Candice Gaukel Andrews writes on the Huffington Post, My “work as a nature-travel writer has taken me all over the world: from the sub-Arctic down to the Galapagos at the Equator and Patagonia and New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere. I accredit my grown-up “urge for going,” as songwriter-singer Joni Mitchell calls it, to the many travel books I’ve read over the years.

“[Here] you’ll find my 10 choices for the most inspiring travel tomes I’ve ever read. Through the years, they’ve taken me on introspective, imaginative, wild, reflective, and humorous journeys and road trips—while never having to go ‘away on vacation.'”

I met Teresa LeYung Ryan at the Bay Area Travel Writers meeting on Saturday, and had a few minutes to look through her 100-page workbook, Build Your Writers’ Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and media Attention NOW. It looks like a good resource; let me know what you think if you’ve read/used it.


Lost Angel Walkabout

December 7, 2010 | 1 Comment

Linda Ballou’s Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales was just reviewed on Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding by a reader who appreciated Linda’s cultural sensitivity: “Ballou is a very culturally conscious traveler. Her stories bring with them a wealth of information about an area. She seems to travel with a researched understanding of a places history, customs, and ecological situation. Indeed, many chapters are followed with an Eco-Alert, informing readers of issues specific to an area and, sometimes, what they can do to raise awareness or help.”

Booklist gave Li Miao Lovett’s book a starred review, calling it a powerful first novel.

“China is all around us, from the clothes and furniture we buy to the food we eat. Yet much of the culture is still a mystery. In the Lap of the Gods sheds light on modern China through the story of a widower and the baby girl he rescues from the Yangtze.”

Check it out by reading an excerpt from In the Lap of the Gods.

Acclaim for In the Lap of the Gods:

“A moving farewell to the old, more humane way of life.”
~ Maxine Hong Kingston

Thanks to Denise Woleben for this link to a New York Times review of recently released travel books. From staycations to “foodoirs” (foodies’ memoirs), from vampire bats to cherry blossoms, Book Review editor Alida Becker suggests good summer reads (there’s still time) and dispenses such important tidbits as the fact that coconut water has the same electrolyte balance as blood, which is why it’s good for curing hangovers. Who knew?

The Spice Necklace cover imageHere’s a press release from Conran PR that’s an example of inspired marketing: an author and a resort have teamed up to offer a themed “package” experience in the Caribbean. I hope the promotion is a big success:

Create A “Foodoir”  Of Your Own at Cap Maison
“The Spice Necklace Experience” Package

Bestselling author Rita Golden Gelman will launch her newest book, Female Nomad and Friends: Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World on June 1, 2010. In the book, 41 authors tell their stories of adventuring around the world; more than 30 international recipes are included. You can download a PDF of the first chapter here.

More info here about Rita’s virtual book tour.

Rita is currently spearheading an initiative called Let’s Get Global (a project of U.S. Servas, Inc.), a national movement designed to bring the gap year to the United States.



drew14Also from An Ode to Travel Writing; Dream Whip No. 14 was recommended by a caller: “Bill Brown’s latest ramblings of modern American wanderlust mixes short evocative stories with a romantic, almost eternal longing. Reminiscent of the work of Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, or an episode of ‘This American Life,’ Dream Whip has the amazing ability to mix laugh-out-loud stories with goosebump-inducing spookiness. Here are anecdotes of small towns, landmarks and would-be landmarks, diners with good egg salad, and a cast of unforgettable characters. Bill tells of St. Roch, the patron saint of lost causes, whose church is littered with discarded crutches and prosthetic limbs. He laments, ‘In Austin it was impossible to go on a simple errand without falling in love. Every time I mailed a letter or went to buy a loaf of bread, I’d end up with a broken heart.’ Vividly illustrated in b&w by Brown, whose hand-drawn landscapes are both simple and lonesomely elegant.”

voluntarytravelerThe Voluntary Traveler “is a travel anthology penned by writers from all over the world. Focused on inspiring volunteer vacations and/or encouraging adventure-minded people to see volunteer work as a part of ones longer journey, the book will also include a volunteer guide section, listing charities needing volunteer assistance, plus organizations that coordinate service orientated travel.”

What a great idea! Join their Facebook page, buy the book, tell your friends.


