“Michael Shapiro’s finely tuned, informed and intimate interviews strike to the heart of the matter.” —Tim Cahill, author of Hold the Enlightenment
The Creative Spark is a collection of interviews with some of the most creative people of our time: musicians, writers, visual artists, explorers, and chefs. These makers speak about what drives them, what helps them to see the world in fresh ways, and what inspires them turn their visions into art.
During the past decade, Michael Shapiro has interviewed some of our brightest creative luminaries. Among the authors are Amy Tan, David Sedaris, Barbara Kingsolver, Pico Iyer, and Frances Mayes. His work as a music journalist has led to interviews with legends including Smokey Robinson, Lucinda Williams, Graham Nash, Lyle Lovett, Melissa Etheridge, Merle Haggard, and Jethro Tull bandleader Ian Anderson. And he’s spoken with creative masters in other fields, such as director Francis Ford Coppola and comedian Joan Rivers.
She Broke a 1000-Year-Old Tradition
Eighteen-year-old Franca Viola made history in 1966 as one of the first “#metoo” heroines of modern times, when she refused to go along with a centuries-old forcible marriage custom in Sicily. Having endured kidnap and rape, she publicly defied the expectation that she would marry the rapist to “restore her broken honor.” A social uproar occurred throughout the island—and beyond.
In Natalie Galli’s The Girl Who Said No, Viola’s remarkable story unfolds when the author arrives in Palermo to search for her, with little more than the memory of a tiny article she had spotted two decades prior. Galli wanted to know: whatever had become of this courageous girl who had overturned an ancient, entrenched tradition?
Throughout her search for the enigmatic Franca, Galli shares her own poignant and hilarious observations about a vibrant culture steeped in contradiction and paradox. Does she succeed in locating the elusive proto-feminist whose case forever changed Italian culture and history? Travel along on Galli’s engaging odyssey to find out.
“Engrossing from the very first page. I was totally swept away.” —Lavinia Spalding, author of Writing Away
“This book contains some of the most astonishing tales I’ve ever encountered. One after another. They make for obsessive reading.” —Tim Cahill, author of Jaguars Ripped My Flesh
“The entire point of travel is to encounter the unimaginable. Gina and Scott Gaille have collected some of the most remarkable tales to ever see the light of day. A hoot to read.” —J. Maarten Troost, author of The Sex Lives of CannibalsWhat’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen or experienced? Gina and Scott Gaille have traveled to more than 100 countries. Wherever they go, they ask this question. Strange Tales of World Travel recounts 50 of these amazing encounters, including:
- Daring Diplomat, who ate the flesh of the venomous cobra bird in the Sahara Desert
- Pearl Trader, who survived a fever through a harrowing "human honey" treatment in Oman
- Agent Ghost, who was shot and left to die in a garbage dump in Africa
- Death-Defying Instagrammer, who stepped on the tail of the world’s sixth most venomous snake in Australia to take a better photo
- Human Pet, who became a prince’s prisoner in Qatar
- Imperial CEO, who made a minion fly twelve hours to Paris from Abu Dhabi to buy clean underwear
- Gorilla Doll, who broke the rules of visiting Rwandan gorillas and got dragged up the side of a volcano
Author and explorer James Michael Dorsey has spent two decades visiting the world’s most remote tribal cultures. In Baboons for Lunch and Other Sordid Adventures, he tells his remarkable travel stories in rollicking accounts that keep readers off balance and eager for more. Many stories are funny, others are poignant, and quite a few are heart stopping, while others are unique insights into remote ways of life most of the world does not know exists. In this book the reader will climb a remote volcano in Ethiopia, cross the Sahara Desert with nomads, undergo a tribal exorcism, and visit shamans, healers, witch doctors, and holy men. This is not your average travel book, but an entree to some of the world’s remote corners and people.
Come travel with La Dolce Vita University (L◆D◆V◆U) to the heart of Italian culture in the seductive spirit of la dolce vita. L◆D◆V◆U is the perfect sampler to indulge anyone curious about—or already in amore with—Italy and its remarkably rich trove of cultural treasures. In dozens of entertaining yet authoritative mini-essays. L◆D◆V◆U lets you explore fascinating aspects of Italy’s cuisine, wines, history, art, architecture, traditions, style, legendary personalities, and so much more. The book is organized alphabetically, but nothing is ever quite that straightforward when it comes to Italy. Even if you choose to read these mini-essays sequentially, you may very well feel as though you’re wandering the mysterious alleys of a medieval town, the hidden vicoli of a larger city, or even along the serpentine canals of La Serenissima.
