Category Archives: Travel/ Exploration

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

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