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I just finished Wandering Home by Bill McKibben. Partly a memoir of his trek from Vermont to (almost) central New York, partly a call for greater environmental awareness in the northeast part of the US. It was a really good book, and I don't usually care for travel books about the US.
Now reading Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper which could be considered a travel book but is very hard reading - many of his experiences are very painful and there is a lot of raw, pain-filled emotion in his writing even though he spends a good portion of the book trying to deny his feelings.
I really liked Linda Ellerbee's Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table, perhaps because it turns out that she was being rebellious church volunteer on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca at the same time I was being a Peace Corps Volunteer on the Peruvian side.
Here’re the travel accounts I’ve read so far this year.
1. Paris to the Moon - Adam Gopnik: contemporary and smart and well written but kind of fluffy
2. Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens - Sofka Zinovieff: follows her spouse to live in Greece. Very good more as an expatriate memoir but works as travel too.
3. Irish Journal - Heinrich Boll: early 1950s trip to Emerald isle before it became a destination. Worth reading
4. Journey to the Vanished City - Tudor Parfitt. To southern Africa investigating claims of Black Jews
5. Looking for the Lost - Alan Booth: Classic accounts of walks in rural Japan in the early 1990s
5. Pagan Holidays - Tony Perrottet: Travels around the Med in footsteps of ancient tourists. Light on the level of a Discovery Channel doc, a big disappointment
6. From Heaven Lake - Vikram Seth: Travel journals so unpolished but a unique trip and it’s nice not to read a UK or US travel writer for once.
7. The Sea and The Jungle - H.M. Tomlinson: Classic between the wars travel writing. Tramp steamer up a river in Brazil Highly literary. Amazing.
8. Colossus of Maroussi - Henry Miller: Class Account of trip to Greece in 1939. Readable only if you like Miller.
9. I Have Seen the World Begin - Carsten Jensen: A Dane travels in SE Asia. Very readable and interesting though some of the anthropology and sociology is dubious.
10. Tracks - Robyn Davidson: doughty Australian woman hoofs in the Australian desert accompanied by four camels. If you like travel writing by women, this is a must.