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My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere
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My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  725 ratings  ·  103 reviews
New Yorker writer and author of The Library Book takes readers on a series of remarkable journeys in this uniquely witty, sophisticated, and far-flung travel book.

In this irresistible collection of adventures far and near, Orlean conducts a tour of the world via its subcultures, from the heart of the African music scene in Paris to the World Taxidermy Championships in Spri
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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alana Semuels
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
These aren't really travel stories, but rather New Yorker-type stories about weird and strange people and events around the world that Orlean attends. Highlights are one about a taxidermy collection (one guy makes a stuffed panda by combining two bears, which are legal to kill, unlike pandas), one about climbing Mt. Fuji, and one about a pageant in the South. Some of the short humor pieces at the end don't quite fit in the book, but they're still pretty amusing. Defintely recommended for anyone ...more
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved it!
Mar 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
This is an enjoyable but uneven collection of essays about places and cultures in the U.S. and around the world. Most were originally printed in the New Yorker between 1992 and 2003. The title seems obliquely inspired by the Frank Sinatra song, 'My Kind of Town', which is mentioned in passing in one of the longest and best pieces in the collection, 'All Mixed Up'. It's a close look at an independent grocery in Queens, and it offers a magnificent portrait of the rhythms of the store, the economic ...more
Jun 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, chicklit
I was going to buy this book in SF a few weeks ago, but my cards wouldn't cover it and the author whose picture is on the cover looked like kind of an asshole, so I easily gave that up. But checked it out at the library cause they had it a few weeks ago.

I don't know why this book was in the travel section. Sure, the stories took place in locations all over the country and world (sort of), but the stories had hardly anything to do with the locations. More like events that took place that happene
Mary Havens
Nov 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I really tried with this book. Abandoned on page 156.
I loved The Library Book and The Orchid Thief (planning to read that one again) and semi-enjoyed The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup (some stories were great, others o.k. Like any collection).
This one - I started it and wasn’t super into it but figured that was just that particular short story. Nope. The stories felt too short and really choppy. I guess I enjoy Orlean best when she is writing long form journalism/books (?). I even put the book
Feb 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: okay
I tend not to read travel narratives, except the 'Emily Murphy's boat sank, she lost her passport and her shoes' type, because my wanderlust is force to be reckoned with. It's not something I can handle continually stirring if I plan to remain in my normal life. By the end of the first chapted of a Bill Bryson or Pico Iyer book, I'm halfway out the door with a bike lock in one hand and a super-absorbent towel in the other. But while these particular stories were nice to read, they were not reall ...more
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
SO MUCH BETTER! My first foray into reading Susan’s books was the Bullfighter Checks her Makeup which to me promised far more than it delivered. The stories didn’t hold my interest save in a few places.

This book and collection of her stories were much more engaging. While I did not finish every single one, I finished many more than in the first book and I felt her sense of humor shone through. I also enjoyed the short format of some of them (I know that others here complained of that).

I especia
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-we-love
Emma Komlos-Hrobsky (Assistant Editor, Tin House Magazine): In reading Susan Orlean’s My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who’s Been Everywhere, an anthology of her best travel writing, I’ve been thinking about what makes Orlean’s nonfiction genuinely charming where others’ writing in the same vein can feel twee to me. So much of her material here might seem to write itself; how could an essay about tiger hoarders in suburban New Jersey or little league basebull under the thumb of Cast ...more
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love Susan Orlean's writing, even that article about her walking desk (yes, that one). This collection includes great reported pieces on everything from animal hoarders and NYC grocery stores to fertility blessings in Bhutan. A few pieces get a little overwrought with description or a little silly, but most are thoughtful travel essays with fun quips dropped in like "never go anywhere without a sweatshirt, a string of pearls, and a big, elegant scarf, which can be used as a dress, a shawl, a s ...more
Lori Schiele
Susan Orlean is a travel writer for, mostly, the New York Times, and in this book, she shares some of her most odd adventures that she has had published for the Times, or occasionally in other places. She shares her trips to the World Taxidermy Championship, climbing to the top of Mt. Fuji, trawl Icelandic waters with Keiko, (the Killer Whale from "Free Willy"), explore the halls of a New York City high school known as "Horror High" and meet with a woman who hoards 23 tigers in Jackson, New Jers ...more
Jason Jordan
Jan 18, 2009 rated it liked it
My Kind of Place has several interesting essays. I particularly like those that focus on a certain location instead of a region. For instance, "All Mixed Up" centers on a grocery store in Queens, New York, rather than Queens itself. Some end too abruptly, I think, but most are informative and fascinating. It would've been helpful for Orlean to have worked the year into each essay--even in a roundabout way--so that the reader would have a clear(er) sense of context. I also think that the "Everywh ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: journalism
Orleans travel stories don't remind me of typical, heavy New Yorker profiles, which I suppose they aren't. I think the most memorable story was the longer one near the beginning of the collection about a neighborhood grocery store in Queens, NY, if I recall.
One thing I liked is how fearless she was about listing all the wild ethnic foods that different kinds of people would seek in the store.
And, when she tells you the owner likes to listen to Sinatra all day, she then writes five more sentences
Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Heard this as a book on tape. Not so much travel stories as stories about places. Some wonderful sentences in there, but some very long stories that needed serious editing as well. Probably wouldn't have finished the book but it's a long drive home, so I finished the tape.

