Saturday, June 16, 2007


Pittsburgh – Live from Jordan: Letters Home from My Journey Through the Middle East has been out since the start of May. I’ve been receiving a lot of interest and feedback at the “grassroots level” by way of emails, bookstore talks, book clubs, and talk radio/local NPR call-in questions. In a way, it is like the response to the original letters that I sent home from Jordan and Egypt. The New York Times editors may not care less about what I have to say (I still can’t place an oped with them), but people in Wisconsin, South Florida, Utah, and Ohio seem genuinely intrigued.

One of the surprises of this grassroots response is the number of people who have contacted me with questions about traveling or living in Jordan or other parts of the Middle East. Most are in college or just out of college. That’s great news, for everyone involved. There have been a lot of emails, though, and I haven’t been able to keep up as well as I would have liked. So, true to my book, I thought this blog would be a place where I could:

- Answer questions and continue discussions that have arisen from my book
- Continue to write about the intersection of our interests with everyday people and colorful places (in the Middle East, but also in other venues too)
- Respond to travel and living abroad questions and share others' stories too
- Daydream about the upcoming Steelers season, huevos rancheros, and other issues of paramount importance to me

Thanks for stopping by-



Anonymous said...

Im really proud to know somebody like u.. I read all the blogs and Im happy to be the first to comment.
wish u the best and hope 2 c u soon


Anonymous said...

Hi Ben:

Glad to hear that you are still traveling. There's nothing like the experience of going places and exchanging with people who are culturally different. We get out of our comfort zone, contend with our misconceptions and fears and become more engaged human beings.

I am traveling too. Going back to Pakistan for to visit my husband's family and to talk about a project for a university that was destroyed by the earthquake in the western Himalayas back in 2005.

Perhaps we can exchange some pictures of interest.

Maria Ayub

jwander said...

I'm enjoying your book, although it is taking me a long time to get through (not due to your book as much as my backlog in readings). I look forward to your blog and I will post my comments on your book when I finish...Enjoy your travels...(consider joining the d4dr club ;-))