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"
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.
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."
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"
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!"
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"
Best-selling author Simon Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world, exploring our relationship with this imposing force of nature. Winchester's personal experience is vast and his storytelling second to none. And his historical understanding of the region is formidable, making Pacific a paean to this magnificent sea of beauty, myth, and imagination that is transforming our lives.
"Another good Simon Winchester book"
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"
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"
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"
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.
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"
From the best selling author of A Walk in the Woods, comes this hilarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain. Check out more Bill Bryson.
"Crackin' yarn, lad!"
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"
In 2009 Eloisa James took a leap that many people dream about: She sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job, and moved her family to Paris. Paris in Love: A Memoir chronicles her joyful year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With no classes to teach, no committee meetings to attend, no lawn to mow, Eloisa revels in the ordinary pleasures of life - discovering corner museums that tourists overlook, chronicling Frenchwomen’s sartorial triumphs, walking from one end of Paris to another.
Sarah Vowell travels through the American past and investigates the dusty, bumpy roads of her own life. Her essays confront a wide range of subjects, icons, and historical moments: Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton; Canadian Mounties and German Filmmakers; Tom Cruise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; twins and nerds; the Gettysburg Address, the State of the Union, and George W. Bush's inauguration. The result is an engrossing audiobook, capturing Vowell's memorable wit and her keen social commentary.
"A great listen"
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.
Detailed travel tips based on over 20 years of international travel.
When Adam Piggott rode his motorbike across Australia chasing a girl he barely knew, he didn't understand much about anything at all. He wanted to change his life, but he didn't know how or what to change. The girl was the catalyst that forced him out of his comfortable existence. This is the story of how a young man with no direction ended up working as a river guide in a range of exotic locations around the world.
In Cruise Confidential, Brian David Bruns spills the dirt - or, in this case, the dirty water - on those romantic, fun-filled vacations at sea. His hilarious chronicle of the year he spent working for Carnival Cruise Lines takes listeners down into the areas where the crew works and lives, leaving listeners gasping with laughter as they're assaulted nonstop with events that range from the absurd to the utterly bizarre. Stewards fighting over food. Cutlery allowances and other nonsensical rules.
"The title might have exaggerated the story a bit."
The terrifying legend of Count Dracula silently skulking through the Transylvania night may have terrified generations of filmgoers, but the tall, elegant vampire captivated and electrified a young Jane Congdon, igniting a dream to one day see his mysterious land of ancient castles and misty hollows. Four decades later she finally takes her long-awaited trip - never dreaming that it will unearth decades-buried memories of life with an alcoholic mother.
From wanting to push her boyfriend out of a plane over the Andes in Colombia to finding in a toilet tank a giant dildo that followed her friends through Mexico, to dancing wearing only a diamond necklace, this collection of stories by Lisa Alpine will inspire listeners to follow the call of a wild life and leave home with their doors unlocked.
Take a trip to old Japan with William Scott Wilson as he travels the ancient Kiso Road, a legendary route that remains much the same today as it was hundreds of years ago. The Kisoji, which runs through the Kiso Valley in the Japanese Alps, has been in use since at least 701 CE. In the 17th century, it was the route that the daimyo (warlords) used for their biennial trips - along with their samurai and porters - to the new capital of Edo (now Tokyo).
The Path is the story of a group of international travellers who walk the Camino de Santiago, the ancient 800-kilometre pilgrimage from the Pyrenees to the remains of the Apostle Saint James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella in Northern Spain. The group are of all ages, all professions, all religious denominations (and none).
Peter, Matthew, Thomas, John: Who were these men? What was their relationship to Jesus? Tom Bissell provides rich and surprising answers to these ancient, elusive questions. He examines not just who these men were (and weren't) but also how their identities have taken shape over the course of two millennia.
"Great travel ogre, good beginners history"
For millions of people, travel by air is a confounding, uncomfortable, and even fearful experience. Patrick Smith, airline pilot and author of the web's popular "Ask the Pilot" feature, separates fact from fallacy and tells you everything you need to know....
"Kudos From one Aviation Professional to Another"
Written in the irreverent style that made How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read a critical and commercial success, Pierre Bayard takes listeners on a trip around the world, giving us essential guidance on how to talk about all those fantastic places we've never been. Practical, funny, and thought provoking, How to Talk About Places You've Never Been will delight and inform armchair globetrotters and jet-setters, all while never having to leave the comfort of the living room.
Lights, Camera Jemuru - Adventures of a Film-Maker in Ethiopia is the remarkable true-life story of a high-flying adman who swapped his expense account lifestyle in London to go and teach in a back-street community film school, Gem TV, in Addis Ababa. Bob Maddams spent years living and working in Ethiopia and filming took him and the Gem TV filmmakers all over the country; from shanty towns and famine feeding stations to the rock hewn churches of Lalibela and the source of the Blue Nile.
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!"
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.
"Incredibly intimate voice for humanity"
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.
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"
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.
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"
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?"
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"
For most of us, traveling means visiting the most beautiful places on Earth - Paris, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon. It’s rare to book a plane ticket to visit the lifeless moonscape of Canada’s oil sand strip mines, or to seek out the Chinese city of Linfen, legendary as the most polluted in the world. But in Visit Sunny Chernobyl, Andrew Blackwell embraces a different kind of travel, taking a jaunt through the most gruesomely polluted places on Earth.
"Good travelog, dry material"
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"
Abounding in secluded, atmospheric parks, artists' studios, cafes, restaurants, and streets little changed since the 1800s, Paris exudes romance. The art and architecture, the cityscape, riverbanks, and the unparalleled quality of daily life are part of the equation. But the city's allure derives equally from hidden sources: querulous inhabitants, a bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and a rich historical past supplying enigmas, pleasures, and challenges.
"A disappointment after Paris, Paris"
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"
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.
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.
"Yow is the Bees Knees"
In this collection of original stories, highly acclaimed novelist and outdoor writer William Tapply shares his finest stories of bird hunting in the Northeast country. Every season for over 30 years, Tapply has hunted the fields and backcountry of New England. Tapply’s warmth and knack for evoking the subtle, telling details of the places and hunts that he loves will stir a new appreciation and excitement in every listener. With his dog Burt, Tapply takes the listener out to his best spots.
"Good Morning, Its A Wonderful Day"
As one of the world’s leading field biologists, George Schaller has spent much of his life traversing wild and isolated places in his quest to understand and conserve threatened species - from mountain gorillas in the Virunga to pandas in the Wolong and snow leopards in the Himalaya. Throughout his celebrated career, Schaller has spent more time in Tibet than in any other part of the world, devoting more than thirty years to the wildlife, culture, and landscapes that captured his heart and continue to compel him.
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"
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.
"Decent account made better by the reader"