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“Travel is not about finding something. It’s about getting lost -- that is, it is about losing yourself in a place and a moment. The little things that tether you to what’s familiar are gone, and you become a conduit through which the sensation of the place is felt.” -- from the introduction by Susan Orlean The twenty pieces in this year’s collection showcase the best trave “Travel is not about finding something. It’s about getting lost -- that is, it is about losing yourself in a place and a moment. The little things that tether you to what’s familiar are gone, and you become a conduit through which the sensation of the place is felt.” -- from the introduction by Susan Orlean The twenty pieces in this year’s collection showcase the best travel writing from 2006. George Saunders travels to India to witness firsthand a fifteen-year-old boy who has been meditating motionless under a tree for months without food or water, and who many followers believe is the reincarnation of the Buddha. Matthew Power reveals trickle-down economics at work in a Philippine garbage dump. Jason Anthony describes the challenges of everyday life in Vostok, the coldest place on earth, where temperatures dip as low as minus-129 degrees and where, in midsummer, minus-20 degrees is considered a heat wave. David Halberstam, in one of his last published essays, recalls how an inauspicious Saigon restaurant changed the way he and other reporters in Vietnam saw the world. Ian Frazier analyzes why we get sick when traveling in out-of-the-way places. And Kevin Fedarko embarks on a drug-fueled journey in Djibouti, chewing psychotropic foliage in “the worst place on earth.” Closer to home, Steve Friedman profiles a 410-pound man who set out to walk cross-country to lose weight and find happiness. Rick Bass chases the elusive concept of the West in America, and Jonathan Stern takes a hilarious Lonely Planet approach to his small Manhattan apartment. A brief and awkward tour of the end of the Earth / Jason Anthony -- Lost in space / Rick Bass -- High in hell / Kevin Fedarko -- A kielbasa too far / Ian Frazier -- Lost in America / Steve Friedman -- Long day's journey into dinner / Elizabeth Gilbert -- Arieh / Reesa Grushka -- The boys of Saigon / David Halberstam -- Hutong Karma / Peter Hessler -- Miles from nowhere / Edward Hoagland -- Birth of a nation? / Ian Parker -- The long way home / Nando Parrado -- Do not disturb / Ann Patchett -- The magic mountain / Matthew Power -- Streets of sorrow / David Rakoff -- The incredible Buddha boy / George Saunders -- Brazil's untamed heart / Gary Shteyngart -- Circle of fire / Andrew Solomon -- The lonely planet guide to my apartment / Jonathan Stern -- Fantasy Island / Cynthia Zarin


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“Travel is not about finding something. It’s about getting lost -- that is, it is about losing yourself in a place and a moment. The little things that tether you to what’s familiar are gone, and you become a conduit through which the sensation of the place is felt.” -- from the introduction by Susan Orlean The twenty pieces in this year’s collection showcase the best trave “Travel is not about finding something. It’s about getting lost -- that is, it is about losing yourself in a place and a moment. The little things that tether you to what’s familiar are gone, and you become a conduit through which the sensation of the place is felt.” -- from the introduction by Susan Orlean The twenty pieces in this year’s collection showcase the best travel writing from 2006. George Saunders travels to India to witness firsthand a fifteen-year-old boy who has been meditating motionless under a tree for months without food or water, and who many followers believe is the reincarnation of the Buddha. Matthew Power reveals trickle-down economics at work in a Philippine garbage dump. Jason Anthony describes the challenges of everyday life in Vostok, the coldest place on earth, where temperatures dip as low as minus-129 degrees and where, in midsummer, minus-20 degrees is considered a heat wave. David Halberstam, in one of his last published essays, recalls how an inauspicious Saigon restaurant changed the way he and other reporters in Vietnam saw the world. Ian Frazier analyzes why we get sick when traveling in out-of-the-way places. And Kevin Fedarko embarks on a drug-fueled journey in Djibouti, chewing psychotropic foliage in “the worst place on earth.” Closer to home, Steve Friedman profiles a 410-pound man who set out to walk cross-country to lose weight and find happiness. Rick Bass chases the elusive concept of the West in America, and Jonathan Stern takes a hilarious Lonely Planet approach to his small Manhattan apartment. A brief and awkward tour of the end of the Earth / Jason Anthony -- Lost in space / Rick Bass -- High in hell / Kevin Fedarko -- A kielbasa too far / Ian Frazier -- Lost in America / Steve Friedman -- Long day's journey into dinner / Elizabeth Gilbert -- Arieh / Reesa Grushka -- The boys of Saigon / David Halberstam -- Hutong Karma / Peter Hessler -- Miles from nowhere / Edward Hoagland -- Birth of a nation? / Ian Parker -- The long way home / Nando Parrado -- Do not disturb / Ann Patchett -- The magic mountain / Matthew Power -- Streets of sorrow / David Rakoff -- The incredible Buddha boy / George Saunders -- Brazil's untamed heart / Gary Shteyngart -- Circle of fire / Andrew Solomon -- The lonely planet guide to my apartment / Jonathan Stern -- Fantasy Island / Cynthia Zarin

