The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road Bonded Leather – May 19, 2011


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Bonded Leather
"Please retry"
$0.92 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$25.00

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Bonded Leather: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (May 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547336918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547336916
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Travel maestro Theroux (The Great Railway Bazaar) conducts a rambling tour of the genre in this diverting meditation on passages from his own and other writers' works. Several chapters spotlight underappreciated travel writers from Samuel Johnson to Paul Bowles, while others explore themes both profound and whimsical. There are classic set-piece literary evocations, including Thoreau on the hush of the Maine woods and Henry James on the miserable pleasures of Venice. A section on storied but disappointing destinations fingers Tahiti as "a mildewed island of surly colonials"; travel epics—shipwrecks, Sahara crossings, Jon Krakauer's duel with Mount Everest—are celebrated; exotic meals are recalled (beetles, monkey eyes, and human flesh, anyone?); and some writers, like Emily Dickinson, just stay home and write about that. The weakest section is a compendium of aphoristic abstractions—"Travel is a vanishing act, a solitary trip down a pinched line of geography to oblivion"—while the strongest pieces descry a tangible place through a discerning eye and pungent sensibility: "I do not think I shall ever forget the sight of Etna at sunset," Evelyn Waugh rhapsodizes; "othing I have seen in Art or Nature was quite so revolting." Photos. (May 26)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review

A "determinedly personal collection of travel appreciation."
-Kirkus Reviews

A "diverting meditation on passages from his own and other writers' works. [T]he strongest pieces descry a tangible place through a discerning eye and pungent sensibility..."
-Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

Paul Theroux's highly acclaimed novels include Blinding Light, Hotel Honolulu, My Other Life, Kowloon Tong, and The Mosquito Coast. His renowned travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Dark Star Safari, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, and The Happy Isles of Oceania. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

Customer Reviews

The collection is dense with delights, a treasure.
Doctor.Generosity
I could never really make sense of the order of topics, and in the end it seemed like a book of lists or quotes more or less related to the broad theme of travel.
Nomi Redding
For that alone, would-be travelers should read this book.
Book Addict

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Edelman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 23, 2011
Format: Bonded Leather Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In addition to being one of the finest American writers of fiction of the late 20th Century, Paul Theroux is arguably the outstanding travel writer of his generation, having written brilliantly (and contentiously) about his many solo adventures the width and length of the Americas, Asia, and Africa, as well as tours around the Pacific Rim, Mediterranean and the British Isles. His writing is as honest and sincere, and reveals as much about the writer as the countries and people he encounters along the way. He is also a great student of the writing of others, many of whom helped shape his own writing. His travelogues are filled with references to writers like Vladimir Nabakov, Anthony Burgess, Somerset Maugham, and his former friend V.S. Naipaul, as well as legendary travel writers like Paul Bowles, Richard Halliburton, and the last of the great British adventurers, Wilfred Thesiger.

For this volume Theroux has assembled a collection of his own brief essays along with quotes and essays from great travel writers, a class that for Therous includes not only writers of travelogues like Eric Newby but also authors like Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson and Evelyn Waugh, all of whom had much to say about their travel experiences. Each chapter is in the form of an essay about some aspect of travel- food, company, railways, walking, calamities, Englishmen escaping England- and is in the form of an essay, augmented by quotes from various writers (including Theroux himself) on a particular theme. There's even a chapter on staying home, and one entitled "Imaginary Journeys."

One chapter (by way of illustration) is entitled "How Long Did the Traveler Spend Traveling?" Theroux begins by noting that D. H.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Bob Peck on June 15, 2011
Format: Bonded Leather Verified Purchase
(Up-Date)

I recently discovered that the book some of us were looking for in Paul Theroux's "Tao of Travel" actually exists....it's the first 7 pages and much of the rest of chapter 1 of his previous book, "Ghost Train To The Eastern Star".

In those pages he briefly but thoughtfully touches on many of the topics I thought I'd find in this book: Youth vs. Experience, The Challenge of Re-visiting locales and former glories, How Travel informs and changes us, How External Factors in our lives color our perception, etc. Fleshed out, that would have been the ideal Paul Theroux swan song.

While I understand the satisfaction some people received from the excerpts in this book and the exposure to previously unknown writers and works, if you're looking for the actual Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux, check out the early sections of Ghost Star. By page 22, he even uses the phrase...."the lesson in my Tao of Travel....

********************************

Since the first 10 reviews have all been 4 stars or higher, I'll be the first to go against the grain. Like most others who I imagine gravitate towards this book, I've read all of Theroux's previous non-fiction/travel related material and would categorize myself as a fan. My respect for his ability takes into account his legendary grumpiness and political views that I don't always agree with. To me, the unyielding consistency of those two potential negatives actually acts as a positive, making it clear from the start where he's coming from and allowing me to adjust for my own sense of the people and places he encounters and writes about.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Thurlow TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 3, 2011
Format: Bonded Leather Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In 2011's "The Tao of Travel", veteran travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux offers a fascinating collection of observations, anecdotes and small wisdoms from his many years on the road and from the experiences of other travel writers.

This collection includes selections from a variety of travelers, such as Samuel Johnson, Henry David Thoreau, Robert Louis Stevenson, Peter Matthiessen, and Freya Stark, to mention just a few. The book explores, in intriguing ways, how and especially why travelers leave home, and why they write about their experiences. "The Tao of Travel" samples centuries of travel books, including unique captures of persons, places, times, and more than a few instances of fiction.

On display is Paul Theroux's superbly enjoyable prose and his keen but wry sense of observation. He includes, naturally, some essential lists for his fellow travelers to argue over, such as the most dangerous, alluring, and happy places he has visited, and the ten items that constitute his personal tao of travel.

"The Tao of Travel" is very highly recommended as an entertaining reading experience for fans of Paul Theroux, and for those who themselves feel compelled to travel; they will understand the tao.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Doctor.Generosity TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2011
Format: Bonded Leather Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Serious readers know Paul Theroux, who is highly regarded for his sophisticated, precise writing, honesty and clear thinking. His numerous books are divided between fiction and nonfiction, much of the latter loosely in the category of travel essays. In this volume Theroux collects passages from many of his own favorite travel authors, and adds his insightful commentaries. Many of his sources we know - Nabokov, V. S. Pritchett, Waugh, Marco Polo - but others are obscure - Dervla Murphy. Theroux is not above a bit of gossip, including outing writers who wrote travel logs as if alone but actually had their moms (or gay lovers) with them the whole time. The collection is dense with delights, a treasure. Travel of course means many things, but in Theroux's hands it is coherent enough a theme that he has been able to organize a big chunk of English literature around it.

Packed with gem-like passages from many sources. Best to appreciate slowly, one chapter at a time.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?