The San Francisco Travel Book Club
Meets the first Monday of Every Month at 7:00 PM
Books Inc. the Marina, 2251 Chestnut Street, San Francisco.
June 2016 Selection: Cousineau s wanderlust has driven him to visit nearly 100 countries as a backpacker, documentary filmmaker, travel writer, photographer, and art and literary tour leader. For him, travel gives us what his mentor Joseph Campbell called the key to the realm of the muses.
As author of the best-selling travel book "The Art of Pilgrimage," Cousineau continues to crisscross the world as a travel writer, filmmaker, and host of "Global Spirit."
"The Book of Roads: Travel Stories from Michigan to Marrakech" is the culmination of a lifetime of travel experiences, from the steel factories of Detroit to headhunting villages in the Philippines, the war-torn villages in the Balkans to the river roads of Canada once traversed by his voyageur ancestors. His rhapsodic travel stories place him in the league of fellow travelers who are also masterful writers, such as Pico Iyer, Jack Kerouac, Jan Morris, and Beryl Markham.
May 2016 Selection:The masterpiece of travel writing that revolutionized the genre and made its author famous overnight
An exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land, Bruce Chatwin s exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia teems with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history, and unforgettable anecdotes. Fueled by an unmistakable lust for life and adventure and a singular gift for storytelling, Chatwin treks through the uttermost part of the earth that stretch of land at the southern tip of South America, where bandits were once made welcome in search of almost-forgotten legends, the descendants of Welsh immigrants, and the log cabin built by Butch Cassidy. An instant classic upon publication in 1977, "In Patagonia" is a masterpiece that has cast a long shadow upon the literary world.
April 2016 Selection:"A Year in the World" is vintage Frances Mayes--a celebration of the allure of travel, of serendipitous pleasures found in unlikely locales, of memory woven into the present, and of a joyous sense of quest. With her beloved Tuscany as a home base, Mayes travels to Spain, Portugal, France, the British Isles, and to the Mediterranean world of Turkey, Greece, the South of Italy, and North Africa. Weaving together personal perceptions and informed commentary on art, architecture, history, landscape, and social and culinary traditions, Mayes brings the immediacy of life in her temporary homes to readers. An illuminating and passionate book that will be savored by all who loved" Under the Tuscan Sun," "A Year in the World" is travel writing at its peak.
March 2016Selection: From Lonely Planet, the world's leading travel guide publisher, " ""Better Than Fiction 2," the follow-up to 2012's "Better Than Fiction," is a second serving of true travel stories told by some of the world's best fiction writers including Dave Eggers, Jane Smiley and Karen Joy Fowler.
Varied in place, plot and voice, these are stirring and evocative pieces that all share one common characteristic-they manifest a passion for the precious gift of travel, from its unexpected but inevitably enriching lessons about other peoples and places, to the truths, sometimes uncomfortable but always enlarging, it reveals about ourselves.
By turns comic, dramatic, and moving - from Francine Prose's confrontation of the mysteries of India to DBC Pierre's search for Hemingway's muse in Italy - these 30 short tales reveal the joys, perils, and surprises of travel, and that truth can often be stranger (and better) than fiction.
Whether on a plane en route to your own travel adventure, or at home settling in for a vicarious experience of world adventures, embark on this literary journey around the world and explore your passion for travel now!
February 2016 Selection: Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and soul-stirring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles in his path. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
November 2015 Selection: As a professional travel writer and editor for the past 40 years, Don George has been paid to explore the world. Through the decades, his articles have been published in magazines, newspapers, and websites around the globe and have won more awards than almost any other travel writer alive, yet his pieces have never been collected into one volume. "The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George" fills this void with a moving and inspiring collection of tales and reflections from one of America s most acclaimed and beloved travel writers.
From his high-spirited account of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on a whim when he was 22 years old to his heart-plucking description of a home-stay in a muddy compound in Cambodia as a 61-year-old, this collection ranges widely. As renowned for his insightful observations as for his poetic prose, George always absorbs the essence of the places he s visiting.
Other stories here include a moving encounter with Australia s sacred red rock monolith, Uluru; an immersion in country kindness on the Japanese island of Shikoku; the trials and triumphs of ascending Yosemite s Half Dome with his wife and children; and a magical morning at Machu Picchu. 's Afghanistan.
October 2015 Selection: This collection of rollicking travel tales is from a young writer "USA Today" has called "Jack Kerouac for the Internet Age." Potts documents his funniest and most hair-raising trips, from getting stranded in the Libyan desert without water to learning the secrets of Tantric sex in a dubious Indian ashram.
August 2015 Selection: A runaway "San Francisco Chronicle" bestseller, "Cool Gray City of Love" is a one-of-a-kind book for a one-of-a-kind city. It's a love song in 49 chapters to an extraordinary place, taking 49 different sites around the city as points of entry and inspiration-from a seedy intersection in the Tenderloin to the soaring sea cliffs at Lands End. Encompassing the city's Spanish missionary past, a gold rush, a couple of earthquakes, the Beats, the hippies, and the dot-com boom, this book is at once a rambling walking tour, a natural and human history, and a celebration of place itself-a guide to loving any place more faithfully and fully.
July 2015 Selection: Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But "A Walk in the Woods" is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, "A Walk in the Woods" has becomea modern classic of travel literature.
June 2015 Selection: In Dark Star Safari the wittily observant and endearingly irascible Paul Theroux takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train. In the course of his epic and enlightening journey, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances.
