The New York Times Book Review!

The New York Times Book Review

Andrew McCarthy

One of my happiest days ever was November 29, 2017: the day this review of The Best Women's Travel Writing, Volume 11 appeared in The New York Times, written by Andrew McCarthy!

Travel Books Take You There and Back

Sure, Freya Stark risked life and limb traveling through Persia to give us her classic “The Valleys of the Assassins,” and the indomitable Dervla Murphy has been to, and written about, almost everywhere, often with her daughter in tow (and sometimes a mule), but all too often the luxurious chore of travel writing has belonged to the men. So it’s worth noting that some of this season’s most exciting travel narratives are by women.

In story after story, the refreshing absence of bluster and bravado, coupled with the optimism necessary for bold travel, create a unifying narrative that testifies to the personal value and cultural import of leaving the perceived safety of home and setting out into the wider world.

[Here's the review of my book! To read the entire article, which includes some other awesome female-penned travel books, go here!]

Love is just one of the things on the minds of the writers whose stories appear in THE BEST WOMEN’S TRAVEL WRITING, Volume 11: True Stories From Around the World (Travelers’ Tales, paper, $19.95). For more than 20 years, Travelers’ Tales has been publishing books that might best be described as the literary equivalent of a group of travelers sitting around a dim cafe, sipping pints or prosecco and trading their best stories. With more than a hundred titles currently in print, this publisher has carved out a valuable niche in the travel world.

The latest book’s editor, Lavinia Spalding, hungry for travelers who “go with an open heart” and have “the inclination to practice human kindness, a sincere intention to build pathways of understanding and a willingness to be transformed,” read nearly 500 submissions before settling on the 31 stories that make up this diverse collection.

In the opener, Zora O’Neill finds herself drawn away from a resort’s placid blue waters and toward the newly formed refugee camps that have sprung up on the Greek island she and her family visit every year. Like so many of the stories here, “On the Migrant Trail” is told with simple grace. O’Neill’s account demonstrates once again that history’s first draft is often written by the intrepid traveler.

In a different vein, Samantha Schoech offers a hilarious yet ultimately disquieting yarn about spending a week in Venice — sans children and husband — with a gal pal and having perhaps too fine a time. Pam Mandel, in a poignant essay, deals with grief in — of all places — Waikiki. And a trip to Singapore reminds Abbie Kozolchyk of that most important of all travel maxims — call your mother. In story after story, the refreshing absence of bluster and bravado, coupled with the optimism necessary for bold travel, create a unifying narrative that testifies to the personal value and cultural import of leaving the perceived safety of home and setting out into the wider world.




To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” –Dena Kaye