Arranged by letter of the alphabet, with at least one entry per letter, these short pieces capture the variety of daily life in contemporary China. Writing about traditions that endure in rural areas as well as the absurdities of bureaucracy experienced by an American teacher and traveler in the 1980s, the essays cover such topics as dumpling making, bound feet, Chinglish, night soil, and banking. A new afterword reacts to recent changes in China.
Once upon a time, an Indian writer named Amitav Ghosh set out as an Indian slave, name unknown, who some seven hundred years before had traveled to the Middle East. The journey took him to a small village in Egypt, where medieval customs coexist with twentieth-century desires and discontents. But even as Ghosh sought to re-create the life of his Indian predecessor, he found himself immersed in those of his modern Egyptian neighbors.Combining shrewd observations with painstaking historical research, Ghosh serves up skeptics and holy men, merchants and sorcerers. Some of these figures are real, some only imagine, but all emerge as vividly as the characters in a great novel. In an Antique Land is an inspired work that transcends genres as deftly as it does eras, weaving an entrancing and intoxicating spell.
Although he is best known for his luminous reports from the farthest-flung corners of the earth, Bruce Chatwin possessed a literary sensibility that reached beyond the travel narrative to span a world of topics--from art and antiques to archaeology and architecture. This spirited collection of previously neglected or unpublished essays, articles, short stories, travel sketches, and criticism represents every aspect and period of Chatwin's career as it reveals an abiding theme in his work: his fascination with, and hunger for, the peripatetic existence. While Chatwin's poignant search for a suitable place to "hang his hat," his compelling arguments for the nomadic "alternative," his revealing fictional accounts of exile and the exotic, and his wickedly en pointe social history of Capri prove him to be an excellent observer of social and cultural mores, Chatwin's own restlessness, his yearning to be on the move, glimmers beneath every surface of this dazzling body of work.
U.S. Highway 66 was always different from other roads. During the decades it served American travelers, Route 66 became the subject of a world-famous novel, an Oscar-winning film, a hit song, and a long running television program. The 2,000 mile concrete slab also became a seven-year obsession for Susan Croce Kelly and Quinta Scott. They traveled Route 66, photographing buildings, knocking on doors, and interviewing the people who had built the buildings and run the businesses along the highway. Drawing on the oral tradition of those rural Americans who populated the edge of old Route 66, Scott and Kelly have pieced together the story of a highway that was conceived in Tulsa, Oklahoma; linked Chicago to Los Angeles; and played a role in the great social changes of the early twentieth century.
Using the words of the people themselves and documents they left behind, Kelly describes the life changes of Route 66 from the dirt-and-gravel days until the time when new technology and different life-styles decreed that it be abandoned to the small towns it had nurtured over the course of thirty years.
Scott's photographic essay shows the faces of those 66 people and gives a feeling of what can be seen along the old highway today, from the seminal highway architecture to the grainfields of the Illinois prairie, the windbent trees of western Oklahoma, the emptiness of New Mexico, and the bustling pier where the highway ends on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Route 66 uses oral history and photography as the basis for a human study of this country's most famous road. Historic times, dates, places, and events are described in the words of men and women who were there: driving the highway, cooking hamburgers, creating pottery, and pumping gas. As much as the concrete, gravel, and tar spread in a sweeping arc from Chicago to Santa Monica, those people are Route 66. Their stories and portraits are the biography of the highway.
The journeys of Paul Theroux take place not only in exotic, unexpected places of the world but in the thoughts, reading, and emotions of the writer himself. A gathering of people, places, and ideas in fifty glittering pieces of gold.