What is your mother tongue? Sometimes the simplest questions take a book to answer. Such is the case with Tania Romanov. Mother Tongue is an exploration of lives lived in the chaos of a part of the world known as the Balkans. It follows the lives of three generations of women—Katarina, Zora, and Tania—over the last 100 years. It follows countries that dissolved, formed, and reformed. Lands that were conquered and subjugated by Fascists and Nazis and nationalists. Lives lived in exile, in refugee camps, in new worlds. The country of birth listed on Tania’s American passport changed four times in four successive renewals. Until the first time, she believed your country of birth was a fixed point. Today she knows better. Go with her as she journeys through time and history looking for answers, and finding some.
Since 2006 the editors of Travelers’ Tales have run a writing competition to find the best travel story of the year: The Solas Awards. Over those years, thousands of stories have come across their desks, from writers famous and unknown, covering all corners of the globe with stories of adventure and discovery, love and loss, humor and absurdity, grief and joy. In this collection appear all of the top prize winners of the first ten years, stories that bring readers along for journeys that are inspiring, uplifting, and, very often, transformative. These tales are powerful, moving testaments to the richness of our world, its cultures, people, and places.
Wings is a love story of France, a blend of travel writing and memoir that reveals the country's art, cuisine, history, and traditions through encounters with characters such as Winged Victory, Claude Monet, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Coco Chanel, and a mélange of writers, filmmakers, and friends. Erin Byrne goes deep to discover little-known aspects of French culture and by doing so, uncovers long-buried qualities of herself. She is transformed and her stories may transform you.“A reverie-inducing glimpse of past and present France.” —Phil Cousineau, author of The Book of Roads
Explore the World with a Legendary Travel Writer
Don George has been captivating readers with chronicles of his wandering adventures for four decades. Here you’ll find his best stories and essays, from climbing Kilimanjaro and contemplating the magic of Uluru to exploring the jungles of Cambodia and the backcountry temples of Shikoku. Let Don open your eyes to the wonders of the world as he falls in love in Greece, encounters whales in Mexico and elephants in East Africa, makes roof tiles in Peru, dances like a South Seas warrior on Aitutaki, and much more.
With a Foreword by Pico Iyer.
The Guidebook Experiment is a call-to-action for all of us to conduct our own guidebook experiments, to disconnect from the ceaseless barrage of information in modern life and explore an unknown neighborhood or unfamiliar country and discover the joy of travel on our own."Bockino empowers the reader to go skinny dipping in the unknown—I dare you to read it and stay put." —Peter Wortsman, author of Ghost Dance in Berlin
25th Anniversary Edition!
“A wonderful travel companion for anyone who wants to view afresh the wonders and oddess of humankind.” — Amy Tan
“Asia is a mythical jubilee,” writes Jeff Greenwald, “full of characters more strange and entertaining than anything you’ll find in Star Wars.” On his quest for the perfect Buddha statue, Greenwald treks to a lofty nunnery to meet “one of the most powerful women in Tibet—known to fly through the air.” He visits Kathmandu’s first indoor shopping mall (where a ride on the country’s first escalator is a near-religious event), and befriends a sly ...
Deer Hunting in Paris is an unexpectedly funny exploration of a vanishing way of life in a complex, cosmopolitan world. Sneezing madly from hay fever, a Korean-American preacher’s daughter refuses to get married, travels the world, and ends up learning how to hunt from her boyfriend’s conservative family. As she navigates the perils of an unlikely romantic relationship from Paris, France, to Paris, Maine, Paula Young Lee skewers human foibles while she celebrates hunting, DIY food culture, and what it means to be a carnivore.
She finds herself trying to keep from being “mistaken” for a deer and getting shot at the clothesline, while also avoiding becoming dinner for bears. Along the way, this former vegetarian finds lessons about life, love, and loss in a hacksaw and a haunch of venison.
Host Dance in Berlin is an unlikely declaration of love by the American-born son of German-speaking Jewish refugees. From a temporary perch in a villa on Berlin’s biggest lake, Wortsman imagines the parallel celebratory haunting of two sets of ghosts, those of the exiled erstwhile owners, a Jewish banker and his family, and those of the Führer’s Minister of Finance and his entourage, who took over title, while in another villa across the lake another gaggle of ghosts is busy planning the Final Solution. Where the Wall once stood dividing East and West the city remains bisected by invisible borderlines, across which the author hops with an eye for telling detail and an ear for memorable conversations with street musicians ...
