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The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World
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The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  372 ratings  ·  62 reviews
While writing his celebrated "Frugal Traveler" column for the New York Times, Matt Gross began to feel hemmed in by the focus on what he thought of as "traveling on the cheap at all costs." When his editor offered him the opportunity to do something less structured, the "Getting Lost" series was born—a more immersive form of travel that allowed Gross to "lose his way all ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Da Capo Press
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Kristie Helms
Sep 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Such a disappointment.

I love reading the New York Times. I love the experience of traveling and discovering other worlds. I really love memoirs. Given all of that, I thought this would be a fantastic book -- or at least a really good read.

It wasn't.

Instead of the digging into the type of self-awareness that can make for a good memoir, the author chose to deliver a fairly bland travelogue. He offered up a chronology of travel stops rather than describing to me what he saw and felt and
Emily Crowe
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013, nonfiction
Hmmm, not what I thought it was going to be. While there is certainly some travel in this memoir, it's far more the author's musings on his own philosophy of travel than it is a travel memoir. I was hoping for well-written stories from 'round the world and instead was mostly inside Matt Gross's head, and inside his head it's not particularly eloquent. Not my cup of tea, but it might be yours.

Full review found on my blog: http://asthecrowefliesandreads.blogsp...
Apr 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Most interesting when talking about travel, less so when Matt is navel-gazing.
Jeffrey Doshna
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
What made Matt Gross' columns as "The Frugal Traveler" for the New York Times so engaging was the fact that he is, first and foremost, a good writer. He tells a story -- not about the broad details of a place, but about how he experienced it. There are far too many "be sure to eat at this restaurant" guides out there today. What Matt is able to do is give his readers a reason to go out and explore.

This book continues what has worked in his past writing, blending travel stories about people and
Danny Knobler
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
Yes, Matt Gross rambles.Yes, he jumps around from trip to trip and year to year without notice. From the reviews I've seen here, some people couldn't deal with that. Fine. But Gross writes the way many (most?) of us discuss our travel histories. He connects with some of us, He doesn't connect with others. That's fine, because for those he does connect with (I count myself among them), this is a book that gets you thinking about where you've been and what you've done and why. Why do we travel? ...more
Stacy Jensen
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Usually I love short stories and travel stories but Matt Gross, while having interesting adventures, just can't seem to tell us a story all the way through. The reading is very choppy because each chapter seems to start out telling us an adventure and then suddenly we veer off on random tangents. But we never seem to come back and finish the original story! I would wonder while reading, "Umm, are we going to come back to the crazy guy pulled over by the cop? Does this somehow relate to the crazy ...more
Anjali Sura
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
The premise of this book interested me because I love to travel. However soon after starting this book I realized Matt Gross and I would not make great travel companions. I found him a little condescending and self-righteous. He likes immersing himself in a culture rather than seeing the sights but it is unrealistic for him to expect that of anybody who spends less than a year in one spot... Even he himself can tell tales from each country but he never became a part of that culture. So trying to ...more
David Fabrycky
Aug 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
He should have stuck to short-form journalism or blogs. Had to abandon this one after 100 pages as it was too boring and self-centered. I never made it to the Turks who loved apples, which was the title that caught my eye. :(
Dianna Linder
Mar 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
I like the Frugal Traveler column in the New York Times and have been a follower for some time. This book, from the column author, was a jumble of personal thoughts, experiences and inner monologues on the authors life and travels. It did not sustain my interest or provide any insights on travel.
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Amazing and inspiring! Must read and the best lesson....go get lost to find yourself!
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
The best line of this book is, "Seen one Taj, seen Mahal."
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
For once I get to read a travel writer who is a lot like me: neurotic and an over thinker. It seems like many of Matt Gross's anxieties about traveling and fitting in and doing the right thing are my anxieties, too. For that reason, this book was very engaging for me-- for once there's somebody out there who is both comfortable and uncomfortable in the world and own skin.

Gross, who once wrote as the NY Times "Frugal Traveler", recounts his experiences and reflections on traveling and being a
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this..and there were moments that had potential, or that I thought would lead to something deeper. Yet every time I started settling in, the writer would jar me by making a point to mention that he was canoodling with important people, seemingly for no other reason than to broadcast it, or say something offensive and reductionist about sex workers, who he seems to view with an oscillating lense of pity, lust, disgust, and fascination. Perhaps that's a common way for ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Halfway through and will not waste my time any further. To put it simply, this is the most unreflected travelogue (if you can call it that, since it‘s more of a completely discombobulated exercise in navel-gazing) I have ever had the misfortune to read. Especially the South Asia parts differ none at all from the typical “White Western guy goes to SE Asia to live on the cheap, gets drunk, eats food, reduces SE Asian women to stereotypes“ narrative. So disappointed.

