The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 59

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
NOVEMBER 2014
59
torted images that have been conveyed by popular media.
In this coffee-table book, the author, a former ambassador to
Zimbabwe, offers his own take on what Africa is all about. From
the Gulf of Guinea to the Indian Ocean, fromMount Kilimanjaro
to the Kalahari Desert, he takes you up close and personal to see
the diversity of landscapes, wildlife and people that make up this
huge and fascinating continent—the birthplace of humanity.
Charles Ray is also the author of two novels and a work of
historical fiction (see p. 50).
Sacred Landscapes
Daniel Miller, Vajra Publications, 2014,
$51.95, paperback, 241 pages.
Daniel Miller first visited Nepal and
began trekking in the Himalayan
region in 1974. Trained as a rangeland
ecologist, he has used photography to
document his work and journeys since
then—in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China,
India, Nepal and Mongolia—and over the years has published
many of the photos in books and displayed them in exhibitions.
In this collection of 172 black-and-white images spanning
35 years, Miller presents his vision of the “sacred landscape” of
this region. Mountains, of course, dominate the landscape and,
as Miller writes in his introduction to the book, “It doesn’t take
long among these mountains to acquire a sense of the frailty and
insignificance of human life.”
But it is the people who often generate the most lasting
memories. In these photos Miller captures the poise, friendliness
and generosity with which they pursue their lives in what most
Westerners would consider very difficult conditions.
As an ecologist, Miller also focuses on the interactions
among vegetation, animals and people on the landscape.
Here, the yak is a central feature. And, as Miller says, one can-
not travel in the Himalaya and Tibet without also encountering
features of Buddhism, from monasteries and their monks to
rituals and festivities. All this, too, he captures with his lens.
Daniel Miller is director of the Office of Economic Develop-
ment and Government for USAID Mission Philippines. He is
the author of several previous books about the region, includ-
ing
Drokpa: Nomads of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalaya
,
(2008). Several of them are available online in ebook format
(
landscapes), and his photographic work can be viewed at http://
socialdocumentary.net/photographer/danielmiller.
POTPOURRI
On the Noodle Road: From Beijing
to Rome with Love and Pasta
Jen Lin-Liu, Riverhead Books, 2014,
$16/paperback, $7.99/Kindle,
400 pages.
As a newlywed traveling in Italy, food
writer Jen Lin-Liu was struck by culinary
echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked
back in China, where she’d lived for more
than a decade. “Who really invented the noodle?” she wondered,
like many before her. How had food and culture moved along the
Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Asia to Europe? And
what could still be felt of those long-ago migrations?
Lin-Liu set out to discover those connections, both historical
and personal, for herself by eating a path through western China
and on into Central Asia, Iran, Turkey and across the Mediter-
ranean.

The journey took her into the private kitchens where the
headscarves come off, and women not only knead and simmer,
but confess and confide. As she stirs and samples, listening to
the women talk about their lives and longings, Lin-Liu gains a
new appreciation of her own marriage, and learns to savor the
sweetness of love freely chosen.
Jen Lin-Liu is the founder of Black Sesame Kitchen, a Beijing
cooking school, and the author of
Serve the People: A Stir-Fried
Journey Through China
(Mariner Books, 2008). She is married to
FSO Craig Simons, who has been serving in Chengdu for the past
two years and is preparing for a Havana assignment next year.
(See p. 37 for Simons’ book,
The Devouring Dragon
.)
Investment Real Estate for
the Absentee Landlord:
How to Invest in and Manage
Real Estate from Overseas
Brian Kressin, CreateSpace, 2014, $11.99/
paperback, $7.99/Kindle, 116 pages.
When Brian Kressin joined the Foreign
Service, he recognized that the reality of
spending most of his career overseas would
conflict with his desire to invest in real estate. And that reality
presented him and his wife, Wenli, with a dilemma. They could
either forgo the opportunity to purchase properties, or take the
leap and operate as absentee landlords.
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