I like to consider myself in possession of an intrepid spirit. Adventure – which can manifest in many forms – is something I have no qualms embracing. Although outwardly I may exude a certain manner that might allude to a propensity for steering clear of wayward mud puddles, I can vigorously assure you that my desire for exploration knows few boundaries. More on that later. However, I must confess that my taste for the rogue life pales in comparison to those souls who braved a breed of adventure rooted in a death wish. 10,000 miles alone in the uncharted wilds of 19th century Africa? Friends, all our lives are child’s play.
But before you hang your head and turn your soft-bellied soul away, you might want to listen up. Stories in the vein of explorer Heinrich Barth’s are seldom told outside of the summer blockbuster. Join historian and former Louisvillian Steve Kemper as he documents the remarkable journey of one man in the darkest territories of unknown Islamic Africa with his new book, A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles in Islamic Africa. Kemper will retell the story – in all its perilous and noir glory – this Sunday, August 19th, at Carmichael’s Bookstore at 4pm.
What begin in 1849 as a British expedition into the unexplored regions of Islamic North and Central Africa, Kemper’s A Labyrinth of Kingdoms retells the story of the lone explorer, Heinrich Barth, and his unprecedented 10,000 mile trek to Timbuktu. While Barth’s travel companions would succumb to the hazards of the trail, he continued on alone for five-and-a-half years, eventually reaching the famed and fantastical city of gold. Barth’s discoveries – as well as the scale of his voyage – rank among the greatest in the history of human exploration, and his contributions to undiscovered Africa are still considered indispensible by modern scholars.
Make your own noteworthy trek to Carmichael’s this weekend as Kemper discusses his work in history, the life of Mr. Heinrich Barth and pens signatures of the book. Copies of A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles in Islamic Africa are available for purchase at both Carmichael’s locations in hardcover for $28.95. Have a lust in your eye and a fire in your gut that’s got nothing to do with fair food? Nothing says a good book can’t be your guide in wanderlust. Set your compass, bring your reading glasses and hit the trail for Carmichael's this weekend. As for me and my lonely heart, I’ll see you on the flipside of 6am.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue. For more information, visit the event page  or call the Frankfort Avenue store at (502) 896-6950.
Image: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com