counter create hit The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles to the End of the World - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles to the End of the World

Availability: Ready to download

Steve Hely, writer for The Office and American Dad!, and recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, presents a travel book about his journey through Central and South America. Part travel book, part pop history, part comic memoir, Hely's writing will make readers want to reach for their backpack and hiking boots. The Wonder Trail is the story of Steve's trip from Lo Steve Hely, writer for The Office and American Dad!, and recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, presents a travel book about his journey through Central and South America. Part travel book, part pop history, part comic memoir, Hely's writing will make readers want to reach for their backpack and hiking boots. The Wonder Trail is the story of Steve's trip from Los Angeles to the bottom of South America, presented in 102 short chapters.  The trip was ambitious - Steve traveled through Mexico City, ancient Mayan ruins, the jungles and coffee plantations and remote beaches of Central America, across the Panama Canal, by sea to Colombia, to the wild Easter celebration of Popayán, to the Amazon rainforest, the Inca sites of Cuzco and Machu Picchu, to the Galápagos Islands, the Atacama Desert of Chile, and down to the jagged and wind-worn land of Patagonia at the very end of the Western Hemisphere. Steve's plan was to discover the weird, wonderful, and absurd in Central and South America, to seek and find the incredible, delightful people and experiences that came his way. And the book that resulted is just as fun. A blend of travel writing, history, and comic memoir, The Wonder Trail will inspire, inform, and delight.


Compare

Steve Hely, writer for The Office and American Dad!, and recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, presents a travel book about his journey through Central and South America. Part travel book, part pop history, part comic memoir, Hely's writing will make readers want to reach for their backpack and hiking boots. The Wonder Trail is the story of Steve's trip from Lo Steve Hely, writer for The Office and American Dad!, and recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, presents a travel book about his journey through Central and South America. Part travel book, part pop history, part comic memoir, Hely's writing will make readers want to reach for their backpack and hiking boots. The Wonder Trail is the story of Steve's trip from Los Angeles to the bottom of South America, presented in 102 short chapters.  The trip was ambitious - Steve traveled through Mexico City, ancient Mayan ruins, the jungles and coffee plantations and remote beaches of Central America, across the Panama Canal, by sea to Colombia, to the wild Easter celebration of Popayán, to the Amazon rainforest, the Inca sites of Cuzco and Machu Picchu, to the Galápagos Islands, the Atacama Desert of Chile, and down to the jagged and wind-worn land of Patagonia at the very end of the Western Hemisphere. Steve's plan was to discover the weird, wonderful, and absurd in Central and South America, to seek and find the incredible, delightful people and experiences that came his way. And the book that resulted is just as fun. A blend of travel writing, history, and comic memoir, The Wonder Trail will inspire, inform, and delight.

30 review for The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles to the End of the World

  1. 5 out of 5

    E. Ce Miller

    Steve Hely's THE WONDER TRAIL is like taking a road trip with your older brother (assuming your older brother is anything like my older brother)—even though you love him to death, the entire time he’s driving you slightly insane because he’s not taking anything seriously (even though you begrudgingly admit he’s probably having a better time than everyone else.) And then he makes you burst out laughing at the most absurd moments, and you just think: “God damn it, this guy.” You spend the entire t Steve Hely's THE WONDER TRAIL is like taking a road trip with your older brother (assuming your older brother is anything like my older brother)—even though you love him to death, the entire time he’s driving you slightly insane because he’s not taking anything seriously (even though you begrudgingly admit he’s probably having a better time than everyone else.) And then he makes you burst out laughing at the most absurd moments, and you just think: “God damn it, this guy.” You spend the entire trip rolling your eyes, and raising your eyebrows, and sighing at his antics… and then you reach the end of the trip and you’re suddenly just beyond sad it’s over, because you didn’t appreciate what you had when you had it. This book has that effect. Hely’s writing is hilarious, which I’m sure won’t come as a surprise to anyone who watches any of the sitcoms he’s written for. And admittedly, as someone who has visited almost all of the countries Hely describes in THE WONDER TRAIL, he does take you on the trip with him, completely. He meets the kind of people you meet on the road, and does the kind of un-romanticized things real people actually do while visiting wonders of the world. All in all a solid story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bent Hansen

