If budget or time constraints prevent you from satisfying your wanderlust, you may want to peruse the 900-919 Dewey Decimal nonfiction and DVD areas of the library. The Manatee County Public Library System has a wide array of books, DVDs and online options for armchair travelers. Here is a small sampling of our new selections by and for travelers.
For many, online dating services lead to little more than an hour of awkward conversation over coffee, or the realization that there are worse things than being alone. But for Clara Bensen, a blind date turned into the adventure of a lifetime and inspired a successful book. “No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering” traces her journey with her new love of barely a month through eight countries in three weeks. The catch? They agreed to take only the clothes on their backs; no luggage and no reservations.
For a more domestic focus, check out the latest from widely acclaimed travel writer Paul Theroux. “Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads” chronicles a year wandering through the rural South of the United States. It is also available as an e-audiobook on “OneClickdigital,” a free library database that allows you to listen to books on your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Essay collections can be a great introduction to travel writing by a variety of authors featuring a wide range of locales. Part of the Travelers’ Tales series that started in 2004, “The Best Travel Writing. Volume 10: True Stories from Around the World” is a diverse collection of 29 essays by award-winning authors, as well as some new voices. The settings range from the back roads of Texas to Namibia.
Lonely Planet’s recently released “An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing Trips from 35 Great Writers” is an engaging collection of essays by more than 20 well-known authors that illustrate the unpredictable turns a journey can take and how these travel experiences changed their lives. For example, Cheryl Strayed explains how an intriguing travel challenge, complicated by goat-antelope hunting season, led to a spa treatment in Andorra. And David Baldacci writes of a nearly vertical climb with a malfunctioning GPS to the Italian village of Barga where the unexpected “David Baldacci Day” was then celebrated.
If you want to stay on top of the latest travel books, subscribe to the monthly NextReads Armchair Travel email newsletter. Two recently acquired titles highlighted in the current newsletter are “Wild by Nature: From Siberia to Australia, Three Years Alone in the Wilderness on Foot” by National Geographic explorer Sarah Marquis and “Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Alice Steinbach. You can sign up for NextReads at mymanatee.org
If you want to see the sights with your own eyes, the library system has hundreds of travel DVDs available for checkout. You can also view travel videos on your smartphone, tablet, or computer using our free database “Hoopla.”
Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Mary Lysaght is the assistant supervisor at the Rocky Bluff Library in Ellenton.