Rolf Potts has taken his keen postmodern travel sensibility into the far reaches of five continents as a travel writer for such prestigious publications as National Geographic Traveler, Salon.com, and The New York Times Magazine. This book documents his boldest, funniest, and most revealing journeys—from getting stranded without water in the Libyan Desert, to crashing the set of a Leonardo DiCaprio movie in Thailand, to learning the secrets of Tantric sex in a dubious Indian ashram.Marco Polo Didn't Go There is more than just an entertaining journey into fascinating corners of the world. It is a unique window into travel writing, with each chapter containing a "commentary track"—humorous endnotes that reveal the ragged edges behind the experience and creation of each tale. Offbeat and insightful, this book is an engrossing read for students of travel writing as well as armchair wanderers.
“A most diverting and picaresque tale, one that reads like a sentimental journey of a hundred years ago.” —the late Norman Cousins In the early 1960s, a young, self-taught musician set out to travel the world with no money, equipped only with his guitar, his voice, and his belief in the goodness of people. Along the way, blown by the winds of fortune, guided by instinct, he played for kings and paupers, soldiers and servants, artists and terrorists. His name is Moro Buddy Bohn, and his unlikely and powerful story will uplift you and inspire you to live the life you want. His audiences have included Queen Elizabeth II of England, King Frederick IX of Denmark, Pablo Picasso ...
“Part Love Boat, part Mutiny on the Bounty, Cruise Confidential does for cruising what Animal House did for higher education.” —J. Maarten Troost, author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals Cruise Confidential is a delightfully funny, wild, and romantic adventure that reveals what it's really like working on a cruise ship. Brian David Bruns worked for a year in the ships' restaurants and his account will astonish you as you are assaulted with circumstances ranging from the absurd to the bizarre. Did you know that waiters are required to steal cutlery and even food from each other for their own guests? Can you imagine what the crew thinks of the passengers? And sex, don't forget the sex ...
“I’ve never thought of us so-called travel writers as forming a comradeship, but in this innovative book, Shapiro brings our motley crew into a single focus by surveying eighteen of us, as writers and as people, through a single pair of perceptive, generous, and imaginative eyes.” —Jan Morris
Read an interview with Laurie Gough. This is a passionate journey of love, discovery, and serendipity that radiates from a remote beach in Fiji to the far reaches of the globe. Author Laurie Gough boldly embraces the pilgrimUs road with wisdom beyond her years. Her story is heartwarming, funny, and wise...a profound testament to the lessons of the road. Related Titles: Travelers' Tales: A Mother's World, Travelers' Tales: A Woman's World, Travelers' Tales: Gutsy Women, Travelers' Tales: Gutsy Mamas, Travelers' Tales: Women in the Wild, Safety and Security for Women Who Travel, A Woman's Passion for Travel, Visit Laurie Gough's web site at www.lauriegough.com.
In these wide-ranging tales from a life on the road, Vietnam vet and "adventure eater" Richard Sterling takes the reader deep into the heart of cultures from Asia to Africa to North America. Whether breaking bread with a murderer in the Baja desert, or enjoying a shipboard dalliance with a mysterious new acquaintance on the South China Sea, Sterling's faith in humanity is continually renewed through the sharing of food, drink, and passion. Provocative and testosterone-edged, his writing is also poignant and hilarious.
A year off from work. A meandering journey around the globe. Though it sounds like an impossible dream, one day David Cohen and his family decided to make it a reality. In their year, the Cohen family trek up a Costa Rican volcano, traverse the vast Australian desert, and roam the Burgundy canals by houseboat. An inspiring true story of one family's adventure of a lifetime.
With an insatiable hunger for the absurd, Doug Lansky takes the reader on a global odyssey. Whether visiting the notoriously erotic Kit Kat Club in Berlin or bellhopping at an underwater hotel, Lansky takes on the world with pluck, irreverence, and a great sense of humor. "Lansky brings indefatigable good cheer and a sense of wonder and curiousity to the task that is entirely inappropriate for a man of his age. Which is very good news for his fans!" - Rudy Maxa, host, "The Savvy Traveler" "Traveling with Doug Lansky might result in a considerably shortened life expectancy. . . but what a way to go." - Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet Publications
Award-winning author David Yeadon uses the world as his catalyst for inner exploration, reflecting upon those experiences that have deeply opened him to life and led him to discover his many hidden selves. Whether it's the hero, the coward, the clown, the warrior, the gourmet cook for the dancer, all are unveiled through travel and serendipity.
The uplifting, hilarious, and poignant story of Newsham's fulfillment of a promise made to himself two decades earlier. He believed that the best way to share his passion for travel was to invite a stranger to come to the U.S. for a one-month, all expenses paid adventure. Who does Newsham invite? Follow in his footsteps as he meets the candidates on a 100-day journey to the Philippines, India, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
Begun as a grand adventure, Storm tells the story of a trip that quickly became a tumultuous test of endurance. This is a riveting tale of love, struggle, and ferocious weather, as the author and his girlfriend travel by motorcycle around the Baltic Sea.