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A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration
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A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  177 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
In A Sense of Place, journalist/travel writer Michael Shapiro goes on a pilgrimage to visit the world's great travel writers on their home turf to get their views on their careers, the writer's craft, and most importantly, why they chose to live where they do and what that place means to them. The book chronicles a young writer’s conversations with his heroes, writers he's ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published August 10th 2004 by Travelers' Tales
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Mar 30, 2008 Raghu rated it really liked it
This is a good book where Shapiro interviews some of the most intrepid travellers of the modern day. It has interviews with the pioneers of independent travel like Arthur Frommer, adventurers like Tim Cahill and Redmond O'Hanlon, scholars like Paul Theroux and Jan Morris and people like Pico Iyer who have lived in so many different cultures.
I was pleased to see that many of the experts like Frommer, Rick Steves and Cahill espouse the following about independent travel:
That the less you spend, it
Sep 05, 2007 C C rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Charlatans
Shelves: travel-narrative
I learned travel writers resent being labeled as traveled writers because being labeled as such lumps them in with the tourism industry. Paul Thoreaux, in particular, seemed rather TETCHY about the subject. I've already decided to adopt one of three personas for when people interview me about my travel book. I will be a neck-face like Thoreaux, taking umbrage with every question, getting all huffy and shit, so the interviewer knows I've got huge hairy balls. The other persona will be like Desmon ...more
Kerry Hennigan
Feb 25, 2016 Kerry Hennigan rated it really liked it
Imagine sitting down with some of your favourite travel writers and talking about the way they work, their favourite places in the world, their scariest experiences, their most inspired moments and the most unforgettable people they’ve met on their travels?

In this book Michael Shapiro gets to do that with some international superstars of the genre – the likes of Bill Bryson, Tim Cahill, Pico Iyer, Peter Matthiessen, Jan Morris, Eric Newby and Simon Winchester to name a few.

Presented as a series
Apr 26, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it
Michael Shapiro's interviews with some of the world's leading writers of travel are enlightening and entertaining as he strives to gain a deeper understanding of their approach to travel, writing, and life. Most of those interviewed don't care for the adjective "travel" in describing their vocation (travel writer), and that's understandable since their writing is more than about travel -- it's about the experience, the people they meet, and what impacted them on their journeys. The writers talk ...more
Reading Challenge Category: A book at the bottom of your to-read list

I added this one to my Goodreads shelf in July 2012, putting it squarely at the oldest end of my Goodreads list. It's not that I was putting off reading it . . . it's just that so many other new books came along to steal my attention. At any rate, I finally checked A Sense of Place out of the library. It was a longer, slower read than I expected, probably because I read all the way through from start to finish without skipping
Oct 04, 2014 Kim rated it it was amazing
These interviews and the way Shapiro sets them up are an inspiration for any type of writing but also any type of travel. The authors, many of whom do not want to be pigeon holed as "travel writers," talk about the philosophical and emotional components of their art as the essence of good story telling, whether to describe a meal with a Belgian family or an encounter with an angry bear. Very impressive that Shapiro could get interviews with authors as celebrated as Peter Matthiessen and Isabel A ...more
Nov 03, 2009 Linda rated it it was amazing
Ever wonder what makes people take to the road for out of the box adventures? Michael Shapiro, one of our best travel writers himself, shares with us what makes people who choose a lifetime of travel over the comfy confines of home tick. From Tim Cahill, whose adventures get him into outlandish situations, to Frances Mayers who followed her “wistful dreams” to civilized Tuscany, we find out what motivates their quests. I loved learning what our best contemporary commentators have in common and w ...more
Aug 06, 2012 Leah rated it really liked it
I stumbled upon this book at a thrift store and what a find it was! I love travel writing. I think it's become my favorite genre because even though I am stuck neck deep in home repairs, I am still able to get out and see the world through the eyes of some incredible writers. This book is a conglomeration of several of my favorite writers, but the cool twist is that it's full of personal interviews with them.