    I am a little divided about how to feel about this book. Parts of it are quite funny in a self-ironic, Bill Bryson kind of way, while other parts are tremendously boring - especially when Steve Hely sets out to recount the history of whatever region or city he has landed in. Some of them work out okay, but the worst are when he also wants to show off his research of the main literary about that particular time or place - making those parts seem like a bibliographical review in the most academic I am a little divided about how to feel about this book. Parts of it are quite funny in a self-ironic, Bill Bryson kind of way, while other parts are tremendously boring - especially when Steve Hely sets out to recount the history of whatever region or city he has landed in. Some of them work out okay, but the worst are when he also wants to show off his research of the main literary about that particular time or place - making those parts seem like a bibliographical review in the most academic and boring sense of that type of literature. I laughed out laugh on several occasions and those parts of the book flew by with supersonic speed - perhaps also because Hely's chapters are super short, many just one full page or less! At other times, my thoughts started to wander, and I had to force my eyes over the pages to get on with it. Steve Hely never reaches the level of Bill Bryson (unless when Bryson is a little boring as in his Shakespeare: The World as Stage book), so if you are into funny travel accounts, look up Bryson's books on whatever geographical area that interests you (to my knowledge, he hasn't written about South America, so if you want to read about that region, you're stuck with Hely!). [An advance reading copy of this book was generously provided by the First to Read program]

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Nutting

    Hi, I’m traveling again. I’ve hooked up with a real idiot from LA, Steve Hely. He is a TV screenwriter. We are starting at the City of Angels and working our way to Patagonia. I will be be returning to many countries and sites that were covered in my previous journeys. I’ll enjoy getting another perspective. Unfortunately, this is more like accompanying The Lost Girls rather than Levison Wood! Steve is a smart-ass, foul mouthed, very immature individual who writes like a teenage boy who just lear Hi, I’m traveling again. I’ve hooked up with a real idiot from LA, Steve Hely. He is a TV screenwriter. We are starting at the City of Angels and working our way to Patagonia. I will be be returning to many countries and sites that were covered in my previous journeys. I’ll enjoy getting another perspective. Unfortunately, this is more like accompanying The Lost Girls rather than Levison Wood! Steve is a smart-ass, foul mouthed, very immature individual who writes like a teenage boy who just learned dirty words and wants to use as many as possible! This was mostly a trip by air and a few boat rides. I think we hit every bar along the way. My guide was willing to skip the historical places I wanted to revisit to spend hours and hours drinking and gabbing with other tourists! What a bore. Was glad to finally dump him and fly home alone. Wish you were here, Barb What I have really enjoyed from my reading is how so many of my books meet up with each other and tell the same story from a different viewpoint. Caribbean by James Michener, all titles by Isabel Allende, Walking the Americas by Levison Wood and The Lost Girls. I loved the overlapping, especially at the Darien Gap and Machu Picchu.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Writer's Relief

