Reviewed by Richard West          In late summer, 1839, 22-year-old  Henry David Thoreau and his older brother John spent a week canoeing the Concord and  Merrimack  rivers in northeast Massachusetts. Six years later Thoreau moved to Walden Pond outside Concord  where he wrote most of his first book, A

Reviewed by Richard West         In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar, Paul Theroux asks, “what traveler backtracked to take the great trip again?”      “Traveler” meaning fine writer, as he lists those who never did: Graham Greene, Jan Morris, Joseph

  Reviewed by Richard West     “And what will you be having, yourself? “A pint of your finest.”     In Dublin that would be a Guinness as you wait for the proper pour: the familiar oval glass tilted at 45 degrees while being filled, then left to settle at

Reviewed by Richard West     Remarkable, isn’t it, that Abraham  Lincoln, savior of democracy and the United States, and Charles Darwin, founder of modern biology and the world’s most influential naturalist, were born on the same date: February 12, 1809. And to think people still scoff at the notion of

  Reviewed by Richard West     Recently, I gazed at a map of the world and fondly remembered countries visited: sites seen, people met, divine meals devoured, memorable mementoes purchased, and also the unpleasantness of trips, luggage lost, vigorous bigotries, Delhi-belly-esque illnesses. Then a question arose: where among all these

 Reviewed by Richard West       What opium was to Coleridge, caffeine to Balzac, mescaline to Aldous Huxley, and benzedrine to Jack Kerouac, traveling by car and reporting the trip is for many travel writers. The latest example is Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey by William Least-Heat Moon (recently reviewed

Reviewed by Richard West     “The song of the nomad predates the scribbling of the settler,” wrote Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. Not surprising then that Homer’s “paths of songs”, his account of Odysseus’ travels, is traced again  in one of our top ten narratives. Or that we have two excellent

  Reviewed by Richard West    I didn’t know what it meant either. Quoz: “referring to anything strange, incongruous, or particular; at its heart is the unknown, the mysterious. It rhymes with Oz,” writes the author, adding 378 pages later, “The highest form of travel for me is a wandering

 It's the end of the harvest season in North America, and thus an opportune moment to speak with Canadian writer Anita Stewart. For decades, Stewart has been writing and speaking about the bounty of Canada. She's been dubbed the “patron saint of Canadian cuisine" by the National Post. Call her

Reviewed by Richard West     In the past few weeks, two just-published short books have extended my Italian book collection closer to the J's: a celebration of things quintessentially Italian and an ode to Venice. Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best is a charmingly designed small-square book