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The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road Paperback – July 24, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
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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..."
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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 ›
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.
Packed with gem-like passages from many sources. Best to appreciate slowly, one chapter at a time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book provides equal measures of information and inspiration, all with a confidence that comes only with being there and doing that. What a great find!Published 14 days ago by L Hogan
This is, in general, a good book. I like the way in which he has excerpted and classified different authors and themes. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rajiv Chopra
It's a great smorgasbord to snack from when you feel the need for faraway places but are homebound. I have mirrored many of his travels including the Peace Corps so I relate to his... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Donald H. McLean
Slightly better than Hotel Honolulu but a mishmash of travel writing mostly by other authors. Any connection between all these writings is ephemeral. Read morePublished 8 months ago by SSUMM
I am a great fan of Paul Theroux. That being said, this compilation of writing by him and many others fell very short. Read morePublished 11 months ago by J Michael McDade
I loved this book, partly because I love travel, but I also really like his writing. This is a compilation of Theroux's writing and text quoted from a wide variety of authors I... Read morePublished 12 months ago by RONWA
I'm a big fan of Theroux's fiction and travel writing. I've read each of the travel books at least twice
But this book was a disappointment. Read more