Tag Archives: Distant Lands

Traveling Below the Speed Limit

Traveling Below the Speed Limit by Janet Brown

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Everyone has their favorite way to travel, from cruise ship voyagers to vagabonds on the open road. It’s an all-consuming addiction–but what happens when age begins to slow a traveler down?

Traveling Below the Speed Limit describes different ways of travel and exploration: living in a foreign city, exploring familiar turf, venturing into the unknown territory of aging. A bus pass can serve as a passport; a city of residence can offer undiscovered experiences; a distant metropolis can become home for a month–or a year. And growing old, as that indomitable traveler Martha Gellhorn discovered, can be the last great adventure.

Take a trip with Janet Brown, whose essays show how daily life and travel intertwine as she wanders around Bangkok, finds unfamiliar delights in her home city of Seattle, and learns to enjoy life after sixty.

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Hometown Pasadena

Hometown Pasadena by Colleen Dunn Bates (editor)

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Hometown Pasadena Returns!

For a few years, Pasadenans and visitors have been lamenting that the landmark book Hometown Pasadena has been out of print. We’re happy to announce an all-new take on the book, coming in the fall of 2018. It will continue to be a new kind of city book, written by longtime locals who dig deep to reflect the place they find so special. From Altadena to South Pasadena and Old Pasadena and La Cañada, this witty, richly colorful book unlocks the insider secrets of the San Gabriel Valley.

Hometown Pasadena’s first two editions won acclaim from the Los Angeles TimesLos Angeles Magazine, and Westways, earned nominations and awards from such organizations as the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association and the Independent Publisher Book Awards, and launched Prospect Park Books, now one of the leading publishers in Southern California.

What to Expect

• Essays from acclaimed hometown writers Lian Dolan, Lynell George, Chris Erskine, Naomi Hirahara, Larry Wilson, Roberta Martinez, Mary Lea Carroll, and Raphael Simon (aka Pseudonymous Bosch)

• Chats with two dozen notable locals, including preservationist Sue Mossman, comedian/actor Maria Bamford, State Assemblyman Chris Holden, teacher Siri Bookani, musician Phoebe Bridgers, food writer Jonathan Gold, Funky Junk Farms proprietor Johnny Agnew, Ted the Goldendoodle, and restaurateurs Jo & John Wee (Daisy Mint and Fig Sprout)

• Wise words from the OG Hometown Pasadena authors: Jill Ganon, Sandy Gillis, Mel Malmberg, Mary Jane Horton, and Colleen Dunn Bates

• Photographs by Karol Franks, Keegan Dunn, Jennifer Cheung, Steven Nilsson, and Paul Click

• Cover art (once again) by Pasadena’s own R. Kenton Nelson

• Insights, amusements, and inspirations

About the Authors

Colleen Dunn Bates founded Prospect Park Books in 2006 with the publication of the original Hometown Pasadena, the success of which inspired her to publish more books. Prospect Park now has a catalogue of more than 70 titles. An L.A. native and longtime Pasadenan, she is also the author and/or editor of many books.

A master gardener and longtime Altadenan, Sandy Gillis is one of the original authors of Hometown Pasadena, as well as the co-author of At Home Pasadena.

A New York native and longtime Pasadenan, Jill Ganon is one of the original authors of Hometown Pasadena, as well as the co-author of At Home Pasadena. She’s currently writing a novel.

Dorie Bailey is the assistant editor at Prospect Park Books and a native Pasadenan.

Lian Dolan is the author of the bestselling novels Helen of Pasadena and Elizabeth the First Wife, as well as one of the Satellite Sisters of podcast and radio fame. A longtime Pasadena resident, she also writes a regular column for Pasadena Magazine.

Born in Altadena, raised in South Pasadena, and now residing in Pasadena, Naomi Hirahara is a true local. She is the author of many books, including the award-winning Mas Arai mystery series, the Ellie Rush mystery series, and nonfiction titles about Japanese American culture, Southern California, gardens, and more.

