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  • ursus arctos
    replied
    Gellhorn was a very good writer.

    Shame about her boyfriend.

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  • Furtho
    replied
    Originally posted by Doraemon View Post
    The roads to Sata - Alan Booth
    This is superb, really recommended to anyone interested in Japan.

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  • Bordeaux Education
    replied
    Originally posted by Third rate Leszno View Post
    I’m a bit surprised we’ve got this far without anyone mentioning In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin, which is generally held to be the book which redefined what travel writing could be (not sure I hold with that opinion, mind you).
    Yeah, I never quite thought of "In Patagonia" as highly as that either.

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    Originally posted by Third rate Leszno View Post
    I’m a bit surprised we’ve got this far without anyone mentioning In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin, which is generally held to be the book which redefined what travel writing could be (not sure I hold with that opinion, mind you).
    Songlines is also a fascinating read.

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  • San Bernardhinault
    replied
    Thinking of authors who love writing about how very dangerous the things they do are (I find it's a subgenre I have a soft spot for despite knowing I should probably be more cynical), I really enjoyed Martha Gellhorn's Travels With Myself And Another

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  • Lang Spoon
    replied
    I liked the Songlines better. Though as with much of this stuff, the utterly upper middle class snobbishness of the author kind of gets to me. I’m not sure I could read him these days.

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  • Third rate Leszno
    replied
    Im a bit surprised weve got this far without anyone mentioning In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin, which is generally held to be the book which redefined what travel writing could be (not sure I hold with that opinion, mind you).

    Leave a comment:


  • Lang Spoon
    replied
    Graham Robb’s The Discovery of France is a fine book, more history than travel, which suits me. It stood up to a reread this summer (except I never finished it due to distractions).

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  • Lang Spoon
    replied
    Theroux’s collection of early short journalistic pieces and book reviews Sunrise with Seamonsters (I’d imagine long out of print) is very very good. His essays on the virtues of cowardice and the patheticness of being a man and all that entails stayed with me a long time.

    The killing of Hastings Banda is a fine piece of naive American author mixed up in things he doesn’t understand semi thriller memoir as well. Though I suspect very embellished.
    Last edited by Lang Spoon; 18-12-2018, 19:24.

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  • via vicaria
    replied
    Originally posted by Sporting View Post
    As well as this, he doesn't really come across as a nice person, does he? Superior in so many ways, opinionated, dismissive of others, arrogant. Well, that's my impression. However, I do enjoy a lot of his writing despite the caveats, which is the usual contradictions of life summed up in a nutshell, I suppose-
    Yes, very much this. Deep South contains a pretty good example of this; he goes on a pretty lengthy polemic toward the beginning of the book against other travel writers, and how they fall into the trap of magnifying minor incidents into serious, life-threatening moments of drama. Later in the book he (again, at length) relates an incident where he tripped over the edge of a small concrete culvert, and how it he NEARLY DIED. Or would have, if he'd fallen in any sort of serious way, and not been able to get out of the culvert. I hoped this was a sly, knowing nod to his earlier rant, but how he comes across throughout the remainder of the book simply leaves me thinking he's a bit of a twat, really.

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  • San Bernardhinault
    replied
    On a couple of books mentioned recently. I remember reading A Fez Of The Heart and enjoying it, but I have almost no recollection of the actual content.

    And although I enjoyed large parts of The Road To Oxiana I got increasingly bored in the stretches where Byron waxed lyrical about Persian architecture and so on. The travel parts were great, but the erudite polymath showing off his knowledge wasn't for me.

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  • ad hoc
    replied
    Another non-right wing book I would definitely recommend is Mark Thomas's Extreme Rambling in which he follows the course of Israel's apartheid wall. Though he is a comedian and the book has comedy in it it doesn't fall into that category of books which are whimsical and light hearted, criticised earlier in this thread (to be fair it would be heart to write a whimsical and light hearted book about the occupation)

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  • ad hoc
    replied
    Originally posted by imp View Post
    I bought Eric Newby's 'Love and War in the Apennines' the other day, remembering how much I loved his account of the Trans-Siberian Express years ago - Blackwell's in Edinburgh (a fine bookshop) had several of his books on display, and I wanted to buy them all.
    .
    I hope that it meets your expectations. I loved The Big Red Train Ride too, but tried not too long ago to read "On the Shores of the Mediterranean" which i eventually gave up on as I really couldn't get on with it

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  • Sporting
    replied
    Paul Theroux: Yes, a very good travel writer (and author of some excellent novels and short stories as well). The Great Railway Bazaar took travel writing onto a different route back in the day, and subsequent works such as The Old Patagonian Express and The Happy Isles of Ociana have excellent passages and great anedotes.

