Shambling Guide to New York City

New York City Travel Writer Edits Travel Guide Series for the Undead

Shambling Guide to New York City

I haven’t read The Shambling Guide to New York City, Mur Lafferty‘s new science fiction/fantasy novel which was just published by Orbit Books. But given the description (below) and this Boing Boing review, I’m definitely adding it to my wish list.

A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city – for the undead!

Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can’t take off her resume — human.

Not to be put off by anything — especially not her blood drinking boss or death goddess coworker — Zoe delves deep into the monster world. But her job turns deadly when the careful balance between human and monsters starts to crumble — with Zoe right in the middle.

~via amazon

Best Book: The Poetry of Paths in ‘The Old Ways’

'The Old Ways' by Robert McFarlane

The New York Times has released its 10 Best Books of 2012 and one of them stands out as a winner for lovers of travel literature.

‘The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot’ by Robert Macfarlane meanders around the world on well-worn routes, such as the Camino de Santiago, through the Himalayas and the Palestinian territories, and to walking paths closer to MacFarlane’s home and heart. While I have not read this book – in fact, I’d not heard of it until this week – I am motivated to purchase it or present it to a travel-minded friend after reading the NYT review:

To describe Macfarlane as a philosopher of walking is to undersell the achievement of “The Old Ways”: his prose feels so firmly grounded, resistant to abstraction. He wears his polymath intelligence lightly as his mind roams across geology, archaeology, fauna, flora, architecture, art, literature and urban design, retrieving small surprises everywhere he walks. In one such passage, he notes the power of what urban planners call “desire lines,” in which one person’s impulsive shortcut encourages others to follow, creating informal, unmapped channels through a city. Macfarlane is likewise fascinated by what geologists have termed “preferential pathways,” grooves carved by the solvent action of water on limestone. Those pathways in turn pull in pedestrians, “all of whom etch the track of their passage with their feet as they go. In this way the path of a raindrop hundreds of thousands of years ago may determine the route of a modern-­day walker.”

Purchase Robert MacFarlane’s “The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot” on Amazon.


The Best American Travel Writing 2012

BATW 2012

The Best American Travel Writing 2012 is out.

I started writing about travel just a few years shy of the debut, 12 years ago, of this annual series of the best travel stories from American publications. For most of the last dozen years, I have treated myself to the BATW, usually at Christmas time. It’s a professional expense, yes. But the book also gives me insight into the sort of travel writing readers are responding to, which places are being written about, what their angles are, and which publications are still promoting and producing quality travel tales. Browsing the table of contents as well as the “Notable Travel Writing” in the back of the book provides a snapshot of where the best writing is being done and who is doing it.