Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail from Istanbul to India

Rory MacLean - 2006
    In the 1960s hundreds of thousands of young Westerners, inspired by Kerouac and the Beatles, blazed the 'hippie trail' overland from Istanbul to Kathmandu in search of enlightenment and a bit of cheap dope.Since the Summer of Love, the countries that offered so much to these dreamers have confronted the full force of modernity and transformed from worlds of Western fantasy to political minefields.Through a landscape of breathtaking beauty Rory MacLean retraces the path of the once well-worn 'hippie trail' from Turkey to Iran, Afghanistan to Pakistan, India to Nepal, meeting trail veterans and locals on his way, and relives wide-eyed adventures as he witnesses a world of extraordinary and terrifying transformation.


Peter Colaco - 2003
    He discovers that between his mother's ancestral home on Great Road, where he was born and his father's house in Fraser Town, his experiences represent a century of Bangalore's cultural history.The book is a sequence of loosely connected essays and anecdotes. It often borders on social comment, might even pass as pop-sociology, but is even more enjoyable simply for it's humour, superbly complemented by Paul Fernandes' water colour sketches.

City of Sin and Splendour: Writings on Lahore

Bapsi Sidhwa - 2005
    It is also the city of poets, the city of love, longing, sin and splendour. This anthology brings together verse and prose: essays, stories, chronicles and profiles by people who have shared a relationship with Lahore. From the mystical poems of Madho Lal Hussain and Bulleh Shah to Iqbal’s ode and Faiz’s lament, from Maclagan and Aijazuddin’s historical treatises and Kipling’s ‘chronicles’ to Samina Quraeshi’s intricate portraits of the Old City and Irfan Husain’s delightful account of Lahori cuisine, City of Sin and Splendour is a marriage of the sacred and profane.While Pran Nevile paints a vivid sketch of Lahore’s Hira Mandi, Shahnaz Kureshy brings alive the legend of Anarkali and Khalid Hasan pays a tribute to the late ‘melody queen’ Nur Jehan. Mohsin Hamid’s essay on exile, Bina Shah’s account of the Karachi vs Lahore debate and Emma Duncan’s piece on elections are essential to the understanding of modern-day Lahore.But the city is also about Lahore remembered. Ved Mehta and Krishen Khanna write about ‘going back’ as Khushwant Singh writes about his pre-Partition years in Lahore. Sara Suleri’s memories of her hometown, the landscapes of Bapsi Sidhwa’s fiction, Khaled Ahmed’s homage to Intezar Hussain and Urvashi Butalia’s Ranamama are tributes to memory as much as they are tributes to remarkable lives and unforgettable places.Including fiction old and new—from Manto and Chughtai to Ashfaq Ahmed and Zulfikar Ghose; Saad Ashraf and Sorayya Khan to Mohsin Hamid and Rukhsana Ahmad, City of Sin and Splendour is a sumptuous collection that reflects the city it celebrates.

Portage: A Family, a Canoe, and the Search for the Good Life

Sue Leaf - 2015
    The enchantment stayed with her and shimmers throughout this book as we join Leaf and her family in canoeing the waterways of North America, always on the lookout for the good life amid the splendors and surprises of the natural world.The journey begins with a trip to the border lakes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, then wanders into the many beautiful little rivers of Minnesota and Wisconsin, the provincial parks of Canada, the Louisiana bayou, and the arid West. A biologist and birder, Leaf considers natural history and geology, noticing which plants are growing along the water and which birds are flitting among the branches. Traveling the routes of the Ojibwe, voyageurs, and map-making explorers, she reflects on the region’s history, peopling her pages with Lewis and Clark, Jean Lafitte, Henry Schoolcraft, and Canada’s Group of Seven artists. Part travelogue, part natural and cultural history, Portage is the memoir of one family’s thirty-five-year venture into the watery expanse of the world. Through sunny days and stormy hours and a few hair-raising moments, Sue and her husband, Tom, celebrate anniversaries on the water; haul their four kids along on family adventures; and occasionally make the paddle a social outing with friends. Along the way they contend with their own human nature: they run rapids when it would have been wiser to portage, take portages and learn truths about aging, avoid portages and ponder risk-taking. Through it all, out in the open, in the wild, in the blue, exploring the river means encountering life—good decisions and missed chances, risks and surprises, and the inevitable changes that occur as a family canoes through time and learns what it means to be human in this natural world.

