Peace Like a River: How the Seine Feeds My Soul

One of my favorite songs is ‘Peace Like a River,’ an African-American spiritual that has brought me hope and peace in hard times. This song always carries me to a village on the banks of the Seine River, in France, called Les Andelys. My family and I have been visiting this little-known spot nearly every … More Peace Like a River: How the Seine Feeds My Soul

Introduction to Finland in 5 Books

Perhaps because of its pristine landscape, or the tendency of its residents toward verbal restraint, Finland has an understated national character that has kept generally out of the international limelight. However, this largely forested country has much to offer in the way of culture and literature. Its language has developed since ancient times, and now represents a growing literary entity on the world stage. … More Introduction to Finland in 5 Books

No Man is an Island

Communal wisdom states that “no man is an island,” but that is certainly not due to a lack of some of us trying to become one. Seppo Kemppainnen, the reluctant anti-hero in the new short story The Lucky Finn by VM Karren, is a master at burning the bridges that connect his island to anybody or anything else. Seppo’s only goal in life is to remain an island of solitude but finds luck conspiring against him, bringing him undesired good fortune…and too many neighbors!  … More No Man is an Island

A Sampling of Sardines

Two years ago, during his last trip to Lisbon, Val made the following social media post: “TODAY in Lisbon: An amusement park for canned sardines. (This is not a joke!) “I came across this unusual shop, ‘O Mundo Fantastico da Sardinha Portuguese,’ which literally means ‘The Fantastic World of Portuguese Sardines.’ It’s located on one … More A Sampling of Sardines

Spain: A Natural High After a Finishing a Novel

There’s a place in this world that’s like no other. It’s a place of both breathtaking beauty and absolute peace. It’s a place where one can enjoy the pleasures of every sense: beautiful seascapes for the eyes, peaceful waves for the ears, floral fragrances for the nose, warm sunshine on the skin, and mouthwatering delicacies … More Spain: A Natural High After a Finishing a Novel

First Trip to Luxembourg: Tiny Country with a Rich Heritage

The clean and elegant aesthetic of the tiny country of Luxembourg always impresses the newcomer, but what do we actually know about this place? Those familiar with the feel of France or Germany will find themselves doing double-takes in Luxembourg where these two cultures seem to seamlessly combine. Still, Luxembourg is its own place with … More First Trip to Luxembourg: Tiny Country with a Rich Heritage

The Old Age Question: Finding Youth in Brussels

(Excerpt from ‘The Tales of a Fly-By-Night’ by V M Karren) I was too far away from home when the music stopped. In fact, I was on the other side of the world when my return ticket expired. Life abroad wasn’t supposed to go on that long; it was all just part of the big … More The Old Age Question: Finding Youth in Brussels