Tag Archives: Travel Literature

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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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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Around the World in Fifteen Friends: Fifteen Short Stories of Love, Crime, and Kindness

Around the World in Fifteen Friends: Fifteen Short Stories of Love, Crime, and Kindness by Tynan

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Tynan traveled six continents and seventy countries over eight years. Over that time he met hundreds of people and found himself in the most varied of circumstances. This book is a collection of fifteen of the most remarkable people he met or traveled with, and the stories he made with them. The stories include everything from breaking down in a school bus in the middle of the desert to exploring the Parias catacombs to trying to set up an arranged marriage on a ship in the Pacific.

Tynan is a world traveler who has previously written five books, including the Amazon #1 Bestseller, Superhuman Social Skills. He was one of Time Magazine’s top 50 bloggers, and was chosen as an Amtrak Resident Writer.

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Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club: And Other Unlikely Travel Tales by Paul Gogarty

Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club: And Other Unlikely Travel Tales by Paul Gogarty

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VIGNETTES OF TRAVEL WRITING FROM AROUND THE GLOBE IN TWENTY SIX  A – Z  STORIES, PEOPLED WITH ECCENTRIC CHARACTERS–In Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club acclaimed travel writer Paul Gogarty shares his life on the road in 26 A-Z stories recording his very particular engagement with some highly eccentric characters. An eclectic range of destinations sees Gogarty skiing in Algeria, deep sea fishing in Kenya and attending a George Formby ukulele convention in Blackpool. Often hilarious, these tales range from an end-of-the-line bachelor auction in Alaska to attending the Henley-on-Todd Regatta in the parched dustbowl of Alice Springs. A passion for music is a thread running through several of the stories. In “Caister Soul Weekender” Gogarty checks into an East Anglian static caravan site for three days of dance, Red Bull and camaraderie. After hanging out with country wannabes in Nashville and attending the Delta Blues Festival in Greenville his car breaks down at the very crossroads where bluesman Robert Johnson reputedly sold his soul to the devil in return for guitar mastery. Nor is Gogarty afraid to sign up for the bizarre, whether visiting a homemade Stonehenge, taking an Arctic plunge protected only by swimming trunks, or learning the arcane art of healing and dowsing for hereditary diseases in Basingstoke. This collection showcases the diversity and possibilities of travel writing. More than anything else these tales underline a fascination with people and an openness to experience the world in all its diversity.

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How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents about Building a Happy Marriage

How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents About Building a Happy Marriage by Jo Piazza

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Everyone tells you marriage is hard, but no one tells you what to do about it.

At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galápagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to be married? How does an independent, strong-willed feminist become someone’s partner—all the time?

In the tradition of writers such as Nora Ephron and Elizabeth Gilbert, award-winning journalist and nationally bestselling author Jo Piazza writes a provocative memoir of a real first year of marriage that will forever change the way we look at matrimony.

A travel editor constantly on the move, Jo journeys to twenty countries on five continents to figure out what modern marriage means. Throughout this stunning, funny, warm, and wise personal narrative, she gleans wisdom from matrilineal tribeswomen, French ladies who lunch, Orthodox Jewish moms, Swedish stay-at-home dads, polygamous warriors, and Dutch prostitutes.

Written with refreshing candor, elegant prose, astute reporting, and hilarious insight into the human psyche, How to Be Married offers an honest portrait of an utterly charming couple. When life throws more at them than they ever expected—a terrifying health diagnosis, sick parents to care for, unemployment—they ultimately create a fresh understanding of what it means to be equal partners during the good and bad times.

Through their journey, they reveal a framework that will help the rest of us keep our marriages strong, from engagement into the newlywed years and beyond.

JO PIAZZA is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling coauthor of the novel The Knockoff.  Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York magazine, Glamour, Elle, Time, Marie Claire, the Daily Beast, and Slate. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money; and If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a master’s in religious studies from New York University. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Nick and their giant dog.

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My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now

My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle

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My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle

The beloved author Peter Mayle, champion of all things Provence, here in a final volume of all new writing, offers vivid recollections from his twenty-five years in the South of France—lessons learned, culinary delights enjoyed, and changes observed.

Twenty-five years ago, Peter Mayle and his wife, Jennie, were rained out of a planned two weeks on the Côte d’Azur. In search of sunlight, they set off for Aix-en-Provence; enchanted by the world and life they found there, they soon decided to uproot their lives in England and settle in Provence. They have never looked back. As Mayle tells us, a cup of café might now cost three euros—but that price still buys you a front-row seat to the charming and indelible parade of village life. After the coffee, you might drive to see a lavender field that has bloomed every year for centuries, or stroll through the ancient history that coexists alongside Marseille’s metropolitan bustle. Modern life may have seeped into sleepy Provence, but its magic remains.

With his signature warmth, wit, and humor—and twenty-five years of experience—Peter Mayle is a one-of-a-kind guide to the continuing appeal of Provence. This thoughtful, vivid exploration of life well-lived, à la Provence, will charm longtime fans and a new generation of readers alike.

PETER MAYLE is the author of fifteen previous books. A recipient of the Légion d’Honneur from the French government for his cultural contributions, he lived in Provence with his wife, Jennie, for more than twenty-five years. He died in January 2018.

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