Category Archives: Travel/ Exploration

The Old Ways

I recently reviewed Robert Macfarlane’s book, Mountains of the Mind, which is part personal essay and part cultural history. It asks a number of questions about mountains: What is it about mountains that draws us? How do mountains shape us? … Continue reading

Posted in Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 9 Comments

A Thousand Miles Up the Nile

Amelia Edwards went to Egypt in the winter of 1873-74. She was already known for her novels and for a much-anthologized story called “The Phantom Coach,” and she intended to write about this trip. But what she saw changed her … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 11 Comments

Mountains of the Mind

For years, I’ve been a lover of the literature of exploration. I’ve read many books in which men (and some women, but mostly men) hurl themselves at intemperate climates and impossible peaks. In Mountains of the Mind, Robert Macfarlane goes … Continue reading

Posted in History, Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | Leave a comment

A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains

This book, perhaps Isabella Bird’s most famous, is actually her fourth. By the time she wrote it in 1879, she had already travelled from her native England to Australia, to Hawaii, 800 miles on horseback through the Colorado Rockies, and … Continue reading

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

The Darkest Jungle

In Todd Balf’s book The Darkest Jungle, he explains that by 1854, after the spectacular and expensive failure of the Franklin expedition, the search for the Northwest Passage was sliding off the front pages. The new great hope was Panama. … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 4 Comments

From Heaven Lake

Vikram Seth is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read all of his novels, even the one written in verse (and am looking forward to A Suitable Girl, coming out in 2016, ya-hey!) I’ve read his biography of his great-aunt … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 1 Comment

Beijing Bastard

Val Wang’s parents came to the United States from China when they were young adults with a spirit of adventure. Still, they wanted to give their daughter a sense of her heritage, so they sent her to Chinese school, taught … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | Tagged | 8 Comments

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