Posting from a New Home

After five years posting from DC, BenEastBooks moves on to Mumbai. Expect the same focus on craft and reviewing serious books by independent authors. Expect new writing invigorated by travel and adventure. Expect postings flavored with the exotic, the ancient, the extraordinary, and the very new. I welcome contributions, requests for reviews, and sensible observations. When … Continue reading Posting from a New Home

Maximum City

We are neither here nor there. The carpets are up and the curios down. The boys are packed and shipped off south for a week with Naniji. A week from tomorrow the packers arrive. They'll invade for 3 or 4 days to box up several categories of shipment: 700 lbs of air freight; 7k lbs … Continue reading Maximum City

Fly America… Call the Philippines

When your official government travel orders authorize advanced seating to guarantee a seat beside your child during an international move---old home packed, new home empty... ...but the airline won't confirm your seat more than 23 hours before you fly... ...and you spend hours on the phone... ...talking to the travel agent... ...and talking to the … Continue reading Fly America… Call the Philippines

Literature Only

Southwest. Demanding the best of its passengers. Headed home from the Keys, I dropped in this classic. It must be very strange in an airplane, he thought. I wonder what the sea looks like from that height? They should be able to see the fish well if they do not fly too high. I would like to … Continue reading Literature Only

D. W. Hitman

Warning: the reading police, disguised as the media, have infiltrated the State Department. Based on a stroll through the Harry Truman building cafeteria, one journalist for The Atlantic pretends to understand our present condition: “As the staffer and I walked among the tables and chairs, people with badges chatted over coffee; one was reading his Kindle.” Forgive me for … Continue reading D. W. Hitman

Street Food with Lou Stoole

I don't watch Anthony Bourdain's television programs but I understand the attraction behind them. Here's a guy traveling the world to sample bizarre cuisine, satisfying the viewer's appetite for the exotic and the edible. His narrative is wry, crisp, and authoritative. His locations distant to the point of being surreal. His choices of food---practically supernatural. But what happens when … Continue reading Street Food with Lou Stoole

A Catch-22 for Diplomacy

Two Pumps for the Body Man Set in Saudi Arabia, Two Pumps does for American diplomacy and the War on Terror what Catch-22 did for military logic during the Second World War: The enemy can’t kill us if our institutions kill us first. Jeff Mutton walks the diplomatic beat protecting American officials in Saudi Arabia. … Continue reading A Catch-22 for Diplomacy