Jan Morris

September 6, 2009 | 3 Comments

jan_morrisI had the great pleasure of hearing Jan Morris—in conversation with Don George—at Book Passage on August 27th. Morris spoke about her forthcoming book, Contact! (“I’m a great advocate of the exclamation mark,” she asserts) available in the UK in October. Morris is nearly a legend for her ability to write about places; her new book, however, consists of stories about people: a cafe pianist, a cat illustrator, people met on a train or seen out a window.

September 29, 2009
7:00 pm
October 1, 2009
7:00 pm

CamilleCamille Cusumano, author of Tango, an Argentine Love Story (the travel memoir of a woman who loved, lost, got mad—and decided to dance) will be back from Buenos Aires for two weeks by popular demand, appearing at the San Francisco Museum of Performance & Design (September 29) and the Larkspur Library (October 1), as part of the library’s Armchair Travel series.

africa1I met Ethel Davies, a talented writer and photographer, in 2007 when we were both traveling in Tunisia and Libya. Ethel was working on Bradt‘s North Africa: The Roman Coast, which was released this year. In this interview, Ethel talks about her top ten favorite Roman sites in North Africa.

We visited four of those top ten (Leptis Magna, Sabratha, and Cyrene in Lybia; and El Djem in Tunisia) together, and I agree, they’re spectacular.

MyanmarThingsAsian Press has just released To Myanmar With Love: A Travel Guide for the Connoisseur. The second in a new series of books that fall somewhere between the traditional travel guide and the personal anthology, To Myanmar With Love offers an intimate collection of essays, tips, and recommendations from seasoned travelers and people who live and work inside the country.

Combining information with inspiration and practical, insider’s knowledge, the book has been called “a one-of-a-kind guide for the passionate traveler.” Contributions are organized by themes such as “Moveable Feasts,”  “Secret Gardens,” and “Paying it Forward.” To Myanmar With Love is edited by Morgan Edwardson, with photographs by Steve Goodman.

June 28, 2009
8:00 pm

From Litquake:

Lewis Black in conversation with Marc Maron
June 28, 8 p.m.
Herbst Theater, Van Ness @ McAllister
San Francisco

For its biggest fundraiser of the year, Litquake proudly presents comedian, actor, author, and Daily Show contributor Lewis Black, live and uncensored! This will be the curmudgeonly comic’s only Bay Area appearance to promote his bestselling book Me of Little Faith, just released in paperback. In a freewheeling onstage conversation, Black and comedian/radio host Marc Maron will gleefully dissect politics, religion, and other American foolishness.

wai-naniTravel writer Linda Ballou offers beginning travel writers a free e-book called How to Make Travel Writing Work for You. Linda explains, “My report is written to those who are not going to try to make a living at travel writing, but just want to get around to places they couldn’t get to otherwise.”

Get the free report by providing your name and email address at Linda’s website, after which the PDF download will appear. And while you’re there, check out Linda’s book, Wai-nanai, High Chiefess of Hawai’i.

Washington Post review of Rolf Potts’ Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: TARGET AUDIENCE: People who like to look under the hood of a good book. Potts, Internet raconteur and travel-advice sage, is the kind of guy you wish the pubs had more of: well traveled, generous with funny stories, eager to listen to yours. You feel envious that you weren’t with him in Cairo to share the convivial squalor of a backpacker hotel, or at an Indian ashram to study Tantric sex, or even in the Libyan Desert, in the dark, out of water and lost. And he’s able to draw insights from all that without draining the fun out of the conversation — difficult to carry off in a pub or a book. Although Potts’s book combines adventure travel narratives with travel-writer inside baseball, he wisely slips the didactic bits into optional endnotes. It would be a shame to skip them, however, as his explanations for why he did or wrote something often are compelling in themselves. Hey, with luck, we could get drugged and robbed in Istanbul, too. — Jerry V. Haines

The 7th(!) edition of Karen Misuraca’s guidebook, Fun With the Family Northern California, has been released by Globe Pequot Press. A popular guide for more than a decade, the book leads the way to amusement parks, historical attractions, children’s museums, wildlife habitats, festivals, parks, and more, including extensive coverage of Yosemite National Park, the Gold Country, the San Francisco Bay Area and the redwoods.

