Mostly engaging, diverse tales of offbeat travel adventures.

The latest intriguing batch of travel writing from the venerable series.

With series editor Wilson, National Book Award winner Vollman (Imperial, 2009, etc.) pulls together a wide range of pieces, including Monte Reel's look at how to explore the world like a Victorian gentleman and Elliott D. Woods’ essay on the zabaleen, or garbage pickers, in the Garbage City of Cairo. “There are real-life garbage kings in the village with informal businesses worth millions of dollars,” writes Woods, “but most of the 60,000 in the Garbage City live modest lives defined by hard labor and strong family obligations.” Indeed, many of the pieces will not make readers hurry to follow the narrator's footsteps—e.g., Henry Shukman's visit to Chernobyl, where a strange lushness permeates the region, or J. Malcolm Garcia's haunting and brutal piece on a murder where everyone knows what happened, but no one is willing to talk for fear of reprisal. Other narratives may entice fellow travelers, however—e.g., Paul Theroux's short piece on the Maine coast and, for those with a religious bent, Kimberly Meyer's essay on the elaborate Passion play performed each year in the Holy City of the Wichitas. From crossing the border in Tijuana in search of the Tijuana Sports Hall of Fame, to walking the border fence between the United States and Mexico, these stories, from such publications as National Geographic, Outside, Esquire and the Atlantic, undoubtedly bring a taste of adventure to readers. Though not filled with glamor and glitz, they open a window onto the strange, seedy and beautiful in the world, offering readers glimpses into places that many will never see or experience except through the eyes and words of these writers.

Mostly engaging, diverse tales of offbeat travel adventures.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-80897-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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