Mostly engaging, diverse tales of offbeat travel adventures.

THE BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING 2012

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. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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NUTCRACKER

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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