30 review for The Best American Travel Writing 2007

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This anthology overall was an immense disappointment, and I think much of the blame lies on the shoulders of the editor, Susan Orleans. This collection was so hit and miss (mostly miss), that I questioned her judgment for being to tell a good story from a bad one. At the root of my disappointment is my struggle with the question, “What is a travel essay?” If you left your couch and wrote about it, does that qualify as a travel essay? Or what about a piece on the legislative process of making a t This anthology overall was an immense disappointment, and I think much of the blame lies on the shoulders of the editor, Susan Orleans. This collection was so hit and miss (mostly miss), that I questioned her judgment for being to tell a good story from a bad one. At the root of my disappointment is my struggle with the question, “What is a travel essay?” If you left your couch and wrote about it, does that qualify as a travel essay? Or what about a piece on the legislative process of making a tiny protectorate island a nation? Because it takes place in a country outside of the United States, despite having nothing to do with traveling, does that make it a travel essay? Many of the selections in the anthology belonged in Time or Newsweek -- they were not essays, but rather pieces for Time or Newsweek that were too long to print, so they ended up in this book. Other efforts felt phoned in – Ann Patchett, an author I greatly enjoy, wrote an entertaining but amazingly brief piece (three pages) that ended before it began. Jonathan Stern’s piece on “The Lonely Planet Guide to My Apartment” felt contrived and smug, and not nearly as entertaining as the name suggested. That being said, there were a handful of essays that were real gems – those included David Rakoff’s piece on Hollywood Blvd, Steve Friedman’s essay on a 410-pound man walking across America to find happiness, and the one of the best short stories I have read in years: “The Incredible Buddha Boy,” by George Saunders. It was the only story of the whole anthology that I couldn’t put down. A writer for GQ, I hope Saunders will consider publishing his own collection of short stories in the future. Saunders understood what (to me) makes a great travel story – insight, wit, respect for the culture/country that you are visiting, and a sense for making the reader feel that they are experiencing it with you. Fine, fine writing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    As with anthologies, there are very good parts (the story about the Buddha boy, the race for khat in Djibouti, the Payatas dumpsite, the visit to Vostok) while others are just...okay. This collection challenged my definition of 'travel' and makes me want to go out and explore more. If only I have the resources. As with anthologies, there are very good parts (the story about the Buddha boy, the race for khat in Djibouti, the Payatas dumpsite, the visit to Vostok) while others are just...okay. This collection challenged my definition of 'travel' and makes me want to go out and explore more. If only I have the resources.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    So far, my favorite piece in this volume is Elizabeth Gilbert's essay about her walking trip through Provence, in a 125 mile area around Avignon. I'm very familiar with this area of France, so the essay was great to read for me. Gilbert makes some nice comments about the holding on of French culture, and she has a great way of showing how great French food really is, and how French people are much more than meets the eye (they are quite modest and a little shy and soft-spoken, but somehow come o So far, my favorite piece in this volume is Elizabeth Gilbert's essay about her walking trip through Provence, in a 125 mile area around Avignon. I'm very familiar with this area of France, so the essay was great to read for me. Gilbert makes some nice comments about the holding on of French culture, and she has a great way of showing how great French food really is, and how French people are much more than meets the eye (they are quite modest and a little shy and soft-spoken, but somehow come off as arrogant-kind of like Americans being outgoing, but coming off as arrogant??). She is a fantastic writer and definitely want to read more from her. I love all the Best Travel Writing books. They show that travel writing shouldn't always be about hotels, spas, and restaurants. To me, travel writing is about discovering a new way of life, a fascinating culture, and great people no matter where in the world you happen to be. I only decided to read a few of the essays in this book because many of them simply did not appeal to me. The best ones included are as follows: 1. A Kielbasa Too Far by Ian Frasier 4 stars! I can definitely relate because I am the queen of travel-induced illness! 2. Long day's Journey into Dinner by Elizabeth Gilbert 5 stars-Brilliant! 3. Lost in America by Steve Friedman 4 stars-great tale of self-struggle

