“There are a lot of ways to stay safe as a writer: by not writing, by writing to no one, by writing to a single admirer, by challenging the judgment of those with the power to judge, by not putting much effort into your work. ‘It’s hard,’ Zink writes in ‘The Wallcreeper,’ ‘trying to defend your territory and advertise your presence and keep out of predators’ line of sight.'”
Every word of this Kathryn Schulz profile of novelist Nell Zink is perfect. It helps that Zink’s life story and book plots are brimming with zaniness and improbability. This was such a joy to read.
Source: Bricklayer, Bird-Watcher, Literary Sensation
The Best American Travel Writing, which highlights the best travel stories from the previous full year, arrives in bookstores and on tablets this week. The 2014 edition is edited by Paul Theroux, who has selected some outstanding reads from a variety of print and online publications. Here are few that you can read online right now:
Some honorable mentions include Thanksgiving in Mongolia, Ariel Levy’s devastating personal essay; The Fallout by Frank Bures; A Sort of Happy Ending by David Farley (yay, Farley!); Go Your Own Way by Douglas Mack (yay, Doug!); and How Hipsters Ruined Paris by Thomas Chatteron Williams.
The Best American Travel Writing 2014 is available from Amazon in print and on Kindle and as an Apple iBook. You can also buy directly from the publisher.
*These are the print magazine titles of these articles. The online titles are slightly different.
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.
Plan for Cuban Ballet School a Dance of Art, Politics — “…the school’s original structures are intact, a dazzling swirl of red brick shapes and huge domelike Catalonian vaults set against the lush green jungle. The winding corridors, stairways and sightlines come together in a cascade of twists and graceful curves, like music turned to stone.”
Ten Erotic Books Sexier Than Fifty Shades of Grey — “The following ten erotic books are alternatives we at Time Out New York find riskier, sexier and simply better written than E.L. James’s feminist-baiting juvenilia.” Includes Nicholson Baker’s Vox and How a Person Should Be by Sheila Heti. Great round-up.
Istanbul: A City of Spies: In Fact and Fiction — “Turkey’s golden age of espionage was World War II, a period that continues to serves as a muse for writers of historical thrillers.”
These are my links for June 10th through June 22nd. (This is a longer list than usual – apologize for the delay!)
- Want to Drink a Budweiser BNA? How About a Bud Light LAX? – Budweiser has applied for rights to airport codes, possibly to brew specialty beers in its branded airport bars? Interesting idea.
- Locked Up Abroad Lessons Guyana: The False Allure of Pre-Paid Vacations – I didn’t have a chance to watch the episode that the National Geographic Channel alludes to. But the accompanying article is a word of warning to anyone facing a too-good-to-be-true living abroad opportunity.
- 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity – I usually hate these kind of listicles, but this one got to me. Have a look. It’ll make you feel better.
- How sticking your thumb out became the universal sign for hitchhiking – Via @davidfarley, an intriguing piece about hitchhiking.
- National Geographic Magazine As An ‘Instrument Of Doom’ – I found information about this old National Geographic Magazine doomsday hoax and wrote about it for Gadling.
- Bodleian Library considers lending books after 410 years – This is seriously cool news. Do you think they should do it?
- ‘You’re not special’: The best grad speech ever? – One of the most bubble-bursting graduation speeches of all time is followed up by Cory Booker’s speech to Stanford graduates, an incredibly inspiring speech.
- Robert King’s Photos of Syrian Violence – The New York Times presents photos from Syria by Robert King of Polaris. We’re not seeing a whole lot of photos about the violence in Syria. These give you a sense of just how terrible the situation is.
- Gin Leads Summer’s Fight – Eric Asimov of the New York Times defends gin (delicious gin!).
- Eater Maine : The Portland and Maine Restaurant, Bar, and Nightlife Blog – Eater just launched its first state food blog, Eater Maine, this month. I’m heading to Maine later this summer, so this is awesome news.
- Photo of the Day – Horseshoe Bend – I took over Photo of the Day duties at Gadling and found this beauty in the Flickr pool.
- ‘This Is The Place Death Delights To Help The Living’ | Gadling.com – I wrote this piece on the National Museum of Health and Medicine (aka the Army Medical Museum) for Gadling. I also took the creepy photos in the gallery.
- Researchers Find Online Photos are Worth Much More than 1,000 Words – All of our photos are being cataloged and spliced together to create 3D images of places around the world. Via @craignewman.
- FunnyJunk is threatening to file a federal lawsuit against me unless I pay $20,000 in damages – The Oatmeal responds to a $20,000 lawsuit the best way he knows how. Of course, the fallout of all of this is that the Oatmeal raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in an IndieGoGo campaign only hours after posting info about this pending lawsuit.
- Watergate Timeline – This is the 40th anniversary of Watergate. Here’s a fascinating look at the timeline via @ngjennings and created by @tjortenzi
- Jailed Turkish Journalists Available for Adoption – Via @ClaireBerlinski on Twitter, an interesting way for the international community to gain awareness about the plight of many Turkish journalists, jailed for their views and words.
These are my links for June 6th through June 10th:
These are my links for June 4th through June 6th: