As much as I love traveling, I also love reading, I do have a PhD after all. So, might as well combine the two! Conde Nast Traveler has an old (2007) list of the “86 Greatest Travel Books of All Time” and while I don’t usually read CNTraveler–travel magazine-wise I lean more towards National Geographic Traveler, Afar, or Budget Travel–the list is well-thought out and reasonably comprehensive. It is now my goal to read all 86, (some of which I have already read), and provide brief reviews. The reviews will come in no particular order, mostly dictated by how easily I can get access to various books. I’m starting with Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, because I happen to already have it loaded on my kindle.
1. Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971) read in June 2014:
The classic entry-level HST book representing his “gonzo” journalism at its finest, Fear and Loathing, is short, not-at-all sweet, and makes you pine for a Las Vegas that no longer exists and stopped existing over 40 years ago. Thompson’s writing is evocative in the extreme, particularly when he’s recounting the drug binges that he and his accomplice, Dr. Gonzo, dive into while reporting on first the Mint 400 (an actual desert off-road race) and then, of all things, a national police convention. If you have little patience for drugs and misogyny, this book is not for you, as it (being loosely autobiographical) raises questions about how much HST actually drove around Las Vegas bombed out of his mind and whether or not he and Dr. Gonzo actually abducted, drugged, raped?, and then abandoned a girl they picked up at the airport. Both of which are fundamentally repellent. Regardless of moral qualms, Thompson’s style is fluidly aggressive and makes even the least drug-inclined reader want to head out west, drive around in a big old car, and search for the American dream.
Have you read Fear and Loathing? Did you like it? Were you totally grossed out by the drugs and their treatment of women, while simultaneously being enthralled by HST’s prose, or was that just me?
Because of my Sardinia obsession, review #2 will be of DH Lawrence’s Sea and Sardinia, which I just started (and spoiler, it’s fantastic so far), so stay tuned!