Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned 30, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be. To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. She got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world, all alone. This is the absorbing chronicle of that year.
"Witty and Wonderful"
The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America - majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaing guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way - and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
"What a treat"
The definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of Into the Wild. Read by the author. Also, hear a Fresh Air interview with Krakauer conducted shortly after his ordeal.
"An incredible book, beautifully performed"
From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.
"Devout Fan Disappointed"
After running an ultramarathon through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, Christopher McDougall finds his next great adventure on the razor-sharp mountains of Crete, where a band of Resistance fighters in World War II plotted the daring abduction of a German general from the heart of the Nazi occupation.
"A solid follow-up"
Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion on the Appalachian Trail resulted in the best seller A Walk in the Woods. Now, we follow him "Down Under" to Australia with this delectably funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance that combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiosity. More from Bill Bryson.
"Laugh out loud funny"
In the first of three essays included in this audiobook, Bill Bryson decides to move his wife and kids back to his homeland, the United States, after nearly two decades in Britain. But not before taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. The result is a hilarious social commentary.
"A humorist in the Mark Twain tradition."
Where's the Next Shelter? is the true story of three travelers on the Appalachian Trail, a 2,000-mile hike that stretches from Georgia to Maine, told from the perspective of Gary Sizer, a seasoned backpacker and former marine who quickly finds himself humbled by the endeavor. If you long for the horizon or to sleep under the stars, then come along for the hike of a lifetime. All you have to do is take the first step.
In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.
"Bryson Not Reading Makes For a Rare Fail"
After her plane crashes, a 17-year-old girl spends 11 days walking through the Peruvian jungle. Against all odds, with no food, shelter, or equipment, she gets out. A better equipped group of adult survivors of the same crash sits down and dies. What makes the difference?
"I'm not sure it can get better than this"
Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other, a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.
"extremely entertaining and informative"
After 20 years in Britain, Bryson returned to the U.S. and decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. This is his humorous, inspiring account.
"Wonderful book, but hardly abridged"
Steve Hely, writer for The Office and American Dad!, and recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, presents a travel book about his journey through Central and South America. Part travel book, part pop history, part comic memoir, Hely's writing will make listeners want to reach for their backpacks and hiking boots.
"I LOVED this book"
Steven Rinella won a lottery to hunt for a wild buffalo in the Alaskan wilderness. One of only four hunters that year who succeeded in killing a buffalo, he carried the carcass down a snow-covered mountainside and floated it four miles down a white-water canyon while being trailed by grizzly bears and suffering from hypothermia. Rinella found himself contemplating his own place among the 14,000 years' worth of buffalo hunters in North America and the place of the buffalo in the American consciousness.
"Intriguing, fun, full of information."
Starting in November 2013 in a forest in Rwanda, where a modest spring spouts a trickle of clear, cold water, Levison Wood set forth on foot, aiming to become the first person to walk the entire length of the Nile. He followed the river for nine months, over 4,000 miles, through six nations - Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, the Republic of Sudan, and Egypt - to the Mediterranean coast.
"Great adventure for an armchair traveler"
For years, America's national parks have provided public breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why close to 300 million people visit the parks each year. Now, to honor the centennial of the National Park Service, Terry Tempest Williams, the author of the beloved memoir When Women Were Birds, returns with The Hour of Land, a literary celebration of our national parks, what they mean to us, and what we mean to them.
"Cultural Cross Sections"
Building on the success of The Yarn Whisperer, Clara Parkes' rich personal essays invite listeners and devoted crafters on excursions to be savored, from a guide who quickly comes to feel like a trusted confidante. In Knitlandia, she takes listeners along on 17 of her most memorable journeys across the globe over the last 15 years, with stories spanning from the fjords of Iceland to a cozy yarn shop in Paris' 13th arrondissement.
"Enjoyed every minute of it."
