A Shopping List
by Danielle L. Parker
Bewildering Stories has no official “holday” issues, but we are fond of the practical. As the winter or summer solstice approaches, depending on your hemisphere, various religions and cultures hold festivals, which often include gift-giving. And books are always a dependable choice.
Bewildering Press has permanent thumbnails and links on our home page, and those works are our standing recommendations. This list suggests other books for various tastes. They will take your friends and relatives to places around the world.
I personally enjoy old travelogues just as much as modern ones, sometimes more. This amazing vision of the South American Andes in the early 1900’s is unforgettable. Harry C. Franck is one of my favorite vintage travelogue authors, and he spent his life traveling and writing of his often down-and-dirty adventures. I own every edition of his books I can get my hands on. Franck’s books were out of print for a long time (I own out-of-print copies), but I’m delighted to see many have been re-issued. Snatch them up.
The story details the amazing story of a Toronto insurance broker lured north by the promise of Klondike gold. Do man-eating grizzlies, murdering miners, and pain-killer-free surgery by the Indians sound thrilling enough for you?
Eric Newby, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
Newby is another beloved travel author of mine. This is one of his best. Newby, unlike Theroux and Franck, often traveled with companions, mostly his wife. The human and more light-hearted touch this gives his works is charming. I recommend Slowly Down the Ganges and Round Ireland in Low Gear as well.
I can only say one thing about Starkell: he was stark raving obsessed. Incredibly, Starkell makes it to his goal, and sons, gun-toting wild soldiers, starvation, nothing dares stand in his way. I read his book less for journey than the mind of the man. By the end of the story you’ll be equally fascinated and horrified. Get a glimpse into the minds of those men who let nothing stand in the way of reaching that goal. His second work, Paddle to the Arctic, is far less interesting. Or by that point, I’d simply spent enough time with Don Starkell.
Paul Theroux, Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown
Paul Theroux is consistently one of my favorite writers. I own every non-fiction book he’s written. The author’s thoughtful ruminations and ruthless honesty enliven what could otherwise be a standard look-at-how-I-suffered travelogue.
Copyright © 2013 by Danielle L. Parker
Available at Bewildering Press