Over the next few weeks, many of us will be taking to the roads, skies or rails for journeys of varied purposes and destinations. Books are always a good traveling companion. Profiled below are three books about travel in the DePaul Library collection.
The Ralph Waldo Emerson quotation in Reclaiming Travel captures the spirit of this work: “he who travels to be amused…travels away from himself” (p. 77). Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison examine travel vs. tourism (enlightenment vs. entertainment) in this book, which evolved from their 2012 op-ed in the New York Times. Exploring this subject through literature rather than personal experiences, the authors keenly make their case that it is crucial for 21st century individuals to rediscover our sense of restlessness and curiosity—travel, not tourism, affords us this opportunity. Travel ultimately leads us back to ourselves, but with more awareness. In the words of Gustave Flaubert “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” (p. 144). Available at the DePaul Loop Library, call number 910 S7986R2015
Bruce Weber, an obituary writer for the New York Times, is a traveler. In 2011, he cycled from Oregon to New York (4,122.2 miles) in 79 days. This was his second odyssey across the U.S. on a bicycle, but this time he carried with him 18 additional years and an iPad. Blogging for his publisher along the way (http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/author/bruce-weber/), Weber shared his solitary journey with the world. Why make this trip again, now? This was a question asked by individuals in his personal sphere and on his blog—and it was a question he himself grappled with: “For the past three years I’ve been writing obituaries…trying to condense the life of someone else into a coherent, meaningful—and interesting—story…I’m feeling both challenged and ready now to focus that task inward” (p. 21). Check out Life Is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc., and a Bike Ride Across America to discover your own answers to that question. Available at the John T. Richardson Library, call number 796.60973 W3733L
Hotels are undeniably part and parcel of travel. And the authors of Hotel Life: The Story of a Place Where Anything Can Happen argue that the history of the modern hotel is interlaced with the identity of the ‘modern self.’ Caroline Field Levander and Matthew Pratt Guterl, professors of humanities and history respectively, deeply probe the political and social meanings of hotels. Their analysis of the concepts of space (private and public), time (beginnings and endings), scale (resort and SRO) and affect (fortune and failure) illustrates the dynamic and wide-ranging meanings of this modern institution. Similar to the first authors profiled above, Levander and Guterl encourage mindfulness: “…our goal is to suggestively heighten the awareness of hotel guests, workers, and visitors to the complex and multifaceted network of desires and traditions that they are walking into when they walk through the hotel lobby’s front door” (p. 18). Available at the DePaul Loop Library, call number 647.94 L655H