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Find more Top 10 Literary Travel Books
Armchair travel always offers an enticing alternative to the middle seat in coach. We’re not advocating abandoning actual travel and substituting it exclusively with travel reading, but there is a time and place for simply sitting back and living vicariously through someone else’s adventures. Keep within arm’s reach these lively books reviewed in Booklist between September 15, 2012, and September 1, 2013.
Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific. By Tim Flannery. Atlantic Monthly, $25 (9780802120403).
Australian field zoologist and conservationist Flannery cements his reputation as a true descendant of the great nineteenth-century naturalists and explorers with this look back at his expeditions to the Southwest Pacific Islands.
The Art of Wandering: The Writer as Walker. By Merlin Coverley. IPG/Oldcastle, paper, $19.95 (9781842433706).
Splendid, scholarly, and suffused with evocative stories and biographical sketches, Coverley’s book not only proffers pleasure and diversion but also potently explores the historical significance of the art of walking.
The Best American Travel Writing, 2012. Ed. by William T. Vollmann and Jason Wilson. Mariner, paper, $14.95 (9780547808970).
Vollmann’s “best” assemblage profoundly extends the reach of the ever-vital and enlightening art of travel writing.
The Condé Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys, v.2. Ed. by Klara Glowczewska. Penguin, paper, $16 (9780143121473).
This second gathering of articles published originally in Condé Nast Traveler magazine is a gathering of gems.
The Golden Shore: California’s Love Affair with the Sea. By David Helvard. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $26.99 (9780312664961).
Environmental journalist Helvard has pulled together a comprehensive history of California’s long relationship with its shoreline.
The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari. By Paul Theroux. Houghton, $27 (9780618839339).
Having traveled overland from Cairo to Cape Town in Dark Star Safari (2003), Theroux intended, 10 years later, to resume the trip, this time heading north up the west side of Africa, avoiding the “safe and well-trodden routes.”
Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria.
By Noo Saro-Wiwa. Soft Skull, paper, $15.95 (9781619020078).
The daughter of slain Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa revists her homeland as an adult in this absorbing tour of that complex African country.
On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks. By Simon Garfield. Gotham, $27.50 (9781592407798).
Garfield follows up the best-seller Just My Type (2011) with an engrossing, endlessly fascinating history of maps.
Round about the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit. By Joyce E. Chaplin. Simon & Schuster, $35 (9781416596196).
A voyage around terra firma constitutes a unique category of travel, recognized as such since Magellan’s surviving sailors completed their globe-girdling accomplishment in 1522; Chaplin combines acute insights with amazing adventures in a vastly entertaining narrative.
Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey.
By Simon Armitage. Norton/Liveright, $24.95 (9780871404169).
In this entertaining jaunt through rural Britain and unpredictable weather, part travel guide and part memoir, the author describes his adventures, from collie dogs growling at his heels to the unbridled generosity of strangers.
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