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Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) by [McCall Smith, Alexander, Kurt Andersen, Stefan Merrill Block, Bryce Courtenay, M J Hyland, Peter Matthiessen, Frances Mayes, Joyce Carol Oates, Tea Obreht, DBC Pierre]
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Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Review

"A fine anthology, with numerous fiction writers from Australia and New Zealand joining their colleagues from the UK and the US." Perceptive Travel "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." Alaskan Apple Users Group Blog "The best of the essays are very personal experiences with meticulous description of place." A Traveler's Library "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." Gadling "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." Midwest Book Review

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 689 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 1 edition (1 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AWJ6HJC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #150,272 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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. As a traveller with many experiences on and off the beaten track, I can't say i was overly inspired by the rather dull tales that have been included... rather flat writing, and rather limited selection - probably aimed at the North American market since a good proportion seemed to be placed on that continent.
All in all, given A McC S's track record and past subject matter, I felt let down by the contents of this collection. Pity.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a mixed bag of well written travel stories. Their material however ranges from the very interesting to the quite dull. Each short story is prefaced by an explanation of who the author is and what they have published presumably with the intention that if you like their writing you will go on to buy their full length books. This gave me the impression that this was largely a marketing exercise for them. Nevertheless the better stories made it a worthwhile read and it was not expensive on the kindle.
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