Tuesday, March 28, 2017
4 Great Travel Books for 2017
4. Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
Colin Dickey’s haunted travelogue Ghostland roams New York, New England, the Midwest, the South, the Southeast, the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Coast in search for ghost-ridden homes, businesses, cemeteries, asylums, and prisons. Whether or not you believe in life after death, Dickey explains, the folklore connected to certain geographical locations often tells us more about the anxieties of the living than it does about the concerns of the dead. I'm fascinated by Dickey’s analysis and by his conclusion that the public’s interest in ghost stories is keeping alive the important work of historical preservation.
3. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton
Starting with the premise that with identical chains of store franchises in every village and hamlet across the land, America is no longer a place that holds any mystery, the authors of Atlas Obscura began by wondering what they could do to reclaim some of the world’s lost wonder, starting in their Manhattan backyards. They were amazed to find more weird, obscure, bizarre and - well, amazing places had been right under their noses. Around the world, the authors found wherever you go, something weird is going on just out of the public eye.
2. Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London by Lauren Elkin
Virginia Woolf called it “Street Haunting,” and the French poet Charles Baudelaire termed it flânerie: the art of inhabiting the crowd of a city street. In Flâneuse, Lauren Elkin writes specifically of what it means to inhabit the street crowd, a traditionally male-dominated public space, while inhabiting a female body. With keen and often cutting powers of observation that would have made Woolf proud, Elkin shares with us the kind of woman-on-the-street experiences men might miss.
1. The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them by Thomas Swick
Thomas Swick is a seasoned travel writer who’s seen more than 60 countries, and in The Joys of Travels he names the seven joys of travel by name. Like a modern-day Canterbury Tales, each joy has a corresponding tale full of humor and insight.