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The Best American Travel Writing 2018

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Everyone travels for different reasons, but whatever those reasons are, one thing is certain: they come back with stories. Each year, the best of those stories are collected in The Best American Travel Writing, curated by one of the top writers in the field, and each year they “open a window onto the strange, seedy, and beautiful world, offering readers glimpses into place Everyone travels for different reasons, but whatever those reasons are, one thing is certain: they come back with stories. Each year, the best of those stories are collected in The Best American Travel Writing, curated by one of the top writers in the field, and each year they “open a window onto the strange, seedy, and beautiful world, offering readers glimpses into places that many will never see or experience except through the eyes and words of these writers” (Kirkus). This far-ranging collection of top notch travel writing is, quite simply, the genre’s gold standard.  


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Everyone travels for different reasons, but whatever those reasons are, one thing is certain: they come back with stories. Each year, the best of those stories are collected in The Best American Travel Writing, curated by one of the top writers in the field, and each year they “open a window onto the strange, seedy, and beautiful world, offering readers glimpses into place Everyone travels for different reasons, but whatever those reasons are, one thing is certain: they come back with stories. Each year, the best of those stories are collected in The Best American Travel Writing, curated by one of the top writers in the field, and each year they “open a window onto the strange, seedy, and beautiful world, offering readers glimpses into places that many will never see or experience except through the eyes and words of these writers” (Kirkus). This far-ranging collection of top notch travel writing is, quite simply, the genre’s gold standard.  

30 review for The Best American Travel Writing 2018

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Another excellent collection, although I could have done with fewer pieces that were not really 'travel' writing per se but profiles of troubled places, such as an article about Flint's drinking water crisis.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan Emmet

    A dark, finely edited collection, many of whose contributors focus on history and contemporary politics. That's okay by me as it reflects present reality. Twenty-four writers with entirely different "takes" on each journey. I was immersed in the essays of Eliot Ackerman, Sam Anderson, Jennifer Hope Choi, Camille Dungy, Ian Frazier, Nathan Heller, Allegra Hyde, Rachel Monroe, Eileen Pollack, Albert Samaha, Gary Shteyngart, Christopher Solomon and Barrett Swanson. Don't have time to write about eac A dark, finely edited collection, many of whose contributors focus on history and contemporary politics. That's okay by me as it reflects present reality. Twenty-four writers with entirely different "takes" on each journey. I was immersed in the essays of Eliot Ackerman, Sam Anderson, Jennifer Hope Choi, Camille Dungy, Ian Frazier, Nathan Heller, Allegra Hyde, Rachel Monroe, Eileen Pollack, Albert Samaha, Gary Shteyngart, Christopher Solomon and Barrett Swanson. Don't have time to write about each right now. But note that this anthology is replete with natural detailing, and also political, social and scientific musings and findings. It's a strong book, well worth reading. Takes you many places in space and time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This book was such an unexpected and truly interesting collection. If you are looking to be delighted by whimsical travel adventures then this might not be for you. This book brings so many thought-provoking stories into one collection. Even the stories I started out dreading (a Russian historical experience!?), ended up being so interesting that I found myself having to provide a summary to my husband after reading them. I learned so much about people’s expectations versus the realities that en This book was such an unexpected and truly interesting collection. If you are looking to be delighted by whimsical travel adventures then this might not be for you. This book brings so many thought-provoking stories into one collection. Even the stories I started out dreading (a Russian historical experience!?), ended up being so interesting that I found myself having to provide a summary to my husband after reading them. I learned so much about people’s expectations versus the realities that ensue, their differing perspectives, history, and how people live such a different and interesting experience than me. The only reason I am giving it 4 stars is because I wasn’t engrossed enough to not be able to put it down, but it was still a very worthwhile read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Not one of the best collections, if I'm honest, with nothing particularly stand-out memorable of the bunch. Usually there's a couple that jump out at me that I go back and think about later, either as an "I want to go here some day" or "Whoa scary war story" or "Hahaha that was hilarious, what else has this author written?" But... none of that, here. Probably the most memorable was "In the Home of the Bear" as well as a story about a blind man going on safari, by Ryan Knighton, who I recognize f Not one of the best collections, if I'm honest, with nothing particularly stand-out memorable of the bunch. Usually there's a couple that jump out at me that I go back and think about later, either as an "I want to go here some day" or "Whoa scary war story" or "Hahaha that was hilarious, what else has this author written?" But... none of that, here. Probably the most memorable was "In the Home of the Bear" as well as a story about a blind man going on safari, by Ryan Knighton, who I recognize from earlier Best American collections, and maybe also a piece about Mount Rushmore. But... yeah. Great travel writing! (Mostly.) Just nothing stand-out "wish I'd written this" memorable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Darius Ostrowski

    I usually enjoy these collections, in fact this is the first one that wasn't excellent. I read travel collections to inspire, to learn, to enjoy this world. Unfortunately, this editor decided to focus too much on the bleak, the sad, the awful parts of the world. Some were wonderful, but too many were depressing. The two stars were for the few stories that were excellent, hopefully the 2019 collection will return to form.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tri Le

    Mostly enjoyable collection of travel-related short pieces. However, there was a bit more politics than I would have preferred in the travel writing I read. The book contained a wide-range of material, from the uncomfortable-ness of an American on a French vacation, the black experience on the Appalachian trail, to the exploration of AI and technology in Korea, and the food scene in Moscow. I enjoyed the diverse selection and learned quite a bit more about the world.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    This was my first time reading on of those “Best of American .... Writing”. I’ve always been curious about the series but never had seen the travel writing iteration of the series and of course Cheryl Strayed as editor caught my eye. Some really enjoyable essays, some meh. Nice and easy to dip in and out. Particularly enjoyed those from Outside magazine, now considering a subscription.

  8. 4 out of 5

    scott b bredbenner

    Not travel writing Selections are better suited for something other than a travel anthology. The history of the Russian Revolution is not travel writing. Because you write about a subject in another place does not make it travel writing. I have read these for many years and recommend skipping 2018. I guess the editor did not understand what travel writing is.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Donna Luu

    Not as good as past issues, the articles weren't even organized, except alphabetically by author. Still, there were a few good ones: Why should a melon cost as much as a car?, Foxes of PEI, and the Digital Republic.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    I use this collection each year for teaching travel writing. This one is going to be tough. A lot of the essays are more centered on people or history than on place. Lots of have a meditation on personal thoughts and less observation of surroundings.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    This a series of essays about travels the authors have done it was great reading

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jarrett

    4/5

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Strayed did a good job of picking interesting essays - just a few clunckers. Otherwise the variety made for good reading. One of the best of the series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  16. 4 out of 5

    Reagen Ward

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason Snyder

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eli

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Moncada

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dana Dillon

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

  27. 5 out of 5

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel B.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nayonmia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lise

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