Best Selling Audio Books in Reference & Tips - Essays & Travelogues

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release date: Nov 28, 2017
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The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey
An epic account of traveling the length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way―in a covered wagon with a team of mules, an audacious journey that hasn’t been attempted in a century―which also chronicles the rich history of the trail, the people who made the migration, and its significance to the country.

Spanning two thousand miles and traversing six states from Missouri to the Pacific coast, the Oregon Trail is the route that made America. In the fifteen years before the Civil War, when 400,000 pioneers used the trail to emigrate West―scholars still regard this as the largest land migration in history―it united the coasts, doubled the size of the country, and laid the groundwork for the railroads. Today, amazingly, the trail is all but forgotten.

Rinker Buck is no stranger to grand adventures. His first travel narrative, Flight of Passage, was hailed by The New Yorker as “a funny, cocky gem of a book,” and with The Oregon Trail he brings the most important route in American history back to glorious and vibrant life.

Traveling from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Baker City, Oregon, over the course of four months, Buck is accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother, Nick, and an “incurably filthy” Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl. Along the way, they dodge thunderstorms in Nebraska, chase runaway mules across the Wyoming plains, scout more than five hundred miles of nearly vanished trail on foot, cross the Rockies, and make desperate fifty-mile forced marches for water. The Buck brothers repair so many broken wheels and axels that they nearly reinvent the art of wagon travel itself. They also must reckon with the ghost of their father, an eccentric yet loveable dreamer whose memory inspired their journey across the plains and whose premature death, many years earlier, has haunted them both ever since.

But The Oregon Trail is much more than an epic adventure. It is also a lively and essential work of history that shatters the comforting myths about the trail years passed down by generations of Americans. Buck introduces readers to the largely forgotten roles played by trailblazing evangelists, friendly Indian tribes, female pioneers, bumbling U.S. Army cavalrymen, and the scam artists who flocked to the frontier to fleece the overland emigrants. Generous portions of the book are devoted to the history of old and appealing things like the mule and the wagon. We also learn how the trail accelerated American economic development. Most arresting, perhaps, are the stories of the pioneers themselves―ordinary families whose extraordinary courage and sacrifice made this country what it became.

At once a majestic journey across the West, a significant work of history, and a moving personal saga, The Oregon Trail draws readers into the journey of a lifetime. It is a wildly ambitious work of nonfiction from a true American original. It is a book with a heart as big as the country it crosses.
release date: May 04, 1998
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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
"Not long after I moved with my family to a small town in New Hampshire, I happened upon a path that vanished into a wood on the edge of town."

So begins Bill Bryson's hilarious book A Walk in the Woods.  Following his return to America after twenty years in Britain, Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.  The AT, as it's affectionately known to thousands of hikers, offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to test his own powers of ineptitude, and to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.  

For a start, there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa who accompanies the similarly unfit Bryson on the trail.  Once Bryson and Katz settle into their stride, it's not long before they come across the fabulously annoying Mary Ellen, whose disappearance ruins a perfectly good slice of pie, a gang of Ralph Lauren-attired yuppies from whom Katz appropriates a key piece of equipment, and a security guard in Pennsylvania who, for no ascertainable reason, impounds Bryson's car.  Mile by arduous mile these latter-day pioneers walk America, along the way surviving the threat of bear attacks, the loss of key provisions, and everything else this awe-inspiring country can throw at them.  

But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike.  Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this fragile and beautiful trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness.  An adventure, a comedy, a lament, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods is destined to become a modern classic of travel literature.
release date: Jun 06, 2000
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In a Sunburned Country
Read by the author
Nine CDs, 10 hours

Just in time for the 2000 Olympics-the bestselling quthor of A Walk in the Woods takes listeners on a truly outrageous tour Down Under.

Compared to his Australian excursions, Bill Bryson had it easy on the Appalachian Trail.  Nonetheless, Bryson has on several occasions embarked on seemingly endless flights bound for a land where Little Debbies are scarce but insects are abundant (up to 220,000 species of them), not to mention crocodiles.

