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The world may be getting smaller, but that doesn't mean it's any less varied, surprising, or exotic--as is made evident by the 25 essays collected in the inaugural edition of the Best American Travel Writing series. In search of America's sharpest, most original, and often, most curious travel writers, editor Bill Bryson and series editor Jason Wilson sifted through hundreds of stories. What the resulting collection demonstrates is that, as Wilson writes, travel stories matter: Having a travel writer report on particular things, small things, the specific ways in which people act and interact, is perhaps our best way of getting beyond the clichés that we tell each other about different places and cultures, and about ourselves.
"Travel is not about finding something. It's about getting lost -- that is, it is about losing yourself in a place and a moment. The little things that tether you to what's familiar are gone, and you become a conduit through which the sensation of the place is felt." The twenty pieces in this year's collection showcase the best travel writing from 2006. George Saunders travels to India to witness firsthand a fifteen-year-old boy who has been meditating motionless under a tree for months without food or water, and who many followers believe is the reincarnation of the Buddha. Matthew Power reveals trickle-down economics at work in a Philippine garbage dump. Jason Anthony describes the challenges of everyday life in Vostok, the coldest place on earth, where temperatures dip as low as -129 degrees and where, in midsummer, -20 degrees is considered a heat wave. David Halberstam, in one of his last published essays, recalls how an inauspicious Saigon restaurant changed the way he and other reporters in Vietnam saw the world. Ian Frazier analyzes why we get sick when traveling in out-of-the-way places. And Kevin Fedarko embarks on a drug-fueled journey in Djibouti, chewing psychotropic foliage in "the worst place on earth." Closer to home, Steve Friedman profiles a 410-pound man who set out to walk cross-country to lose weight and find happiness. Rick Bass chases the elusive concept of the West in America, and Jonathan Stern takes a hilarious Lonely Planet approach to his small Manhattan apartment.
The Best American Series®First, Best, and Best-SellingThe Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites . A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind. The Best American Travel Writing 2011 includesAndré Aciman, Christopher Buckley, Maureen Dowd,Verlyn Klinkenborg, Ariel Levy, Téa Obreht, Annie Proulx,Gary Shteyngart, William T. Vollmann,Emily Witt, and others
The Best American Series® First, Best, and Best-Selling The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind. The Best American Travel Writing 2012 includes Bryan Curtis, Lynn Freed, J. Malcolm Garcia, Peter Gwin, Pico Iyer, Mark Jenkins, Dimiter Kenarov, Robin Kirk, Kimberly Meyer, Paul Theroux, and others
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