    "The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles" to the End of the World follows Steve Hely from his home in Los Angeles to the southernmost city in the world: Puetro Williams, in Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Chile. Hely, a television writer (The Office, Veep), follows up his literary debut "How I Became a Famous Novelist" with a book that hooks readers with its infectious enthusiasm for life, and rewards them with insightful stories about fascinating people and places.. The stories "The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles" to the End of the World follows Steve Hely from his home in Los Angeles to the southernmost city in the world: Puetro Williams, in Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Chile. Hely, a television writer (The Office, Veep), follows up his literary debut "How I Became a Famous Novelist" with a book that hooks readers with its infectious enthusiasm for life, and rewards them with insightful stories about fascinating people and places.. The stories are punctuated with historical context, which Hely weaves into the narrative with his signature style and whimsy. At its best, "The Wonder Trail" gives the reader a sense of a place by painting intimate portraits of people and their pasts. It’s an adventure that makes for great summer reading, and anybody with a keen sense of humor or adventure will be happy for the author’s voice and wit.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    Pour Yourself an After Dinner Drink and Settle In I was drawn to this book because I very much enjoyed Steve Hely's "How I Became A Famous Novelist", the tongue in cheek tale of how a callow youngster sets out to write a best seller. I figured that the same cheerful, sneakily edgy, perceptive approach would be an excellent fit for an improvisational travel memoir. I was right. This book isn't, and doesn't appear to be intended to be, inspirational, educational, culturally profound or deeply obser Pour Yourself an After Dinner Drink and Settle In I was drawn to this book because I very much enjoyed Steve Hely's "How I Became A Famous Novelist", the tongue in cheek tale of how a callow youngster sets out to write a best seller. I figured that the same cheerful, sneakily edgy, perceptive approach would be an excellent fit for an improvisational travel memoir. I was right. This book isn't, and doesn't appear to be intended to be, inspirational, educational, culturally profound or deeply observant. It is, rather, a flippant entertainment that occasionally sidles up to an arresting aside or a bracing note, but more often goes for the more casual personal funny throwaway line. A disclaimer. I really enjoy travel books - of a certain type. I was disappointed by how Theroux morphed into just grumping about how everything now isn't as good as it used to be. Bryson headed that way before getting a grip. I like the romantic perception of Jan Morris and Bruce Chatwin and the knockabout adventuring of people like Eric Newby. I enjoy classical derring-do in the Wilfred Thesiger and Richard Halliburton style. I absolutely avoid "travel books" that are really just tedious confessionals about girlfriends, daddy issues, mommy issues, gender confusion, career stagnation, or otherwise finding oneself. I mention this not to be a sourpuss, really, but to emphasize that Hely doesn't share any personal issues, is open to just about any experience, has no particular axe to grind, and feels no need to either eat, pray or love to excess. He also makes no pretense of having written an actual travel guide; this is not Lonely Planet with jokes. So, you don't get Rick Steves' insider secrets, but you also don't get tedious Tripadvisor-style gripes about how rude the hotel receptionist was or about weird stains on the pillowcases. Hely's on a fun adventure and we're welcome to join him. Sure, there are some fine insights and there is even a mild occasional educational aspect to the voyage, but this is mostly really high end after dinner tale telling by an excellent and funny tale teller. You'll learn a little bit about the history of some places you've never been, in a fractured and short-hand sort of way, you'll meet some interesting traveling companions and locals, and you'll see some stuff. Maybe you'll even end up wanting to go somewhere. But if not, well, we'll always have Machu Picchu. (Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital pdf copy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Campbell

    What I expected: A series of interesting stories about Hely's experiences throughout his travel with some history for context. What I got: A collection of not-so-credible history lessons full of crass language with maybe two sentences about his actual experience in each location. If you want to enjoy this book you have to be okay with excessive foul language, borderline disrespectful versions of history, and travel writing that is not intended to make you want to travel. I am fine with using swe What I expected: A series of interesting stories about Hely's experiences throughout his travel with some history for context. What I got: A collection of not-so-credible history lessons full of crass language with maybe two sentences about his actual experience in each location. If you want to enjoy this book you have to be okay with excessive foul language, borderline disrespectful versions of history, and travel writing that is not intended to make you want to travel. I am fine with using swear words in literature. Sometimes it's necessary. But when it becomes excessive and has no purpose it disgusts me. That's what happened in this book. The history lessons were presented in an unconventional way, which can be good except that I have no idea whether any of the accounts are factual. They are also littered with Hely's opinion on the subjects of the stories, so they don't give the reader a good context of how the history pertains to the culture or the location. It was occasionally entertaining but that's as far as it goes. As far as the travel writing, I felt it was severely lacking in this book that claims that as its genre. In many of the chapters there were only a few sentences about the location Hely was visiting and in most cases those descriptions were unimpressive. It was almost as if Hely made this trip just so he could talk about how much he knows about Central and South American history. Unfortunately, this book did not inspire, inform, or delight.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    While the author wrote like a young person writes on social media, I really enjoyed his candidness and experiences. He visited many places I am interested in visiting (although I would never do the Inca Trail by bus-oops spoiler), so I loved to read about some new places I hadn't heard of before to add to future trips. While the author wrote like a young person writes on social media, I really enjoyed his candidness and experiences. He visited many places I am interested in visiting (although I would never do the Inca Trail by bus-oops spoiler), so I loved to read about some new places I hadn't heard of before to add to future trips.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mike Williams