I bought a used copy of this
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some really great stories, and a few interesting perspectives from a well seasoned traveler, though Gross can ramble a bit, which can be distracting. Overall good read, particularly if you enjoy his style of writing.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A really good account of the authors life as the writer of the NYT Frugal Traveller column. I found his story most interesting and well written.
Randi Staudinger
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
The stories jump around way too much
Joe Baur
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gross' "The Turk Who Loved Apples" is an engrossing read (no pun intended). It helps that I could identify quite a bit with some of Gross' characteristics, like his fear of death, interest in tracing his roots, and general interest in how we travel. But even if that doesn't sound like you, Gross does a terrific job putting the reader in the scene. He even breaks down the formula he uses to put readers in the scene, which is surely particularly helpful to aspiring travel writers.
Jennifer Stephens
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Recently I had the chance to read The Turk who Loved Apples as I was provided an advance copy (book hits on April 23rd, 2013) to review.

Many of you know I am an avid traveler. Often with my husband at my side, frequently with my friends along for the journey as well, and occasionally all on my own I set out for weekend adventures near and far across the globe. I generally log at least 120,000 miles on Delta Airlines each year flying to and from various destinations. With a love of
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I agree with the other reviews. I could've have gone without all the small personal quips and hoppy storylines. BUT... do skip to Chapter 6 and read about being lost, then skip to Chapter 9 and read about how to return home.
Sam Sattler
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, travel
What happens when a New York Times travel writer, a man who actually depends on traveling for his living, becomes bored with the routine of traveling on someone else's dime? If you're Matt Gross, author of The Turk Who Loved Apples, you stop writing the paper's "Frugal Traveler" column and start writing its "Getting Lost" column instead. (Despite Gross's claim that his sense of direction is so good that it is almost impossible for him to get lost in a strange city, his new column was a success.) ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Glowing reviews of this 2013 book by former “Frugal Traveler” and “Getting Lost” columnist for the New York Times, made me want to read it. As a young man, Gross picked up and moved to Ho Chi Minh City and from there explored more of Southeast Asia, worked for a local Vietnamese newspaper, and eventually got himself various travel writing gigs. In 2006, the Times gave him a budget for a three-month, around-the-world trip, which was to establish his “frugal traveler” identity. This, he says, was ...more
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Matt Gross began his travel writing career right out of college when he took a job that required him to move to Vietnam for a year to work as an English teacher. He found he loved living in a foreign country, figuring out the best way to maneuver the streets and find food and friends. He wrote a few articles and soon found himself with a marvelous offer. He became the Frugal Traveler for New York Times for several years. This required him to pick up at a moment’s notice and travel all over the ...more
Margo Littell
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
Anyone who loves to travel has surely experienced some bitter envy of Matt Gross, perhaps best known as the former New York Times's Frugal Traveler. With an up-for-anything spirit of adventure and a remarkable ability to befriend people anywhere he goes, Gross was an amiable guide to traveling cheaply in some of the world’s most beautiful places—and, of course, a person who surely had the best job in the world. Who wouldn't want to be Matt Gross?

Gross's memoir of his globe-trotting writing life
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
Ostensibly, The Turk Who Loved Applies is a travel book but really it's a rambling memoir by Matt Gross. He is an incredibly well travelled individual who must have a plethora of interesting anecdotes about life in other countries right at his fingertips. He chose to highlight his encounters with other people around the world. Even that would have been great except most of these people seemed to come up lacking in comparison to Gross. He comes across as self satisfied which is probably not what ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Travelers Dilemma

I was a big fan of the Frugal Traveler column by Matt Gross in the New York Times. Based on observations from a career based on travel, this book combines travelogue, humor column and keen insight into the world of travel. The book is really about the world of the travel writer.
The book wanders at times and includes some brilliant observations about people, his family, foreign culture and places. These comments are both witty and, sometimes, sad. In the writing, Matt Gross
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel-adventure
Another disappointment. This book looked so interesting to begin with and I read a couple of pages and liked the style. It wasn't until I got into it that I realized that he not only lost his way around the world (see title), he lost his way in his narrative.

It's a bit like listening to a garrulous story teller saying, "Now where was I?" and "That reminds me off the time I left my underwear in Cambodia yuk yuk, now what made me think of that". It's so random and he's so self-satisfied. Even his
May 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
I've given up. I'm about 3/4 of the way through this book and I've given it all I can as I despise leaving books - especially those I've purchased - only partially read. But for this, I've thrown in the towel because it's just so utterly exhausting. Why two stars, then? Because there are redeeming moments. However, in between those [rare] moments are pages upon pages of rambling from one thought to the next.

While some reviewers here state that the way Matt Gross recounts his tales of travel is
Dan Oko
May 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wanted so badly to like this book by the former Frugal Travel columnist at The New York Times but it's a weak and wasted effort. The best parts are quick glimpses of exotic lands where Gross felt truly challenged, but the volume is marred by overly self-conscious internal dialogues such as the hoary discussion over whether after all this time the author considered himself a "traveler" or a "tourist." For Chrissakes, the author was a neither -- rather Gross was a well compensated travel writer ...more
Robin Miller
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. Similar to other reviewers, I am a fan of memoirs and of travel books and of the New York Times. The possibility for this book to be really interesting was thwarted by the author's intense self absorption and all around jerkishness. I really leaned towards giving it two stars, but the few parts where he talks about actual travel without the reader feeling as if he/she is being condescended to are very interesting.
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