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Staff Picks: See the World This Summer with Tantalizing Travel Memoirs!

by eapearce

It’s the season of travel for many, but even if you’re just “staycationing” this summer, you can travel in spirit with some of the excellent travel memoirs in AADL’s collection. Here are a few suggestions to get you going, even if “going” just means relaxing in the shade reading!

Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities and the Pleasures of Solitude, by Stephanie Rosenbloom | Request Now

Alone TimeTraveling solo can seem daunting - no one to share sights and experiences with, no one to consult with if you get lost, no one to help figure out train and bus schedules. Stephanie Rosenbloom would argue that in fact, solitary travel can be both pleasurable and rejuvenating, especially in an increasingly frantic and connected world. In Alone Time, Rosenbloom focuses on four cities in each of the four seasons: Paris, Istanbul, Florence, and New York. In each city, a different aspect of solitude is considered and explored, along with the city itself. She incorporates scientific information about the benefits of solitude and talks about learning to savor time alone. Her writing is warm and gentle, and readers will surely be at least intrigued by the idea of solo travel, and potentially even ready to jump up and plan their own adventure alone.



Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, by Bill Bryson | Request Now

Neither Here Nor ThereWhen it comes to travel writing, it’s hard to think of a writer as beloved or prolific as Bill Bryson. He has numerous travel memoirs, all written with his signature delightful sense of humor and perspective. Neither Here Nor There focuses on his travels around Europe, recreating a trip he took in the 1970s with his dear friend Stephen (who readers of A Walk in the Woods might remember!). He redoes the trip in the early 1990s, beginning in Norway in the mid-winter, hoping to see the Northern Lights. He then presses on through a variety of European cities and countries, ultimately ending in Istanbul. Of course, various hilarious interactions and hijinks occur, and Bryson artfully describes them all to the lucky reader. Check out his books describing his experiences traveling in Australia and small-town America, too! 



How To Be a Family, by Dan Kois | Request Now

How To Be a FamilyThis travel story has an interesting catalyst: author Dan Kois and his wife Alia lead a busy life in Washington, D.C. with their two pre-teen daughters, doing all the things families generally do: working, going to school, traveling to various activities for the kids, tending to the house, and so on. But Dan and Alia were feeling overwhelmed and like they didn’t have enough time for each other or their kids. So they decided to spend a year traveling the world to see how other families lived outside of their small East Coast bubble. They wondered if perhaps there was a way to be happier that they hadn’t considered. From New Zealand, to the Netherlands, to Costa Rica and small-town Kansas, the Kois explore new places, lifestyles and ways of interacting with the world, ultimately working to answer the question: can they change their lives, or do problems follow families wherever they go?



Solito, by Javier Zamora | Request Now

SolitoNot all trips are taken by choice. Forced to flee his home in El Salvador as a child, this memoir tells the story of Zamora’s three thousand mile journey to join his mother and father in the United States. His parents had left him with his grandparents while they went to try and establish a life here. When Zamora is nine years old, they are finally able to send for him, and though he is deeply sad to leave his beloved grandparents, he is excited to reunite with his mom and dad. But he has no idea the length and treachery of the journey ahead of him; the trip that was expected to take two weeks turns into a two month saga with complete strangers that he must trust and rely on. From endless treks through the desert, to perilous boat rides, to arrests and betrayals, Zamora presses on. This is an incredibly moving account of the bravery and resourcefulness, both of Zamora himself and of all those who have been forced to leave their homes.


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