Tag: Travel Books

Searching for Hunter S. Thompson in Texas, Bolivia

Searching for Hunter S. Thompson in Texas, Bolivia Photo by Brian Kevin

In an excerpt from his new book, "The Footloose American," author Brian Kevin follows Hunter S. Thompson's trail in Bolivia

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Traveling the Hunter S. Thompson Trail in South America

Long before "Fear and Loathing," Hunter S. Thompson roamed South America. Eva Holland interviews author Brian Kevin about following in his footsteps decades later.

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Interview with Arno Kopecky: Sailing the Northern Gateway

Arno Kopecky spent months sailing along a proposed oil tanker route off British Columbia. Eva Holland talks to him about the new travel book that resulted from the voyage.

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Gone Reading

Tom Swick on the unsung union of the traveler and the book

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David Grann Talks Writing on Reddit

I’m a big fan of David Grann, so I was happy to see the New Yorker staff writer and “The Lost City of Z” author answering questions on Reddit yesterday.

A number of questions focused on “Z.” Among the other highlights:

Hi David, I’ve always wondered - how do you know when a story is a story worth pursuing? Thanks

Alas that’s the problem. I don’t always know in the beginning and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out whether a story has compelling characters and storylines, whether there are intriguing subcultures or worlds to explore, and whether the story is about something with larger import. Which is perhaps why I’m always missing my deadlines.


Related on World Hum:
Interview with David Grann - ‘The Lost City of Z’.


World Hum Writers Honored in ‘The Best American Travel Writing 2013’

It’s that time of year again. The 2013 edition of the annual Best American Travel Writing anthology hit bookstores last week, and we’re thrilled to learn that three World Hum stories were listed in the notable selections: Jessica Colley’s Catching the Gist, Translating Respect by Lenore Greiner, and Bali Belly and the Zombie Apocalypse, by Linda Watanabe McFerrin. Longtime World Hum contributor David Farley also had an AFAR magazine story included in the collection.

This year’s book was guest-edited by travel writing titan Elizabeth Gilbert. Check it out.


Subterranean Gulag Baroque

In an excerpt from his new book, "Straphanger," Taras Grescoe explores Moscow's extraordinary Metro system

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What are Paul Theroux’s Favorite Travel Books?

The author—whose latest novel we recently excerpted—gave his top picks, plus explanations, to The Browser’s Alec Ash. And they are? Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s Antarctic memoir, “The Worst Journey in the World”; “Following the Equator” by Mark Twain; Anthony Trollope’s “The West Indies and the Spanish Main”; Carlo Levi’s “Christ Stopped at Eboli”; and “An Area of Darkness” by V.S. Naipaul.

The Cherry-Garrard and Naipaul titles are both on our list of the 100 Most Celebrated Travel Books of All Time (along with four of Theroux’s own books)—I’ll confess I’d never heard of the other three.

Before getting into his book picks, Theroux also shared his thoughts on what drives people to read about travel:

I think people read travel books either because they intend to take that trip, or because they would never take that trip. In a sense, as a writer you are doing the travel for the reader. I get emails from people saying: I loved your book about Africa, but we went to Venice instead. So I get the impression that people who read my books don’t intend to take that trip themselves. In an ideal world they would like to travel alone and go to malarial swamps, but they haven’t got the time. They only have a couple of weeks vacation. So the idea that I’m in New Guinea, facing down boys with spears saying they are going to kill me, is a thrill for them. People read travel books for the same reason that they read novels. To transport them.

Now all we need is for Paul Theroux to make a music video extolling the virtues of Trollope and Twain, and we’ll have come full circle. (Via @iainmanley)


Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild’: Now Oprah-Approved

After being put on hold for two years, Oprah’s Book Club is back—and the first new pick is Cheryl Strayed’s hiking memoir, Wild. Here’s what Oprah had to say:

“I love this book. I want to shout it from the mountaintop. I want to shout it from the Web. In fact, I love this book so much and want to talk about it so much, I knew I had to reinvent my book club.”

