Arts & Leisure

Book review: The Best American Travel Writing 2020

(Mariner Books)
Robert Macfarlane, author of “Underland,” “The Lost Words” and “The Lost Spells,” as guest editor this year, ushers readers into this most peculiar time, a time when dreaming about travel, and thus reading and writing about travel, is surging, even as travelers have been forced to cancel and delay plans. “Lockdown,” he writes, “has triggered a greed for what cannot now be done…” His is not the only recognizable name in the collection: Heidi Julavits, author of “The Folded Clock,” one of our favorite and most unusual memoirs, immerses herself in an avalanche course; Yiyun Li, author of the PEN America award-winning novel “Where Reasons End,” travels to the remote archipelago of the Åland Islands wrestling with grief; and Emily Raboteau, recipient of numerous awards and author of “The Professor’s Daughter,” explores eco-anxiety in the age of the climate crisis. I really enjoyed Sam Anderson’s jocular biopic of the man whose middle name should be travel, Rick Steves. Anderson traveled around New York City with Steves, and was amazed to find him genuinely enchanted with the big city, like a wide-eyed tourist, breaking into the classic Simon & Garfunkel 59th Street Bridge Song at the 59th Street bridge, and “feelin’ groovy!” Travel writing — the next-best thing.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.

The Best American Series 2020
with series editors and guest editors
The Best American Short Stories 2020
Curtis Sittenfeld, Heidi Pitlor
The Best American Mystery Stories 2020
C. J. Box, Otto Penzler
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2020
Michio Kaku, Jaime Green
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020
John Joseph Adams, Diana Gabaldon
The Best American Essays 2020
André Aciman, Robert Atwan
The Best American Food Writing 2020
J. Kenji López-Alt, Silvia Killingsworth
The Best American Sports Writing 2020
Jackie MacMullan, Glenn Stout

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