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Topic: travel narratives

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Subject: travel narratives
Date Posted: 2/2/2017 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,829
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I usually enjoy travel narratives. I like lots of actual travel experiences and people met along the way. I don't expecially like to just go to a country and talk about the country. I like movement and the experiences that result from that. I  just this morning noticed Paul Theroux's book Dark Star Safari is available. That is one I enjoyed. I think I have read about 9 or 10 of Theroux's travel books, but I know many people do not like his grumpy attitude in some of his books. I think his first book The Great Railway Bazaar has passed into classic status. One thing I appreciated about Theroux's early travel books was the fact he often mentioned other travel books related to areas where he was. That was helpful in finding more travel books to read.

Date Posted: 2/2/2017 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2011
Posts: 9,357
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I also like travelogue books.  My favorites will always be those by Bill Bryson with his wit, clever wordmanship, and local color and trivia.  My favorites of his: A Walk in the Woods, Notes From A Small Island and The Lost Continent.  

Here are two to consider, one for pure cleverness and the other for humor.

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey which tells the story of an Army office, Lt Col Forrester, and his team as they explore the wild Alaskan interior in the 1880s while his wife, Sophie, left behind at Ft Vancouver, in Washington explores the new science of photography.  A well crafted story within a story based on the maps, photos, letters and journals of the officer and his wife, discovered and shared by an elderly relative 150 years later.  An amazingly well crafted story rich in historical detail and the entire journey is all made up.  The history is real, the characters and their trials, all made up but based on real events.  I had to repeatedly go online and see if this really was fiction because it is so well-crafted with it's personal accounts, maps and photos that are so historically accurate that you can't believe the skill it took to create this story.  So good.  

The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time  This is a humorous story of two guys who travel around the country on a mission to correct typos on signs and advertisements along the way until they, oops, go one correction too far.  

Date Posted: 2/2/2017 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,829
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I have read A Walk in the Woods. lots of fun. I think I have read only one other book by Bryson. I think it was The Mother Tongue. Interesting stuff about language usage and idiosyncratic aspects of American usage. One thing that stuck with me from that book was the post office's efforts to get all towns in the US  that ended with borough in their name to change the spelling to boro. Quite a few did change but a lot did not.

A sentimental favorite travel book of mine is By the Ionian Sea by George Gissing. There is a Gissing society that has made this book a sort of cult following. Members have gone to southern Italy and followed Gissing's trail. The original trip by Gissing was done in 1901. Gissing's best known novel is The New Grub Street. very autobiographical.