Lynell George is a journalist, essayist, and author; her books include No Crystal Stair: African Americans in the City of Angels and the upcoming After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame. A former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, she is now at work on a book about the writer Octavia Butler.

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Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Life in Contemporary Palestine

Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Life in Contemporary Palestine by Marcello Di Cintio

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A look at life in contemporary Palestine through the lens of its literary culture

Marcello Di Cintio first visited Palestine in 1999, and as with most outsiders, the narrative he knew was one defined by unending struggle, a near-Sisyphean curse of stories of oppression, exile, and occupation.

In Pay No Heed to the Rockets, he reveals a more complex story—the Palestinian experience as seen through the lens of authors, books, and literature. Using the form of a political-literary travelogue, he explores what literature means to modern Palestinians and how Palestinians make sense of the conflict between a rich imaginative life and the daily tedium and violence of survival. Taking the long route through the West Bank, into Jerusalem, across Israel, and finally into Gaza, he meets with poets, authors, librarians, and booksellers to learn about Palestine through their eyes, and through the story of their stories.

Di Cintio travels through the rich cultural and literary heritage of Palestine. It’s there that he uncovers a humanity, and a beauty, often unnoticed by news media. At the seventieth anniversary of the Arab-Israeli War, Pay No Heed to the Rockets tells a fresh story about Palestine, one that begins with art rather than war.

About the Author

MARCELLO DI CINTIO is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, winner of the 2013 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. Di Cintio’s essays have been published in The WalrusCanadian GeographicThe New York TimesCondé Nast Traveller, and Afar. He lives in Calgary.

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The Camino: A Sinner’s Guide

The Camino: A Sinner’s Guide by Eddie Rock

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Aspiring travel writer Eddie Rock has hit hard times. Drowning in a midlife crisis of fear and debt, he looks for a second chance. A fortuitous encounter with false medium Ralph Keeton in Canada triggers his story with warnings in the not-so-distant-future.

A new house, a dangerous woman, an unfortunate brush with the law, and an unforgettable stag party set the tone for Eddie, who hits the road in this timeless European misadventure. Following the footsteps of countless saints and sinners before him, Rock travels the well-trodden road to Santiago de Compostela in search of enlightenment, salvation, and forgiveness, with a full cast of strange and interesting characters, spectacular places and plenty of wine.

Eddie Rock’s book is honest, entertaining, a warts-and-all romp as he takes us on a long walk of alcoholic indiscretions, more brushes with the law and accidental applications of deep heat, all the while providing an entertaining commentary of his surroundings and never taking himself too seriously. It makes for a refreshing change from the usual run of Camino stories, treating the whole thing as some reverential sacred cow!

About the Author

Eddie Rock grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and later lived abroad in England, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, and Egypt. He currently lives in the Galician mountains in Northern Spain. He aspires to one day turn his mountainside farmhouse into a fully functioning writer’s retreat. In his free time, Eddie enjoys chainsaw carving, creating tattoo art on wood, and playing music. The Camino de Santiago: A Sinner’s Guide is his first book.

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From Source to Sea: Notes from a 215-Mile Walk Along the River Thames

From Source to Sea: Notes from a 215-Mile Walk Along the River Thames by Tom Chesshyre

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Over the years, authors, artists and amblers aplenty have felt the pull of the Thames, and now travel writer Tom Chesshyre is following in their footsteps.

He’s walking the length of the river from the Cotswolds to the North Sea – a winding journey of over two hundred miles. Join him for an illuminating stroll past meadows, churches and palaces, country estates and council estates, factories and dockyards. Setting forth in the summer of Brexit, and meeting a host of interesting characters along the way, Chesshyre explores the living present and remarkable past of England’s longest and most iconic river.

About the Author

Tom Chesshyre’s train travels include an 11,000-mile jaunt around Europe for his book on the European high-speed train revolution, and thousands of miles more across the UK for his weekly hotel column in The Times. Tom has visited 94 countries for his writing.

