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Travels with Myself [Paperback]

Tahir Shah
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Dec 2011
TRAVELS WITH MYSELF is a collection of selected writings by Tahir Shah, acclaimed Anglo-Afghan author and champion of the intrepid. Written over twenty years, the many pieces form an eclectic treasury of stories from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and beyond. Some consider the lives of women in society, both in East and West. The women-only police stations of Brazil, for instance, as well as the female inmates waiting to die on America's Death Row, or the young widows who clear landmines for a living in northern Cambodia. More still look at Morocco, where Shah and his family reside in a mansion set squarely in the middle of a sprawling Casablanca shantytown. And, yet more reflect on the oddities and contradictions of the modern world. Such as why, in India each summer, hundreds of thousands line up to swallow live fish; or how the Model T Ford sounded the death knell of lavish Edwardian ostrich-feather hats.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu.com (16 Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447805828
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447805823
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 636,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tahir Shah is the author of fifteen books, many of which chronicle a wide range of outlandish journeys through Africa, Asia and the Americas. For him, there's nothing so important as deciphering the hidden underbelly of the lands through which he travels. Shunning well-trodden tourist paths, he avoids celebrated landmarks, preferring instead to position himself on a busy street corner or in a dusty café and observe life go by. Insisting that we can all be explorers, he says there's wonderment to be found wherever we are - it's just a matter of seeing the world with fresh eyes.

In the tradition of A Thousand and One Nights, Shah's first 2013 release, SCORPION SOUP, is a treasury of nested tales. One linking effortlessly into the next, the stories form a cornucopia of lore and values, the kind that has for centuries shaped the cultural landscape of the East. Amusing, poignant, and thoroughly entertaining, the collection stays with you, conjuring a magic all of its own.

Shah's 2012 novel, TIMBUCTOO, is inspired by a true life tale from two centuries ago. The story of the first Christian to venture to Timbuctoo and back - a young illiterate American sailor - it has been an obsession since Shah discovered it in the bowels of the London Library twenty years ago.

His 2011 collection entitled TRAVELS WITH MYSELF is a body of work as varied and as any, with reportage pieces as diverse as the women on America's Death Row, to the trials and tribulations of his encounter in a Pakistani torture jail.

Another recent work, IN ARABIAN NIGHTS, looks at how stories are used in cultures such as Morocco, as a matrix by which information, values and ideas are passed on from one generation to the next. That book follows on the heels of the celebrated CALIPH'S HOUSE: A Year in Casablanca, lauded as one of Time Magazine's Top 10 Books of the year.

His other works include an epic quest through Peru's cloud forest for the greatest lost city of the Incas (HOUSE OF THE TIGER KING), as well as a journey through Ethiopia in search of the source of King Solomon's gold (IN SEARCH OF KING SOLOMON'S MINES). Previous to that, Shah published an account of a journey through the Amazon on the trail of the Birdmen of the Amazon (TRAIL OF FEATHERS), as well as a book of his experiences in India, as a godman's pupil (SORCERER'S APPRENTICE).

Tahir Shah's books have appeared in thirty languages and in more than seventy editions. They are celebrated for their original viewpoint, and for combining hardship with vivid description.

He also makes documentary films, which are shown worldwide on National Geographical Television, and The History Channel. The latest, LOST TREASURE OF AFGHANISTAN, has been screened on British TV and shown worldwide. While researching the programme Shah was arrested along with his film crew and incarcerated in a Pakistani torture jail, where they spent sixteen terrifying days and nights.

His other documentaries include: HOUSE OF THE TIGER KING, SEARCH FOR THE LOST CITY OF GOLD, and THE SEARCH FOR KING SOLOMON'S MINES. And, in addition to documentaries, Shah writes for the big screen. His best known work in this genre is the award-winning Imax feature JOURNEY TO MECCA, telling the tale of the fourteenth century Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta's first pilgrimage to Mecca.

Tahir Shah lives at Dar Khalifa, a sprawling mansion set squarely in the middle of a Casablanca shantytown. He's married to the graphic designer, Rachana Shah, and has two children, Ariane and Timur. His father was the Sufi writer, Idries Shah.

www.tahirshah.com
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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars T-Reviews 26 Oct 2012
By TReview
Format:Paperback
This is a tremendous and generous collection of Tahir Shah's writing. Some pieces have been seen in book form or on the internet before but it doesn't detract in the slightest because gathered here they can be seen in a slightly different context and many of the 61 pieces are newly published. It's particularly encouraging to see so many pieces on the situation of women around the world. Women on Death Row is a tale of remarkable dignity, in some ways reminiscent of Nawal al-Saadawi's Woman at Point Zero and In Cambodia's New Killing Fields is particularly uplifting. There are so many pieces of great and interesting writing that it's hard to pick examples. The range is wide, chronologically and geographically and they make their impact in a variety of ways. There are travel pieces, cultural pieces, historical pieces, teaching stories that all engage the reader intellectually and emotionally with Shah's typical insights, humour and energy to make a real cornucopia of tales for the 21st Century. The pieces are short and powerful and I would encourage anyone with an interest in the human condition to read this book. Preferably to read it over and over again.Travels With Myself
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BOOK IN AND TRAVEL 28 Aug 2012
By Borut
Format:Paperback
A true kaleidoscope of the most memorable events described in his books and elsewhere, Travels With Myself, covering over 20 years of travel and writing, is the best introduction to the whole corpus of the travel writer Tahir Shah. Factual, highly-informative, surrealistic, magical and funny. With Tahir Shah, you never know: you will always learn a lot, for he is a master of seeing the world in a new way. To use three of his really outstanding titles, he is a `Sorcerer's Apprentice' reporting from `The Caliph's House' - `In Arabian Nights' style. In Travels With Myself you will certainly find yourself ... traveling with him!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sixty Facets 16 Feb 2012
By Ita
Format:Paperback
This book containing over sixty very varied pieces of work written by Tahir Shah over the past twenty years, is intended to be a bedside book or a companion on the reader's own long journey. The writing was inspired by experiences in many parts of the world including Morocco where the author now lives, and the emphasis is on the people encountered as much as the places visited. Dedicated to his wife, Rachana, `Travels With Myself' is unusual for a book of the genre in that it contains several very sensitive pieces concerned with understanding the predicament of women in very difficult situations.

