Books

By Everett Potter Writer and poet Frances Mayes lives the kind of life most of us can only dream about. Wandering through Italy, she and her husband, Ed, came upon a villa in the Tuscan town of Cortona. They bought and restored the villa, an effort she chronicled in her

  By Bobbie Leigh Even if you are addicted to celebrity cooking shows or online advice from Mark Bittman or Melissa Clark, these cookbooks will add to your repertoire and come in handy when you are “shopping” in your fridge to see what’s around. Each one promises to teach you

By Brian E. Clark When Seth Kugel’s parents sent him off to Kenya at age 16 for a six-week YMCA exchange program, the way he viewed travel was forever changed. Kugel, author of the newly released Rediscovering Travel, A Guide for the Globally Curious (Liveright, $26.95), had made other, more mundane

By Jeffrey Ryan In 1987, just seven years after the mountain’s devastating eruption, climbers were allowed to ascend Mount St. Helens. I was one of those lucky climbers who ascended through the ash to experience an ecosystem in the early stages of recovery. The landscape was raw. Steam rose from

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