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The Best American Travel Writing 2010 (Best American Travel Writing)

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3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  217 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Edited by The New Yorker’s Bill Buford, the pieces collected here “prove that a restless, intrepid spirit isn’t unwelcome to American readers” (New York Times Book Review).
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Mariner Books
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Katie
Feb 02, 2011 Katie rated it liked it
Hit and miss... I definitely enjoyed some stories quite a bit, but skimmed or skipped others. I'm always afraid reading travel books is going to further stoke my wanderlust (more out of control than it already is, anyway) but amusingly it often has the opposite effect, especially when I read stories set in places I'd really rather never go. It's funny but I almost enjoy those the most.

The stories set in Siberia and the Amazon were I think my favorites, just because they were the most "foreign"
...more
Patrick Dean
Nov 19, 2013 Patrick Dean rated it liked it
Editor Buford tries to preempt the issue by saying he's defining 'travel writing' broadly, but this collection employs it so widely as to make the term useless. I'm not sure how a New Yorker article about the mortgage crisis in Florida qualifies. On the other hand, there are some gems here: Patrick Symmes on Emilio-Romagna, Susan Orlean on the donkeys of Morocco, David Owen on a rediscovered 19th-century golf course on an island off Scotland. That, of course, is the benefit of collections -- ski ...more
Jen Hill
Apr 10, 2012 Jen Hill rated it it was ok
It mostly felt less like an experience in travel and more like a walk through these writers' feelings in general. I was rarely transported to another place. Except Siberia. I felt like we'd never get out of Siberia.
Annie
Apr 14, 2014 Annie rated it liked it
Some articles were outstanding and really captured the personality of whatever place they described. I especially liked the article on the food in Italy, on Siberia, and on the field where Judas hung himself outside of Jerusalem. Other articles had a pro-homosexual agenda that really had nothing to do with the place described. I skipped these articles.

Overall, my goal in reading this was to improve my skills at writing about places, peoples, and cultures, to others who cannot be there themselve
...more
Rachel Rueckert
Oct 23, 2011 Rachel Rueckert rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, essay
As part of thepersonal essays I am writing about my experience in Dharamsala, India this summer, I read selected essays for different models onwriting in this genre. It was hit and miss, but I have comments on a few that stood out to me in terms of content and form.

1. Appointment in Istanbul by Henry Alford
Content:
The fact that this story took place in Istanbul is beside the point. The moral of the story could be gained from the first few lines. “Sometimes what you get is not what you thought y
...more
Tay Mueller
Mar 31, 2013 Tay Mueller rated it liked it
Still more uneven than some of the earlier volumes, and too many stories that weren't really travel stories. (The Ponzi State, for example, is an article about economics.)

However, the stories I liked I really liked which was an improvement over the 2011 volume (or would be if I wasn't going backwards). And, I was happy to find a Peter Hessler piece from an upcoming book, as I have loved his others.

Here are a few bright moments:


"What the hell is that thing?" This is not something anyone wants to
...more
Lauren Hopkins
Aug 03, 2011 Lauren Hopkins rated it really liked it
As the title suggest, the book compiles the best travel writing from the past year. Some stories were great, especially Ian Frazier's "Travels in Siberia," in which he details a car trip across the vast wasteland that is northern Russia. Other delights include Colby Buzzell's "Down and Out in Fresno and San Francisco" and Peter Jon Lindberg's "In Defense of Tourism"…definitely favorites of mine. There's a good variety of places traveled, some of which - like the English island of Tristan - I'd n ...more
Mitch
May 26, 2015 Mitch rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
This is a reliably good series if you like short pieces with lots of viewpoints on various travels. You won't like everything, but you really will like some of it!

One thing I found odd was the inclusion of a long piece on the collapsing housing speculation market in Florida. It didn't see like a travel piece, except tangentially, but I thought it interesting anyway.

