Category Archives: Travel/ Exploration

A Time of Gifts

As a young man, Patrick Leigh Fermor couldn’t quite decide what he wanted to do with his life. He’d left school, peace-time soldiering had proven unsuitable, and his attempt to take lodgings and become a writer was more difficult than … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 14 Comments

Into the Wild

I heard about Chris McCandless’s trip into the Alaskan wilderness decades before I read Jon Krakauer’s take on it. After all, his back yard almost looked into mine: he grew up in Annandale, Virginia, just a few years older than … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 18 Comments

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

I’m slowly making my way through A Suitable Boy, but as much as I’m enjoying it, I’m finding it useful to take breaks from it to read shorter things. So when I was last at the library, I picked up … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Novels / Comics, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 15 Comments

A Time to Keep Silence

Last year, one of the best books I read was Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts: his account of his 1933 journey, on foot, at the age of 19, from Rotterdam to Hungary. Fermor’s humor, his humility, his lively … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion, Travel/ Exploration | 13 Comments

Song of the Dodo

When I was in school, science was by far my least favorite class. (Well, except for P.E., which was not so much a class as an exercise in humiliation.) It was just so deadly dull. We memorized one thing after … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 18 Comments

Skating to Antarctica

Jenny Diski explains her desire to get to Antarctica — or as close as she can get by cruise ship — as a desire for absence. If I trace it back, that wish for whiteout began with the idea of … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 9 Comments

An African in Greenland

Tété-Michel Kpomassie was born in Togo. The first few chapters of his memoir, An African in Greenland, are spent establishing the everyday African life of his boyhood: palm trees, steamy heat, spicy food, catching lizards, snake worship, and the family … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 9 Comments

A Labyrinth of Kingdoms

When you think of the great 19th-century explorers of Africa, what names spring to mind? Livingston, Stanley, and Burton, sure. Speke, Denham, and Baker, if you’ve done your reading. But Heinrich Barth? Who’s he? In A Labyrinth of Kingdoms, Steve … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | Tagged | 11 Comments

A Time of Gifts

Way back in 2009, I read Litlove’s review of A Time to Be Silent, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s account of his time spent in three different monasteries. Her hints at his biography and his skill at writing made me think that … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 19 Comments

Brazilian Adventure

In 1925, Percy Harrison Fawcett went into the Amazon, looking for traces of a lost civilization. In the face of conventional wisdom, he was convinced that, centuries ago, there had been a grand city in the midst of that jungle … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 13 Comments