Gauging the state of affairs, he talks to Africans, aid workers, missionaries, and tourists. What results is an insightful meditation on the history, politics, and beauty of Africa and its people, and "a vivid portrayal of the secret sweetness, the hidden vitality, and the long-patient hope that lies just beneath the surface" (Rocky Mountain News). In a new postscript, Theroux recounts the dramatic events of a return to Africa to visit Zimbabwe.
May 2015 Selection: The World of Venice is a classic book that offers an incomparable take on an incomparable city. Jan Morris's new foreword brings readers up to date on 1990s Venice, a city jam-packed with its admirers, jangling its profits, flaunting its theatrical splendors, enlivened once more by that old Venetian aphrodisiac - success. Incorporating the best aspects of travel writing and popular history, Morris transcends both genres by creating a composite portrait of Venice, artfully blending the fabled city's rich past with its current reality. Writing with singular zest and perceptiveness, Morris explores each of the city's aspects in all of its seasons, evoking the character of this unique locale through its arts, its food, and the personality of its people.
April 2015 Selection: Peter Mayle, francophile phenomenon and author of "A Year in Provence," brings another delightful (and delicious) account of the good life, this time exploring the gustatory pleasures to be found throughout France.
The French celebrate food and drink more than any other people, and Mayle shows us just how contagious their enthusiasm can be. We visit the Foire aux Escargots. We attend a truly French marathon, where the beverage of choice is Chteau Lafite-Rothschild rather than Gatorade. We search out the most pungent cheese in France, and eavesdrop on a heated debate on the perfect way to prepare an omelet. We even attend a Catholic mass in the village of Richerenches, a sacred event at which thanks are given for the aromatic, mysterious, and breathtakingly expensive black truffle. With Mayle as our inimitably charming guide, we come away with a satisfied smile (if a little hungry) and the compelling desire to book a flight to France at once.
March 2015 Selection: A SCOTSMAN NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
Vanessa Able wanted a truly independent Indian adventure, but nothing prepared her for the noise, chaos and terror of driving 10,000 km around the subcontinent or for finding the love of her life.
Behind the wheel of a yellow Tata Nano (the world s cheapest car), Vanessa steers the reader through a hilarious, high-octane adventure. Taking any help she can get from loopy spiritual gurus to professional driving instructors, and even a divine insurance policy she drives her way around an alien road network through India s white-knuckle traffic where vehicle size, full-beam lights and roads that simply disappear seem to trump all common sense. Narrowly escaping death by truck, she learns the real rules of the road, the vehicle pecking order, what to do when the SH11T hits the fan and to appreciate the true kings of the dusty tarmac: the bullocks.
En route, she falls hopelessly in love with a mathematician named Thor who might be, ironically, the worst driver she s ever met. Their romance does not start promisingly the first rendezvous is interrupted by that universal passion-killer, Delhi belly but will they survive unexpected sheep-jams, a car full of elephant slime, and the endless cacophony of horns?
February 2015 Selection: More than 20 well-known writers and celebrities share the travel experiences that shaped their personalities and changed their lives. Contributors include Dave Eggers, Richard Ford, Pico Iyer, John Berendt, Alexander McCall Smith and Jane Smiley.
About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.
November 2014 Selection: "Travel connoisseurs divide the world into those places they've been dying to visit or revisit and places they'd never set foot in but are glad someone else did. This year's volume of travel writing . . . focuses mostly on the latter with derring-do dispatches." -- "USA Today"
A far-ranging collection of the best travel writing pieces published in 2013, collected by guest editor Paul Theroux. "The Best American Travel Writing" consistently includes a wide variety of pieces, illuminating the wonder, humor, fear, and exhilaration that greets all of us when we embark on a journey to a new place. Readers know that there is simply no other option when they want great travel writing.
October 2014 Selection: A round-the-world bicycle tour with one of the most original artists of our day.
Urban bicycling has become more popular than ever as recession- strapped, climate-conscious city dwellers reinvent basic transportation. In this wide-ranging memoir, artist/musician David Byrne-who has relied on a bike to get around New York City since the early 1980s-relates his adventures as he pedals through an engages with some of the world's major cities. From Buenos Aires to Berlin, he meets a range of people both famous and ordinary, shares his thoughts on art, fashion, music, globalization, and the ways that many places are becoming more bike-friendly. "Bicycle Diaries" is an adventure on two wheels conveyed with humor, curiosity, and humanity.
September 2014 Selection: NO ONE TRAVELS QUITE LIKE RICHARD GRANT and, really, no one should. In his last book, the adventure classic "God's Middle Finger, "he narrowly escaped death in Mexico's lawless Sierra Madre. Now, Grant has plunged with his trademark recklessness, wit, and curiosity into East Africa. Setting out to make the first descent of an unexplored river in Tanzania, he gets waylaid in Zanzibar by thieves, whores, and a charismatic former golf pro before crossing the Indian Ocean in a rickety cargo boat. And then the real adventure begins. Known to local tribes as "the river of bad spirits," the Malagarasi River is a daunting adversary even with a heavily armed Tanzanian crew as travel companions. Dodging bullets, hippos, and crocodiles, Grant finally emerges in war-torn Burundi, where he befriends some ethnic street gangsters and trails a notorious man-eating crocodile known as Gustave. He concludes his journey by interviewing the dictatorial president of Rwanda and visiting the true source of the Nile. Gripping, illuminating, sometimes harrowing, often hilarious, "Crazy River "is a brilliantly rendered account of a modern-day exploration of Africa, and the unraveling of Grant's peeled, battered mind as he tries to take it all in.