August 2021

by Jeremy Bassetti

A few days ago I saw Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain at the beautiful Tampa Theatre. The film isn’t without some flaws, but it did a wonderful job illustrating how complicated Bourdain was. Chief among the flaws was Asia Argento’s vilification at the end of the documentary without being given the opportunity to defend herself. That said, close observers will note Bourdain’s complications came from a deeper, darker place.1

Like many of you, I miss Bourdain’s frank commentary and bull-headed resistance to glamorizing the travel space, especially now that superficial and hollow shows like The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals continue to rattle on. Have you seen the film yet? What did you think about it?

Last month we created

Artificial Mountains in the Desert of the Real (Article) on my website
Location Data and Geotagging in Apple Notes with Shortcuts (Article) on my website
Parque Colón—Santo Domingo, Dom Rep (Binaural Field Recording) on my website
Plaza María de Toledo—Santo Domingo, Dom Rep (Binaural Field Recording) on my website
A podcast about Laurie Lee’s “As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning” on Travel Writing World
A podcast about Patrick Leigh Fermor with Artemis Cooper, Nick Hunt, and Colin Thubron on Travel Writing World
An author profile of Pam Mandel on Travel Writing World
An article about the subgenres of travel literature on Travel Writing World

The travel writing roundup & miscellaneous links

🏔 Tharik Hussain’s Minarets in the Mountains (Bradt 2021) was Stanford’s July 2021 Book of the Month. I just recorded an interview with Tharik, which will air in a few weeks on Travel Writing World.

🐈 A critical take on nature writing, discussing Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard against Sylvain Tesson’s new book The Art of Patience

📚 Eland has tweeted an image of their new 2022 reissues, now available for preorder. 

🌱 Is nature writing valuable? Charles Foster weighs in.

👀 John Murray just republished five books in its new imprint “Journeys.” Series editor Nick Hunt is seeking recommendations of interesting and obscure titles for next year’s round of publications.

📸 R.I.P., Danish Siddiqui, whom the Taliban gunned down while on assignment in Afghanistan.

🇮🇹 R.I.P., Roberto Calasso, titan of the Italian publishing world (Adelphi), who died on the same day two of his books were published.

💰 Lucy Nathan of BookBrunch notes that Monisha Rajesh sold the rights to her forthcoming book, tentatively called Midnight Express, in what she reports as a “major six-figure deal.” Again, another indicator that the market for travel books is healthy. 

🌄 Ryan Murdock speaks with Sara Wheeler about Russia, Antarctica, and storytelling in his Personal Landscapes Podcast.

📸 William Dalrymple exhibited a collection of photographs called “The Traveller’s Eye” in London’s Grosvenor Gallery in July.

✉️ Craig Mod discusses newsletters, especially short-lived ones, in a new essay. Looks of good information here about building an audience off social media. 

🗺 Lottie and Steph at Talking Travel Writing are cautiously optimistic about the future of the guidebook industry, and highlight the industry’s need to innovate and evolve after a crushing year.

📈 The founder and CEO of Bookshop.org discusses Amazon’s growing share of the book market, which is projected to be nearly 80% in 2025 if the trend continues as is. 

🌍 The National Geographic Traveller Travel Writing Competition is now open for 2021. Get your submissions in.

🏆 The TravMedia Awards are back and accepting entries for a Feb 2022 announcement.

🗺 Stanford’s in London is holding several in-person author events in August.

🚦”We need to stop centring ourselves in our travel writing,” writes Shivani Ashoka in the UMB newsletter. Thoughts?

Back matter

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Notes:
  1. Argento is at the center of a scandal of her own, being accused of sexually assaulting a young male actor. This matter occurred before she met Bourdain and did not appear in the documentary.[]

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