While browsing my local Barnes & Noble earlier this week, I stumbled upon a display of The Best American Series – a collection of books recapping the year’s best writing. Among the collection is a travel-themed edition, curated this year by travel “badboy” Anthony Bourdain.
Gadling has given great reviews to these anthologies in years past, so I decided to pick up a copy. As a fledgling travel writer myself, I’ve found the pieces in this year’s edition to be highly compelling. The featured content covers a surprisingly broad array of topics. Foodies will savor writer Bill Buford’s account of Extreme Chocolate, which finds the author deep in the rainforests of Brazil in search of the perfect cacao beans. Adventurers will want to dive into James Campbell’s look at the Kapa Kapa Trail, a grueling overland route of American soldiers fighting in Papua New Guinea during World War II, in Chasing Ghosts.
For anyone who’s interested in the travel genre, this is a great recap of this year’s best-written and most interesting stories. Travel writing is a well-worn style – pithy descriptions of swank hotels and delicious meals can only take you so far. It’s the stories that are able to rise above the cliches and well worn metaphors to truly give a sense of place and its people that truly does these locations justice.