Travel Writing

(Note: This interview originally aired back in April.) "Don't just do something," goes an old saying that's sometimes attributed to the Buddha, "sit there." On this installment of ST, we speak with the acclaimed travel writer and essayist Pico Iyer, whose newest book is called "The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere." It may seem odd to find one of contemporary literature's best travel writers composing a book-lenth essay about not traveling, but Iyer begs to differ.

Our guest is the author and former journalist Rinker Buck, whose book, "Flight of Passage," was praised by The New Yorker as "a funny, cocky gem." Buck's new book, which he talks with us about, is "The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey." In this bestselling work, the author and his brother travel the original trail -- over some two-thousand miles -- from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Baker City, Oregon. It's a journey made by mule-pulled wagon, no less -- like the pioneers did, a century ago -- and it lasts four months.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview that originally aired in June of last year. At that time, we had an interesting conversation with the British author and scholar Toby Wilkinson, a widely respected scholar of Egyptology.

(Please note: This interview originally aired back in November.) On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Chris Guillebeau, an entrepreneur, traveler, and New York Times bestselling author. His first two books were "The Art of Non-Conformity" and "The $100 Startup" -- and today he tells us about his newest book, "The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life." Within the last year or so, Guillebeau completed his personal quest to visit every country in the world before reaching the age of 35.

"Don't just do something," goes an old saying that's sometimes attributed to the Buddha, "sit there." On this installment of ST, we speak with the widely acclaimed travel writer and essayist Pico Iyer, whose newest book is called "The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere." It may seem odd to find one of contemporary literature's best travel writers composing a book-lenth essay about not traveling, but Iyer begs to differ.

On this edition of ST, an interesting conversation with the British author and scholar Toby Wilkinson, who earned a degree in Egyptology from Downing College, Cambridge, and has been awarded several prestigious awards in his academic field.

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Jacob Tomsky, whose new book, "Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality," has been getting some rather glowing reviews from all over lately. A longtime veteran of the hotel biz, Tomsky here offers a detailed and unflinching yet also down-to-earth and amiable --- and, throughout, quite well-written --- autobiography about what it's really like to work (in every capacity) at an upscale hotel in America. New York Times critic Janet Maslin has thus called this book "Mr.

(Note: This interview originally aired in August of this year.) The automobile thrived, of course --- in fact, it flourished --- in the 20th century. Especially in America, where entire cities were developed around the car. People bought houses, planned vacations, and chose their schools and supermarkets (and so forth) around their autos --- and we still do so today. But it seems highly unlikely that cars will have quite so great an influence on our lives (and our cities) in the 21st century. So, what's next?

The automobile thrived, of course --- in fact, it flourished --- in the 20th century. Especially in America, where entire cities were developed around the car. People bought houses, planned vacations, and chose their schools and supermarkets (and so forth) around their autos --- and we still do so today, obviously. But it seems highly unlikely that cars will have quite so great an influence on our lives (and on cities) in the 21st century. So, what's next?

On today's program, which first aired last fall, we hear from the longtime New Yorker Magazine writer and bestselling author Ian Frazier, whose latest book (now in paperback) is "Travels in Siberia," which the San Francisco Chronicle has called "a masterpiece of nonfiction writing --- tragic, bizarre, and funny." Further, as one critic of this book has noted in The New York Times Book Review: "['Travels in Siberia' is] an uproarious, sometimes dark yarn filled with dubious meals, broken-down vehicles, abandoned slave-labor camps, and ubiquitous statues of Lenin --- 'On the Road' meets 'The