Synopses & Reviews
The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the countrys finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volumes series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites . A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind.
The Best American Travel Writing 2011 includes
André Aciman, Christopher Buckley, Maureen Dowd,
Verlyn Klinkenborg, Ariel Levy, Téa Obreht, Annie Proulx,
Gary Shteyngart, William T. Vollmann,
Emily Witt, and others
"[Crosley's] selections succeed in piquing the armchair travelers wanderlust."
Bestselling author and "New Yorker" staff writer Susan Orlean edits this years volume of the finest travel writing from the past year. Contributors include Ian Frazier, Ann Patchett, David Halberstam, Peter Hessler, and others.
Travel is not about finding something. Its about getting lost -- that is, it is about losing yourself in a place and a moment. The little things that tether you to whats familiar are gone, and you become a conduit through which the sensation of the place is felt.” -- from the introduction by Susan Orlean
The twenty pieces in this years collection showcase the best travel writing from 2006. George Saunders travels to India to witness firsthand a fifteen-year-old boy who has been meditating motionless under a tree for months without food or water, and who many followers believe is the reincarnation of the Buddha. Matthew Power reveals trickle-down economics at work in a Philippine garbage dump. Jason Anthony describes the challenges of everyday life in Vostok, the coldest place on earth, where temperatures dip as low as minus-129 degrees and where, in midsummer, minus-20 degrees is considered a heat wave.
David Halberstam, in one of his last published essays, recalls how an inauspicious Saigon restaurant changed the way he and other reporters in Vietnam saw the world. Ian Frazier analyzes why we get sick when traveling in out-of-the-way places. And Kevin Fedarko embarks on a drug-fueled journey in Djibouti, chewing psychotropic foliage in the worst place on earth.”
Closer to home, Steve Friedman profiles a 410-pound man who set out to walk cross-country to lose weight and find happiness. Rick Bass chases the elusive concept of the West in America, and Jonathan Stern takes a hilarious Lonely Planet approach to his small Manhattan apartment.
The hilarious and well-traveled Sloane Crosley, author of the New York Times bestseller IWas Told There'd be Cake, helms this collection of the genre's gems.
A collection of the best travel writing pieces published in American periodicals during 2010.
About the Author
Sloane Crosley is the author I Was Told There'd Be Cake, which was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Her second collection, How Did You Get This Number, finds her riffing on European vacation disasters and doing bridesmaid duty in Alaska.
JASON WILSON is the drinks columnist at the Washington Post, the series editor of The Smart Set, and the author of Boozehound: On The Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated. He teaches at Drexel University.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Jason Wilson ix Introduction by Susan Orlean xiii
JASON ANTHONY. A Brief and Awkward Tour of the End of the Earth 1 from WorldHum.com
RICK BASS. Lost in Space 8 from the Los Angeles Times Magazine
KEVIN FEDARKO. High in Hell 24 from Esquire
IAN FRAZIER. A Kielbasa Too Far 43 from Outside
STEVE FRIEDMAN. Lost in America 54 from Backpacker
ELIZABETH GILBERT. Long Days Journey into Dinner 71 from GQ
REESA GRUSHKA. Arieh 89 from the Missouri Review
DAVID HALBERSTAM. The Boys of Saigon 107 from Gourmet
PETER HESSLER. Hutong Karma 115 from The New Yorker
EDWARD HOAGLAND. Miles from Nowhere 129 from The American Scholar
IAN PARKER. Birth of a Nation? 148 from The New Yorker
NANDO PARRADO. The Long Way Home 168 from Outside
ANN PATCHETT. Do Not Disturb 184 from Gourmet
MATTHEW POWER. The Magic Mountain 190 from Harpers Magazine
DAVID RAKOFF. Streets of Sorrow 210 from Condé Nast Traveler
GEORGE SAUNDERS. The Incredible Buddha Boy 219 from GQ
GARY SHTEYNGART. Brazils Untamed Heart 246 from Travel Leisure
ANDREW SOLOMON. Circle of Fire 255 from The New Yorker
JONATHAN STERN. The Lonely Planet Guide to My Apartment 288 from The New Yorker
CYNTHIA ZARIN. Fantasy Island 292 from Gourmet
Contributors Notes 299 Notable Travel Writing of 2006 304