In January 2003, Nick Sparks and his brother Micah set off on a three-week trip around the world. It was to mark a milestone in their lives, for at 35 and 36, respectively, they were now the only surviving members of their family. As Nick and Micah travel the globe, the intimate story of their tragic family legacy unfolds in the details of the untimely deaths of their parents and only sister.
In My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth, Wendy shares a glimpse of North Korea as it's never been seen before. Even though it's the scariest place on Earth, somehow Wendy forgot to check her sense of humor at the border. But Wendy's initial amusement and bewilderment soon turned to frustration and growing paranoia.
"facinating look at North Korea"
In this exuberantly praised book - a collection of seven pieces on subjects ranging from television to tennis, from the Illinois State Fair to the films of David Lynch, from postmodern literary theory to the supposed fun of traveling aboard a Caribbean luxury cruiseliner - David Foster Wallace brings to nonfiction the same curiosity, hilarity, and exhilarating verbal facility that has delighted readers of his fiction.
"Overdramatic narrator for my taste"
A dynamic collection of essays and reportage, The Green Season illustrates daily life in Costa Rica, a tiny Central American nation dedicated to peace and teeming with tropical life. With his trademark humor and observation, Robert Isenberg describes the people, culture, and biodiversity that make Costa Rica so unique, from a centuries-old indigenous ceremony to a remote jungle crisscrossed by crocodile-filled canals.
The World's Worst Backpacker is for anyone who has gone on a day hike, picked up a backpack, or walked for a few days in the middle of nowhere. Ken's stories are not just cautionary tales; they're the kind of tales all backpackers (and would-be backpackers) acquire if they don't stop soon enough. They're the kind of tales that leave you wondering, "Am I the worst person at this?" when you start and thankful you're not when the story ends.
In this dazzling collection, Annie Dillard explores the world over, from the Arctic to the Ecuadorian jungle, from the Galapagos to her beloved Tinker Creek. With her entrancing gaze, she captures the wonders of natural facts and human meanings: watching a sublime lunar eclipse, locking eyes with a wild weasel, or beholding mirages appearing over Puget Sound through summer.
"I did not go to Nicaragua intending to write a book, or, indeed, to write at all: but my encounter with the place affected me so deeply that in the end I had no choice." So notes Salman Rushdie in his first work of nonfiction, a book as imaginative and meaningful as his acclaimed novels. In The Jaguar Smile, Rushdie paints a brilliantly sharp and haunting portrait of the people, the politics, the terrain, and the poetry of "a country in which the ancient, opposing forces of creation and destruction were in violent collision".
For more than 15 years, best-selling author and historian Hampton Sides has traveled widely across the continent exploring the America that lurks just behind the scrim of our mainstream culture. In these two dozen pieces, collected here for the first time, Sides gives us a fresh, alluring, and at times startling America brimming with fascinating subcultures and bizarre characters who could live nowhere else. Following Sides, we crash the redwood retreat of a cabal of powerful military-industrialists, and more.
Former Flying Magazine and EAA Sport Aviation editor Lane Wallace has flown plenty of unique flights, from the Swiss Alps to Key West, from a Piper Cub to a U-2 spy plane. In this fascinating book, she recounts her 10 best - in the process, she reminds all pilots why we fly. Written with Lane's trademark style and sense of wonder about the world she experiences and explores, and filled with insight about the emotions and life lessons flying evokes, it's ideal for both pilots and non-pilots.
"A must for pilots and aviation enthusiasts"
Praised by Bear Grylls, Levison Wood has been called "the toughest man on TV" (The Times UK). Now, following in the footsteps of the great explorers, Levison recounts the beauty and danger he found along the Silk Road route of Afghanistan, the Line of Control between Pakistan and India, the disputed territories of Kashmir, and the earthquake-ravaged lands of Nepal. Over the course of six months, Wood and his trusted guides trekked 1,700 grueling miles across the roof of the world.
