Best of Lonely Planet Travel Writing - Edited by Tony Wheeler
Well in true cliched style I bought this book just before getting on a plane as I'd just been thinking to myself, I could probably be a travel writer. I've had numerous Lonely Planet Guidebooks before but they don't go beyond telling you where to sleep, eat and visit (sadly because everyone else buys the same book you all end up in the same places). This book was a chance to read a collection of short stories from a diverse group of people with one thing in common, a passion for travel and a knack at being able to share their stories.
Stories come from: Alana Semuels, Bill Fink, César G Soriano, Chris Colin, Danny Wallace, Emily Perkins, Greg Tuleja, James D. Houston, Jan Morris, Jason Elliot, Joshua Clark, Laura Resau, Karen Lee Boren, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Miles Roddis, Nicholas Crane, Pico Iyer, Rolf Potts, Sarah Levin, Simon Gandolfi, Simon Winchester, Stanley Stewart, Tanya Shaffer, Tim Cahill, Tony Wheeler and William Dalrymple. Their styles are as far apart from one another as the destinations they're writing about. As ever for me, the ones I enjoyed the most were the horror stories which take a while to come good. For that reason Danny Wallace's chapter was my favourite. He'd been sent to Prague to review an up-and-coming band, arriving at the airport to a taxi driver with his name on, he thought all was ok. Three minutes later he's being told to hold the driver's gun and wondering whether he'll actually make the gig. His tale has a few twists and fortunately turns out alright(ish) but it's one of those stories you kind of wish had happened to you.
Due to the chapters being so different from one another it's pretty easy to pick up, put down and forget about for a week, most of the stories grip you though and you'll likely find that you'll have finished it by the time the plane lands.