Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road
Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic." —Pico Iyer
A brilliant, fierce writer makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road—an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dare...more
The end of the road was always just out of sight. Cracked asphalt deepened into night beyond the reach of our headlamps, the thin beams swallowed by the blackness that receded before us no matter how fast we biked. Light was a kind of pavement thrown down in front of our wheels, and the road went on and on. If you ever reach the end, I remember thinking, I’ll fly off the rim of the world. I pedaled harder.Some lights shine brighter. The sky is full of stars, all with their distinct glow, c ...more
I was looking for something adventurous to read after being stuck in the house for a long time. I read Will Byrnes' review and was hooked. I liked the beginning of the book best. Kate growing up and deciding what to do with her life. Her college days and planning for the trip. I was not looking for the historical background, so much.
I was not encouraged enough to pump up the tires on my mountain bike. I did buy some nice trekking poles and I'm rea ...more
Beyond avenging my childhood ideals of explorers, and figuring out how to be one myself, I wanted to bike the Silk Road as a practical extension of my thesis at Oxford: to study how borders make and break what is wild in the world, from mountain ranges to people's minds, and how science, or more specifically wilderness conservation, might bridge those divides. So there I was, rich in unemployable university degrees, poor in cash, with few possessions to my name beyond a tent, a bicycle, and s...more
You can't hep but admire the determination of Ms. Harris and her companion Mel to complete the bicycle journey along the Silk Road. This journey took over a year in conditions varying from freezing to scorching temperatures, and very little in the way of creature comforts along the way.
I really enjoyed her descriptions of the terrain, and the many of the historical references to the locations she travelled through, especially in the ...more
Travel literature is the antithesis to 'travelling through reading'.
People who write books (or even worse - blogs) on their travels are often suffering from two conditions that go hand in hand: inflated sense of self, and a condescending (cough, ORIENTALIST, cough) view of the rest of the world. I so wanted Kate Harris to prove my ideas a ...more
Packed with historical, geographic and scientific facts, literary references and philosophical wisdom, this book is an impressive debut and well deserving the recognition. Harris' passion, curiosity, and love for mountainous landscapes and vast spaces are contagious. Though I've never felt particularly drawn to Central Asia as a travel de ...more
But, while I do share the wanderlust and some of the restlessness of the author, we would never have gotten along as travel companions.
I admire the determination and the achievement, it really does take a special kind of guts to bike from Istanbul to India, the sharing of the experience just doesn´t satisfy my curious mind.
Thinking of the parts of the Silk Road I have travelled, th ...more
Jo Walton's mini-review, 2019, which led me to read the book. I doubt I would have had I not seen hers.
"I loved this ...more
At my last book club meeting, when we were trying to decide on our next read, I was fully behind this story. The blurb sounded interesting and I was hoping for a story that would speak to me, the way Cheryl Strayed’s Wild inspired me to want to do more. I’m not at all pleased to admit that I had to force myself to finish this book. I did not enjoy but a few bits and pieces.
Kate Harris’ tale started strong; I was very optimistic after just the first chapter. Things quickly went downhill ...more
I generally try to only read books that have an average rating of 4 star or higher because it helps me weed out the bad or boring books. This book is fairly new and I think I read about it in a popular women’s magazine which is usually code for some publisher really pushing it so as I am writing this review it still has over a ...more
The appeal of seeing some of this planet first grew on her after trips to Italy and hearing the Dali Lama talk. Reading about t ...more
There seems to be a total disconnect and lack of interest by the author when it comes to local people, culture, and way of life. Instead of diving into this human side of the Silk Road, she focuses on certain historical aspects, technicalities of trip planning/logistics, and repeatedly re ...more
I don't know why it took me so long to read Lands of Lost Borders. My unfamiliarity with the area made it more slow-going, as did the lack of maps (and my laziness not looking up the countries or looking for more resources that the author has available). That said, it is very very good and I hope to read it again in the future after I lend it to my ...more
Through her words, Harris took me along with her on the Silk Road, sneaking into the Tibet, going through the bureaucratic processes in the 'stan' countries, riding in the high lands and the steppes - and through this amazing journey I took from my couch, Harris gave me enough backstories about a few real world problems and how they are affecting us.
Though I will never have the stamina, ability and willpower to undertake ...more
Like a ...more
But I wish she had spent more time talking about borders and their differences in kind and effect. There are literal borders, like rivers and mountain ranges that establish separation not just of people but of ecosystems and even weather (the rain shadow of a mountain range, for example). Language is a border, distinct, divisive, and developed by isolation and by deliberation (the Academie Francaise, thirty profes ...more
It's not a travelogue but rather a juvenile diary of someone with an unhealthy obsession with being an "explorer". A third of this book is devoted to uninteresting personal context, a third goes to random stories that have nothing to do with her journey and the remaining is an incoherent mess. The trip itself is the author's Plan B after abandoning her ambitions to go to Mars, mostly fueled by a deep fetish for Tibet. She des ...more