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ginny Thurston

    My sister bought this book from a library sale for 3.99 and gave it to me because she knew I loved geography and travel. This selection of travel writing varies in length, style, tone, and voice. Some are serious, others more humorous and ironic, and the best pieces had a bit of both. I honestly did not care for a few of them and questioned whether they would even qualify as travel writing. My three favorites were very different. The most enjoyable was "Long Day's Journey into Dinner" by Elizabe My sister bought this book from a library sale for 3.99 and gave it to me because she knew I loved geography and travel. This selection of travel writing varies in length, style, tone, and voice. Some are serious, others more humorous and ironic, and the best pieces had a bit of both. I honestly did not care for a few of them and questioned whether they would even qualify as travel writing. My three favorites were very different. The most enjoyable was "Long Day's Journey into Dinner" by Elizabeth Gilbert. It made me laugh, smile, and sigh... because I wanted to replicate her trip through Provence! It reminded me of my college trip....without the fancy restaurants. The second favorite was the most ironic and profound.."The Magic Mountain"by Matthew Power...about the people who live and make their living from a huge garbage dump in Manila in the Phillipines. It sounds depressing, but really it is a salute to the determination and ingenuity of the powerless. The writing is truly amazing in that you feel like you are there...using all five senses! The third is the most narrative of all the writings..."The Long Journey Home" by Nando Parrado ....the story of the infamous rugby team from Ecuador whose plane crashed in the Argentinian Andes on a trip to a soccer game in Chile. It was made into a movie, so most of you might know how they survived the crash and an avalanche that followed. It is a truly tragic, yet heroic adventure story illustrating again how strong our will to survive an be.I hope my sister will look for other years in this series...I did enjoy it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jwt Jan50

    I've read a number of these. Wouldn't want to be the editor who has to decide what to leave out. I've read a number of these. Wouldn't want to be the editor who has to decide what to leave out.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    this was a good volume in HoughtonMifflin's "Best American Travel Writing" series. i liked it enough that i decided to buy the rest of the series, which started in 2000. (the 2011 volume comes out in October.) there's a good variety of articles here. one of the most engrossing was Nando Parrado's tale of how he survived and found rescue during the famous Andean plane crash that killed many members of the Uruguayan soccer team. this was one of the shorter entries, but gripping, nonetheless. there's this was a good volume in HoughtonMifflin's "Best American Travel Writing" series. i liked it enough that i decided to buy the rest of the series, which started in 2000. (the 2011 volume comes out in October.) there's a good variety of articles here. one of the most engrossing was Nando Parrado's tale of how he survived and found rescue during the famous Andean plane crash that killed many members of the Uruguayan soccer team. this was one of the shorter entries, but gripping, nonetheless. there's a fascinating story of the people who live on and near a giant trash heap in Manila, the Philippines, a man who walks across America, only to find his walk commericialized and him wondering the "whys," and tales of food adventures and boy Buddhas. Susan Orleans is the editor, and seems to tackle a common criticism of this series, the lack of female writers. this volme has four women writers out of twenty, although i wonder what the significance is that of the four, two articles appeared initially in Gourmet. (as did another.) the magazines represented are varied, ranging from the aforementioned Gourmet to Outside and Backpacker (which seems natural), to The Missouri Review and The American Scholar. The Missouri Review contribution was, to me, the best of the lot. written by Toronto writer Reesa Grushka, it's an account of her stay in Israel, and the self-proclaimed Messiahs that abound in Jerusalem. the title character, Arieh, is mystic and mysterious, but also possesses a PT Barnum strain of hood-winkery. Grushka captures a side of Jerusalem many don't see, in a beautiful, poetic voice that made me want to read more by her. Elizabeth Gilbert's depiction of a food-saturated trip to Provence was at times funny, and at other times wistful. she has a wonderful eye for detail, and the right spark of familiarity that made this one the other standout for me. overall, a good read, if you enjoy reading of far off places or hidden stories of Americana. i'm looking forward to reading the other volumes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    This is one of the better Best American Travel Writing collections I've read. There's a good mix of light, happy stories and interesting but depressing stories. One of my favorites was "Long Day's Journey into Dinner" by Elizabeth Gilbert. This one's about walking the Grande Randonnee in France. Although I have practically nothing in common with Gilbert and her traveling companion (he spoke French, I've got nothing but English; they had money to eat sumptuous meals at expensive restaurants and sl This is one of the better Best American Travel Writing collections I've read. There's a good mix of light, happy stories and interesting but depressing stories. One of my favorites was "Long Day's Journey into Dinner" by Elizabeth Gilbert. This one's about walking the Grande Randonnee in France. Although I have practically nothing in common with Gilbert and her traveling companion (he spoke French, I've got nothing but English; they had money to eat sumptuous meals at expensive restaurants and sleep in charming, cushy little inns each night, while I am poor; they drank bottles of wine each day, while I am a teetotaler), Gilbert described the journey as so wonderful, so magical that I wanted to (literally) follow in her footsteps. "The Lonely Planet Guide to My Apartment" by Jonathan Stern is dryly funny. (Under the heading "Excursions": "A short trip in almost any direction will bring travelers to one of the many unique Starbucks outlets. Or try one of the nightly walking tours to the sidewalk in front of the brownstone across the street to watch that redhead getting out of the shower with her curtains open.") Although "The Incredible Buddha Boy" is not a funny story, I laughed aloud several time while reading it because of author George Saunders writing style and the way he pokes fun at himself during his journey. (This piece is another of my favorites in this collection.) "High in Hell" by Kevin Fedarko is about the use of the drug khat in the tiny African nation of Dijibouti. I enjoyed Fedarko's participant observer gusto, but this is yet another story that cements my decision to never visit any place in Africa. The only piece I absolutely hated was "Lost in Space" by Rick Bass, which is about the American West and almost put me to sleep. Also overlong and more like a political expose than a travel story was Andrew Solomon's piece on the regime of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, "Circle of Fire." All in all, I enjoyed this collection very much.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Savage

    This is the first time I have read travel literature in collection form (i.e. different essays that are not written by the same author). I actually really enjoyed several selections from this collection. My favorite piece was by Elizabeth Gilbert entitled "A Long Days Journey into Dinner" in which she chronicles an unusual way to see France: walking and eating by way of rural trails which connect small towns. Lots of good food was had and wine consumed over a little under a 2 week excursion. The This is the first time I have read travel literature in collection form (i.e. different essays that are not written by the same author). I actually really enjoyed several selections from this collection. My favorite piece was by Elizabeth Gilbert entitled "A Long Days Journey into Dinner" in which she chronicles an unusual way to see France: walking and eating by way of rural trails which connect small towns. Lots of good food was had and wine consumed over a little under a 2 week excursion. The other piece I really enjoyed was "Hutong Karma" written by Peter Hessler. The way he described the ancient neighborhoods of Beijing really connected with what I experienced when I traveled in China. Also worth mentioning was the fascinating look at the division(or in this case apathy) that is brought about when a small group of islands in the Pacific (Tokelau) is given the chance to self govern and establish independence in "Birth of a Nation?" by Ian Parker. A common theme in several critical reviews of this book is that the editor chose too many depressing essays. I do find quite a bit of truth to this criticism. Two essays in particular spring to mind: One about the mountain of trash in Quezon City (Philippines) that people scavenge through for their livelihood ("Magic Mountain" by Peter Power) and another about the crippling addictive hold that the "khat" leaf has on Djibouti and it's effect on the commerce and people of that country. Overall, I would say I enjoyed quite a number of these essays and may even come back to read my favorites. At the very least, I am happy that it introduced me to this series which, judging by online reviews, promises to have several other great collections.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shek

    I had to postpone reading this because it was my bathroom reader (more information, please!) and while it was sitting atop the toilet tank (there's that lovely imagery again!), it was destroyed by the partial disintegration of my building, specifically the plumbing thereof. My review thus far, four articles in: I like everything but the Rick Bass number, and that's because it's not very, uh, travely. It's more a rehash of the cliches of the American west, told as a tone poem. I think Susan Orlea I had to postpone reading this because it was my bathroom reader (more information, please!) and while it was sitting atop the toilet tank (there's that lovely imagery again!), it was destroyed by the partial disintegration of my building, specifically the plumbing thereof. My review thus far, four articles in: I like everything but the Rick Bass number, and that's because it's not very, uh, travely. It's more a rehash of the cliches of the American west, told as a tone poem. I think Susan Orlean put in it to be cute, or literary, or something high-falutin'. This is not to be taken as a critique of Rick Bass' fiction, which I haven't read and which I have heard is wonderful. Update: Alright. Here's my beef with this book. Orlean put in several extremely self-indulgent essays which bored me to tears, on top of which they were not really what I would call travel writing. Setting played an important role in each, I guess, but that's just "writing". I mean, the New Yorker profile on Qaddafi's Libya? That's anti-travel writing, if anything.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    I appreciated this collection because just as it introduced me to authors I wouldn't have normally sought out, it introduced me to places I wouldn't have wanted to read about / travel to. But, I had a hard time really liking this book as a whole. I think it was tough to read this as a collection of 'travel writing' because the topics and pieces didn't match what I expect from 'travel writing'. I'd hardly call some of the entries travel essays..or even travel related stories, apart from the point I appreciated this collection because just as it introduced me to authors I wouldn't have normally sought out, it introduced me to places I wouldn't have wanted to read about / travel to. But, I had a hard time really liking this book as a whole. I think it was tough to read this as a collection of 'travel writing' because the topics and pieces didn't match what I expect from 'travel writing'. I'd hardly call some of the entries travel essays..or even travel related stories, apart from the point that they occurred somewhere else. It was a stretch for me to get that the stories were more a byproduct of taking a trip somewhere - for a purpose other than traveling - rather than traveling for the sake of traveling. In the introduction to this collection the editor said that she didn't have a category or 'type' of essay that she targeted or included, but to me she seemed consistent in choosing authors capable of seeing the beauty in odd (and probably ugly) locations. I needed some variety.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

    Like just about all anthologies, if you like the genre (and why would you be reading it if you didn't?) you will read good selections and others that don't do much for you. The same rule applies here. Oddly though, the person who selected the pieces for inclusion chose a few that aren't really about travel at all. For example, one was about surviving a real plane crash. The non-travel pieces were pretty compelling, regardless. A small observation here: it is quite possible to read an armchair trav Like just about all anthologies, if you like the genre (and why would you be reading it if you didn't?) you will read good selections and others that don't do much for you. The same rule applies here. Oddly though, the person who selected the pieces for inclusion chose a few that aren't really about travel at all. For example, one was about surviving a real plane crash. The non-travel pieces were pretty compelling, regardless. A small observation here: it is quite possible to read an armchair travel book while traveling without finding yourself on overload. And as for what sold me on the book in the first place: a quote that begins the first piece: "A man who's warm cannot understand a man who's freezing." -Alexander Solzhenitsyn This says a lot to me about trying to share certain intense travel experiences.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    Finished The Best American Travel Writing 2007, edited by Susan Orlean earlier this week. I love travel writing as a genre and have even dabbled in it myself. My favorite in this collection was by Kevin Fedarko and from Esquire. “High in Hell” is about khat, “…a psychotropic shrub that provides the overwhelming majority of Djboutian men with their daily drug fix.” I think I liked this one the best because it covered an area that I am not familiar with and also described the experience and signif Finished The Best American Travel Writing 2007, edited by Susan Orlean earlier this week. I love travel writing as a genre and have even dabbled in it myself. My favorite in this collection was by Kevin Fedarko and from Esquire. “High in Hell” is about khat, “…a psychotropic shrub that provides the overwhelming majority of Djboutian men with their daily drug fix.” I think I liked this one the best because it covered an area that I am not familiar with and also described the experience and significance of khat in a casual, approachable way. In general, I like a travel writer who gets his/her hands dirty a little and is honest in his reflections and perspectives instead of making things sound shinier/prettier/nicer. Fedarko seems to call it like he saw it, and I can respect that. Makes me want to go myself to see if I’d see it any differently!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    This book was recommended by a friend who lent it to me. I enjoyed some of the stories very much, in particular: High in Hell by Kevin Fedarko, Long Day's Journey into Dinner by Elizabeth Gilbert, Do not disturb by Ann Patchett, The Incredible Buddha Boy by George Saunders and Hutong Karma by Peter Hessler. They were all very interesting though, even if the theme "travel" wasn't always obvious in some of them. Circle of Fire was more political than travel-themed but I found it fascinating. I'd r This book was recommended by a friend who lent it to me. I enjoyed some of the stories very much, in particular: High in Hell by Kevin Fedarko, Long Day's Journey into Dinner by Elizabeth Gilbert, Do not disturb by Ann Patchett, The Incredible Buddha Boy by George Saunders and Hutong Karma by Peter Hessler. They were all very interesting though, even if the theme "travel" wasn't always obvious in some of them. Circle of Fire was more political than travel-themed but I found it fascinating. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to read very different but interesting stories from all over the world.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kiki

    I've always liked Susan Orleans and she made a great editor for this year's collection. Was Kevin Fedarko's story about chewing khat in Djibuti crazy or what? I thought that was the one one ficticious one she included, initially. Jonathan Stern's spoof of his Lonely Planet apartment was clever, but I felt like it was too long and didn't exactly belong next to really brilliant pieces like Andrew Solomon's amazingly good reporting on Libya and Qaddafi's son. The one on Brazil's favelas - it's immen I've always liked Susan Orleans and she made a great editor for this year's collection. Was Kevin Fedarko's story about chewing khat in Djibuti crazy or what? I thought that was the one one ficticious one she included, initially. Jonathan Stern's spoof of his Lonely Planet apartment was clever, but I felt like it was too long and didn't exactly belong next to really brilliant pieces like Andrew Solomon's amazingly good reporting on Libya and Qaddafi's son. The one on Brazil's favelas - it's immensely impoverished shanty towns - was also really moving.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    I really would not want to have any of the outrageous adventures or go to any of the strange, dangerous places detailed in these amazing stories. That's because my idea of a vacation is lazing around by the pool drinking things involving rum and little party umbrellas. Fortunately I won't have to because I can just read about them in these great anthologies. These writers were amazing. Could not put it down and will have to buy the whole series. It may even inspire me to go someplace adventurous I really would not want to have any of the outrageous adventures or go to any of the strange, dangerous places detailed in these amazing stories. That's because my idea of a vacation is lazing around by the pool drinking things involving rum and little party umbrellas. Fortunately I won't have to because I can just read about them in these great anthologies. These writers were amazing. Could not put it down and will have to buy the whole series. It may even inspire me to go someplace adventurous, but don't hold your breath.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Genni Gunn

    Really enjoyed this. Most of the essays are great, informative, interesting. One in particular I took a great dislike to -- Elizabeth Gilbert's "Long Day's Journey into Dinner." She is so condescending of the French, and incredibly ignorant in her appraisal of them. Definitely made me dislike her. Some of my favourite essays: "Arieh" by Reesa Grushka, "The Long Way Home" by Nando Parrado (a harrowing journey), and "Birth of a Nation" by Ian Parker. Really enjoyed this. Most of the essays are great, informative, interesting. One in particular I took a great dislike to -- Elizabeth Gilbert's "Long Day's Journey into Dinner." She is so condescending of the French, and incredibly ignorant in her appraisal of them. Definitely made me dislike her. Some of my favourite essays: "Arieh" by Reesa Grushka, "The Long Way Home" by Nando Parrado (a harrowing journey), and "Birth of a Nation" by Ian Parker.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    This is the first time I've read any of the "Best American..." series and now I'm hooked. All of the essays were incredibly fascinating. In one book I got to visit France, Djibouti, Antarctica, Libya, Brazil, Vietnam, Argentina, China, British Columbia, Nepal, and several other places. It is great reading for gloomy winter days. This is the first time I've read any of the "Best American..." series and now I'm hooked. All of the essays were incredibly fascinating. In one book I got to visit France, Djibouti, Antarctica, Libya, Brazil, Vietnam, Argentina, China, British Columbia, Nepal, and several other places. It is great reading for gloomy winter days.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A few of the stories were particularly amazing in this edition. My favorite: "High in Hell" by Kevin Fedarko originally published in Esquire. If you just want to read this hilarious/heart-wrenching/informative/lovingly written tale you can check it out online at: http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ09... A few of the stories were particularly amazing in this edition. My favorite: "High in Hell" by Kevin Fedarko originally published in Esquire. If you just want to read this hilarious/heart-wrenching/informative/lovingly written tale you can check it out online at: http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ09...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

    I hated this book, because I thought the title was deceiving. I assumed it was about the act of traveling but the editor just picked stories that happened to take place in other countries. To me that is not "travel writing". And several of the stories were from Gourmet magazine - what does that have to do with travel writing? I hated this book, because I thought the title was deceiving. I assumed it was about the act of traveling but the editor just picked stories that happened to take place in other countries. To me that is not "travel writing". And several of the stories were from Gourmet magazine - what does that have to do with travel writing?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric Heitzman

    As someone who travels a lot, I find it interesting to read stories from others who not only travel more than I do, but who seem to do it better, get into hotter water, and generally have interesting things to say about interesting places. I've really enjoyed reading this one and laughed out loud on several occasions. It's an easy and relaxing read. As someone who travels a lot, I find it interesting to read stories from others who not only travel more than I do, but who seem to do it better, get into hotter water, and generally have interesting things to say about interesting places. I've really enjoyed reading this one and laughed out loud on several occasions. It's an easy and relaxing read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I think more people need to read the introduction to the book to really understand the editorial decisions within. All of them were about the act of traveling, about what it does to you and foreign-ness. My favourites so far? A Brief and Awkward Tour of the End of the Earth Saigon Boys Lost in America Hutong Karma and the one that really gripped me was 'The Long Way Home' I think more people need to read the introduction to the book to really understand the editorial decisions within. All of them were about the act of traveling, about what it does to you and foreign-ness. My favourites so far? A Brief and Awkward Tour of the End of the Earth Saigon Boys Lost in America Hutong Karma and the one that really gripped me was 'The Long Way Home'