One piece is predominant in my mind as I write this. It was written in praise of Bruce Chatwin and his book `The Songlines', his own indispensible travel companion. What Shah writes about Chatwin's work could well be applied to his own. I urge you to buy `Travels With Myself' because `with such a book the impact isn't necessarily obvious at first ... but the more you read it, and live with it, and travel with it, the more it speaks to you, and the more you realise you cannot live without that book. It's then that the wisdom hidden inside, the seed, is passed on.' Shah's best writing too is lyrical, has perfect rhythm, juxtaposes the sharpest realism with far-flung fantasy, is capable of easing the reader down through layer after layer until they hit raw metal, the mirror in which they see themselves.

You may well discover this is a book you cannot live without.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Navigated by Starlight. 10 April 2013
By T.C.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On the back of this book with the evocative cover (designed by Rachana Shah) it says that the collection is a sort of bed side book, a book to dip into ... well it is my bedside book. A gulp there a scan here (go back to it). Oh ho, what's this?
Accounts that one can trust the telling of.
Like at least one other reviewer I was startled and oppressed by 'Women on Death Row' (this terrifying story is told with admirable calm and force, (may good arise from it)) conversly there is an account of women in Cambodia enabled to do a very dangerous and helpful job.
'Memoir of a Torture Prison' carrys the same calm, stomach turning punch as 'Womaen on Death Row.' There are other articles about the desperate plight of women across the world.
BUT, that is by no means all, from 'The People of the Cloak to 'On The Skeleton Coast' and 'The Romance of Richard Halliburton' the writing sings and the pieces (essays) are arranged in digestible bites one as interesting as the other.
A 'Scorpions Palace' indeed and 'an easy read'.
Couldn't recommend it more.
pg 332 The Magic of the Ordinary.
''The real beauty of Morocco' he said pensively 'can only be seen from inside out. Search from it outside in and you will never find the truth or the real beauty held within''
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sixty Facets 16 Feb 2012
By Ita - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book containing over sixty very varied pieces of work written by Tahir Shah over the past twenty years, is intended to be a bedside book or a companion on the reader's own long journey. The writing was inspired by experiences in many parts of the world including Morocco where the author now lives, and the emphasis is on the people encountered as much as the places visited. Dedicated to his wife, Rachana, `Travels With Myself' is unusual for a book of the genre in that it contains several very sensitive pieces concerned with understanding the predicament of women in very difficult situations.

One piece is predominant in my mind as I write this. It was written in praise of Bruce Chatwin and his book `The Songlines', his own indispensible travel companion. What Shah writes about Chatwin's work could well be applied to his own. I urge you to buy `Travels With Myself' because `with such a book the impact isn't necessarily obvious at first ... but the more you read it, and live with it, and travel with it, the more it speaks to you, and the more you realise you cannot live without that book. It's then that the wisdom hidden inside, the seed, is passed on.' Shah's best writing too is lyrical, has perfect rhythm, juxtaposes the sharpest realism with far-flung fantasy, is capable of easing the reader down through layer after layer until they hit raw metal, the mirror in which they see themselves.

You may well discover this is a book you cannot live without.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Navigating by the stars. 16 Jun 2013
By T.C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
On the back of this book with the evocative cover (designed by Rachana Shah) it says that the collection is a sort of bed side book, a book to dip into ... well it is my bedside book. A gulp there a scan here (go back to it). Oh ho, what's this?
Accounts that one can trust the telling of.
Like at least one other reviewer I was startled and oppressed by 'Women on Death Row' (this terrifying story is told with admirable calm and force, (may good arise from it)) conversly there is an account of women in Cambodia enabled to do a very dangerous and helpful job.
'Memoir of a Torture Prison' carrys the same calm, stomach turning punch as 'Women on Death Row.' There are other articles about the desperate plight of women across the world.
BUT, that is by no means all, from 'The People of the Cloak' to 'On The Skeleton Coast' and 'The Romance of Richard Halliburton' the writing sings and the pieces (essays) are arranged in digestible bites one as interesting as the other.
A 'Scorpion's Palace' indeed and 'an easy read'.
Couldn't recommend it more.
pg 332 The Magic of the Ordinary.
''The real beauty of Morocco' he said pensively 'can only be seen from inside out. Search from it outside in and you will never find the truth or the real beauty held within''
5.0 out of 5 stars travels with myself 1 July 2014
By mardi donaldson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hello.. again i love the way Tahir Shah writes, i love to travel myself and this book is another view of the world.
Book was received way before the due date and is in great condition.
5.0 out of 5 stars Leading by example 31 May 2013
By ryan mccliment - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After Tahir's book In Arabian Nights was published he wrote several helpful pieces in his blog on varied topics. He published several tips on how he cut his teeth working as a journalist and gave great examples for how to get going as a writer. This book is a collection of (t) several pieces Tahir wrote over the years to support his family and be of service to others. Each piece is like a miniature painting that can reveal more and more as you ponder it. I was randomly reading from it yesterday when I stumbled on his piece "The People of the Cloak" and saw a whole new dimension to his writing. If you're an aspiring writer there are few better examples to draw from than what you'll find in "Travels with Myself." Thanks Tahir!
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