Will travel writing survive COVID-19?

The travel section of London’s Skoob books…

The future looks bleak for travel writing — at least, for the highly commercialized side — but I don’t think this is true for travel literature. They aren’t the same thing.

The Riverbones

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It’s been a while since I reviewed a recent travel book. This one stood out among the books I read last month.

The Riverbones by Andrew Westoll

Andrew Westoll spent a year as a primatologist chasing monkeys through the jungles of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve. He returned five years later as a writer obsessed with finding the secret soul of this poorly understood country.

The Saddest Pleasure

saddest.jpgBorn in 1915 to great wealth in Seattle, Moritz Thomsen died miserably poor in the tropics, of cholera, in 1991. He served as a bombardier in WWII, farmed in California, and at age 44 gave it all up to join the recently-formed Peace Corps. His book about that experience, Living Poor, is ranked as one of the best Peace Corps memoirs ever written. When his service was over, he chose to remain. He started a farm with an Ecuadorian friend, but that too ended in defeat. By then Thomsen was 63, and his health was already in decline.