Non-fiction by Seth Kugel (Liveright)
LOVE travel? Love books? Love books about travel?
Whether or not you’re familiar with Kugel’s amusing, yet never cloying writing; his self-deprecating and hilarious storytelling; and his inner struggle between his fear of talking to strangers and his compulsion for out-of-the-way adventures, “Rediscovering Travel” will feel as comfortable as your favorite, wooly pair of socks. He’ll charm your pants off with his amusing and endearing anecdotes about his travels, near and far.
About South Carolina: “Even if you’ve just eaten, you don’t pass up a barbecue buffet at a place called Hog Heaven that has a sign featuring three pigs in bibs and halos.”
About the weather: “A travel day that turns rainy is like a piece of chocolate I’ve dropped on the floor: It’s significantly less appealing, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to throw it away.”
But despite Kugel’s delightful writing, his book doesn’t fulfill his publisher’s intended promise of becoming an “indispensable” travel companion that conveys “how to make the most of new digital technologies without being shackled to them.”
His advice encouraging travelers to visit places off the well-worn paths, to talk to real people rather than to rely on websites and apps, and to steer clear of chain restaurants and hotels, seems a tad obvious. And his chapters exploring crime and health statistics, OTAs (online travel agencies) and consumer review websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor feel out of place.
It may be best to accept the highly readable “Rediscovering Travel” for what it is — a funny, inspiring and well-crafted collection of travel essays. (AP)