Reviewed by Bobbie Leigh Some books deserve to get gritty with spills and smudges of oil and parmesan cheese. But that is not the case with Colman Andrews’ new THE COUNTRY COOKING OF ITALY (Chronicle Books).  It is door-stop big and glossy. Crammed with  photographs. It could easily tempt you

By Richard West December finds us retro-riffling pages of the 35 or so travel narratives read during the year to choose the Fifth Annual EPTR Best Travel Books of 2013. It was an above average 12 months with books published by America’s two best travel writers, Paul Theroux (see below)

By Richard West The British novelist and travel writer, Lawrence Osborne, writes in The Naked Tourist, “Few writers have a real voice, and when one does, the effect is nothing less than amorous…Mead [Margaret] has a voice in the act of travel.” Exactly what I vastly admire about Osborne’s five

Reviewed by Richard West “Perils he sought not, but ne’er shrank to meet:   The scene was savage, but the scene was new;   This made the ceaseless toil of travel sweet.” (“Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” Byron) For 50 years Paul Theroux has been a traveling man, and as dean of

Reviewed by Richard West Perhaps you’ve noticed the recent spate of travel articles on Colombia, hitherto a pariah country of ab ovo civil war and bad Karmageddon-esque drug creation, using, exporting, and killing. Most of us have avoided it or thought of Colombia as an imaginary land like Swift’s Lilliput.

Reviewed by Richard West Employing retrospective clairvoyance, i.e. Monday-morning quarterbacking, we find that, with the exception of our number one walkaway hit,  this year’s nonfiction travel narratives have not been memorable like a great love affair but satisfactory like a good tailor. The A-list Americans—Paul Theroux, William Least Heat-Moon, Tony

By Richard West My 2012 Too-Hip-To-Grip Marketing Award goes to those amusing hommes and femmes at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome hotel. Here’s why. You’re not there very long, eyeing the glamorous heteroflexibles and other schmooseoisie who are eyeing each other or the eye-catching modern art (isn’t that a Roseline Granet?),

By Richard West This month I come to praise the University of Chicago Press’s series, Cultural Trails: Adventures in Travel.  Here’s their manifesto from the website: “Whereas most travel books focus on a particular place—a country, a city, a region—these volumes take as their first subject the exploration of a

By Richard West In Scandinavia, unlike America,  independent English-language bookshops do not seem to be going the way of the last Tasmanian, the Dodo, the final passenger pigeon, politicians with a conscience.  Amidst every major city there’s a truffling of stores selling new and second-hand books, offering reading clubs, appearances

  Richard West As surely as Hardy follows Laurel, the most attractive books that cross my desk year after year come from Haus Publishing’s The Armchair Traveller series. It’s not just their beautiful endpaper maps, Claude Garamond’s elegant typeset, or the fine writing, no, it’s also their distinctive size and