A bevy of summer travel books have landed on the Provisions desk, so what say we dedicate this week’s feature to the literary side of travel?
$22.95; National Geographic, 279 pages
This could well become the bible for vacationing with your dog. There’s not just tips but a city-by-city breakdown of pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, parks, etc. Carter researched it by traveling with her long-haired chihuahua, Lucy, but she’s also a veteran travel writer. Sacramento doesn’t make the West Coast list, but San Francisco, Del Mar, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Los Angeles, San Diego and Yosemite do.
When John Waters, the wacky cult filmmaker (“Hairspray,” “Pink Flamingos”), decided to hitchhike from Baltimore to San Francisco armed with a cardboard sign reading “I’m Not Psycho,” hilarity is bound to ensue. And it’s even funnier with Waters reading his own prose. Along the way, Waters gets picked up by a geriatric farmer, an indie rock band and a Republican in a Corvette. Good stuff.
$9.95; Yosemite Conservancy; 96 pages
Call this “Deep Thoughts” for nature lovers. Quotes from famous authors and environmentalists, culled by Claudia Welsh, are augmented by Michael Frye’s glorious, glossy photographs from all the hot spots at Yosemite National Park and will undoubtedly inspire you to leave the couch. One excerpt is an Edward Abbey toast paired with Half Dome emerging from cloud cover: “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”
$20.45; Yale University Press, 404 pages
This book weighs a ton, but its glossy color photos of every conceivable lichen are a great resource to have in your backpack, should you ever stop on the trail and wonder whether that strange thing hanging down is a bloody-beard lichen or a Methuselah’s beard lichen. Be warned: There are plenty of Latin terms to wrap your head around.
$24.95; Pantheon; 190 pages
Dyer is one of our best literary essayists, having tackled such subjects as D.H. Lawrence and yoga and a deconstruction of author John Berger’s work. Here, he turns his attention to travel journalism, though it’s travel not everyone gets a chance to experience. Dyer, a Brit, spent hard time on an American aircraft carrier, revealing daily life on the ship, the machismo and the vulnerability of the crew.
“You see I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby”