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Book Title: The Best American Travel Writing 2013|
The author of the book: Elizabeth Gilbert
ISBN 13: 9781306103343
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 437 KB
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Loaded: 2821 times
Reader ratings: 3.6
Edition: Personhood Press
Date of issue: January 1st 2003
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When I think of travel writing, I think of writers wearing cargo pants and pith helmets going to dangerous places so we don't have to. Alternatively, there's the kind of travel writer who wears tuxedos and knows wine and travels to place we'd like to, but can't afford to. There's some of that in this collection, The Best American Travel Writing 2013, edited by Elizabeth Gilbert, but the definition of travel writing becomes much more broad. There's even an article about a trip someone didn't take.
In the former category, the places we'd rather not go, thank you, we get a piece by Judy Copeland on hiking through Papua New Guinea. We learn a basic but interesting fact: "You can't walk anywhere in Papua New Guinea without risking impalement." There's also an article by Christopher de Ballaigue on cockfighting in Afghanistan, which is of course fascinating but is nothing I would want to experience firsthand. "Cockfighting is outlawed in Afghanistan, but not for the reason it is outlawed in virtually all American states and most of Europe--that is cruel. It is illegal in Afghanistan because its association with gambling brings it into conflict with Islamic law."
There are articles on the wild dogs of Istanbul, by Bernd Brunner, a snowboarding team in Bosnia by Dimiter Kenarov, and Colleen Kinder on being a Western women in Cairo--to cover the head, or to not cover the head. The bleakest article is by Maria Arana on the deplorable conditions of miners in the Peruvian Andes.
As to those places we might want to go, we can start with John Jeremiah Sullivan's tribute to Cuba, the country of his wife, with its oppressive politics and all. Then there's the running of the bulls in Pamplona, which is a pretty dumb idea but gets all sorts of idiots to do it every year, including Kevin Chroust, who has a very funny write-up about it that makes it sound intriguing. My favorite line from his article is "This is particularly scary for me because before Thursday night, the biggest bull I'd ever seen was Bill Wennington."
Peter Jon Lindberg makes us all jealous with his recounting summer vacations spent on the coast of Maine. "Now and then we'll spot the shambling figure we call the Clam Man, a grumbly chap with a spongy beard, leering fish eyes, a coral-like complexion, and bearing of an insane Poseidon." David Sedaris writes about going to the dentist in France, but I don't think this qualifies as travel writing, because he actually lives there. For foodies, there's David Farley's "Vietnam's Bowl of Secrets," about searching for the recipe of a certain dish that it is said can be made only with the water from a certain well.
My favorite article was one I had read before, in The New York Times Magazine. Sam Anderson, in "The Pippiest Place on Earth," visits a theme park in England called Dickens World, which recreates the England of a certain writer, down to its bad smells and rats. He swears he's not making it up: "Dickens World, in other words, sounded less like a viable business than it did a mockumentary, or a George Saunders short story, or the thought experiment of a radical Marxist seeking to expose the terminal bankruptcy at the heart of consumerism."
I may not be running with the bulls any time soon, but I have to see Dickens World.
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Read information about the author
Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and her novel Stern Men was a New York Times notable book. Her 2002 book The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award.
Her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, spent 57 weeks in the #1 spot on the New York Times paperback bestseller list. It has shipped over 6 million copies in the US and has been published in over thirty languages. A film adaptation of the book was released by Columbia Pictures with an all star cast: Julia Roberts as Gilbert, Javier Bardem as Felipe, James Franco as David, Billy Crudup as her ex-husband and Richard Jenkins as Richard from Texas.
Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, will be available on October 1, 2013. The credit for her profile picture belongs to Jennifer Schatten.
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