January 17, 2014

Book Review: The Best American Travel Writing 2013

As Elizabeth Gilbert, the guest editor for this year's edition of The Best American Travel Writing 2013, explains, she wasn't looking for service articles or travel tips to fill the anthology. Rather, she wanted stories that made her feel, at the conclusion, "I have now been there." Her selections are wide-ranging: from the story of a man visiting an improbable attraction called Dickens World, to a guy who didn't walk the Mexican-American border as planned, to a woman who decides to walk through the streets of Cairo in a full niqab and observe how men's reactions differ from the way she's normally treated in the Egyptian capital.

Photo found here.
 Some of these stories are mere paragraphs long, while others range closer to 20 pages. But each shares a vivid look at a different part of the world, from Papua New Guinea to Pamplona. And the combination of such vastly different authors, from the funny David Sedaris to the profane but profound Kevin Chroust and the renowned Ian Frazier, keeps the pages turning.

Perfect for armchair travelers and essay admirers, The Best American Travel Writing 2013 is a quintessential before-bed book: so interesting that you won't fall asleep, but containing short enough segments to allow reading a bit every night, luxuriously prolonging the wanderlust this collection creates.

I really liked most of the stories in this one; and now have a sudden and strange urge to visit new places! Ah well, someday.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Should I recommend this to my grandma? Sure. Most of the essays are innocuous - although the Pamplona one had a lot of swearing.

Where are YOU dreaming of traveling?

I originally wrote most of this review for Shelf Awareness. (Have you signed up for the newsletter yet?!) And this post contains my affiliate links, thanks!