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Book List: Travel Memoirs

Becca Halbmaier | 7 June, 2017

Book List: Travel Memoirs

 

"A travel memoir is a travel writing genre all its own. It is not a guidebook, trip diary or marketing piece for the Sunday paper. Rather, it is a delicate mixture of recollection and reflection that reveals how a journey, or a series of journeys, transformed the writer." Susan Pohlman, author of the travel memoir Halfway to Each Other: How a Year In Italy Brought Our Family Home. (http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/how-to-write-a-travel-memoir)

 

South and West : From a Notebook by Joan Didion (2017)

Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles--and here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. And from a different notebook: the "California Notes" that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976.

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No baggage: a minimalist tale of love & wandering by Cara Bensen (2016)

Newly recovered from a quarter-life meltdown, Clara Bensen decided to test her comeback by signing up for an online dating account. She never expected to meet Jeff, a wildly energetic university professor with a reputation for bucking convention. They barely know each other's last names when they agree to set out on a risky travel experiment spanning eight countries and three weeks.

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Dead presidents : an American adventure into the strange deaths and surprising afterlives of our nation's leaders by Brady Carlson (2016)

To public radio host and reporter Brady Carlson, the weighty responsibilities of being president never end. As Carlson sees it, the dead presidents (and the ways we remember them) tell us a great deal about ourselves, our history, and how we imagine our past and future. For American presidents, there is life after death--it's just a little weird.In Dead Presidents, Carlson takes readers on an epic trip to presidential gravesites, monuments, and memorials from sea to shining sea.

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My paris dream by Kate Betts (2015)

A charming and insightful memoir about coming of age as a fashion journalist in 1980s Paris, by former Vogue and Harper's Bazaar editor Kate Betts, the author of Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style.

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What I was doing while you were breeding by Kristin Newman (2014)

Kristin Newman's funny, sexy, and ultimately poignant debut memoir about mastering the art of the "vacationship”. Not ready to settle down and yet loathe to become a sad-sack single girl, Kristin instead started traveling the world, often alone, for a few months each year, falling madly in love with attractive locals who provided moments of the love she wanted without the cost of the freedom she needed.

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A house in the sky by Amanda Lindhout (2014)

The spectacularly dramatic memoir of a woman whose curiosity about the world led her from rural Canada to imperiled and dangerous countries on every continent, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity in Somalia--a story of courage, resilience, and extraordinary grace.

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Female nomad & friends: tales of breaking free and breaking bread around the world by Rita Golden Gelman (2010)

A collection of stories and recipes about travel and the joys of cross-cultural connections, featuring selections from more than forty authors.

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Love with a chance of drowning: a memoir by Torre DeRoche (2013)

The story of how a chance meeting with a handsome stranger convinced DeRoche to give up her sophisticated city life in San Francisco, face her fear of deep water, and join her lover on a year-long voyage across the Pacific. Part love story, part travel memoir, a story of romance and adventure on the high seas

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The longest road by Philip Caputo (2013)

One of America's most respected writers takes an epic journey across America, Airstream in tow, and asks everyday Americans what unites and divides a country as endlessly diverse as it is large.

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed (2012)

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State--and to do it alone.

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A walk in the woods by Bill Bryson (2007)

The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America-majestic mountains, silent forests, sparkling lakes. If you're going to take a hike, it's probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you'll find.

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Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)

Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.

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Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (2005)

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.From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism.

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Neither here nor there: travels in Europe by Bill Bryson (2001)

In the early seventies, Bill Bryson backpacked across Europe--in search of enlightenment, beer, and women. He was accompanied by an unforgettable sidekick named Stephen Katz (who will be gloriously familiar to readers of Bryson's A Walk in the Woods). Twenty years later, he decided to retrace his journey. The result is the affectionate and riotously funny Neither Here Nor There.

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Blue highways: a journey into america by William Least Heat-Moon (1999)

Hailed as a masterpiece of American travel writing, Blue Highways is an unforgettable journey along our nation's backroads. William Least-Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about "those little towns that get on the map--if they get on at all--only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot Mississippi."

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Under the tuscan sun by Frances Mayes (1997)

Twenty years ago, Frances Mayes--widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer--introduced readers to a wondrous new world when she bought and restored an abandoned villa called Bramasole in the spectacular Tuscan countryside.

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Travels with charley by John Steinbeck (1962)

An intimate journey across and in search of America, as told by one of its most beloved writers. In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.

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On the road by Jack Kerouac (1957)

A hedonistic search for release or fulfilment through drink, sex, drugs and jazz becomes an exploration of personal freedom, a test of the limits of the American dream. A brilliant blend of fiction and autobiography, Jack Kerouac's exhilarating novel defined the new 'Beat' generation. It had tremendous impact on both sides of the Atlantic and made him famous overnight

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Three men in a boat: (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K Jerome (1889)

Three Men in a Boat was meant to be a serious travel guide to the Thames, between Kingston and Oxford. Instead, it is one of the wittiest, funniest fictional jaunts down a river ever written. The three men are based on author Jerome and two of his friends. The dog "developed out of that area of inner consciousness which, in all Englishmen, contains an element of the dog.

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The innocents abroad by Mark Twain (1869)

Known as one of American literature's finest humor writers, Mark Twain took on the travel genre in the series of essays, sketches, and observations collected in The Innocents Abroad. From classic fish-out-of-water shenanigans to keen insight into the differences between American culture and its European and Middle Eastern counterparts, this volume is an engaging and rewarding read.

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For more travel memoirs, visit our Catalog.

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