Taking listeners on a rollicking ride far beyond packaged-tour routes, IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY introduces a place where interesting things happen all the time.  Leaving no Vegemite unsavored, listeners will accompany Bryson as he dodges jellyfish while learning to surf at Bondi Beach, discovers a fish that can climb trees, dehydrates in deserts where temperatures leap to 140 degrees F, and tells the true story of the rejected Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House.
release date: Oct 17, 2020
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The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness
Audio Book (4 audio cassette tapes) . Dr. Groopman explores the role that faith plays in healing, drawing on his 30 years of clinical practice.
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release date: Jan 19, 2016
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The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain
A loving and hilarious—if occasionally spiky—valentine to Bill Bryson’s adopted country, Great Britain. Prepare for total joy and multiple episodes of unseemly laughter.


Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to discover and celebrate that green and pleasant land. The result was Notes from a Small Island, a true classic and one of the bestselling travel books ever written. Now he has traveled about Britain again, by bus and train and rental car and on foot, to see what has changed—and what hasn’t.

Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north, by way of places few travelers ever get to at all, Bryson rediscovers the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly singular country that he both celebrates and, when called for, twits. With his matchless instinct for the funniest and quirkiest and his unerring eye for the idiotic, the bewildering, the appealing, and the ridiculous, he offers acute and perceptive insights into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

Nothing is more entertaining than Bill Bryson on the road—and on a tear. The Road to Little Dribbling reaffirms his stature as a master of the travel narrative—and a really, really funny guy.


From the Hardcover edition.
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release date: Jun 29, 2011
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Travels with Charley in Search of America (Penguin Audio Classics)
In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.
 
His course took him through almost forty states: northward from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana (with which he fell in love), and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to the vast hospitality of Texas, to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation; finally, on the last leg, through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York.
release date: Nov 14, 2006
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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

This lyrical, evocative, thought-provoking journal of a man's quest for truth -- and for himself -- has touched and changed an entire generation.

At its heart, the story is all too simple: a man and his son take a lengthy motorcycle trip through America. But this is not a simple trip at all, for around every corner, through mountain and desert, wind and rain, and searing heat and biting cold, their pilgrimage leads them to new vistas of self-discovery and renewal.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is an elemental work that had helped to shape and define the past twenty-five years of American culture. This special audio edition presents this adventure in an exciting new way -- for the millions who have already taken this journey and want to travel these roads again, and for the many more who will discover for the first time the wonders and challenges of a journey that will change the way they think and feel about their lives.

release date: Sep 26, 2013
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Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
A transformational journey through Italy, India, and Bali searching for pleasure and devotion—the massive bestseller from the author of The Signature of All Things

This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.
release date: Oct 17, 2006
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Bill Bryson Collector's Edition: Notes from a Small Island, Neither Here Nor There, and I'm a Stranger Here Myself
Notes from a Small Island
After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to move his wife and kids back to his homeland of the United States. But not before taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. The result is a hilarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain.

Neither Here nor There
Thirty years after backpacking across Europe, Bill Bryson decides to retrace the journey he undertook in the halcyon days of his youth–carrying with him a bag of maps, old clothes…and a stinging wit honed to razor sharpness by two decades of adult experience.

I’m a Stranger Here Myself
Bill Bryson read “somewhere” that nearly three million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliens–clearly the Americans needed Bill back. So after years raising his family in Britain with his English wife, the brood moves to the United States, and leaves Bill to chronicle the quirkiest aspects of life in America as he reveals his own rules for life.
release date: Mar 06, 2018
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The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure
For decades Westerners have come to Bali seeking to shed the chains of civilization. One man went all the way. The New York Times bestselling author of Savage Harvest unravels the mysterious dissappearence of Bruno Manser, who lived among the so-called Wild Men of Borneo and may have died fighting to protect them from civilization.
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