Nicholas Roerich--prolific artist and writer, renowned philosopher, educator, and explorer--relates the remarkable encounters and events of his travels through central Asia and Tibet at the turn of the century. Through his detailed diary notes and the chronicling of legends and parables, he reveals the many facets of the tale of Shambhala, the long-awaited realization of paradise on earth. In Western mythology, Shambhala appears as the mythic land of Shangri-la. In the prophecies of the East, it is seen as both a physical place and the dawning of a New Era of enlightened consciousness. Roerich found signs of the imminent arrival of Shambhala at every juncture of his journey--in the legends of local villagers and within their rock paintings and engravings. In keeping with the ancient traditions, Roerich felt that Shambhala would be attained not inevitably or without effort, but only as a result of "the Noblest and most intensive activity." A living example of this philosophy, he worked unceasingly for peace through culture, believing that "obstacles are only new possibilities to create beneficent energy." Chapters on Tibetan art, the desert cities, subterranean dwellers, and the Great Mother give the reader crystalline glimpses of Roerich's manifold vision and the vast panorama of his life journey toward a new age of human achievement.
From the bestselling author whose memoirs Under the Sun and Bella Tuscany have captured the voluptuousness of Italian life comes a lavishly illustrated ode to the joys of Tuscany's people, food, landscapes, and art. In Tuscany celebrates the abundant pleasures of life in Italy as it is lived at home, at festivals, feasts, restaurants and markets, in the kitchen and on the piazza, in the vineyards, fields, and olive groves. Combining all-new essays by Frances Mayes and a chapter by her husband, poet Edward Mayes, with more than 200 full-color photos by photographer Bob Krist, each of this book's five sections highlights a signature aspect of Tuscan life:La Piazza--the locus of Italian village life. With photgraphs of the shop signs, the outdoor markets, medieval streets, people, their pets and their cars, and snippets of conversations overheard, Mayes reveals the life of the Piazza in her town of Cortona as well as out-of-the-way places such as Volterra, Asciano, Monte San Savino, and Castelmuzio. La Festa--the celebration. Essays and photos of feasts and celebrations, such as the Christmas dinner for twenty-seven at a neighbor's house and a donkey race around the church at Montepulciano Stazione, illustrate how the Tuscans celebrate the seasons--their open ways of friendship, their connection to nature, and most of all, their sense of abundance. Il Campo--the field. Here Edward Mayes evokes the deep sense of the shift of seasons as he picks olives before he and Frances head off to the olive oil mill and enjoy the first bruscette with new oil. La Cucina--the kitchen. An intimate view of the all-important role of the kitchen in Tuscan culture, including photographs of her own kitchen and gardens, menus from great local cooks, the elements of the Tuscan table, dishes with cultural and culinary notes on each, and, of course, delectable recipes. La Bellezza--the beauty. From the quality of the light falling on sublime landscapes in different seasons and Tuscan faces in moments of laughter to a silhouette of cypress trees in the early evening and a wild bird perched on a neigbor's head, In Tuscany features views of beauty that reveal the singular splendor of one of the world's best-loved and most artistic regions.
Marco Polo was the most famous traveller of his time. His voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China, after which he served the Kubilai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions. On his return to the West he was made a prisoner of war and met Rustichello of Pisa, with whom he collaborated on this book. The accounts of his travels provide a fascinating glimpse of the different societies he encountered: their religions, customs, ceremonies and way of life; on the spices and silks of the East; on precious gems, exotic vegetation and wild beasts. He tells the story of the holy shoemaker, the wicked caliph and the three kings, among a great many others, evoking a remote and long-vanished world with colour and immediacy.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
As a young girl in a working-class neighborhood of Sydney, Australia, Geraldine Brooks longed to discover the places where history happens and culture comes from, so she enlisted pen pals who offered her a window on adolescence in the Middle East, Europe, and America. Twenty years later Brooks, an award-winning foreign correspondent, embarked on a human treasure hunt to find her pen friends. She found men and women whose lives had been shaped by war and hatred, by fame and notoriety, and by the ravages of mental illness. Intimate, moving, and often humorous, Foreign Correspondence speaks to the unquiet heart of every girl who has ever yearned to become a woman of the world.