As for the rest, please read my first paragraph again.
Mary
Oct 11, 2011 Mary rated it liked it
Just trying to finish last year's installment before this year's came out . . . though I missed my target by about a week. Standout pieces: "Looking for Judas" by Tom Bissell (wandering in desolate biblical territory); "The Undead Travel" by Avi Davis (vampire stuff is not my usual style, but how history, geography, and literature crossed paths definitely is); "Travels in Siberia" by Ian Frazier (repeat after me: it's the writer, not the topic, stupid!); "Where Donkeys Deliver" by Susan Orlean ( ...more
Dan Tasse
Apr 04, 2011 Dan Tasse rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
I love this series! Particularly good ones:
"The Undead Travel" by Avi Davis, about how you can visit Transylvania, home of Dracula, but it's mostly about Dracula the popular book/movie character than the old Vlad Tepes, and that's okay.
"Travels in Siberia" by Ian Frazier, about, well, driving through Siberia.
"Strange Stones" by Peter Hessler, about his friend, quite a character, and the Peace Corps.
"The Ghost Course" by David Owen, about rediscovering a golf course in remote Scotland, and it's c
...more
Michael Heneghan
Sep 17, 2012 Michael Heneghan rated it liked it
I don't usually get into these compendiums, but I saw this on the shelf at Big Hat Books the other day for the glorious price of $2.50 and just had to snatch it up. Reading Ian Frazier's "travels in Siberia" was worth the cost of the book alone.

I read many of the stories here, and only belatedly recognized that the editor for this edition is none other than Bill Buford , author of one of my better reads this summer, Fire.

I loved these travel stories I read so much that I passed this along to my
...more
Jrobertus
Jan 15, 2011 Jrobertus rated it it was ok
I generally enjoy this series, but hits issue was disappointing. The main reason was there were not many real travel pieces, but a lot on personal reflections. I hate to say it, but this may be due to the large number of women contributors. These authors seemed more inclined to describe the inner feelings evoked by the journey rather than the place and people in that place. There was all kinds of descriptions of lost loves and personal hurts than geography. This sort of literature has its place, ...more
Toggedout
May 10, 2011 Toggedout rated it it was ok
Any of these "Best" anthologies will always rub me the wrong way. Certain stories are always included because they are written from a far away land, certain ones will be included because they are written by women in dangerous places, certain ones will be included simply because they couldn't be. I like the latter ones. This particular book of the series had too many of the former. I like travel writing, I'd like to write some of my own sometime, but this book left most of the places flat. That's ...more
Benjamin Fowler
I swear by the Best American series. It compiles the most interesting stories from magazines I just don't have the time to read throughout the year. Between this, BA Essays, BA Non-required Reading, BA Nature and Science, I read great non-fiction pieces about everything. There is a story about crossing Russia, from West to East, that is remarkable. If you have never tried one of the Best American series, I cannot praise it enough.

Again, part of my non-fiction run.
Tuck
Jan 11, 2011 Tuck rated it liked it
some very good articles here like "down and out in freso" by colby buzzell, strange stones" by peter hessler, "the undead travel" by avi davis, and the 2 best "ponzi state" by george packer and "walking: an essay on wrting" by peter lasalle. not the best "best travel", i think buford was either lazy or doing all his GUY buddies a favor. only one woman, and most contributing journals are VERY mainstream like nat geo, new yorker etc. susan Orleans is a way better editor.
Kevin
Jun 18, 2011 Kevin rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
I've been reading this series since it came out, and have enjoyed the whirlwind travel experience around the world it gives me every year. Yet, I agree with Katie that it's hit and miss. I don't have much interest in bats in Suriname or giant cruise ships, though those pieces were mildly interesting. Most of the best pieces -- on Siberia and real estate in Florida -- I'd already read in their original publications.
Christina Sanantonio
Mar 11, 2012 Christina Sanantonio rated it liked it
Recommends it for: all


