One of the perks of running this little travel/book/art blog is that I receive lots of free books. Some are advance reader copies, some are uncorrected proofs and others are just pre-release copies. I’ve been sent novels, memoirs, reference books, and of course travel guidebooks and travel narratives.
There are some drawbacks to this largesse. My “to read” piles are growing day by day. Finding the time to give fair attention to this literary munificence is problematic. And then there is the issue of the disappointing book. Does one even comment on a book that after all is a gift even if it’s a dud?
Well, today I don’t have that problem because I can happily comment on two first-rate, but very different travel books that were recently sent by publishers. The Globetrotter Diaries by Michael Clinton is a wonderful blend of travel memoir and travel guide. While Hidden Cities: A Memoir of Urban Exploration by Moses Gates is a bang-up travel adventure book like no other.
Michael Clinton is the President, marketing and Publishing Director for Hearst Magazines, but don’t think that his travel memoir/travel guide is all about travel for the 1%ers. In fact, Clinton has clearly never lost touch with his Pennsylvania, working-class roots. The Globetrotter Diaries recounts more than three decades of exploration and adventures in more than 120 countries. Interspersed within the travel memoir are choice bits of travel advice from the author and his globetrotting pals, i.e. travel alone, you’ll learn resilience, independence and ingenuity, and think black, think washable.
Whether you are an intrepid globetrotter like Clinton, someone who just loves to travel wherever and whenever you can, or just an armchair travel lover, The Globetrotter Diaries is a fine read. You can learn more about the book and its author on the dedicated Facebook page.
Hidden Cities: A Memoir of Urban Exploration is a very different kind of travel book. In this rollicking good read, Moses Gates introduces us pedestrian travel types to “the Secret Corners of the World’s Great Metropolises”. Gates is a 21st century travel pioneer, who revels in discovering the places hidden to us less adventurous mortals. His guidebook to offbeat travels provides glimpses into the domain of urban exploration as adventure travel. Taking us behind the scenes from Paris to New York and Moscow to Cairo, Gates reveals underground Roman ruins, the inner workings of iconic landmarks, the hidden facets of cities, the idiosyncracies of great bridges, the netherworld of underground transit systems and forbidden locations on four continents.