    But how much can you trust these vignetttes? Theroux himself has admitted that he conflated and edited certain events in his debut travel book and though this may be artistic licence I can't help feeling that this intrinsic dishonesty is simply not on. You're left doubting the truthfulness of the stories he tells in all his (mainly well written though the recent The Deep South is repetitive in the extreme...writers can deteriorate as they age, it seems)- As well as this, he doesn't really come across as a nice person, does he? Superior in so many ways, opinionated, dismissive of others, arrogant. Well, that's my impression. However, I do enjoy a lot of his writing despite the caveats, which is the usual contradictions of life summed up in a nutshell, I suppose-

    Greatly surprised that nobody has yet mentioned The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron, one of the best travel books of all time.

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  • ad hoc
    replied
    For a white middle-ish class but left book, I recently read (after buying the book from the author in Salamanca Market, Hobart) The Long Hitch Home, by Jamie Maslin, which charts his journey hitch hiking from Tasmania to the UK. As he passes through country after country he basically talks about all the ills that the Western foreign policy has visited on each one as he does. It's better than I might have made it sound there (though he does have that blindspot that many on the western left have towards the failings and imperial obnoxiousness of the USSR/Russia). But I can assure you if you're looking for a travel book that is not soft right, this is the one for you.

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  • ad hoc
    replied
    Recently read Meander by Jeremy Seal, following the course of the Meander river in Turkey which, as you might imagine, meanders. The book and the river. He does a good job however of basically using the river as a framework on which to hang the history of western Anatolia from pre-Alexander the Great through to Ataturk and beyond. I also read another of his on Turkey called A Fez of the Heart, which is better than its poorly punning title might suggest.

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    Philip Marsden had two decent books, The Spirit Wrestlers and The Crossing Place.

    It does seem that many of these writers are white, middle class and on the right.

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  • Antepli Ejderha
    replied
    From the Holy Mountain by Dalrymple was excellent imho. A late friend of mine was inspired to visit much of South East Anatolia because of it.

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  • Lang Spoon
    replied
    I know it’s not his fault what publishers will now give a book deal to.

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  • Lang Spoon
    replied
    Only bits, and yes I think that’s unfair on him. I’m more bored by what he has wrought in UK nature writing.

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  • Nefertiti2
    replied
    Originally posted by Lang Spoon View Post
    All that lyrical British countryside stuff like the goshawk book, Robert McFarlane etc seems a bit parochial twee and politically suspect. Or maybe just boring to me.
    have you read McFarlane?

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  • Lang Spoon
    replied
    Originally posted by gt3 View Post
    A great book Lang Spoon. What is it about his others that displeasure you?
    I didn’t dislike them, but in Xanadu seemed a bit Waugh posh bloke abroad (but without the evil reactionary distemper), and Age of Kali/City of Djinns had a whiff of the Raj about them.

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  • San Bernardhinault
    replied
    Originally posted by Lang Spoon View Post
    To the Holy Mountain by Dalrymple is a great book, maybe the only one of his I can reread with pleasure.
    I absolutely loved it when I read it. But I haven't dared go back because I don't know if I'd now read it as a bit reactionary, defending ossified and nearly dead christian sects, as if they must be protected at all costs, and whether the pro-Christian element would now read as anti-islamic. I hope not, but I haven't wanted to risk it.

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  • gt3
    replied
    Originally posted by Lang Spoon View Post
    To the Holy Mountain by Dalrymple is a great book, maybe the only one of his I can reread with pleasure.
    A great book Lang Spoon. What is it about his others that displeasure you?

    Leave a comment:


  • gt3
    replied
    Originally posted by Nefertiti2 View Post
    no gt3 there's a third book - The Peregrine by JA Baker. Macdonald sets up a dichotomy between the two authors and trashes The Goshawk which i would like to read. Always vividly remembered the falconry section in White's Once and Future King
    Oh that's interesting N2. I Haven't started wither yet, they are my Christmas reading... I'll let you know. But this conversation belongs over on the other thread not here hey?

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