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The Best American Travel Writing 2018

The Best American Travel Writing 2018 by Cheryl Strayed (Editor), Jason Wilson (Editor)

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Everyone travels for different reasons, but whatever those reasons are, one thing is certain: they come back with stories. Each year, the best of those stories are collected in The Best American Travel Writing,curated by one of the top writers in the field, and each year they “open a window onto the strange, seedy, and beautiful world, offering readers glimpses into places that many will never see or experience except through the eyes and words of these writers” (Kirkus). This far-ranging collection of top notch travel writing is, quite simply, the genre’s gold standard.

About the Author

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wild, the New York Times bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things, and the novel Torch. Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 and optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Pacific Standard. Wild was selected as the winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and also received an Indies Choice Award, an Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award. Strayed’s writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Allure, The Missouri Review, The Sun, The Rumpus—where she has written the popular “Dear Sugar” column since 2010—and elsewhere. Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages around the world. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and their two children.

Jason Wilson

JASON WILSON is the author of Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine and Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits. He writes regularly for the Washington Post and the New York Times. Wilson has been the series editor of The Best American Travel Writing since its inception in 2000. His work can be found at jasonwilson.com.

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Swell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening

SwellSwell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening by Captain Liz Clark

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True surfers understand that surfing is not a sport, a hobby or even a lifestyle. Instead, it is a path, a constantly evolving journey that directs where you go, how you live, and who you are. In 2006, Liz Clark decided to follow the path that surfing, sailing and love of the ocean had presented to her. Embarking on an adventure that most only dream of taking, she set sail from Santa Barbara, solo, headed to the South Pacific. Nine years later she is still following her path in search of surf and self and the beauty and inspiration that lies beyond the beaten path. In stories overflowing with epic waves and at the whim of the weather, Liz captures her voyage in gripping detail, telling tales of self awareness, solitude, connection to the earth, and really great surf spots.

When Liz Clark was nine, her family spent seven months sailing down Mexico’s Pacific coast. After returning to land life in San Diego, she dreamed of seeing the world by sailboat one day. While earning her BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara, she fell in love with surfing. After college, she turned her voyaging dream into reality, sailing south from Southern California through Central America and the Pacific Islands. For more than a decade, she has kept her nomadic ocean lifestyle going through writing, blogging, photography, representing conscious brands, and earning recognition as a surf adventurer, environmental activist, and captain. She hopes to inspire people to live their passions and reconnect with nature and our inherent oneness. She was featured in the film Dear and Yonder (2009), and nominated for National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2015.

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Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude by Stephanie Rosenbloom

Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude by Stephanie Rosenbloom

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“In Paris (or anywhere else, really) a table for one can be a most delightful place.” —Alone Time, as seen in The New York Times

A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of traveling solo

In our increasingly frantic daily lives, many people are genuinely fearful of the prospect of solitude, but time alone can be both rich and restorative, especially when travelling. Through on-the-ground reporting and recounting the experiences of artists, writers, and innovators who cherished solitude, Stephanie Rosenbloom considers how being alone as a traveller—and even in one’s own city—is conducive to becoming acutely aware of the sensual details of the world—patterns, textures, colors, tastes, sounds—in ways that are difficult to do in the company of others.

Alone Time is divided into four parts, each set in a different city, in a different season, in a single year. The destinations—Paris, Istanbul, Florence, New York—are all pedestrian-friendly, allowing travelers to slow down and appreciate casual pleasures instead of hurtling through museums and posting photos to Instagram. Each section spotlights a different theme associated with the joys and benefits of time alone and how it can enable people to enrich their lives—facilitating creativity, learning, self-reliance, as well as the ability to experiment and change. Rosenbloom incorporates insights from psychologists and sociologists who have studied solitude and happiness, and explores such topics as dining alone, learning to savor, discovering interests and passions, and finding or creating silent spaces. Her engaging and elegant prose makes Alone Time as warmly intimate an account as the details of a trip shared by a beloved friend—and will have its many readers eager to set off on their own solo adventures.

Stephanie Rosenbloom is the staff columnist for the Travel section of The New York Times, where she has been a reporter for various desks (including Styles, Business, and Real Estate) for more than a decade. She has appeared on CNN’s American Morning, NBC’s The Today Show, and NPR’s The Takeaway.

