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The Best American Travel Writing 2013 by…

The Best American Travel Writing 2013

by Elizabeth Gilbert (Editor), Jason Wilson (Series Editor)

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A solid anthology - nicely varied pieces, with some more adventurous selections - much more a collection of very good essays that each involve a sense of place, rather than travel writing per se. My favorites included: Judy Copeland, The Way I've Come, a portion of a maniac hike across brutally steep terrain in Papua New Guinea; Daniel Tyx, The Year I Didn't, on a trip that never happened at all; Jesse Dukes, Babu on the Bad Road, really a news essay about a faith healer in Tanzania; and Marie Arana, Dreaming of El Dorado, about conditions in a high-altitude mining town in Peru. The final piece in the book, Rich Cohen, Pirate City, is a lively historical sketch of Jean Lafitte, who made his name as a pirate and boss of the New Orleans underworld in the early 1800s. ( )
  bezoar44 | Apr 6, 2014 |
A book of essays is in many ways like a buffet - one doesn't expect to enjoy all the offerings, but the ability to browse and select what suits is most enjoyable. Elizabeth Gilbert's "The Best American Travel Writing 2013" offers several essays worth selecting and a few perhaps best left on the table.

Gilbert explains the basis for her selections in the introduction and it is one that I heartily applaud - she has tried to include essays that carry a sense of immediacy - the reader feels that she is sharing the experience with the author rather than just reading an account. Some of the essays, of course, come much closer to the mark than others.

David Sedaris's "Dentists without Borders" was my first, but not last, encounter with the charming Sedaris. While I did not feel that I was in the dentist chair (sorry Elizabeth) I now have a strong sense of what it's like to have a regular French dental team. And if I could afford that Parisian pied de terre I'd be scheduling an appointment.

John Jeremiah Sullivan's "A Prison, a Paradise" recounts a family visit Cuba. He took me to a Cuba I'd never envisioned. Next time I sail by the otherwise inaccessible isle, I'll remember the sneak view of Cuban life he offered.

And after being stuck home with flu-induced ennui and nothing to watch other than a documentary on running (from) the bulls, I now have a better idea what makes the humans run. Kevin Chroust's "The Bull Passes Through" was not an essay that I expected to enjoy since I'm pro-bull, but I did.

This is a rich collection; I won't bore potential buyers with more of my personal favorites, I will simply warn that there a few stand-outs, a few also rans, and a few that are less than memorable.

But if you know me, don't buy your own copy - Mrs. Claus is providing.

(A free review copy was provided by the publisher.) ( )
  dianaleez | Nov 16, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gilbert, ElizabethEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilson, JasonSeries Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547808984, Paperback)

Number-one New York Times best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed: A Love Story, Elizabeth Gilbert transports readers to far-flung locales with this collection of the year’s lushest and most inspiring travel writing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:33 -0400)

Gifted authors don't just tell us about unique or out-of-the-way places; they take us to them, show us what they look like, show us who their people are, and make us feel like we've experienced them.

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