travel narratives

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travel narratives

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nov 23, 2016, 10:54 pm

Is anyone here addicted to armchair travel? I used to do lots of travel, but find now that I can travel best vicariously through other eyes. I love Patrick Leigh Fermor, Freya Stark, Mary Morris, Eric Newby, Colin Thurbon and so many others (used to love Paul Theroux but he's just gotten too bitter and cynical for my taste now). What are your favs?

nov 24, 2016, 6:47 am

nov 24, 2016, 1:18 pm

Yes, I love all of those although find Thubron a bit miserable. I like Theroux's bitterness but haven't read his most recent stuff.

Redigerat: nov 24, 2016, 2:30 pm

I loved Theroux's attitude until about the time he wrote Dark Safari. Since then he's just become over the top bitter - not even any fun. But he did do a good job picking the selections for Best American Travel Writing 2014 (another traveler who I no longer care for is Bill Bryson, esp the last one. Sounds like a crochety old man!

This year I discovered Emily Hahn. She was a long time writer for the New Yorker and wrote quite a bit about her travels. One of them was about her trip with a friend, driving from Chicago to Alburquque - in 1925!

Last travel narrative I've read is A Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezaldo. Its part travel, part history and current events, takes place in the middle east. Very well written. Also read and really liked Locations by Jan Morris.

nov 24, 2016, 3:44 pm

Do you know Chiang Yee's "Silent Traveller" series? He was a Chinese poet and calligrapher who wrote about his sojourns in cities around the world, many of which he illustrated himself. Some are out of print, but others have been re-published in recent years.

nov 24, 2016, 4:15 pm

>4 cindydavid4: Have you read Nobody Said Not to Go: The Life, Loves, and Adventures of Emily Hahn by Ken Cuthbertson? I loved it.

I would like to read some of her books-do you have a favorite of hers, that you can recommend?

Redigerat: nov 24, 2016, 9:28 pm

Oh I loved that biography of her. read it after reading several of the NYer articles, then discovered her memoir No Hurry To Get Home and had to know more. The biographer really captures not only her life but her time and the places she explored. Amazing book.

I think the memoir is my fav. The other two that I read were china to me is about her time living in Hong Kong with her husband just before the Japanese take over, and then her harrrowing story of surviving during the war while her husband was in an internment camp Riviting read - lots of history I did not know. Also read England to me which covers her visits there and her marriage life.

nov 25, 2016, 4:00 pm

>7 cindydavid4: Thanks for the information!

nov 26, 2016, 3:52 pm

Oh, I'd read the other books by Emily Hahn here, but not England to Me--thanks!

If you like Emily Hahn you might like Martha Gelhorn, who was briefly married to Ernest Hemingway and traveled extensively as a reporter from pre-WWII to the Vietnam War--she published several books including Travels with Myself and Another, about her time with Hemingway and there are a couple of good bios of her--Beautiful Exile is one.

I've got a fair number of travel accounts in my library. Others I've liked--the first few are anthologies of accounts of 19th and early 20th century woman travelers:
The Blessings of a Good Thick Skirt
Parrot Pie for Breakfast
Unsuitable for Ladies
A Scandalous Life
Britannia's Daughters
Married to the Foreign Service
Anything by Redmond O'Hanlon
Cuba Diaries
The Weather Prophet
Living With Cannibals

nov 26, 2016, 6:30 pm

>9 Marissa_Doyle: added Martha Gelhorn to my reading list. Thanks!

nov 26, 2016, 6:53 pm

>9 Marissa_Doyle: oh I read that a while ago, enjoyed it. Haven't read anything else by her, will need to. I'll look for Beautiful Exile

Oh I need to sit and write down titles. I have lots of Traveler Tales and Best American Travel Writing, plus several analogies. I enjoy reading authors who traveled pre modern era, hence my enjoyment of Freya Stark, Gertrude Bell, Richard Halliburton (fantastic writer, reminds me of early Bill Bryson - however he is a man of his time and is very non PC. But worth reading) List coming soon...

nov 26, 2016, 10:18 pm

My favorite travel writing combines travel with history, geography, archaeology and culture. Below are a few that I esp love

Unexpected Light By Jason Elliot, written soon after 9/11, the author returns to Afghanistan to revisit the places where he fought with the mujadeen in the 80s

In an antique land by Amitav Gosh He starts out looking for an slave from India inthe 1300s who he read about in college. His travels take him throughout the subcontinent and into the middle east at that time period. Fascinating - and sad when I realized that many of the places he talks about have been destroyed by ISIS

Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz Following James Cook through the Pacific. One of my favorite travel writers

Time for Gifts Patrick Leigh Fermoor (and the next two books that follow In 1936 as a young man traveled from Holland to Turkey Some of the most amazing travel writing I've ever read, with descriptions of places and people before the world crashed in.

nov 27, 2016, 12:06 pm

>5 lilithcat: Do you know Chiang Yee's "Silent Traveller" series?

Those sound like they belong on my (too short) list of "non American or European traveler accounts."

Redigerat: nov 27, 2016, 3:08 pm

>13 southernbooklady: You might think about putting Grand Canal Great River on the list as well . . .

nov 27, 2016, 3:48 pm

>14 bluepiano: Thank you, yes.

dec 2, 2016, 12:53 pm

Agreed about Paul Theroux, except that Ghost Train to the Eastern Star had an upbeat tone (for Theroux anyway). I HATED Dark Star Safari!

Travel narrative is probably my favorite genre! One I read recently that I can definitely recommend: Walking with Plato. For Japan, consider Walking the Kiso Road. If you're looking for non-western accounts, try Burmese writer Ma Thanegi's tales of domestic travel: The Native Tourist and Defiled on the Ayeyarwaddy. There's also a book about India, written by an Indian: Following Fish.

I could go on and on (and on), but won't.

dec 2, 2016, 2:27 pm

>16 Seajack: oh please do! I haven't heard of any of those. Plato sounds just up my alley - philosophy and great britain. Not that interested in Japan, but the other two I might have go find.

Btw do you know about the website? its a bookstore that specializes in travel books, narratives, guides and maps Its how I discovered Hahn and Haliburton and others. Well worth checking out.

Redigerat: dec 2, 2016, 11:51 pm

Since you asked, here are a few more ...

The Trip to Echo Spring and To the River by Olivia Laing.

Walking Israel by Martin Fletcher

Empire Antarctica by Gavin Francis

Walking Home by Simon Armitage

Indonesia, etc. by Elizabeth Pisani

The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane

Looking for Transwonderland by Noo Saro-Wiwa

Finally ... as this list is long enough for now ...

I think you'd like anything by Tim Mackintosh-Smith

dec 3, 2016, 4:49 am

>18 Seajack: I love Travels of a Tangerine, also read his book about Ibn. I loved all of the descriptions of every tomb and ruin - I'd check google for photos. Wonderful, and sad as some of them are now gone thanks to ISIS. ...I also appreciate the rest of the suggestions; looks like my TBR list has just doubled :)