on October 28, 2001
To dub me green when it comes to the travel-writing genre - not to mention trekking beyond the borders of the United States - admittedly qualifies as an understatement. Especially when jaded notions of exploring the world around me are relegated to the obligatory business trip every other week compounded with the daily bump and grind of inching through St. Louis traffic. Indeed, the time is opportune for escape. And it was with "Lonely Planet . . . On the Edge" that I initiated a fresh journey into unexplored literary terrain.
Critically, I possess no frame of reference to compare the contributions to this anthology with those writings outside it - after all, what is good travel writing and what is poor travel writing to someone who has never read travel writing? That being said, I was pleased to discover "On the Edge" provided a fantastic release from the tedium of the mundane, whether or not my body eventually traverses these same grounds as my mind so vividly did with this collection.
With 33 respected and well-seasoned authors jam-packed into a book numbering less than 230 pages, the entries are bound to be compact and succinct, a fitting vehicle for the essential lunchtime retreat or the bedtime ritual of winding down. Not to mention the benefits it provides the "toilet traveler," usurping bathroom breaks to sneak in 10-minute peeks into the perceived eccentricities of our global neighbors, near and far.
"Lonely Planet . . . On the Edge" whisked me around the world and to the moon and back again. And, if I understand travel writing in general and this book in particular, isn't that the point?