    This book was excellent in parts and lousy in others. I listen for enjoyment while driving and I found some parts captivating and other parts were down right boring. It also felt a bit scatterbrained. I wasn't sure in some cases how we went from one place to the next like we were just jumping through an abridged version of a longer story. Hely comes off a bit egotistical in a Bill Bryson kind of way but also a bit funny in a not so Bill Bryson kind of way. I can't decide if I would like him or h This book was excellent in parts and lousy in others. I listen for enjoyment while driving and I found some parts captivating and other parts were down right boring. It also felt a bit scatterbrained. I wasn't sure in some cases how we went from one place to the next like we were just jumping through an abridged version of a longer story. Hely comes off a bit egotistical in a Bill Bryson kind of way but also a bit funny in a not so Bill Bryson kind of way. I can't decide if I would like him or hate him if I met him. I have only listened to a few books on South America and of those this is definitely more fun to listen to than Bolivar but not as good as River of Doubt.

  9. 4 out of 5

    India Braver

    A funny smart book by a funny smart guy who travels from LA all the way South (like to the end of the continent, not like, Orange County.) There’s of course some interesting travel tidbits, but mostly it’s just his particular story of traveling around some pretty cool places and talking to people. Makes me hella miss LA tho and wanna reread the Savage Detectives. Like if Simon Rich tried to write a Bill Bryson book IDK

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shan

    “If you go looking for horrible things to see...you can find them. I’m not a journalist. I decline to take that on as my job. I’m an entertainment writer, weekend library historian, and amateur explorer. My job’s to discover wonderful things” I love this book. I love this writer. Both, intelligent AND hilarious. I sometimes feel like travel writing is over and done with, that there is little else to say about a place or describing it will never be as good as being there. But this book makes me re “If you go looking for horrible things to see...you can find them. I’m not a journalist. I decline to take that on as my job. I’m an entertainment writer, weekend library historian, and amateur explorer. My job’s to discover wonderful things” I love this book. I love this writer. Both, intelligent AND hilarious. I sometimes feel like travel writing is over and done with, that there is little else to say about a place or describing it will never be as good as being there. But this book makes me rethink all that. He makes me laugh out loud. His anecdotes are relatable. His descriptions make me want to BE there, even when it’s scary drug cartel riddled Mexico. Or make me want to find the best chocolate churros on the streets of Toronto as the next best thing. Now THATs powerful writing. So sad to see it end... If I ever wrote a travel book, I could only hope that it be as brilliant as this one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Randell Green

    Epitome of a light-hearted-perfect for flights book. Abrupt ending, I wanted a little more. I enjoyed the brief histories interwoven with his experiences. 📚📚📚

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christi Barth

    Not as engrossing as his other book, but still a fun travelogue.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kasey Hill

    Was looking for an adventure and this was close. Lots more history of all the areas he visited than I had anticipated, but I enjoyed it. Also enjoyed the way he retold history. Much more in depth and juicier than you would read in the history books. My favorite part is how he enjoys meeting all kinds of different people and talking with them. I also enjoy doing that on vacation. Fun and easy read!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ariston

