Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Best American Travel Writing, 2000, Post #2

Several weeks ago I wrote about this book. I had listened to an abridged version on CD. I complained because I thought that the CD didn't include enough essays. I remember that I felt (and implied) that they should have released an unabridged CD version as well, complete with every essay.

After getting a copy of the unabridged print version of this book, I have changed my mind. There is such a thing as too much. I spent several weeks plowing through the remaining essays, of which there seemed to be hundreds. All the situations and experiences have run together in my head into one big scenario. Kidnapped in Kenya? Wait, no, kidnapped in Thailand. Hitchhiking in Ivory Coast? Yes, and also hitchhiking in Morocco, and again in Australia. Picking up hitchhikers in Cuba.

I have concluded that the best essays were indeed the ones that were included on the audio CD; the rest, with one exception, were pretty forgettable. I remember writing in my first post that I wanted to read the essay about the Australian truck driver who delivers fuel to Cape York Peninsula, at the top of Queensland. That essay was excellent: funny and original, and it should have been included on the CD. The rest were mostly one big boondoggle.


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