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I'm teaching essays from this book this semester. More than half of the collection's fantastic. "Magic Mountain," which is about a trash site in Manila where a whole society has sprung up on the slopes, is my favorite-- it's moving, thought-provoking, well-written. There's a day care center at the bottom of the mountain of trash, a gift from Martin Sheen. The author has a knack for details. I'm teaching essays from this book this semester. More than half of the collection's fantastic. "Magic Mountain," which is about a trash site in Manila where a whole society has sprung up on the slopes, is my favorite-- it's moving, thought-provoking, well-written. There's a day care center at the bottom of the mountain of trash, a gift from Martin Sheen. The author has a knack for details.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jvwalling

    I think you can never go wrong with travel writing. Reading other's perspectives of places they've been and experiences they've had is one of my favorite things. So far, I really love Elizabeth Gilbert's walking tour of France, and am discovering some other writers that I normally wouldn't read. Good stuff. I think you can never go wrong with travel writing. Reading other's perspectives of places they've been and experiences they've had is one of my favorite things. So far, I really love Elizabeth Gilbert's walking tour of France, and am discovering some other writers that I normally wouldn't read. Good stuff.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hunter Johnson

    Mostly good essays; I really liked the ones on qat trade in Djibouti and a walking-and-eating tour of French villages. Some head-scratchers too: a decades-old set of journal entries, and a Readers-Digest-like "Drama in Real Life" recount from one of the survivors of the decades-old Andes flight disaster. Mostly good essays; I really liked the ones on qat trade in Djibouti and a walking-and-eating tour of French villages. Some head-scratchers too: a decades-old set of journal entries, and a Readers-Digest-like "Drama in Real Life" recount from one of the survivors of the decades-old Andes flight disaster.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Great read - picked this up while traveling, and love most of it. There were a couple of the short stories that I didn't dig, but overall, they were easy to get into and informative, while many had some good laughs. Great read - picked this up while traveling, and love most of it. There were a couple of the short stories that I didn't dig, but overall, they were easy to get into and informative, while many had some good laughs.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    So far I love it - there's a great piece on walking through France by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love). Yes, I'm reading 2 books at once... So far I love it - there's a great piece on walking through France by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love). Yes, I'm reading 2 books at once...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jrobertus

    I enjoy this series immensely. The 2007 compilation was not as good as some others, but was still a fun read. The story of the Manila trash mountain was interesting and the journey to visit a new Buddha in Nepal was hilarious.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

    I am loving this book! So far I have been to Antartica, France, the West, South Africa and the Andes mountains. When I don't feel like I have a huge chunk of time to devote to reading, I can read one of the exceptional essays here and walk away a little lighter and enlightened. I am loving this book! So far I have been to Antartica, France, the West, South Africa and the Andes mountains. When I don't feel like I have a huge chunk of time to devote to reading, I can read one of the exceptional essays here and walk away a little lighter and enlightened.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    As always, a great selection of essays. Be forewarned: there is one essay from "Outside" magazine written by a survivor of the 1972 Andes plane crash. It is an amazing story, but it is not for those who are easily disturbed. As always, a great selection of essays. Be forewarned: there is one essay from "Outside" magazine written by a survivor of the 1972 Andes plane crash. It is an amazing story, but it is not for those who are easily disturbed.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Charles M.

    This is the first Best American Travel Writing I have ever read; and this book is just fascinating, interesting and intriguing all at once. After reading this...one will certainly want to take up traveling as a hobby!!!

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