    Love to travel, love the idea of this book, but it missed the mark for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Entertaining and mostly funny, Hely recounts his adventures traveling south from LA to Patagonia in this off-the-cuff travelogue. There is no pretense that this is an insightful, detailed travel guide, nor a vast novel of escapism. Instead, it is simply the funny recounting of an American who is interested in seeing different parts of the world, having some unique experiences, and learning a few things about other cultures, all with a bit of satire and humor thrown in. There is a smattering of f Entertaining and mostly funny, Hely recounts his adventures traveling south from LA to Patagonia in this off-the-cuff travelogue. There is no pretense that this is an insightful, detailed travel guide, nor a vast novel of escapism. Instead, it is simply the funny recounting of an American who is interested in seeing different parts of the world, having some unique experiences, and learning a few things about other cultures, all with a bit of satire and humor thrown in. There is a smattering of factoids about some of the destinations which puts some historical context into the location he is visiting but otherwise Hely mostly discusses people he met along the way, sights he viewed, and activities he took part in. Take it for what its worth and one will be captivated and amused.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Hely is a comedy writer for the Office and American Dad, so you know exactly what tone he's going to take as he spend a memorable hiatus traveling south from L.A., along the west coast of South America. With the smartassery of Sarah Vowell, but the inch-deep knowledge of someone who sort of reads a book recommended to him by a guy he met at the beach and then gets distracted by Australian surfers, hallucinogenic sessions with a shaman and a discourse about a bad movie about William Walker with P Hely is a comedy writer for the Office and American Dad, so you know exactly what tone he's going to take as he spend a memorable hiatus traveling south from L.A., along the west coast of South America. With the smartassery of Sarah Vowell, but the inch-deep knowledge of someone who sort of reads a book recommended to him by a guy he met at the beach and then gets distracted by Australian surfers, hallucinogenic sessions with a shaman and a discourse about a bad movie about William Walker with Peter Boyle as Vanderbilt, this is engaging travel writing with the acknowledgement that he isn't and definitely doesn't want to be Paul Theroux.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Received and advanced copy Just imagine.... an LA guy (formerly a Bostonite) is turned loose in the throws of Mexico, Central America and South America all to say he made it to the Southern point of South America. How could you not enjoy an adventure like this? The book kept me intrigued and entertained from start to finish. Bringing to life parts of the world I had forgotten about the intense history. I found myself jotting down titles of future books to read that the author makes reference to. Received and advanced copy Just imagine.... an LA guy (formerly a Bostonite) is turned loose in the throws of Mexico, Central America and South America all to say he made it to the Southern point of South America. How could you not enjoy an adventure like this? The book kept me intrigued and entertained from start to finish. Bringing to life parts of the world I had forgotten about the intense history. I found myself jotting down titles of future books to read that the author makes reference to. The comedic commentary and style of writing will keep you entertained from start to finish. Wondering what his next adventure will be.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I received this book through Penguin's First To Read program for an honest review. This is not a book I could finish. After multiple attempts at reading it-even forcing myself to read for a specific amount of time-I could not bring myself to finish the book. I started it thinking it would be a great travel memoir full of humor and insight into the visited cultures, instead it was a lot of regurgitated history about the locations and very little about the personal experience of the author. This b I received this book through Penguin's First To Read program for an honest review. This is not a book I could finish. After multiple attempts at reading it-even forcing myself to read for a specific amount of time-I could not bring myself to finish the book. I started it thinking it would be a great travel memoir full of humor and insight into the visited cultures, instead it was a lot of regurgitated history about the locations and very little about the personal experience of the author. This book would be great for those looking for more background of the locations he visited in Central and South America, but it t wasn't billed that way.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheree Moore

    As someone who loves to travel and read other people's travel experiences, I found this book to be mediocre. The beginning was humorous and promising but Hely spends a good portion of his book quoting other people's books and very little time describing his travels – mostly his experiences partying with strangers much younger than him. If you are looking for a humorous travelogue, I would suggest you pick up Honeymoon with My Brother: A Memoir by Franz Wisner or The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrif As someone who loves to travel and read other people's travel experiences, I found this book to be mediocre. The beginning was humorous and promising but Hely spends a good portion of his book quoting other people's books and very little time describing his travels – mostly his experiences partying with strangers much younger than him. If you are looking for a humorous travelogue, I would suggest you pick up Honeymoon with My Brother: A Memoir by Franz Wisner or The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alli Roper

    I never finished it because it started to bug me. The history he gives was interesting enough, but then he does so many lame things that I just don't care to waste my time reading about. Not my jam. I never finished it because it started to bug me. The history he gives was interesting enough, but then he does so many lame things that I just don't care to waste my time reading about. Not my jam.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tonya Scott

    I won this book via Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Dutton and Steve Hey I enjoyed reading this book. I agree with some other readers that it was a bit boring in parts but I had myself a giggle or two in others. All in all I was happy to have read it but as a mood reader, I may have done better to read when I was in the mood for a travel book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pix Smith

