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Book review: The Best American Travel Writing 2013

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The Best American Travel Writing 2013


Elizabeth Gilbert, of ‘Eat, Prat, Love’ fame, serves as guest editor in this latest annual edition. Her task? Select the best travel essays published in print and online from around the country.

In “The Way I’ve Come,” Judy Copeland expresses her desire to roam free as a backpacker in Sanduan Province. Copeland measures freedom in movement, comparing her fear of being kidnapped as a child immigrant with her adult self’s desire to “fall into a trancelike gait” under the open sky. David Sedaris makes an appearance with his exploration of health care in and outside of America, while Lynn Yaeger shares obsessions and frustrations over carry-on luggage. In “A Farewell to Yarns,” Ian Frazier takes a look at why lies are easier to tell when on an adventure. The author debunks myths, explores lore and legend, and shares his own childhood perceptions of what was true and what was fabrication.

The Best American Travel Writing’ may only share a small sampling of the travel writing published each year, but the latest edition offers unique perspectives, quirky experiences, and some unconventional tales related to life on the road. At just over two hundred pages, inclusive of Gilbert’s introduction and the editorial foreword, this collection shares delightful highlights of America’s best. Satisfying in and of itself, this survey should also tempt readers to explore the genre and its authors more fully.