This was my least favorite in the series. The essays were interesting and a few were very good. It is rare to find a boring essay in this series of the best of the best. But, Buford had over 100 essays from which to pull his favorites, nearly 50 by women; Buford only liked one. The book feels lopsided and heavy on the machete. Also, Buford included a mediocre essay in which he is quoted prominently. Hmmm....
Greg Linster
Jan 18, 2013 Greg Linster rated it really liked it
Overall, this is a decent collection of travel writing. In my opinion, the best pieces in this collection are the following: "The Hadza", "Travels in Siberia", "Batman Returns", "Walking: An Essay on Writing", "In Defense of Tourism", "The Ghost Course", "The Ponzi State", "Lost in the Amazon", "Me, Myself, and Ribeye", and "The Filthy, Fecund Secret of Emilia-Romagna".
Laura Jordan
Dec 08, 2012 Laura Jordan rated it really liked it
My favorite pieces from this volume:

Colby Buzzell, "Down & Out in Fresno and San Francisco" (California)
Michael Finkel, "The Hadza" (East Africa)
Ian Frazier, "Travels in Siberia" (Russia)
Christopher Hitchens, "The Lovely Stones" (Athens)
Susan Orlean, "Where Donkeys Deliver" (Morocco)
George Packer, "The Ponzi State" (Florida)
Meghan
Sep 13, 2011 Meghan rated it liked it
Lots of good magazine pieces that I missed. The highs: Ian Frazer's drive across Siberia and George Packer's look at foreclosed Florida -- both for the New Yorker. The lows: David Sedaris takes a train, Steven Rinella gorges on Argentinian beef, and somebody else drinks a bunch of wine in Italy.
Serena
Dec 21, 2015 Serena rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, essays
I have noticed over the years that if there is a male editor, these anthologies tend to become very testosteroni. This is one of them. Few stories by women, and most of the stories are escapades and adventures, not relationships and experiences.
Саведра
Mar 20, 2011 Саведра rated it liked it
I enjoyed it, though I felt it was a weaker entry in comparison to the rest of the series. (I especially liked the one Anthony Bourdain edited.) However, because I'm obsessed with Russia, I really enjoyed the long, funny piece on Siberia.
Allison
Jun 26, 2011 Allison rated it it was amazing
I always love these anthologies. They make me appreciate the genius that is out there right now, help me feel like I am escaping, yet also make me feel lame for not traveling more. Is that what they call inspirational?
Janice
May 07, 2011 Janice rated it it was amazing
An excellent read, with selections that range from a condensed version of Ian Frazier's Travels in Siberia, to the hard-working donkeys of Fez, to two weeks with the guy who's walking the length of the Amazon.
Lynn Buschhoff
Nov 23, 2010 Lynn Buschhoff rated it liked it
though i wasn't totally engrossed, like i would be with a Bruce Chatwin book, I found a lot of the article very thought provoking. I was inspired to write about my own travels, if only for myself.
Kara Mae Brown
Jan 31, 2011 Kara Mae Brown rated it it was amazing
Absolutely blown away by Ian Frazier's "Travels in Siberia," which is why I give this edition 5 stars. I believe there is a book of his experiences in Siberia? Must find out.
Jared
Jan 12, 2011 Jared rated it liked it
Some good pieces - especially the Winchester piece on Tristan de Cunha. Some real (and unexpected) duds, like David Sedaris's entry. Definitely not as good as past anthologies.
Kat
Aug 15, 2012 Kat rated it did not like it
I had a really hard time sifting through this book. Normally, I love travel stories, but most of these were really dry and tedious. The first story was a gem, however.
Ruthie
Dec 16, 2010 Ruthie rated it really liked it
some great writing, only one female writer, too many "friends of the editor" - New Yorker magazine writers - Buford edits that magazine.
Karina
Feb 24, 2012 Karina rated it did not like it
not a bad collection of short travel stories, though I never would have read this if it hadn't been a gift for my hubby.
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Bill Buford is an American author and journalist.
Buford is the author of the books:
Among the Thugs and Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany.
More about Bill Buford...

Other Books in the Series

Best American Travel Writing (7 books)
  • The Best American Travel Writing 2003
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