    Even halfway through, this is a five star book. Well written, funny, and chock full of information, it's like one long coffee date with the author. Definitely worth the read, and I'll be looking at his other work as well. Even halfway through, this is a five star book. Well written, funny, and chock full of information, it's like one long coffee date with the author. Definitely worth the read, and I'll be looking at his other work as well.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    I wanted to like it because I love travel books, but this guy's style just bugged me and I didn't enjoy it very much. I wanted to like it because I love travel books, but this guy's style just bugged me and I didn't enjoy it very much.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Marble

    Los Angeles to Patagonia with someone who seems to be from Dumb and Dumber.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dave Humphrey

    Too much partying but I enjoyed some of the more offbeat moments.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    (Note: I listened to the audio book, read by the author.) While I enjoyed this light and frothy travelogue, I don't think it is particularly life changing or one of the top reads in the genre. Technically it's a memoir of the author's 3 month journey from LA south to the tip of South America, but he doesn't dig too deeply into any emotions or have any insightful epiphanies or realizations so it's less memoirish and more just a straight travelogue. Which is fine! It was just not one that will stay (Note: I listened to the audio book, read by the author.) While I enjoyed this light and frothy travelogue, I don't think it is particularly life changing or one of the top reads in the genre. Technically it's a memoir of the author's 3 month journey from LA south to the tip of South America, but he doesn't dig too deeply into any emotions or have any insightful epiphanies or realizations so it's less memoirish and more just a straight travelogue. Which is fine! It was just not one that will stay with me, for long. The insights he does provide are more historical, cultural, and geographical, and still remain rather surface level. He has a lot of ground to cover in one book, so he can't linger too long in any one location. I enjoyed the quick pace of the book for this very reason, but do wish that we could have spent more time digging into the roots of some of the places' cultural quirks or history. One thing that he did point out that I had never thought about (though I suppose it's quite obvious when you say it) is that if you want to find unspoiled, untarnished cultures untouched by modernity and traits of our monolithic culture (smart phones, Amazon, American movies, emoji, pop music, modern dress, etc.) that you can find it in LANDLOCKED places. (Bhutan, Mongolia, Ethiopia, etc.) Landlocked places don't have the luxury of ports to import and export culture, so their culture remains more isolated than those connected to the rest of the world. I feel like this would be a really interesting book on its own, exploring those landlocked regions and how their cultures have remained, for better or for worse, over the years. Even without our own country, I think we see this with the more conservative central states and the more progressive coastal states. He touches on SO many interesting people and places (both current and historical) that I now have a long list of things to go Google. For example, the San Pedro prison in La Paz, Bolivia. Go look it up. You'll end up on a Wikipedia rabbit hole. It's FASCINATING. Thankfully, he provides a long list of resources for the reader, and mentions so many other books that he read in doing research for his trip. I appreciate his researched approach greatly, given that he's a TV writer and not a journalist. I also want to give him props for often acknowledging his white guy travel privilege; that many of the experiences he's able to easily have, many people would not be able to. In fact, I'd say he's pretty woke on a lot of subjects and writes in an openhearted, generous way that is inclusive and very privilege-aware. This book was definitely amusing, a fun light escapist read full of fun facts and anecdotes. Definitely a nice way to spend a few hours, but don't expect it to change your life.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Dyson Eitelman

