during a visit to Stinson Memorial Library in Anna, yours truly checked out a copy of a book titled “1,000 Books to Read Before You Die,” written by James Mustich. The book’s subtitle was “A Life-Changing List.” 

The book checks in at a mere 948 pages. And, as you might guess, the book weighs about 48 pounds. “1,000 Books” is the first book written by the author. 

 About half of the 1,000 books are fiction, and half nonfiction. The author points out that the list is “neither comprehensive nor authoratative...It is meant to be an invitation to a conversation...”

At the time this was written, yours truly had made it through the first 200 or so of the 940-plus pages in the book. Some of the “1,000 Books” I recognized. Some I had actually read. Some I had never heard of. Then again, I’ve let a rather sheltered life.

I did notice that the list of “1,000 Books” did not seem to include anything written by Dr. Seuss. I’ll check again, but it sure seems like “The Cat in the Hat” should be included. I’m just saying...

As far as the “1,000 Books” list goes, let me close by sharing the following words of wisdom which appear in the book: "The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions." Virginia Woolf, “How Should One Read a Book?”

Anyway, I added “1,000 Books” to the pile of about 1,000  books which I’m already trying to read. Can’t help myself,

Finding the time to read the books in “1,000 Books” just might take a lifetime. Same goes for the challenge of trying to visit all of the places featured in another book, titled “1,000 Places to See Before Your Die,” which was written by Patricia Schultz. This book’s subtitle is “A Traveler’s Life List.”

“1,000 Places” was a Christmas gift a few years ago. In the introduction to her book, Schultz wrote: “There’s no such thing as a bad trip, just good travel stories to tell back home.” She also shared some advice by a fellow named Mark Twain, who encouraged readers to: “Explore. Dream. Discover.”

As is the case with “1,000 Books,” “1,000 Places” may only be a beginning. After all, once you’ve visited the first 1,000 places, hopefully there will another 1,000 destinations to see.

To be honest with you, I was kind of surprised about the number of destinations in “1,000 Places” that I had actually visited...such as...

...the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Which is in Australia. In the south. Go figure...

...Monterey California...

...California’s Wine Country...

...The Bourbon Kentucky...and Blue Country...and the Kentucky Derby (in Louisville, also in Kentucky)...

...the French New Orleans...Preservation Hall (in New Orleans)...

...the Freedom Trail (in Boston, Massachusetts)...

...the Biltmore Estate, in Asheville, North Carolina...

...The National Mall (in Washington, D.C.)...the Smithonsonia (again, in Washington, D.C.)...

...gosh, guess I’ve actually been to quite a few places.

Then again, there were lots and lots and lots of places where I have not been, which I suppose is the whole point of the book. Haven’t made it to Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Latin America. 

And, of course, there were some places which I thought might have been in the book which were not. 

The Mississippi River would be one of those “places.” Obviously, the Mississippi actually entails a lot of places, but I think everybody should get at least a glimpse of the river at least once. 

Same goes for Cahokia Mounds. England’s famed Stonehenge was in “1,000 Places,” as it should be. Cahokia Mounds, and its “Woodhenge,” were not. Oh, well. The author did suggest that a sequel might be possible.

And one more...a creek bed at the Trail of Tears State  Forest. Hmmmm....maybe I just ought to come up with a list of 1,000 places to visit in Union County...or, at least, in Southern Illinois.

I guess the whole idea of creating a list of 10, or 100, or 1,000 favorite books or places to visit or snacks or jokes or ways to waste your time* is to spur a discussion or two or three.

I hope you’ve got your own list of a book, or two, or three, to read, and a place, or two, or three to visit. And I hope that each book, and each place you visited, is a special memory.

One last thing before we finish up for the week: Find yourself a copy of the October issue of Smithsonian magazine, and check out an article written by William T. Vollmann, “The End of the Line.” The article is about the end of World War I, which, by the way, came 100 years ago this weekend.

(*Reading this column is number 372 on the list of “1,000 Ways to Waste Your Time.”)




The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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