30 Days in Sydney: A Wildly Distorted Account

Peter Carey - 2001
    In the midst of the 2000 Olympic games, Australia native Peter Carey returns to Sydney after a seventeen-year absence. Examining the urban landscape as both a tourist and a prodigal son, Carey structures his account around the four elements-Earth, Air, Fire, and Water-insisting on the primacy of nature to this unique Australian cityscape.As his quixotic account unfolds, Carey looks both inward into his past (as well as Sydney's own violent history) and outward onto the city's familiar landmarks and surroundings-the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Blue Mountains-achieving just the right alchemy of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water to tell Sydney's extraordinary story.

The Cannibal Queen: A Flight Into The Heart Of America

Stephen Coonts - 1992
    In The Cannibal Queen, he turns his storytelling genius to nonfiction with an exultant account of three glorious months in the summer of ‘91 spent in the cockpit of a 1942 Stearman vintage biplane. Joining the ranks of John Steinbeck and Charles Kuralt, Coonts takes us on an extraordinary adventure, touching down in all forty-eight of the continental United States. On a clear, sunny Saturday in June, Coonts and his fourteen-year-old son David take off from Boulder, Colorado, in a 1942 Stearman open cockpit biplane, “a noisy forty-nine-year-old wood and canvas crate with a naked floozy painted on the side.” The Queen started life as a World War II primary trainer then spent over thirty years as an agricultural spray plane before being lovingly restored. For Coonts, who’s logged thousands of hours in the Navy’s most sophisticated aircraft, the Queen is flying as he’s never known it before—flying close the earth, the wind teasing his helmet, equipped with little more than a map and a compass. First stop is a Stearman fly-in in St. Francis, Kansas. there amid the barbecues and barber-shop quartets, the tree lined streets with their modest homes, Coonts feels nostalgia for small-town America, for a way of life he felt was dying. Yet, by the end of the journey, having met the friendly, richly individual people in towns large and small across the land, he knows our nation has weathered her first two hundred years remarkably well, and he is filled with hope for the future of this vast and varied land. First published in 1992, The Cannibal Queen was Coonts’ first venture into nonfiction and is hailed today as a classic flying story. Coonts captures the joy and wonder of flight on every page. Over half the fan mail he has received through the years has been about this book. You owe it to yourself to go flying with Stephen Coonts.

Into A Paris Quartier: Reine Margot's Chapel and Other Haunts of St.-Germain

Diane Johnson - 2005
    Now, the paperback edition of her delightful book will take even more Americans to the richly historic part of the city that has always attracted us, from Ben Franklin in the 18th-century to raffish novelist Henry Miller in the 20th.Modern St.-Germain is lively and prosperous, and fifty years ago its heady mix of jazz and existentialism defined urbane cool, but Johnson takes a longer view. "Beside the shades of Jean-Paul Sartre and Edith Piaf," she writes, "there is another crowd of resident ghosts... misty figures in plumed hats whose fortunes and passions were enacted among these beautiful, imposing buildings." From her kitchen window, she looks out on a chapel begun by Reine Margot, wife of Henri IV; nearby streets are haunted by the shades of two sinister cardinals, Mazarin and Richelieu, as well as four famed queens and at least five kings. Delacroix, Corot, Ingres, David, and Manet all lived in St.-Germain; Oscar Wilde died there; and everybody who was anybody visited sooner or later.With her delicious imagination and wry, opinionated voice, Diane Johnson makes a companionable and fascinating guide to a classic neighborhood as cosmopolitan as it is quintessentially French.

The Imam And The Indian, Prose Pieces

Amitav Ghosh - 2002
    Here, for the first time is as complete a collection as can be made of the prose which reveals that relatively unknown Amitav Ghosh: the novelist as thinker, the man of ideas and as a writer of luminous, illuminating non-fiction.

Destination Earth- A New Philosophy of Travel by a World-Traveler

Nicos Hadjicostis - 2016
    It also provides a philosophical framework for embarking on more meaningful and purposeful travels, whether it is an around the world journey, or an exploration of a region, or even a city. Destination Earth is the product of the author's unique 6.5-year continuous around the world journey, during which he visited 70 countries on 6 continents and treated the world as if it were a single destination. From Chile and Argentina to Thailand and Japan, Destination Earth explores the delicate and invisible interconnections of nations and countries, people and cultures, and delves deep into all aspects of travel and its transformational power:· Why long-term and world travel is the ultimate university· How to create a wise-line of travel through any region· How to go about capturing the Soul of a country· How to deal with the unpleasant realities of the world while on the road · Balance the relationship between travel planning and spontaneity· How a Travel-Journey is related to our Life's-Journey · Practical advice on how to plan the exploration of regions and countries· 23 inspiring travel stories from the author's journey that augment the main text· 60 color photos from various places around the world Ideas, experiences, stories and photographs are interwoven into a newly created Philosophy of Travel that is practical and easy to read.