"Like chatting with a friend"
When Chernobyl's Reactor 4 blew up in April 1986, the roof blew away - a million pounds of concrete. Fire filled the sky. The reactor's graphite core, radioactive and deadly, burned like charcoal for 10 days. Visiting Chernobyl, framed by the author's visit, revisits the accident itself, relives the evacuation of the area, and discusses both the physical environs and the political circumstances of the Soviet Union at the time. Please note that the author/narrator is not the actor Bill Murray.
"Accessible, Informative, and Thought-Provoking!"
Just when her life felt right: new career, new home, new grandchildren, Janet Givens left it all behind and followed her new husband into the Peace Corps. Assigned to Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country finding its own way after generations under Soviet rule, Givens must also find a way to be in a world different from what she knew. And what she expected. Will it be worth it?
Dame DJ is English, and together with her partner, "S", a New Yorker who loved great food and wanted to sample the best dinning in France, now tells us their story. He thought France was small, and that the best hotels and restaurants from Paris to Monaco would be waiting for them. She thought she could eat and relax, and the trip would be a breeze. They were both wrong!
Spanning 15 years of travel, beginning when she is a sophomore in college, Wanderlust documents Elisabeth Eaves’ insatiable hunger for the rush of the unfamiliar and the experience of encountering new people and cultures. Young and independent, she crisscrosses five continents and chases the exotic, both in culture and in romance.
"Travel for Love and Love of Travel"
Like a well-crafted stage play, Just Passin' Thru delivers one suspenseful scene after another. But in this historic setting a store on the Appalachian Trail called Mountain Crossings the characters who show up are no fictional creations. Like any good drama, there are the good guys (and gals) and the weirdos, too. Some show up once (and that’s enough), and some appear again and again. But all are united by two things: the author’s story-capturing talent, and whatever it is that lures them to attempt (or conquer) a 2,200-mile path that climbs and plummets from Georgia to Maine.
"Well Worth it!"
A landmark in travel writing, this is the incredible true story of Heinrich Harrer’s escape across the Himalayas to Tibet, set against the backdrop of the Second World War. Heinrich Harrer, already one of the greatest mountaineers of his time, was climbing in the Himalayas when war broke out in Europe. He was imprisoned by the British in India but succeeded in escaping and fled to Tibet.
Why would a middle-aged businessman who had never even spent the night outdoors, attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail? Bill Walker, a former commodities trader in Chicago and London, and an avid walker, had developed a virtual obsession to hike this historic 2,175 mile footpath in one hiking season. In the spring of 2005 he set off from his home state of Georgia, hoping to make it to Mount Katahdin in northern Maine before the arrival of winter.
"Liked the story, but the recording quality was fair."
A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today, the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people.
"Another Excellent Work"
As a kid growing up in Manhattan, William Helmreich played a game with his father they called "Last Stop." They would pick a subway line and ride it to its final destination, and explore the neighborhood there. Decades later, Helmreich teaches university courses about New York, and his love for exploring the city is as strong as ever. Putting his feet to the test, he decided that the only way to truly understand New York was to walk virtually every block of all five boroughs - an astonishing 6,000 miles.
"Not quite as I expected, but compulsively readable"
While birding literature is filled with tales of expert observers spotting rare species in exotic locales, John Yow reminds us that the most fascinating birds can be the ones perched right outside our windows. In thirty-five engaging and sometimes irreverent vignettes, Yow reveals the fascinating lives of the birds we see nearly every day. Following the seasons, he covers forty-two species, discussing the improbable, unusual, and comical aspects of his subjects' lives.
"Thoroughly enjoyed - inspired"
In the summer of 2001, Peter Hessler, the longtime Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, acquired his Chinese driver's license. For the next seven years, he traveled the country, tracking how the automobile and improved roads were transforming China.
"In defense of the narrator"
Within the dark corners of America’s forests grow culinary treasures. Chefs pay top dollar to showcase these elusive and beguiling ingredients on their menus. Whether dressing up a filet mignon with smoky morels or shaving luxurious white truffles over pasta, the most elegant restaurants across the country now feature an abundance of wild mushrooms. Langdon Cook embeds himself in this shadowy subculture, reporting from both rural fringes and big-city eateries.
