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

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release date: Jan 01, 2013
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Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps
Ted Kooser describes with exquisite detail and humor the place he calls home in the rolling hills of southeastern Nebraska, an area known as the Bohemian Alps. Nothing is too big or too small for his attention, including memories of his grandmother's cooking. Kooser also reminds us that the closing of local schools, thoughtless county weed control, and irresponsible housing development destroy more than just the view. What makes life meaningful for Kooser are the ways in which his neighbors care for one another and how an afternoon walking with an old dog, baking a pie, or decorating the house for Christmas can summon memories of his Iowa childhood. This writer sees the extraordinary within the ordinary, the deep beneath the shallow, and the abiding wisdom in the pithy Bohemian proverbs that are woven into his essays.
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: Dec 31, 2018
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Mark Twain's Letters from Hawaii

The Huck Finn of foreign correspondents provides a colorful account of old Honolulu, the island nobility, the City of Refuge on the Kona coast, and the active volcano of Kilauea. These selections of Mark Twain's newspaper dispatches are both charming and informative. The light touch of the great humorist is seldom missing as he reveals the "loveliest fleet of islands that lie anchored in any ocean." This recording evokes the historical era with the eye of a verbal artist and the voice of the performing artist.

release date: Jun 29, 2011
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Travels with Charley in Search of America (Penguin Audio Classics)
An intimate journey across America, as told by one of its most beloved writers
 
To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.

With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and  the unexpected kindness of strangers.
release date: Nov 28, 2017
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release date: Mar 07, 2017
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The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author
In recognition of her long and lauded career as a master essayist, a landmark collection including her most beloved pieces and some rarely seen work, rigorously curated by the author herself

“A writer who never seems tired, who has never plodded her way through a page or sentence, Dillard can only be enjoyed by a wide-awake reader,” warns Geoff Dyer in his introduction to this stellar collection. Carefully culled from her past work, The Abundance is quintessential Annie Dillard, delivered in her fierce and undeniably singular voice, filled with fascinating detail and metaphysical fact. The pieces within will exhilarate both admiring fans and a new generation of readers, having been “re-framed and re-hung,” with fresh editing and reordering by the author, to situate these now seminal works within her larger canon.

The Abundance reminds us that Dillard’s brand of “novelized nonfiction” pioneered the form long before it came to be widely appreciated. Intense, vivid, and fearless, her work endows the true and seemingly ordinary aspects of life—a commuter chases snowball-throwing children through neighborhood streets, a teenager memorizes Rimbaud’s poetry—with beauty and irony, inviting readers onto sweeping landscapes, to join her in exploring the complexities of time and death, with a sense of humor: on one page, an eagle falls from the sky with a weasel attached to its throat; on another, a man walks into a bar.

Reminding us of the indelible contributions of this formative figure in contemporary nonfiction, The Abundance exquisitely showcases Annie Dillard’s enigmatic, enduring genius, as Dillard herself wishes it to be marked.

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: Apr 01, 2014
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Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival
[Read by Michael Prichard]

A crucial, forgotten chapter of American history brilliantly retold for a new generation. Everywhere hailed as a masterpiece of historical adventure, this enthralling narrative recounts the experiences of twelve American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish twomonth journey through the bonedry heart of the Sahara. The ordeal of these men who found themselves tested by barbarism, murder, starvation, death, dehydration, and hostile tribes that roamed the desert on camelback is made indelibly vivid in this gripping account of courage, brotherhood, and survival.
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: Dec 28, 2010
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Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
The astonishing national bestseller and hugely entertaining story that completely changed the way we run.

An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
 
Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.
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