If there's one genre you have to read before you die it's the travel book
Standard guidebook: "Should you be caught up in a frenzied riot during your time in Jakarta, make your way immediately to your country's embassy. Once inside, relax with one of the native beverages, and think about what a great story you'll have to tell Andy and Rhona on your return."
Hip guidebook:"Should you be caught up in a frenzied riot during your time in Jakarta, consider yourself fortunate to witness the valid cultural expression of a wonderfully passionate race. Feel free to hurl a Molotov cocktail at the riot squad." (via Jorn>
posted by caddis
on Dec 11, 2009 -
I know a man who once went to Sioux City, not one of the world’s leading destinations, precisely because he had never been there before. More than a decade later he still talks about the experience, from the Sergeant Floyd obelisk to the dog track of North Sioux and the meat packing plant converted to a shopping mall. The same impulse explains a non-specialist’s reading a history of Byzantine iconography or a survey of Australian wildlife. Both offer a break in daily life and an enlargement of our sense of wonder and possibility. That awareness can provide a sense of transcendence, and connection, or even the spark of divine discontent that leads people to change their lives.Reading as Vacation
, an essay by J. D. Smith and Subway Reader
, pictures of people who read while using public transportation.
posted by Kattullus
on Apr 6, 2008 -
What Was True.
From the mid 1950s through the early 1980s, William Gedney (1932-1989) photographed
throughout the United States
, in India
, and in Europe
, and filling notebook after notebook
with his observations. From the commerce of the street outside his Brooklyn apartment to the daily chores
of unemployed coal miners
, from the lifestyle of hippies in Haight-Ashbury
to the sacred rituals of Hindu worshippers, Gedney was able to record the lives of others
with clarity and poignancy. Gedney's America
is a nation of averted eyes, and broken automobiles, and restlessness, a place Edward Hopper would recognize, but so, also, Walt Whitman.
posted by matteo
on Apr 27, 2005 -
As a perennial outsider
at loose in Japan, writer Donald Richie
captures the joyous freedom
of being foreign. The foreign observer is likely to be happy only if he sees his foreignness as an adventure, and recognizes that he has given up a sense of belonging for a sense of freedom
, traded the luxury of being understood for that of being permanently interested.
Richie, the philosopher-king of expats in Asia for the past half-century, arrived in Tokyo in 1947 as a typist with the U.S. government and never really left, writing dozens of books
, on Japanese movies
, history and fashion
, while enjoying himself as an actor, musician, filmmaker and painter. The Japan Journals: 1947-2004
is a monument to the pleasures of displacement
. Richie watchers can observe, more intimately than ever, a man who is generally happiest observing. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Nov 9, 2004 -