Tag: Travel Books

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.


Video: ‘The Sinner’s Grand Tour’

Traveler and historian Tony Perrottet discusses his latest book, The Sinner’s Grand Tour, and one of his most exciting discoveries:


Elisabeth Eaves Talks Wanderlust on ‘Q’

Nice interview with World Hum contributor Elisabeth Eaves on Canada’s public radio interview program, “Q.” She discusses her new book, Wanderlust, and reflects on the women travel writers of yore.

I’ve been listening to podcasts of “Q” pretty regularly since I downloaded the CBC’s iPhone app. It’s a great show. In my book, it rivals NPR’s “Fresh Air.”


‘Travels With Harley’ and Other Travel Books With Missing Letters

Last night on Twitter, a fun, silly hashtag made the rounds: #bookswithalettermissing. Naturally a few travel-focused titles popped up, and we’ve collected nine of our favorites:

@Mi_Schu
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pans. Love, friendship, cookery…. #bookswithalettermissing

@evaholland
Travels with Harley: Steinbeck criss-crosses America by hog. #bookswithalettermissing

@inkasrain
Eat, Pay, Love: What really happened. #bookswithalettermissing

@evaholland
Our Ma in Havana: Memoir of Cuban childhood. #bookswithalettermissing

@BrantSmith
The Canterbury Ales…a guide to the finest brews in the land. #bookswithalettermissing

@douglasmack
Notes From a Mall Island. (Somewhat less charming than Bryson’s original book.) #bookswithalettermissing

@douglasmack
Fear and Lathing in Las Vegas. Gonzo tales from the machine shop. #bookswithalettermissing

@BrianOnWine
A Moveable East: Hemingway recalls his years in Paris with a broken compass. #bookswithalettermissing

@Mi_Schu
On the Rod. Kerouac’s other adventure. #bookswithalettermissing

The last time we had this much travel-themed fun on Twitter, we were talking #faketravelquotes.


The Nuclear Age, as Seen on Postcards

Slate built its eerie Postcards of Mushroom Clouds slideshow with images from the recent book, Atomic Postcards. Tom Vanderbilt writes:

There is something by turns comforting and disturbing in the fact that places like the Eniwetok Proving Ground—the Pacific atoll where tests like “Bravo” promised a thousand Hiroshimas—should have its own two-color lithograph postcard; and that the back of cards sent from places like the top-secret “City of the Atomic Bomb,” Oak Ridge, Tenn., should have little more to announce than: “Plenty hot.”


‘Europe’s First Travel Guide’ Missing From Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

The Codex Calixtinus was reported missing Wednesday by distraught staff at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. The 12th century illustrated manuscript was “compiled as a guidebook for medieval pilgrims following the Way of Saint James,” according to the BBC.

This is the oldest copy of the manuscript and is unsaleable on the open market.

Only a handful of people had access to the room in which it was kept.

This edition of the Codex Calixtinus is thought to date from around 1150.

Its purpose was largely practical—to collect advice of use to pilgrims heading to the shrine there. It also included sermons and homilies to St James.

The Guardian adds:

The local Correo Gallego newspaper reported that distraught cathedral staff spent hours searching for the manuscript before contacting police late that night.

“Although security systems have been improved considerably it is true to say that they are not of the kind one might find in a bank or a well-protected jewellers,” the newspaper reported.

Only five security cameras were used to watch the archive area, according to the newspaper, and none were pointing directly at the safe where the priceless manuscript was stored.


NYT on Luca Spaghetti’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Spin-off Memoir: ‘Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!’

Who is Luca Spaghetti? In case you’ve forgotten, he’s one of the dreamy Italian men who shows Elizabeth Gilbert around town during the Roman section of her bestselling memoir. He’s also, now, an author—his own memoir, Un Amico Italiano: Eat, Pray, Love in Rome, was released this spring, and the New York Times had a really funny gem of a review.

Here’s Sam Anderson:

It has a strange integrity: the purity of an actual, unremarkable guy telling his actual, (mostly) unremarkable story. Aside from a few Gilbertesque cutesy touches (“That Marlboro tasted a lot like life”), there’s no pretense of educating humanity or saving a soul or discovering a self. It’s just: Hey world, this crazy thing happened where someone put me in a book—so here’s my story! Pasta, pasta, pasta! Spaghetti’s only ulterior motive is right on the surface: he hopes the memoir will make James Taylor, the American folk musician he reveres above all other humans, notice him.

I count myself among the legions of EPL fans, but even as a cheerleader I can’t help thinking this is all getting a bit surreal.


Interview with Elisabeth Eaves: ‘Wanderlust’

Interview with Elisabeth Eaves: ‘Wanderlust’ Photo by Trevor Butterworth

Eva Holland talks to the author about the intersection of lust and wanderlust in her new book

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The New York Times: ‘It’s a List, Silly!’

The Times responds to the Guardian’s top non-fiction picks with 33 lists of favorites chosen by newspaper staffers, and a refreshingly unambitious introduction—no best-of claims here:

Dispensing with all pretense to rigor—it’s a list, silly!—we simply asked each member of the staff to pick their five favorites… Two members of the staff saw fit to pick six titles (they’ve been reprimanded), one identified the author of “On Photography” as Susan Sarandon (she has been ridiculed), and one expressed dislike of the term “nonfiction” (that poor soul will be reading the Lives slush pile for a week).

The Times lists, like the Guardian’s, include a handful of travel favorites, from Krakauer to Kapuscinski. Mother Jones has joined the conversation, too. And while we’re at it, Budget Travel recently offered a fiction-heavy take on the 25 Greatest Travel Books of All Time.


Interview with Rachel Friedman: ‘The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost’

Interview with Rachel Friedman: ‘The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost’ Photo courtesy of Rachel Friedman

Eva Holland talks to the author of a recently released travel memoir about the power of friendship on the road

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The Guardian Picks 100 Top Non-Fiction Books

The list is organized thematically, and the travel section—way down at the bottom—includes World Hum favorites by Mark Twain, Jan Morris, Jonathan Raban and the late Patrick Leigh Fermor. A number of travel-themed titles have also found their way into the other sections, and the whole list is worth a read. (Via @legalnomads)


The Special Chaos of Mexico City

Mexico City smog Photo: kainet via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

In an excerpt from "Down & Delirious in Mexico City," Daniel Hernandez endures smog season in Mexico's famously polluted capital

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‘Back to the Wild’: More on Christopher McCandless

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that members of the McCandless family recently traveled to Alaska to visit the old school bus where one of their own, Christopher McCandless, died. The visit was part of a promotional effort for a new book (and accompanying DVD), Back to the Wild, which will showcase McCandless’ photos and writing. Profits from the book will go to a non-profit aimed at helping “new mothers in need.”

As always, McCandless and his bus are a contentious subject in Alaska. After describing the parents’ visit, News-Miner writer Dermot Cole adds:

I have long believed that the junked bus ought to be moved, largely because it’s an attractive nuisance. With people ripping off additional parts of the bus as time goes by, it makes more sense to move it closer to Healy or somewhere else.

Year after year, a steady stream of unprepared people risk their lives trying to get to what would otherwise be seen as an example of environmental blight instead of a shrine.

 


Wired’s Kevin Kelly: Travel as ‘Higher Education’

Chris Mitchell interviewed Kelly, who’s taken a break from writing bestsellers about technology to release a travel photography book. The book, Asia Grace, compiles photos from Kelly’s travels through Asia as a young backpacker in the 1970s. Here’s the Wired co-founder on those early travels:

I had hoped to work for National Geographic. I even called up one photo editor there and told him where I was going, looking for an assignment, but of course, they did not work that way… My travels never “paid” for themselves in any economic way, but I never really tried very hard to do so. I think of them more like my higher education. And for the amount of time I spent there, and what I learned, it was the cheapest education ever.


The Best Travel Books of 2010

Frank Bures surveys the year's most intriguing titles and offers a few gift ideas

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New Travel Book: ‘The Minaret of Djam’ by Freya Stark

The 1970 hardcover of this Freya Stark classic has been out of print for some time, but a new paperback edition is set to hit bookstores on Dec. 21.

The book recounts Stark’s journey in search of Afghanistan’s Minaret of Jam; the 12th-century relic is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, though at the time Stark visited, it was a recently re-discovered archaeological find. The publisher’s description notes that “Djam is, even today, one of the most inaccessible and remote places in Afghanistan. When Freya Stark traveled there, few people in the world had ever laid eyes on it or managed to reach the desolate valley in which it lies.”

Three of Stark’s books appeared on our list of the 100 most celebrated travel books of all time.


Travel Books Make the New York Times’ 2010 Notable List

The Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2010 list has arrived, and a couple of familiar names appear on it. Peter Hessler’s “Country Driving” and Ian Frazier’s ” Travels in Siberia” both made the non-fiction section of the list, while travel writer and novelist Gary Shteyngart landed on the fiction side for his latest, “Super Sad True Love Story.”

We ran an excerpt from Hessler’s book and interviewed him about road tripping in China earlier this year. (Via The Book Bench)


Sons of ‘The Beach’

What do "The Beach," "Are You Experienced?" and other travel novels say about us? Rolf Potts and Kristin Van Tassel explore backpacker fiction.

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Backpacker Novels: A Conversation

Rolf Potts and Kristin Van Tassel discuss travel fiction and their essay, Sons of "The Beach"

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New Travel Book: ‘A Moveable Feast’

Lonely Planet has just published a new anthology to whet travelers’ appetites, A Moveable Feast: Life Changing Food Adventures from Around the World. Edited by Don George, it includes never-before-published tales from Simon Winchester, Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern and several World Hum contributors, myself included.

George, Andrew McCarthy, Johanna Gohmann and Anita Breland will be reading from the book tonight at Lolita Bar in New York City as part of David Farley’s Restless Legs Reading Series.

I’ll join George, Larry Habegger and Amanda Jones in a reading Sunday evening at Book Passage in Corte Madera.

If you’re around, stop by and say hi.