What We're Reading Now

Posted by Jess Moss on April 29, 2009 at 11:46:53 AM EDT | Post a Comment

Summer's just around the corner, which means it's time to load up on some great reads. We've checked out the latest travel tales and picked out a selection that will transport you to every continent—and beyond! Fodor's Editor Jess Moss weighs in, below.

CUTTING FOR STONE
By: Abraham Verghese

This moving saga captures the bond between twin brothers, Marion and Shiva, who are orphaned at birth and raised by doctors at a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Set against the backdrop of this East African country's compassionate people and tumultuous politics, Marion and Shiva's journey is one of family, abandonment, betrayal, and love. Verghese's great knowledge of medicine is threaded throughout the tale, yet the rich descriptions of place, from Ethiopia to India to New York City, and the touching humanity of the characters, make this a book that even the non-medically inclined will cherish. Bookstore page»

THE SWEET LIFE IN PARIS
Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious—and Perplexing—City
By David Lebovitz

If you enjoyed such American-in-Paris memoirs as David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day and Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon then sink your teeth into David Lebovitz's The Sweet Life in Paris. While the pastry chef's witty quips on the idiosyncrasies of Parisian life sometimes hark on topics visited by his fellow ex-pat writers, this book is nonetheless a colorful and quirky collection of vignettes. And unlike Sedaris and Gopnik's memoirs, should The Sweet Life's descriptions of Parisian hot chocolate or fresh cheese become too tempting to simply read about, Lebovitz provides about 50 easy-to-follow recipes throughout the text. Fire up the oven, curl up into a chair, and bon appétit! Bookstore page»

FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA
How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life
By Eve Brown-Waite

Eve Brown-Waite's charming memoir tells the story of how the author fell for her Peace Corps recruiter and created a life for herself in the Third World. After a short stint in Ecuador for the Peace Corps, Brown-Waite marries her do-gooder sweetheart and heads off the beaten path again—this time to Uganda. There she discovers a new culture and society, where AIDS can be caused by a curse and preparing dinner can become a multi-day affair. Brown-Waite's light-hearted and conversational remembrance of starting a family in a land of few amenities is a fun, yet informed, read. Bookstore page»

ONCE IN A LIFETIME TRIPS
The World's 50 Most Adventurous, Luxurious, and Memorable Travel Experiences
By Chris Santella

Have you ever wanted to swim with great white sharks, tour Provence by bicycle, or experience weightlessness in outer space? These are some of the possibilities showcased in Once in a Lifetime Trips, a collection of 50 travel experiences and stunning color photographs. The book has something for everybody, from opera fanatics to adrenaline junkies, and while this isn't a guidebook, each trip is accompanied by some service information to help you start planning. The featured options are quite luxurious, and will likely surpass most budgets, but because each trip is presented as a readable travel experience, this is an enjoyable book for travelers in every price range. You'll probably even find inspiration for your next, more affordable trip. Bookstore page»

JEFF IN VENICE, DEATH IN VARANASI
By Geoff Dyer

In an inventive approach to storytelling, Geoff Dyer presents two travelogues in his latest book, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, linking the great water-centric metropolises of Venice, Italy and Varanasi (also known as Benares, Banaras, and Kashi), India. The first story is largely plot-driven: Jeff, a second-rate journalist, traipses around the art world's Venice Biennale, indulging in a very raunchy sex, drugs, and party scene. It is the second account, which follows a journalist through his introspective relationship with Varanasi, that really showcases Dyer's ability to bring a place alive. The vivid details of the Indian city's character, philosophy, and the constant presence of death were enlightening, and made me wish Dyer had done similar justice to Venice. Bookstore page»

–Jess Moss

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