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The Best American Travel Writing 2013 Paperback – October 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Best American
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547808984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547808987
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love, 2006), guest editor of the latest volume in this always rich yearly anthology, boldly avers that she chose travel stories that “were told the most marvelously in 2012.” To her, each piece “contains awe in strong enough doses to render the reader enchanted, delighted, compelled, or forever unsettled.” Such strong billing is not misleading, as readers will learn when they step into the pages of such delights as John Jeremiah Sullivan’s beautifully eloquent “A Prison, a Paradise” (from the New York Times Magazine), about travel to Cuba (“I’ve never stood on a piece of ground as throbbingly, even pornographically, generative”); Colleen Kinder’s “Blot Out” (from Creative Nonfiction), a punchy, even scary, account of a Western woman trying to pass as Muslim on the streets of Cairo; David Sedaris’ hilarious account of dentistry in Paris, “Dentists without Borders” (from the New Yorker); and Marie Arana’s gripping and sobering report on gold mining in Peru, “Dreaming of El Dorado” (from Virginia Quarterly Review). All the pieces included here are treasures of excellent writing, regardless of genre. --Brad Hooper

Review

Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love, 2006), guest editor of the latest volume in this always rich yearly anthology, boldly avers that she chose travel stories that “were told the most marvelously in 2012.” All the pieces included here are treasures of excellent writing, regardless of genre. – Booklist

The latest installment of the travel-writing series upholds the tradition of world-expanding excellence.The wonder continues in the fact that, regardless of subject, each story takes its place in the collection proudly and deservedly. – Kirkus

Customer Reviews

I love to travel and really enjoyed this book of travel essays.
chica
All of these pieces are very good, alive and full of tremendous details, especially Dukes' account.
Matt M. Martin
Read the book and make your own decision, but I don’t think you will even care.
Schuyler T Wallace

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E.B. Bristol VINE VOICE on October 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In the preface, one of the editors of "Best American Travel Writing 2013" Elizabeth Gilbert describes writing an article that she believed was inherently so intriguing that it would just write itself. Unfortunately, the opposite proved true, until Gilbert realizes that all stories "need a fully engaged narrator." Fortunately, this is true of almost every piece in this book.

You may think of writing that describes the setting foremost as travel writing (I did), but the pieces in this book focus on political and economic issues, too. In "The Year I Didn't," Daniel Tyx, describes what happens when a narrator does not in fact take the planned trip but only plans and thinks about it. Another "A Farewell to Yarns," by Ian Frazier focuses on exploring the contrast between traveling in the pre-digital age and the present. Do these really qualify as "travel writing"? They are certainly enjoyable, but your opinion may vary.

The pieces I personally enjoyed the most include:

"The Way I've Come," by Judy Copeland, a poignant account of being guided through New Guinea by five young girls, as she explores what has attracted her since childhood about being lost.

"The Paid Piper," Grant Stoddard's account of leading a group of strangers on a free sample tour through New York City.

"Dentists Without Borders," by David Sedaris, concerning his experiences with the France health care system. ("For my $50, I want to leave the doctor's office in tears, but instead I walk out feeling like a hypochondriac.")

"The Pippiest Place on Earth," by Sam Anderson about Dickens World, an actual theme park with a "Great Expectations" ride through a sewer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Jorgensen VINE VOICE on November 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Though this is my first experience of The Best American Travel Writing series, I have researched the series' history. Its overall editor is Jason Wilson, but he generally farms each year's edition out to a "guest editor"--in this case, Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat Pray Love fame.

Gilbert's foreword explains her selection criteria for the collection. She automatically ruled out any article along the lines of "Things to do in London;" her definition of good travel writing is something that makes you feel less like you'd like to visit a place than like you already have. A good point.

The included selections are diverse. They cover destinations in multiple places in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as a small handful which are less about the place than the experience: an amusing reflection on the trials one fashion writer must endure to get her large wardrobe into the luggage space afforded a coach traveler, a New Yorker who discovers that examining a new side of one's home city can feel much like traveling to the other side of the world. This broad definition of travel is appropriate and mind-opening.

Of course, as with any anthology, but especially with one whose unifying topical theme is fairly loosely defined, the quality of selections varies. Some selections left me inspired, others interested, still others bored. I'd say most fell into the middle category, and the latter was mostly filled with very short pieces, which is a plus.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gentleheart TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Five stars for bringing to my attention some outstanding works. My favorite is Judy Copeland's "The Way I've Come." It had an immediacy, honesty, and charm that I rarely encounter except in short stories. Copeland's wonderful account works as well as a finely crafted piece of fiction while it also brings to life five young Papua New Guinea girls who assist the author not only with her difficult hike but also with her difficult place in life. I read it twice, and will read it again, it is so refreshing. Kevin Chroust's "The Bull Passes Through" was exhilarating as well as enlightening. John Jeremiah Sullivan's "A Prison, A Paradise," about a trip to Cuba with his wife and 6-year-old daughter, was well-developed and thoughtful. Colleen Kinder's "Blot Out" has a fascinating subject, but did not captivate me. Daniel Tyx's "The Year I Didn't" was stunningly artful, perceptive, and enjoyable. Tyx could write about the phone book and keep me mesmerized. These were followed by several works I found pedestrian and merely okay. Even David Sedaris's "Dentists Without Borders" did nothing for me, although you'll see that it is the favorite of several other reviewers. Given these contrasting reactions, let me cut to the chase and say, "If you read it, you are bound to find one or more pieces that you will love or at least greatly enjoy." We all have different expectations of travel writing and at least a few of these articles will meet or exceed your expectations. If you require that all nineteen included pieces hit the ball out of the park, you are sure to be disappointed.
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