"Intriguing and full of fun!"
The “mountain men” were the hunters and trappers who fiercely strode the Rocky Mountains in the early to mid-1800s. They braved the elements in search of the skins of beavers and other wild animals, to sell or barter for goods. The lifestyle of the mountain men could be harsh, existing as they did among animals, and spending most of their days and nights living and camping out in the great unexplored wilds of the Rockies.
"Good for boys"
In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident.
"Peter Berkrot Again?"
Reunited in love after 35 years and suffering from a serious case of pre-retirement wanderlust, Lynne and Tim Martin made a life-altering decision: They sold their house and possessions and hit the road to live internationally full-time. Now tethered to nothing but their suitcases, each other, and their next exotic location, they've never looked back. From sky-high pyramids in Mexico to monkeys in Marrakech, this delightful, inspiring memoir is a romantic tale of derring-do for grown-ups and a road map for anyone who dreams of turning the idea of life abroad into a reality.
"Looking for Courage to Make a Change? LISTEN!!!"
What do most people think of Idaho? Well, see, that's the problem - they don't think of Idaho. Despite its breathtaking natural beauty and the fact that it's crammed to the gills with eccentrics and freethinkers, Idaho may as well be the moon as far as the rest of America is concerned. Jim Goad recently spent a week in Idaho mingling with state troopers, political extremists, collegiate progressives, and heartbreakingly friendly locals.
Mount Kilimanjaro is sometimes called "Everyman's Everest" because it is possible for a novice climber to reach the summit. And every year, more than 30,000 adventure tourists try. But for each person who goes to the mountain, there are thousands more who chat about it at parties, making plans to go...someday. That's how Daniel Dorr got started: flirting with a beautiful brunette and spouting impressive plans. Six months later, he was lying on the gravel trail at 18,000 feet, panting and hacking in the darkness.
"Great travel narrative."
In the 17 wide-ranging essays collected for the first time in Love and Other Ways of Dying, he brings his full literary powers to bear, pondering happiness and grief, memory and the redemptive power of human connection. In the remote Ukranian countryside, Paterniti picks apples (and faces mortality) with a real-life giant; in Nanjing, China, he confronts a distraught jumper on a suicide bridge.
"This was just so so for me..."
Gerald Asher, who served as Gourmet's wine editor for 30 years, has drawn together this selection of his essays, published in Gourmet and elsewhere, for the collective insight they give into why a wine should always be an expression of a place and a time. Guiding the reader through 27 diverse wine regions in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and California, he shows how every wine worth drinking is a reflection of its terroir - in the broadest sense of that untranslatable word.
"An educational look at wine"
The prolific drummer for the rock band Rush travels through African villages, both large and small, and relates his story through journal entries and tales of adventure, while simultaneously addressing issues such as differences in culture, psychology, and labels. Literary and artistic sidekicks such as Aristotle, Dante, and Van Gogh join Peart and his cycling companions, reminding the listener that this is not just another travel book - it is a story of both external and introspective discovery and adventure.
It is a city of seemingly irreconcilable opposites, simultaneously glorious and ghastly. And it is Ben Taylor’s remarkable ability to meld these contradictions into a whole that makes this the exciting and original book it is. He takes his stroll around the bay with the acute sensitivity of a lover, the good humor of a friend, and the wisdom of a seeker who has immersed himself in all aspects of this contrapuntal culture. His curiosity leads him to many byways, both real and metaphoric, and his passion for this ancient city and its people becomes, in his graceful prose and amusing anecdotes, irresistibly contagious.
"What a ride through an amazing city."
The best-selling author of Italian Neighbors returns with a wry and revealing portrait of Italian life - by riding its trains. In his first Italian travelogue in a decade, he deli0vers a charming and funny portrait of Italian ways by riding its trains from Verona to Milan, Rome to Palermo, and right down to the heel of Italy.