Posts Tagged ‘travel lit’

1st May
2012
written by Steph

The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman

[Note: this review is also posted at travel blog, Twenty Years Hence. Sorry for the cross-post for those of you who are subscribed to both (but thanks for supporting all our endeavors!).]
For me, the very best books, regardless of genre, are the ones that whisk me away from my own life and allow me to see and understand the world in a way I hadn’t before. If there’s one type of book with an innate affinity to do this very thing, surely it is the travel memoir! The very best of their kind aren’t just about traveling around in strange lands, encountering odd social customs and nibbling on questionable foods—though those anecdotes are fascinating in their own ways)—but are about the personal transformation that occurs when we venture out of our homes and leave the safety and security of the familiar behind.
As my own big trip looms larger with each passing day, it’s no surprise that I’ve been increasingly drawn to travel writing these past few months. Maybe I’m hoping to pick up tips and tricks along the way to ensure my trip is more successful, or maybe I’m hoping for inspiration… deep down, I think I just want reassurance that Tony and I aren’t alone in this dream and that leaving our current life to travel will turn out ok. I know that even in the pages of books, happy endings aren’t guaranteed, but I still can’t help but search for them nevertheless. To this end, I’ve been really gratified to find that the Nashville Public Library system has an awesome digitial travel collection, the irony being that now I can travel the world without even leaving the comfort of my home, not even to get a book! If that’s not the best of both worlds, then I don’t know what is. Anyway, NPL has a pretty bitchin’ selection of titles, ranging from actual travel guides to help you plan your stay, to memoirs and pieces of writing to inspire you to get off your lazy butt and actually go somewhere. This is how I stumbled across The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost (known as TGGG henceforth). (more…)
1st November
2011
written by Steph

OK, so I’m a day late when it comes to posting something for Halloween, but I’m going to go ahead and post this anyway. It’s not like it was really all that spooky or holiday appropriate to begin with, but when I started typing this up yesterday, spookiness was in the air. I felt left out as everyone else posted cute pictures of jack-o-lanterns and reviews of spine-chilling reads, and while I have read some pretty scary books in the past few weeks, I’m still dealing with review back-log. So, I decided I would just take the next book on my queue and make it fit with the Halloween theme. But you know what? The Lost City of Z by David Grann was actually not such a bad pick for Halloween! You know why? Because the Amazon is frickin’ terrifying! I am not sure if this book says so explicitly, but the Amazon pretty much has the largest population of weird stuff that can (and will!) kill you. PLUS, all of this stuff really exists, which I think bumps the fear factor up a couple of notches as well. Before I get ahead of myself, let me explain what this book is about for the tiny proportion of people out there who haven’t heard about it. Essentially, The Lost City of Z is the travel memoir of David Grann, who becomes obsessed with British explorer, Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett. During his lifetime, Fawcett was a real trailblazer, traveling fearlessly into the blank spaces on the map in order to chart them. Where other explorers quavered and failed, Fawcett prevailed; if reality tv had been around in Fawcett’s time, he would have handily won Survivor, several times over. Especially if it took place in the wilds of South America, since that was Fawcett’s preferred niche, and it became a bit of an fascination for him. In particular, Fawcett embarked on numerous treks into the heart of the Amazon, determined to find the novel’s namesake, the lost city of Z. More commonly known in legend as El Dorado, Fawcett believed that Z had indeed existed and could still be found, if only one were brave and savvy enough. (more…)
7th August
2009
written by Steph
We went all the way to Bon Aventure cemetary to see this famous statue only to find she's no longer there!  Curse you popularity!

We went all the way to Bon Aventure cemetary to see this famous statue only to find she's no longer there! Curse you fame!

In my search to find region-appropriate reading fare for our honeymoon vacation, I had a heck of a time finding books set in Charleston, and the ones that I did find didn’t exactly look like my kind of reading.  But when it came to Savannah, the choice was pretty clear: Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil.  Heck, Savannah has walking tours dedicated to taking tourists round the places made famous throughout the book!  What could be better for our short stay there? I always get a kick out of reading books set in places that I’ve been.  It always gives me such a thrill when an author mentions a street name or a local institution that I actually know; it somehow makes the story feel all that more real to me, as though I’ve entered into a more private sanctum within its folds where a genuine shared experience can blossom. So, it’s no surprise then that it was immensely fun to read about all the scandals and gossip of Savannah after having strolled along Broughton St myself.  Just imagine how cool it was to be lounging out near the old lighthouse on Tybee Island while characters were attending a soirée at the DeSoto Beach Hotel, sharing the same swath of sand as myself! For those not in the know, the basic premise behind the book is that Berendt first visits Savannah on a whim, becomes enamored with the city, and decides to spend some time there living amongst the locals.  The first part of the book is like a series of short stories as he recounts his various experiences in the city and the zany folk he encounters and who more or less embrace him as a native.  In the second-half of the book, things take a turn for the more sinister when one of the more prominent Savannahians is charged with murder.  The rest of the book traces the trials and the ultimate verdict that ensue. (more…)