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"
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"
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"
Hundreds of hardy people have tried to carve a living in the Alaskan bush, but few have succeeded as consistently as Heimo Korth. Originally from Wisconsin, Heimo traveled to the Arctic wilderness in his feverous 20s. Now, more than four decades later, Heimo lives with his wife approximately 200 miles from civilization - a sustainable, nomadic life bounded by the migrating caribou, the dangers of swollen rivers, and the very exigencies of daily existence.
"Impressive life story!"
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."
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?
"Fascinating 1st Half, Cynical 2nd Half."
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.
Everyone knows that the United States of America is made up of 50 states and, uh...some other stuff. The territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands are often neglected, but they are filled with American flags and national parks and US post offices and some four million people, many of whom are as proudly red-white-and-blue as any Daughter of the American Revolution.
Hardly anyone ever leaves Des Moines, Iowa. But Bill Bryson did, and after 10 years in England he decided to go home, to a foreign country. In an ageing Chevrolet Chevette, he drove nearly 14,000 miles through 38 states to compile this hilarious and perceptive state-of-the-nation report on small-town America.
"There are better Bill Bryson audiobooks"
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"
This memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia Child embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.
"What a pleasure!"
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"
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.
"Not what I expected but even better"
Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness". This uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is.
"Brew your coffee, get some cookies"
To live in a pristine land unchanged by man... to roam a wilderness through which few other humans have passed... to choose an idyllic site, cut trees and build a log cabin... to be a self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials available... to be not at odds with the world but content with one's own thoughts and company. Thousands have had such dreams, but Richard Proenneke lived them.
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"
When a woman wants to celebrate her divorce, she invites her mother to France. She's ready to a ticket to flit through Paris, but her mother blithely mentions the Chunnel Train and drifting down the Grand Canal of Venice. What?! Hence, the roundabout trip begins.
You really gotta travel abroad! Just look at what it did for Andrew Bushard: it totally changed his life. Through this travels to the Southern Africa region (especially South Africa,Swaziland, and Zimbabwe), he reaped the deepest personal transformations and fulfillment. You too can reap the same fulfillment if you travel abroad.
In 1995, three intrepid adventure seekers travel by small sailboat and kayaks risking death in rough seas to find the Painted Cave of Santa Cruz Island.
They rescued five horses from an unknown fate. They sold everything they had. Jackie and Noel trained the lost and confused horses, and forced their own unfit bodies to meld into one team. Life became horses, trail, endurance, and camping: all seven reliant on one another as they trekked along part of Australia's majestic Bicentennial National Trail. The beauty of the trail didn't lessen its dangers; with minimal support and all their worldly possessions on horseback, Jackie and Noel made mistakes and, with humour, learned the hard way.
Wisconsin had a big party in 1998. It was a roll-out-the-barrel, slice-the-cheese, strike-up-the-polka-band wing-ding that promised to roust every last badger out of state burrows and into the streets to dance with guests.
"A quick, feel-good story."
Are you ready to discover everything you need to know to get the most out of your holiday to Paris? If so you've come to the right place!
Mind the Gap in Zip-It Socks is a humorous travel memoir. Two American women turned loose in England find themselves lost in the maze at Leed's Castle. They are awed inside Canterbury Cathedral, where an aged priest takes them into a private chapel. And Stonehenge? They are mesmerized with the magical mystery of its existence. The ladies quickly learn that the trains in England are a mystery of their own, but they persevere and walk the sands of Folkestone and eat fish and chips in the charming village of Rye.
Are you ready to discover everything you need to know to get the most out of your holiday to London? If so you've come to the right place!
This is a true story of living and learning - being confused and comforted - with the excluded Ashkali people of Kosovo; an account of the challenges and delights of what happens when you find your community but it's a long way from home.
Teresa O'Kane had always longed to see the world. She owned scads of travel books and maps and was about to buy yet another bookcase to hold the many Lonely Planet guides and travel essays that she had accumulated over the years when she turned to her husband and said, "I'm tired of storing our dreams. Let's live them!" Within a month, they bought one-way tickets to Morocco, leased out their home, and set out on a journey of the African continent top to bottom from Casablanca to Cape Town.
Europe holds the westernmost part of the Eurasian continent. To the north there lies the icy Arctic Ocean, to the west there is the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. In the south Europe is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. The Ural and Caucasus Mountains are considered the border of Asia and Europe. Millions of tourists visit various cities within Europe. There are many attractions located there. In fact, several of the wonders of the world are located in Europe.
In the summer of 1980, a maverick young doctor gave it all up, to hitchhike around the world. The first part of his odyssey took him through South America and up through Africa, accompanied by his mythical hunter companion, Orion. His vision quest continued around the second cartwheel of the European Grand Tour.