This is the first time the club has focused on a travel narrative—it’s leaned heavily on modern fiction over the years—and it’s likely to make “Wild” the most popular travel memoir since “Eat, Pray, Love.” Here’s hoping the pick leads to more travel narratives making their way into the mainstream.


Interview with Gideon Lewis-Kraus: ‘A Sense of Direction’

Interview with Gideon Lewis-Kraus: ‘A Sense of Direction’ Author photo by Rose Lichter Marck

Frank Bures talks to the author about pilgrimage, authenticity and traveling in a world of infinite choices

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Into Sacred Air

Into Sacred Air Photo: Goran, Flickr, (Creative Commons)

In an excerpt from "Radio Shangri-La," Lisa Napoli makes the climb to Bhutan's Taktsang Monastery

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Interview with Lisa Napoli: ‘Radio Shangri-La’ in Bhutan

Jim Benning asks the author about her memoir and how the Himalayan kingdom changed her

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Old Guidebook, New Life

In an excerpt from "Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day," Doug Mack envisions a new future for himself in a vintage guidebook

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Interview with Doug Mack: ‘Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day’

Leif Pettersen talks to the author about his new book, travel snobbery, and traveling with "Europe on Five Dollars a Day"

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Video: Eric Weiner on his new Book, ‘Man Seeks God’

We recently published The Inner Nightclub of Everlasting Joy, an excerpt from Eric Weiner’s new book, Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine. Here’s Weiner discussing the book and his travels with Lisa Napoli earlier this month at a Live Talks Los Angeles event. It’s an engaging, humor-filled conversation.

Eric Weiner in conversation with Lisa Napoli from Ted Habte-Gabr on Vimeo.


The Inner Nightclub of Everlasting Joy

In an excerpt from his book "Man Seeks God," Eric Weiner explores Buddhism in Kathmandu

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Pico Iyer Can’t Get Graham Greene Out of his Head

In the Los Angeles Review of Books, World Hum contributor Pico Iyer writes about a string of odd coincidences, eerie overlaps and echoes between Graham Greene’s writing and traveling life and his own. Iyer writes:

Not long thereafter, I began working on a book on the 14th Dalai Lama, and as I was sitting in Hiroshima one fall afternoon, listening to one of his general addresses, I realized that the perfect way of summarizing his teachings—for non-Buddhists at least—was by quoting Hamlet: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” A little later, I was staying in a convent on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem and, needing something to read, picked up a book from the library shelves. It was Greene’s late novel Monsignor Quixote, and when I turned to the title page, there was an epigraph, from Hamlet: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

On and on this went… Perhaps—a skeptic might have said—these were no more than surface coincidences; but when there are so many correspondences, across such a wide canvas, you start to imagine that they might speak for connections of a deeper kind.

So often these days we read of travelers taking off “in the footsteps” of Marco Polo or Genghis Khan or many another distinguished forebear, even Graham Greene. But in this case, I didn’t feel I had to pursue Greene, because he was so busy pursuing me.

Iyer’s latest book, The Man Within My Head, was released last week. It explores his strange relationship with Graham Greene in depth, and The Globe and Mail’s Ronald Wright describes it, in a thoughtful review, as “biography, memoir, travelogue, literary criticism and personal meditation.” I can’t wait to check it out.

(Via @iainmanley)


Reading Travel: New and Old Books We Loved This Year

More than two dozen contributors and friends of World Hum recall their favorite travel reads of 2011

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Interview with Henry Rollins: Punk Rock World Traveler

Jim Benning asks the musician about his new book of photographs and how travel has humbled him

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Help Make ‘The Quest for the Holy Foreskin’

Fourteen days remain in a fundraising campaign to make a documentary about World Hum contributor David Farley and his search for Jesus’ foreskin, which he chronicled in the book An Irreverent Curiosity.

Filmmakers want to raise $8,000 to create a professional trailer to pitch the BBC, PBS and others. They’ve raised $1,725 so far. You can pitch in here.