I was constantly wondering how she managed to report conversations with people when she didn't appear to speak any languages. I will remember some of these places and people, though, and that's the sign of a good book, no?
Dec 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
This was not what I expected. Which may account for why I didn't like it much. I was looking for a travel book--exciting stories of exciting places, you know? It was more just stories about people in the U.S. I really liked her other books, so I may just put this one aside and give it another try when I'm in a different mood. ...more
Aug 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, essays
It's Susan Orlean. Come on. ...more
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Better title for this book would have been CRACKPOTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
Rachel Hyland
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the best books I read in 2018 was The Library Book by Susan Orlean. It’s an astonishing achievement, all about a 1980s fire in an LA public library and the investigation into it, but also about the establishment of that library, and what we love about libraries, and books, and community. It’s hilarious, it’s thrilling, it’s thought-provoking, it’s sad. It’s just wonderful and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Imagine my delight, then, when I was going through my plentiful unread books,
Tom N
Aug 31, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
MY KIND OF PLACE, by Susan Orlean, takes the reader on a fantastic journey in a clever and sophisticated travel book. She takes the reader on a virtual journey of the world through its various subcultures, spanning the African music scene in Paris to the World Taxidermy Championships in Springfield, Illinois. Serving as tour guide, the author allows the reader to take part in all varieties of "armchair" traveler activity. The reader will climb Mount Fuji, experiencing a hike that even most Japan ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
I'm on a mission to read as many of Susan Orlean's writings as possible!! I'm also reading much of it to mu husband who suffers from macular degeneration and no longer reads easily.
Orleans transports us with her writing; taking any subject and bringing it alive. Non-fiction I cannot put down!!
In this tome, she refers to places she has visited for various reasons, where one also meets the locals and gets a personal sense of the place. She takes us to a neighborhood grocery store in Jackson Heig
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
A lot of these pieces were written from the mid-90's to mid-00's, and 15-25 years out seems like just the wrong time to read them. They're dated without providing a fresh look at the time; maybe for younger readers they would seem novel, but for me, there were nascent signs of emerging cultures (the child pageant story, already written in the shadow of Jon Benet, especially stuck out, as did the tale of the woman in NJ with the tigers!), while still seeming like a distant and foreign past (maybe ...more
Kerry Shoji
Jan 25, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was not on my list of books to read, but I saw it was written by Susan Orleans. After all, I loved the Library Book by the same author and I love travel essays so I thought why not? Bad decision, after I read 50 pages I decided to return it to the library. If you like reading about quirky places like attending the world taxidermy championship competition in Springfield, Illinois, or the Southern Charm International Children's Beauty Pageant in Prattville, Alabama then this book is for you. ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I read Orlean's "The Orchid Thief", loved it, and decided to give her another read. These are little vignettes about places, many cities, where the author has traveled, or travelled through. She skillfully shows the reader the extraordinary in the ordinary, the chaotic beauty of neighborhoods, the sublime in the mundane. Wonderful to keep at your bedside and allow the author to carry you away and immerse you one story at a time. ...more
Barbara Q
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m usually not fond of books of essays and these were all written 15 to 20 years ago, so seemed a little stale. There were some delightful chapters though, among them: stories about a lady and her tigers, Keiko the whale, little girl beauty pageants, Mt. Fuji and trailer park life.

I liked this author’s books about libraries (The Library Book) and rare orchids (The Orchid Thief) better.
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read based on enjoying someone's Twitter feed! Susan Orlean's Twitter feed has been very entertaining during the pandemic (and it's well-written). Based on that, I thought I would enjoy her take on travel-based essays. This is a collection of journalistic stories she'd written for the New Yorker - I really enjoyed it. She a funny and fine writer. ...more
Karen Stensgaard
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
During COVID and like the rest of the world, I’ve been stuck close to home. And for some strange reason, my attention span for a long novel ran off. If you feel the same way, Susan Orlean’s offbeat travel adventures are perfect. She writes with flair but in a relatable style. Who else starts an introduction with these three key words: “I travel heavy”? My Kind of Place is my kind of book.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This book consists of a series of stand alone stories about various locations, within the United States as well as overseas. Although some are more interesting than others, you will certainly find a few that you really like:)
Sarah Ewald
Some of these stories are a bit dated, but still interesting. Loved the ones about the taxidermist's convention, the tiger sanctuary lady, and the fertility festival in Bhutan... (not all in the same story...) ...more
Bryanna Plog
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Orlean's writing and get lost in her sentences and stories at the same time I learn about things I would have never thought to explore (taxidermy conferences, Cuban baseball, children's beauty pageants, etc). I thought more of this would be travel writing, but still a wonderful collection! ...more
Peggy Fecker
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
More adventures than travel but a perfect book in a non-travel year. Short enjoyable stories-was on my bedside table for quick reads. By the same author as The Orchid Thief - a long remembered true story.
Gail Kennon
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it
really between three and four stars..nothing earth shattering here but she's a delightful person to spend time with and introduces interesting places, people and experiences with warmth, intelligence and humor. ...more
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I'm the product of a happy and uneventful childhood in the suburbs of Cleveland, followed by a happy and pretty eventful four years as a student at University of Michigan. From there, I wandered to the West Coast, landing in Portland, Oregon, where I managed (somehow) to get a job as a writer. This had been my dream, of course, but I had no experience and no credentials. What I did have, in spades ...more

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