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I Should Have Stayed Home: The Worst Trips of Great Writers [Paperback]

Castanera Rapoport
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 15 1996 Travel Literature Series
An anthology of 50 travel writers, journalists and novelists who tell their worst travel nightmares. It includes stories from people such as Isabel Allende who froze in a battered camper in Paris, Richard Harris under suspicion of smuggling a reptile on the Mexican-US border, Paul Theroux running off a hangover in Zambia, and Jeff Greenwald dunking into an electric bath in Tokyo. Royalties from the book are being donated to Oxfam.

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Think your last vacation was bad just because you spent a couple of nights in the airport? You got off easy! In this delightful anthology, some of the world's best travel writers, novelists and journalists -- Eric Hansen, Pico Iyer, Barbara Kingsolver, and 48 others -- offer up the agonies of their worst trips. With an introduction by Mary Morris and a final rebuttal by Jan Morris.

From Publishers Weekly

While some of these essays transcend the limited range of their focus, the majority have the shallow immediacy of anecdotes told around a bar. There are endless accounts of nightmarish trips by boat, car and bus (too many people, lots of bad smells) and, more banal, airplane; horrifying stays in squalid hotels (insect invasions, faulty plumbing, rooms let by the hour); and hellish encounters with the locals (more bad smells, unsavory behavior). Sometimes these 49 tales-introduced by Mary Morris and with a rebuttal by Jan Morris-are amusing, but too often even the authors appear more dutiful than interested, and many stories end patly. The best, however, offer glimpses into the rewards promised by travel-enlightenment, a taste of the exotic, insight into human behavior. Eric Hansen's account of a sleepless winter night passed among the homeless in Grand Central Station and Paul Theroux's claustrophobic Christmas in Central Africa fall into this category; so do Larry O'Connor's moving description of a slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Suzanne Lipsett's encounter with an American couple in Bangkok, circa 1968. All reflect Pico Iyer's belief that "the one great glory of traveling is that hardship is always redeemed by commotion recollected in tranquility." These authors, and half a dozen others, seem changed by their experiences; the rest rather blithely have shrugged theirs off.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I Should Have Avoided Reading This Book March 27 2000
By A Customer
The stories in this book fall into one of three catagories:1. Gross - vomit, cockroaches, excrement. A little of this goes a LONGway. And believe it or not, once you've read one fire ant story, you've pretty much read them all. 2. Dumb - Helen Gurley Brown's husband's shaving cream explodes in his suitcase. And then she has to stand in line in Madras, India to upgrade their flight from economy to first class. Oh the agony! 3. Irrelevant - stories that begin by saying something to the effect "Well, I never really had a bad experience but..." and they go on to describe a fairly mundane event. (Isabel Allende and Barbara Kingsolver in particular.)
I have more interesting travel stories than most of these people! The book was disappointingly dull. For a funny read, with some grim tales to tell, get a copy of "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson, who describes his and a friend's adventures on the Appalachian Trail.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing June 21 2002
The backcover text describes this book as a "...hilarious anthology...". However this is not a humorous book, let alone a hilarious one. The stories, written in the literary equivalent of a monotone, are simply dreary tales of other people's misfortunes, which after a few chapters become tedious. One particularly unmemorable story was entirely devoted to the author's encounters with human excrement in Nepal. The book's anthology format - a different "great writer" for each chapter - works against it. There is no consistent style, unless one considers bland writing a style. It _is_ possible to take travel misadventures and put a humorous spin on them (Carl Franz, "The People's Guide to Mexico", which is a great guide to boot) or even turn them into high comedy (Dave Barry "Dave Barry Does Japan"), but the authors of this book fell far short of the mark.
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By A Customer
These stories are so incredible you just know they have got to be true. No one could ever make up the raining scorpians, rivers of vomit or very private events in very public places. This was one of the more hilarious and interesting books I have read in a loooong time. It's just like sitting down and sharing favorite international (and national) travel-stories-from-hell with some friends you just made at the airport while waiting for yet another adventure to begin.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Humorous Spins on Disasterous Trips June 6 2000
This is a must-read for anyone who has ever bought a ticket for the wrong bus, ordered a tractor on toast, or mistaken a brothel for a bargain pensione.
One hilarious, laugh-out-loud episode after another! A great companion reader to have along on your next vacation abroad. Good variety of locales, plots, and writing styles.
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