    Travel writing. I love reading it; I aspire to writing it. And this book made me think about it-- Why didn't I love this book? And...if I didn't love this book, then what is the difference between books I adore and books I only tolerate, and how can I make sure my own writing falls into the 'adore' category? There's no single answer. But in this case, I figured out my problem when I was nearing the end--he doesn't share the intense interest I have in the natural world. Human history is cool, but na Travel writing. I love reading it; I aspire to writing it. And this book made me think about it-- Why didn't I love this book? And...if I didn't love this book, then what is the difference between books I adore and books I only tolerate, and how can I make sure my own writing falls into the 'adore' category? There's no single answer. But in this case, I figured out my problem when I was nearing the end--he doesn't share the intense interest I have in the natural world. Human history is cool, but natural history is cooler, and a great travel book ought to have some of both. He tries to include the history (human) of the places he visits but seldom any of the non-human history, and he writes best when describing the crazy and zany and fascinating people he meets. And wow, does he meet a lot of those! After writing that I went back to find a funny "crazy person" episode, and found this, Strange and wonderful creatures are what you go to the Galapagos to see. Just in case, I'd brought two with me. My favorite thing about sailing around the Galapagos was hanging out with my friends Alan Tang and Amy Smozols. He goes on to describe them, and yes, they are truly strange and wonderful. And I get the joke. But... On the Isla del Sol, in the middle of Lake Titicaca, not sure what else to do, I walked up and across the island as far as I could, up steep steps from the shore that're said to date back to the Incas, or even before. I walked past an old church that didn't look much used lately, and a few farms. On the trail, there were donkeys passing along without too much supervision, knowing and accepting, it seemed, what they were there to do and what paths to follow. Only a few llamas in the walled fields, wooly, kept around for show maybe, or out of deep llama-fondness. I sat, looked back across the lake. As otherworldly a place as I'd ever seen, but the beauty of it was a touch harsh, the landscape on the far mountains semi-bare, the few boats on the lake almost disappearing on the vastness of the surface. Welp, I guess that's Lake Titicaca, I thought. See what I mean? The impression I'm left with is "Welp, I guess that's about the best I'm going to get out of this. Wish I hadn't spent some much time hoping."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tom Brown

    Anyone who loves travel writing will enjoy Steve Hely's book. He travels from Los Angeles to the southern tip of South America. Along the way, he has numerous adventures and sees some great places. I cannot say that I would like to have all of his experiences such as trying cocaine or the hallucinogen called ayahuasca. But he did see some great places such as Tikal and the Galapagos and Chile that I would like to visit some day. Hely has an breezy manner in his writing that makes it not only enj Anyone who loves travel writing will enjoy Steve Hely's book. He travels from Los Angeles to the southern tip of South America. Along the way, he has numerous adventures and sees some great places. I cannot say that I would like to have all of his experiences such as trying cocaine or the hallucinogen called ayahuasca. But he did see some great places such as Tikal and the Galapagos and Chile that I would like to visit some day. Hely has an breezy manner in his writing that makes it not only enjoyable but quite interesting. He shares his perceptions of both the places as well as the people, food, culture and everything else that crosses his path on his journey. It is clear that he is having a great time on his journey along the "wonder trail." When I finished the book, I was ready to visit many of the places that he described. I also learned about some interesting people and added a few more books to my reading list. I encourage anyone who likes to learn about new places to pick up this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    A

    I discovered this book rather randomly. The title piqued my imagination. There were no expectations of what the book might hold, the best way to approach anything one is reading. It is always an extra plus that the writer reads their own words. They know these words intimately and the reader/writer's intonations become meaningful. This is a good book for armchair travelers. The story is enhanced with history and background about locations, in addition to the people that Hely has met along the wa I discovered this book rather randomly. The title piqued my imagination. There were no expectations of what the book might hold, the best way to approach anything one is reading. It is always an extra plus that the writer reads their own words. They know these words intimately and the reader/writer's intonations become meaningful. This is a good book for armchair travelers. The story is enhanced with history and background about locations, in addition to the people that Hely has met along the way. It sounds like he is comfortable traveling alone and meeting people along the way. And, he mentions pupusas, my favorite food!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bedrooped Bookworms

    This sounded like a great story, a dude travels from LA to the southernmost tip of the Americas. Sounds like a great adventure, lots of exploring and time for self discovery…mmm, not quite. 4 out of 10 for enjoyment, 3 out of 5 for readability. Way too much history, although mostly recounted in ways that aren’t totally dry, but there are gems at times that got me laughing. Guess I prefer feeling inspired in some way from travel books and this book just left me kind of disappointed in the author. This sounded like a great story, a dude travels from LA to the southernmost tip of the Americas. Sounds like a great adventure, lots of exploring and time for self discovery…mmm, not quite. 4 out of 10 for enjoyment, 3 out of 5 for readability. Way too much history, although mostly recounted in ways that aren’t totally dry, but there are gems at times that got me laughing. Guess I prefer feeling inspired in some way from travel books and this book just left me kind of disappointed in the author. -Holly For more from this review, see: https://bedroopedbookworms.wordpress....

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.