Yearly Archives: 2016


give me the raj: review of ruth prawer jhabvala’s heat and dust

Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala My rating: 1 of 5 stars   This is a very odd, Booker-winning book. Even the title is provocative. The heat is procreation, the dust death (from whence we came). Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s unnamed narrator, referring to her alter-ego and ex-great aunt, puts […]


Publishers Weekly author interview

Highlights from PW’s Bookroom Editor, Drucilla Schultz’s 11/21/16 interview with the author:   “Indie author Ben Batchelder – who describes writing as his fourth (and final) career – says that he didn’t write his second book.  Rather, To Belém & Back ‘first wrote me.’” “His tale of traveling the backroads […]


wash dc reading of “to belém & back”

You’re cordially invited to the first reading in our nation’s capital of To Belém & Back, recently given one of Publishers Weekly’s coveted ★ Star reviews. Author Ben Batchelder intends to give a brief reading, present the short film “Tiradentes2Belém,” and answer questions at his sister Lily’s apartment in DC’s […]


pacaya volcano

During a recent week in Guatemala, I climbed the Pacaya Volcano with friends from Miami Beach.  It is one of Guatemala’s three active volcanoes, having erupted 23 times since the Spanish conquest, the most recent in 2010 when the cap was blown off, with lava pouring out in 2013.  To […]


dante’s tears – review of: la vita nuova by dante alighieri

La Vita Nuova by Dante Alighieri My rating: 2 of 5 stars   Upfront, I am not a poet, and Dante wrote the book for poets about poetry (his own). How do I know? It says so, in the introduction’s first sentence, of the Penguin Classics 1980 edition by Barbara […]


Santa Fe, NM reading & Q&A

The first reading of To Belém & Back west of the Mississippi was a success, with over 20 people attending.  My black Lab Zeno stole the show, of course, and the 20′ video “Tiradentes2Belém” was well received.  The author wishes to thank all his dear old (and new) friends who attended, […]


Publishers Weekly gives coveted ★ Star to “Belém & Back”

“An insightful and poignant account… As in the very best travelogues, the author seamlessly combines the personal, the political, and the cultural…[along with] the philosophical, via thought-provoking reflections…” See the full review at Publishers Weekly booklife page; and, if you’re fast, see the book’s positioning in their weekly reviews here. […]


wolf museum book reading, south beach 1

You’re invited to a reading & discussion of To Belém & Back at one of Miami’s top museums, the Wolfsonian, on Friday, March 4th, 7pm. The Wolf Book Club, on the heels of the museum’s tropical Philodendron show, selected my Brazilian adventure for this month’s selection, as announced here. Free […]


“to belém & back” tiradentes launch

The final large event of 2015, To Belém & Back’s Mineiro launch, with the film debut and photo exhibit that attended it, is drawing to a close.  Last week’s re-screening of “Tiradentes2Belém” was a wonderful way to wind things down, as 43 people attended, with many good questions and kind […]