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Don’t Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay

Don’t Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay

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Part pop history and part whimsical memoir in the spirit of National Lampoon’s VacationDon’t Make Me Pull Over!is a nostalgic look at the golden age of family road trips—a halcyon era that culminated in the latter part of the twentieth century, before portable DVD players, iPods, and Google Maps.

In the days before cheap air travel, families didn’t so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and with his family Richard Ratay experienced all of them—from being crowded into the backseat with noogie-happy older brothers, to picking out a souvenir only to find that a better one might have been had at the next attraction, to dealing with a dad who didn’t believe in bathroom breaks.

The birth of America’s first interstate highways in the 1950s hit the gas pedal on the road trip phenomenon and families were soon streaming—sans seatbelts!—to a range of sometimes stirring, sometimes wacky locations. Frequently, what was remembered the longest wasn’t Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, or Disney World, but such roadside attractions as “The Thing” in Texas Canyon, Arizona, or “The Mystery Spot” in Santa Cruz, California. In this road tourism-crazy era that stretched through the 1970’s, national parks attendance swelled to 165 million, and a whopping 2.2 million people visited Gettysburg each year, thirteen times the number of soldiers who fought in the battle.

Now, decades later, Ratay offers a paean to what was lost, showing how family togetherness was eventually sacrificed to electronic distractions and the urge to “get there now.” In hundreds of amusing ways, he reminds us of what once made the Great American Family Road Trip so great, including twenty-foot “land yachts,” oasis-like Holiday Inn “Holidomes,” “Smokey”-spotting Fuzzbusters, 28 glorious flavors of Howard Johnson’s ice cream, and the thrill of finding a “good buddy” on the CB radio.

A rousing Ratay family ride-along, Don’t Make Me Pull Over! reveals how the family road trip came to be, how its evolution mirrored the country’s, and why those magical journeys that once brought families together—for better and worse—have largely disappeared.

Richard Ratay was the last of four kids raised by two mostly attentive parents in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism and has worked as an award-winning advertising copywriter for twenty-five years. Ratay lives in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, with his wife, Terri, their two sons, and two very excitable rescue dogs.

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See You Again in Pyongyang: A Journey Into Kim Jong Un’s North Korea

See You Again in Pyongyang: A Journey Into Kim Jong Un’s North Korea by Travis Jeppesen

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A “close-up look at the cloistered country” (USA Today), See You Again in Pyongyang is American writer Travis Jeppesen’s “probing” and “artful” (New York Times Book Review) chronicle of his travels in North Korea–an eye-opening portrait that goes behind the headlines about Trump and Kim, revealing North Koreans’ “entrepreneurial spirit, and hidden love of foreign media, as well as their dreams and fears” (Los Angeles Times).

In See You Again in Pyongyang, Travis Jeppesen, the first American to complete a university program in North Korea, culls from his experiences living, traveling, and studying in the country to create a multifaceted portrait of the country and its idiosyncratic capital city in the Kim Jong Un Era. Anchored by the experience of his five trips to North Korea and his interactions with citizens from all walks of life, Jeppesen takes readers behind the propaganda, showing how the North Korean system actually works in daily life. He challenges the notion that Pyongyang is merely a “showcase capital” where everything is staged for the benefit of foreigners, as well as the idea that Pyongyangites are brainwashed robots. Jeppesen introduces readers to an array of fascinating North Koreans, from government ministers with a side hustle in black market Western products to young people enamored with American pop culture. With unique personal insight and a rigorous historical grounding, Jeppesen goes beyond the media cliches, showing North Koreans in their full complexity. See You Again in Pyongyang is an essential addition to the literature about one of the world’s most fascinating and mysterious places.

Travis Jeppesen is the author of three novels, two volumes of poetry, a stage play, and a collection of art criticism. His critical writings on art, film, and literature have appeared in Artforum, Afterall, The Believer, Art in America, Flash Art, New York Press, Bookforum, and Zoo Magazine. He is the recipient of a 2013 Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital/the Warhol Foundation, and his text-based visual art has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

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