Russia photo books

December 4, 2008 | 1 Comment

Curious about what Russia looks like today, and how her citizens are adapting to a democratic society?  Jim and I visited in September, and filled two 100+ page travel journals with lively photos and commentary. They’re available as free downloads until the end of 2008.

Book #2 (just out), Russia 2, includes photos of Russia’s two magnificent cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg: this volume showcases grand palaces, sprawling museums, city scenes, centuries’ worth of art, modern outdoor sculpture, the Hermitage, Catherine’s Palace, GUM department store (converted into an upscale shopping mall), the famous Moscow metro, Peterhof, Tretyakov Gallery, the Park of the Fallen Idols, and more.

December 7, 2008
4:00 pmto5:00 pm

Thanks to Amy Tsakel, Business Manager for the West Marin Review, for sending this information:

“Here in the far reaches of coastal California, we ring in the holiday season with enthusiasm: a hearty feast at the local community center, a gathering of artisans at the annual craft fair, and an abundance of solstice celebrations. This weekend, join us in Point Reyes Station in support of a promising new literary journal—the West Marin Review.

Holiday Fundraiser with Terry Tempest Williams
December 7
4 p.m.
Toby’s Feed Barn

Sidra Stich’s Art-SITESis a unique series combining art books and travel guides. User-friendly, each handbook is filled with in-depth commentaries and nitty-gritty details on art museums, top-notch galleries, pioneering exhibition spaces, cutting-edge contemporary architecture, film centers, vanguard public art, sculpture parks, art fairs, festivals and bookshops. Far beyond the usual coverage of museums and monuments, these handbooks offer an excitingly different way to explore cities and discover the hinterlands.

December 14, 2008
7:00 pmto8:00 pm

Editors Barbara J. Euser and Connie Burke will present their latest travel anthology, Venturing in Italy: Travels in Puglia, Land between Two Seas at Book Passage in Corte Madera at 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 14. Contributing writers will read segments from their stories about Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot) and Barbara and Connie will present thirty slides of the region.

Local readers include Nancy Alpert, Connie Gutowsky, Tom Harrell, Laurie McAndish King, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, Ethel Mussen, and MJ Pramik. Out-of-town “celebrity readers” include Sandra Bracken, Annelize Goedbloed, and Carol Kelly

November 7, 2008
7:00 pm

I’ve seen this book, and it’s beautiful. Hope you can join Kraig and Michael for the launch celebrations:

Kraig Lieb and Michael Shapiro celebrate the publication of Guatemala: A Journey Through the Land of the Maya. Lieb, a photographer for Lonely Planet, will show slides illuminating the land, traditions and celebrations of the Maya in Guatemala. Shapiro, who wrote the text for this pictorial book, will address questions about traveling to Guatemala and the best places to see there.

Two free venues:

Friday, Nov. 7, 7pm
Copperfield’s Books
138 N. Main St.
Sebastopol, Calif.
707-823-2618

From Rolf Potts, on his new book Marco Polo Didn’t Go There (in stores last month; I’m just getting caught up): The subtitle to the book is “Stories and Revelations From One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer,” and the story collection is just that — a look back at my boldest, funniest, and most revealing travel-writing adventures from the past 10 years. In a way, it’s both a sequel and a “prequel” to my first book, Vagabonding.

I found out last night, in an entertaining evening at the War Memorial in San Francisco. It was a Recce conversation, sponsored by Geographic Expeditions, in which Don George interviewed Robert Thurman, to the extent that Thurman can be interviewed.

Bob Thurman is one of the world’s leading experts on Tibetan Buddhism, “the founder of Tibet House, the President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, and the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. He was the first American ordained as a Tibetan monk and Time magazine named him one of the 25 Most Influential People in America.” (GeoEx)

Lenny Karpman, who used to live in the SF Bay Area but moved to Costa Rica several years ago, says the country is developing a sophisticated restaurant scene. Check out Lenny’s blog for for updates on Costa Rican foods and restaurants.

“Lenny Karpman is a prolific writer of food and travel pieces from his nest, a farm in Costa Rica that he and his wife, Joan Hall, share with their menagerie of rescued critters.

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