The questions give such insight into their views on travel and how it has shaped their
Melanie Faith
Sep 26, 2011 Melanie Faith rated it really liked it
Excellent interviews with a widely varied, motley assortment of writers-- from Bill Bryson and Francis Mayes to Rick Steves, Tim Cahill, Arthur Frommer, and Pico Iyer. The various approaches to their craft make for interesting reading if you aspire to write of your own travels near or far. This book makes me want to write more personal essays--always a good thing. For extreme beginning writers or writers who are not interested in the personal lives of authors, this book might be a stretch (or a ...more
Jun 26, 2007 Chrissy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: travelers and writers
Shelves: travel
The author interviews about 20 well-known travel writers including Rolf Potts, Pico Iyer, Arthur Frommer, and Rick Steves. While some embrace travel writing, others like Isabel Allende don't always like the idea of a travel writer. They each are asked personal questions and they talk about how they got into travel writing. Some stories are really funny, like those from Frommer and Bill Bryson, and others may come off a little more snobby. From cheap backpacking trips to fancy beaches and novels, ...more
Jan 25, 2014 Colleen rated it really liked it
Interviews with travel writers from America and Britain. Somewhat repetitive due to the nature of the topic but lovely insights about life, writing and travel. To quote from the interview with Frances Mayes: "I like when I know the person is there, and they make the world of being there.
Nash Tysmans
Apr 14, 2011 Nash Tysmans rated it it was amazing
This was a gift. It came second hand right out of a friend's own shelf. She had loved it so much that she passed it on hoping to inspire me to read, write and travel. In many ways this books has shaped the way i travel and informed the stories i write on account of those adventures.

It's a collection of interviews done by Mr. Shapiro. There's a story behind his mission too and it's a beautiful one. But really, to have Jan Morris, Pico Iyer and other great travel writers speak in a volume? wow.
Aug 07, 2011 Maria added it
I enjoyed this collection of interviews, particularly Pico Iyer and Jan Morris. It's a wonderful reflection on how travelling impacts you both inside and out. Also the views of the different writers about their sense of "home" was very interesting. Something I have been struggling with for a while. Not being a writer I couldn't relate to some of the dialogue (the struggle, but also the freedom of writing and that feeling of expressing yourself in the medium), but that is my loss.
Brenna Flood
Jul 29, 2007 Brenna Flood rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Horrible, terrible pap. I'm not sure if any of the following things outweighed any of the other in tallying my 1-star rating:

- The book takes a fascinating subject and makes it the dullest, shallow, hollow "analysis" on the subject matter that I've ever read.

- Was forced to accept this book as a 'Bible' college book reference while studying at Evergreen.

- It reads like fanciful, whimsical, high-school teeny-bopper fiction.

Dec 29, 2015 Gab rated it liked it
This was an interesting book to read ... a series of interview of "travel writers" who don't like to be called travel writers! All the interviews were recorded by the author so the books reads as questions and answers which I sometimes found a bit off-putting. But I will now add a whole lot of books to m "to read" list!
Apr 03, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Many great essays from more travel writers than I'd heard of until now. Not only was just about every essay incredibly interesting, but I now have a list of many other great writers and books I need to pursue. Travel requires one to look at the world in a new or different way and this book is the next best thing.
Apr 28, 2014 Brick rated it liked it
Assigned school reading. I found it entertaining for the most part. There are some very good interviews in this book that opened up my ideas of writing. The constant negativity toward American politics was tiresome.
Steven Gift
Feb 01, 2014 Steven Gift rated it liked it
If I didn't have a bad case of wanderlust this book would kind of suck. Not particularly well written and little connective tissue. Ok but not great. The idea has great potientual.
Sep 08, 2008 Carola rated it liked it
Interesting reading. Insight into the motivations an perspectives of popular travel writers. My favorits chapters were Isabel Allende, Frances Mayes, Paul Theroux, and Tim Caholl.
Oct 09, 2008 shannon rated it it was ok
Shelves: okay
I only read a few of the intros. The Q&A format bored me - it didn't even make it one subway ride. There might be some good insight here, but the structure is so unappealing.
May 19, 2010 Monica rated it liked it
Have read before, but I have it out again and am picking it up and reading a few of the interviews.
Jul 30, 2011 Susan added it
The chapter titles were perfect, as were the questions asked.
Sep 01, 2007 Ysabet rated it really liked it
Original review: .
Travelling Cari
Aug 19, 2007 Travelling Cari marked it as to-read
Picked up at a UBS: Melbourne August 2007
Jan 05, 2015 Tamara rated it it was ok
Interesting, but not my cup of tea.
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Michael Shapiro is a writer, photographer and interviewer who specializes in travel. He’s the author of A Sense of Place and works part-time as an editor at The Press Democrat, in Santa Rosa, Calif.

He is the author of A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration (Travelers’ Tales) a collection of interviews with Bill Bryson, Frances Mayes, Paul Theroux, Pet
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