05 August 2011

Imprint Friday: Travels by Paul Bowles

Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Ecco books. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.

In the old days of the late twentieth century, travel writers would try to capture the ambiance and character of the places they visited. They'd pepper their articles with descriptions of the people and streets, foods and smells they encountered along the way. There was less emphasis on to-do lists and the best deals than there was on the actual experience of being in a new place.

Paul Bowles was just such a writer, and the upcoming collection Travels: Collected Writings, 1950–1993 presents some of the best of his work.

Here's the publisher's summary:

In more than forty essays and articles that range from Paris to Ceylon, Thailand to Kenya, and, of course, Morocco, the great twentieth-century American writer encapsulates his long and full life, and sheds light on his brilliant fiction. Whether he’s recalling the cold-water artists’ flats of Paris’s Left Bank or the sun-worshiping eccentrics of Tangier, Paul Bowles imbues every piece with a deep intelligence and the acute perspective of his rich experience of the world. Woven throughout are photographs from the renowned author’s private archive, which place him, his wife, the writer Jane Bowles, and their many friends and compatriots in the landscapes his essays bring so vividly to life.

With an introduction by Paul Theroux and a chronology by Daniel Halpern.
I love to travel, and if I had the resources, I'd probably be visiting someplace new or relaxing in my favorite spots almost every month. Thank goodness for writers like Bowles, who allow me to travel without having to renew my passport.

In this collection, Bowles takes readers across the globe from Africa to the Mid-East and from Europe to Asia. He introduces us to local citizens as readily as he does to the rich and famous. He describes the art and architecture as well as the color of the sky or feel of the breeze. Bowles's type of travel writing may be disappearing, but I'm thankful to have so many of his essays in one volume and am looking forward to hours of armchair adventures.

Here are some other opinions:
  • The Lonely Planet concludes: "This is essential reading for not only all Bowles fans, but anyone interested in travel writing—as few have truly lived the life he has, immersed deep within the culture and blessed with the ability to articulate life as he saw it."
  • The Spectator comments: "This superb collection of his travel journalism takes us back to the days of exploration, when the going was rough. It provides an absorbing record of the American novelist’s love of Islamic North Africa and the sand-dwelling peoples of the Sahara, as well as Sri Lanka and the unjustly maligned Madeira."
Daniel Halpern, who compiled a chronology for Travels interviewed Bowles in 1970. A transcript of that interview can be found on the official Paul Bowles website.

Beth Fish Reads is proud to showcase Ecco books as a featured imprint on this blog. For more information about Ecco, please read the introductory note from Vice President / Associate Publisher Rachel Bressler, posted here on July 15, 2011. Find your next great read by clicking on Ecco in the scroll-down topics/labels list in my sidebar and by visiting Ecco books on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

Travels at Powell's
Travels at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by HarperCollins / Ecco, August 23, 2011
ISBN-13: 9780062067630

14 comments:

Tea,  8/5/11, 6:20 AM  

Thank you for all the links. I'll bet those essays are wonderful just like going to.... Would luv to read each one. Wonderful review again.

Heather 8/5/11, 6:22 AM  

This sounds wonderful. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

Lenore Appelhans 8/5/11, 6:50 AM  

LOVE travel writing. I should read more of it!

Sandy Nawrot 8/5/11, 8:35 AM  

We love to travel as well. Often reading articles like these will inspire us to visit a place. And over 40 years of experience - this guy has probably done it all.

Beth Hoffman 8/5/11, 9:18 AM  

This sound like a fabulous read! I'm adding it to my list.

Col (Col Reads) 8/5/11, 10:04 AM  

I'm a travel-addict myself. Bowles definitely had one of my dream jobs. I am adding this to my TBR!

Zibilee 8/5/11, 2:09 PM  

Travel writing is a genre that I am not intimately familiar with, but would like to be. I have read a handful of books in this genre, but it's always nice to sit back and read about places that you might someday hope to visit. This sounds like a great book, and one that I would enjoy. Thanks for shedding a spotlight on this book today!

Zibilee 8/5/11, 2:09 PM  

Travel writing is a genre that I am not intimately familiar with, but would like to be. I have read a handful of books in this genre, but it's always nice to sit back and read about places that you might someday hope to visit. This sounds like a great book, and one that I would enjoy. Thanks for shedding a spotlight on this book today!

Zibilee 8/5/11, 2:09 PM  

Travel writing is a genre that I am not intimately familiar with, but would like to be. I have read a handful of books in this genre, but it's always nice to sit back and read about places that you might someday hope to visit. This sounds like a great book, and one that I would enjoy. Thanks for shedding a spotlight on this book today!

bermudaonion 8/5/11, 3:43 PM  

I bet that's fabulous!

Robin McCormack 8/5/11, 7:37 PM  

Sounds great. Will have to check it out.

Hillary 8/6/11, 7:31 AM  

This sounds like I will enjoy it. I will have to check it out!

Barbara 8/6/11, 11:07 AM  

This is exactly the kind of travel writing I love. I'm the kind of person who would go anywhere any time; my mother said Dad and I were born with itchy feet. I can't travel right now, but I can read travel writers which soothes the itch a little.

BookGeek 8/6/11, 7:15 PM  

Travel writing isn't something I am very familiar with, but I'd love to get into. This looks like a really great book.

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