The Twice-born

Aatish Taseer - 2018

The White Cities: Reports From France, 1925 39

Joseph Roth - 1976
    Collected together here for the first time in English, these exhilarating pieces evoke a world of suppleness, beauty and promise. From the port town of Marseilles to the Riviera of Nice and Monte Carlo, to the erotic hill country around Avignon; from the socialist workers and cattlemen with whom Roth ate breakfast, to prostitutes and Sunday bullfighters, White Cities is not only a swan song to a European order that could no longer hold but also a beautifully crafted and revelatory work. Joseph Roth died of an alcohol-related illness in a Paris hospital in 1939.

Karachi Halwa

Prabhu Dayal - 2015
    Ambassador Prabhu Dayal shares his recollections of that period and keeps you laughing throughout his account of the bumpy ride of Pakistan’s domestic politics and its relationship with India. He tells you how a Sahiwal cow was brought into the equation, and where an elephant comes in.He says, ‘The past, the present and the future are in one continuous motion. Whatever I witnessed in Pakistan during Zia’s rule extends its long shadow not only over the present times but will do so well into the future also’. He poses the ultimate question whether the two South Asian giants can live as friends, offering his own suggestions.

Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai'i

Liz Prato - 2019
    Hawaiian history, pop culture, and contemporary affairs are woven with personal narrative in fifteen essays that examine how the touristic ideal of Hawai'i came to be, and what it "is," at its core. Prato first fell in love with Hawai'i when she was a teenager while her father was building a housing subdivision on Maui. Her relationship with the Islands was cemented into a soul connection when Hawai'i became a place of respite and salvation as Prato suffered the losses of her mother, father, and brother, leaving her bereft of family by the age of forty-four. As she became more aware of how white colonialism ravaged Native Hawaiian society—and that many Native Hawaiians are pushing for sovereignty—Prato found herself asking what it means that her love for the Islands was born out of the thing that destroyed them: a white mainlander buying and developing land. What does it mean that her continued tourism contributes to Native Hawaiians getting further and further from their land, their 'āina? "Prato's work stays winningly informal and idiosyncratic throughout and . . . coalesces into an intriguing and informative journey through the 50th state." —Publishers Weekly"With her guidance and thoughtfulness, Prato pushes against the surface, locating herself within and the people and landscape of Hawai'i without buying into visitor thinking—this is not a musing on mai tais and hula events." —Buzzfeed"From the perspective of a non-native who has a deep love and long relationship with these islands, Prato shares stories that intertwine facts and personal memories. They will leave you feeling both enchanted and more aware of our place in the world as unconcerned tourists to a place that many call home." —Matador Travel Network"The islands serve as a launch pad for Prato to discuss weighty issues, including race, grief, and capitalism, with introspection and insight." —Willamette Week

The Faithful Scribe: A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family, and War

Shahan Mufti - 2013
    Mufti uses the stories of his ancestors, many of whom served as judges and jurists in Muslim sharia courts of South Asia for many centuries, to reveal the deepest roots—real and imagined—of Islamic civilization in Pakistan.   More than a personal history, The Faithful Scribe captures the larger story of the world’s first Islamic democracy, and explains how the state that once promised to bridge Islam and the West is now threatening to crumble under historical and political pressure, and why Pakistan’s destiny matters to us all.

Meatless Days

Sara Suleri - 1989
    Suleri; of her tenacious grandmother Dadi and five siblings; and of her own passage to the West."Nine autobiographical tales that move easily back and forth among Pakistan, Britain, and the United States. . . . She forays lightly into Pakistani history, and deeply into the history of her family and friends. . . . The Suleri women at home in Pakistan make this book sing."—Daniel Wolfe, New York Times Book Review"A jewel of insight and beauty. . . . Suleri's voice has the same authority when she speaks about Pakistani politics as it does in her literary interludes."—Rone Tempest, Los Angeles Times Book Review"The author has a gift for rendering her family with a few, deft strokes, turning them out as whole and complete as eggs."—Anita Desai, Washington Post Book World"Meatless Days takes the reader through a Third World that will surprise and confound him even as it records the author's similar perplexities while coming to terms with the West. Those voyages Suleri narrates in great strings of words and images so rich that they left this reader . . . hungering for more."—Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune"Dazzling. . . . Suleri is a postcolonial Proust to Rushdie's phantasmagorical Pynchon."—Henry Louise Gates, Jr., Voice Literary Supplement