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Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) [Paperback]

Alexander McCall Smith , Kurt Andersen , Stefan Merrill Block , Bryce Courtenay , M J Hyland , Peter Matthiessen , Frances Mayes , Joyce Carol Oates , Tea Obreht , DBC Pierre
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Nov 2012 Lonely Planet Travel Literature

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher*

A collection of original travel stories told by some of the world's best novelists, including Isabel Allende, Peter Matthiessen, Alexander McCall Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, Tea Obreht and DBC Pierre.

Exhilaratingly varied in place, plot, and voice, these tales all share one common characteristic: They manifest a passion for the precious gifts that travel confers, from its unexpected but inevitably enriching lessons about other peoples and places to the truths - sometimes uncomfortable but always enlarging - it reveals about ourselves.

"...a brilliant collection of travel stories...threaded with great warmth, as readers are invited to travel in the company of these famous authors and experience their passions and revelations." BOOKSELLER + PUBLISHER

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places where they travel.

TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

*#1 in the world market share - source: Nielsen Bookscan. Australia, UK and USA. March 2012-January 2013

Frequently Bought Together

Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) + A House Somewhere: Tales of Life Abroad (Lonely Planet Travel Literature)
Price For Both: £11.88

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 1 edition (9 Nov 2012)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 1742205941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742205946
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 205,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Perceptive Travel, September 2013 A fine anthology, with numerous fiction writers from Australia and New Zealand joining their colleagues from the UK and the US. Alaskan Apple Users Group Blog, February 7, 2013 "Better Than Fiction" is a fun collection of travel tales, that I enjoyed reading a few at a time, each joyously took me away from the daily world into a far away place with a few laughs along the way. A Traveler s Library, January 18, 2013 The best of the essays are very personal experiences with meticulous description of place. Gadling, January 7, 2013 For anyone who considers themselves a voracious consumer of travel writing, "Better Than Fiction" will make for a refreshing and illuminating read. . . . Great travel storytelling, like the work showcased in "Better Than Fiction", reminds us that ultimately discovering the truth about the places we visit involves more than just restating the facts. Midwest Book Review, January 2013 Isabel Allende, Joyce Carol Oates, and more provide warm and lovely stories from an account of an adventure off the beaten path in Malawai to visiting San Quentin Prison and chasing missionaries in far-away regions of Asia. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for any literary travel collection.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By David Spanswick VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This wonderful and varied collection of reminiscences by published writers is a joyful thing.

These "travel tales", all, mostly, share a nostalgic longing looking back to those travel adventures that may well have changed lives and have certainly affected the way that the contributors now look at life and are infinitely more interesting than the endless photo albums (now dropbox albums)dragged out to bore friends (not included in the trips).

The writers represented here are all of a certain creme, writers who can afford holidays but more importantly these guys can write; it is their tool, recalling interestingly the events from the world they have ventured out into whether it to a Polynesian arts festival in Tahiti, the World Cup in Cape Town, a Thoreauesque experience in a wrecked trailer to experience Shakespeare in the woods in uptown Nowhere,a witch's curse or a football match in Mexico

Any reader of this collection, and I do urge anybody to take this up and peruse, will find familiar stories of their own experiences ~ those holiday moments that stay with us forever and long after the event and are impossible ever to recapture. These moments are truly once only and need to be enjoyed for themselves; it is not important to report them.

In this collection the two standout memoires for me were Carol Birch's meditative sleep by an indoor lake in an Irish mine and Sophie Cunningham's moving moment of sharing a chocolate cake with a beggar in Calcutta. these are life-changing moments
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a con 22 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sold under the banner of Alexander McCall Smith etc but only 1 small story is his out of many worthy but less engaging authors.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By I. Horswell VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a collection of over 30 short true stories written by a range of travel authors, some of whom are very well known. Each story conjures up the sights, smells and experiences often with a salutory learning point for the author. Most tales are only a few pages long, just enough to pique the interest.

Whilst I can devour most books in a few days, I found myself able to only read one story at a time so that I could really savour the experience. This has reawoken my interest in travellers tales and I now have plenty of new authors to follow up. Highly recommended for anyone who loves to explore our world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Collection of Travel Stories 23 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I generally enjoy travel writing and have, at times, found they have inspired me to visit places which I would not otherwise have thought about. I remember reading an excellent book Investment Biker: Around the World with Jim Rogers, many years ago. He wrote about Samarkand in Uzbekistan very positively and as a result we visited this fantastic destination.

These stories are quite short and average about 10 pages or so each. This is something of a double edged sword as the writer does not have time to develop their description of the place they are writing about in much detail. The tendency therefore seems to be that they describe a specific and unusual event that they witnessed or revisit a place that, perhaps they had enjoyed travelling to many years before. However, clearly with such short offerings there is not much scope for the author to get bogged down too much.

I found most of these short tales interesting, but I cannot say that I was particularly inspired to visit anywhere new as a result. However, where I had personally previously visited the country I did find it enjoyable to read about places which I already knew, Berlin being an example. There seemed to be an American bias with a number of stories of coming of age type travels of young Americans.

Lonely Planet have expanded the scope of their offerings of late over and above the classic travel guides on which they have built their reputation. Recent publications have included large, coffee table type books to relatively modest offerings like this particular one and to my mind these ventures have been of varying success. However, I did enjoy reading many of these stories, appropriately enough, whilst I was on a long plane flight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. 22 April 2013
By Conrad
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although amongst the many short travel tales in this book, there were a few nuggets, overall I was a bit disappointed with them. Indeed, some gave the impression of being dashed off without much thought.

Thats said, there were a few worthwhile ones and maybe that's all one can ask for in a compendium of such tales.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Dull 7 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sounded a super idea, but did not find any of the stories held my interest for more than the first page. The great fiction writers should maybe stick to fiction?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Shorts 19 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lots of short stories and articles, all so different and fascinating, by travel writers which you cannot fail to enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good writers write good stories 4 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It takes a good writer to write a short story well and here there are some great short stories, make sure you pack this for your next journey.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quite interesting.
Published 28 days ago by libba
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
its ok
Published 1 month ago by Cherrie Dunstan
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag
This is a mixed bag of well written travel stories. Their material however ranges from the very interesting to the quite dull. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Peter Lloyd
3.0 out of 5 stars A global anthology of well crafted stories
The great thing about travel writing is the ability of a personal recollection to help you make a connection with a place you have never been. Read more
Published 13 months ago by pete
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect holiday reading
An excellent collection of writing from some excellent authors. Each piece is a joy to read and just the right length. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Scott A. Mckenzie
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I was interested in a lot of these stories and it introduced me to new writers who I will try to read.
Published 14 months ago by Mrs Christine D Pleasants
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing stories
Having been excited to see Alexander McCall Smith's name on the title of this volume, I have to say I was rather disappointed by the selection of stories. Read more
Published 14 months ago by tessa st john
3.0 out of 5 stars Boring in parts
As with any collection, the quality is mixed. Some of the stories are gripping, some read like a travel guide.
Published 15 months ago by Ms. Margaret E. Hill
3.0 out of 5 stars Okayish
As with many collections of short stories, a couple very good, but more than a few pretty average. A couple of the authors were a surprise addition in my view and it showed with... Read more
Published 15 months ago by J. F. Kantor
4.0 out of 5 stars Just as Good as Fiction
Better Than Fiction is a compendium of true travel stories write by famous fiction writers and published by Lonely Planet, the guide book company. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Essex Girl
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