Are you ready to discover everything you need to know to get the most out of your holiday to Australia? If so you've come to the right place!
A true story of courage and survival, South to Alaska carries listeners from the heartland of America to the last frontier... the hard way. Born in the dusty heart of Oklahoma in 1916, 10-year-old Melvin sees a photograph of a cabin in the Alaska wilderness in his fourth-grade geography book and dreams of living there. Nearly 50 years later he builds a 47-foot boat in his Arkansas backyard, launches it on the Arkansas River, and cruises 10,000 miles to Alaska by way of the Panama Canal. Melvin has never been south of the United States/Mexico border.
"Living his dream with nightmares, too"
This book, one of Mark Twain's first, is a hilarious, sometimes biting account of the author's travels through France, Italy, Greece, Russia, Palestine, Turkey, and Egypt. His wry observations pepper the narrative with humor, while at the same time making pertinent comments on the human condition.
The Final Cartwheel is the story of a young doctor's return home, after a five-year hitchhiking odyssey around the world. Through East Asia, Indonesia, and around the Antipodes, the circle becomes unbroken.
Drive Nacho Drive tells the hilarious and sometimes harrowing story of what happens when Brad and Sheena Van Orden trade in the American dream for a year on the roads of Central and South America aboard “Nacho”, their quirky and somewhat temperamental Volkswagen van. As a result of questionable decision-making skills and intermittent bad luck, Brad and Sheena repeatedly find themselves in over their heads.
"Awesome adventure story"
This is a short nonfiction piece about a disheveled man following me through the streets at night in a tropical ghost town.
This book is loaded with tips and tricks to plan the best cruise ship vacation ever! It's laced with personal stories that will have you grinning. It's all you need to know to plan a once-in-a-lifetime cruise vacation, even if you're still in the just-dreaming-about-it stage.
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.
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!"
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!"
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.
"Hilarious Yet Real"
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"
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"
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.
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."
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?"
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 adventure of wine and where it is made"
Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit of adventure, Strange Stones is a far-ranging, thought-provoking collection of Peter Hessler’s best reportage - a dazzling display of the powerful storytelling, shrewd cultural insight, and warm sense of humor that are the trademarks of his work. Over the last decade, as a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of three books, Peter Hessler has lived in Asia and the United States, writing as both native and knowledgeable outsider in these two very different regions.
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.
Elisabeth Tova Bailey tells the intimate and inspiring story of her year-long encounter with a snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, she becomes an astute and amused observer of the snail's surprising nocturnal adventures as it lives in a flowerpot on her nightstand. Intrigued by the snail’s clear decision making abilities, hydraulic locomotion, mysterious courtship, and molluscan anatomy, Bailey takes the listener deep into the life of this tiny amazing animal. With wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating recounts a remarkable journey of human and gastropod survival and resilience, and shows how the natural world illuminates our own human existence. Winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Nonfiction, the John Burrough Medal Award for Natural History, and a National Outdoor Book Award. If you enjoyed Wesley the Owl, The Guest Cat, and Marley & Me, you'll enjoy this unique interspecies audiobook listen.
"3.5 Stars—But Quite Enjoyable"
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"
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.
"She makes it sound SO unappealing!"
In the picturesque village of Guzmán, Spain, in a cave dug into a hillside on the edge of town, an ancient door leads to a cramped limestone chamber known as “the telling room”. Containing nothing but a wooden table and two benches, this is where villagers have gathered for centuries to share their stories and secrets - usually accompanied by copious amounts of wine. It was here, in the summer of 2000, that Michael Paterniti found himself listening to a larger-than-life Spanish cheesemaker named Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras as he spun an odd and compelling tale about a piece of cheese.
"A little too long but good nevertheless"
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"
Recounting the three weeks of blood, sweat, and tearsthat make up a 7,000 mile journey from the glitzy streets of Paris to the hinterland of northwestern Africa, this incredible tale highlights the most arduous and notorious off-road motorsports event on the planet, the Paris-Dakar Rally. Since its inception in 1979, the rally has attracted more than 3,000 participants from all walks of life.
"Great tale, not great narration"
Originally published in 1954, Fisherman’s Winter is Roderick Haig-Brown’s final installment in his well-known “seasons” cycle. With a unique blend of experience and observation, Haig-Brown brings readers through the exotic rivers of South America in the winter months, showing rather than explaining the many things he encounters. Rather than writing about typical winter fishing, Haig-Brown departs from British Columbia, where the other titles in his seasons cycle take place, and heads to unknown rivers in South America, where he learns as much as his readers will.
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.
"Similar to a college course on New York"