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Beyond Beach Reads: 5 End-of-Summer Travel Memoirs

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Summer’s slowly drawing to a close, but you can still find some great end-of-summer reading..and we don’t just mean beach reads. Here are some recently published travel reads you can enjoy while soaking up the last rays of the sun or relaxing in the shade.

The newly released I Promise Not to Suffer by Gail Storey is a true adventure memoir. When her husband decided to hike the 2,663 mile-long Pacific Crest Trail, she went with him. This book covers their adventures of hiking 20 miles each day, camping at night, and braving severe weather while popping hormones and anti-depressants. She explains how the experience changed her marriage, and how it changed them as individuals, eventually giving her insight she would not have found otherwise.

If you’re interested in travel writing that goes beyond the well-known destination spots, check out Visit Sunny Chernobyl by Andrew Blackwell. As a satiric memoir and somewhat-guidebook, this work reveals both dark tourism and key issues faced by environmentalism. Blackwell shares his experiences from visiting the most polluted places around the world, including Canada’s oil sand strip mines and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. His main point is to remind us that we should accept places for what they are, not what we want them to be.

In Fast Times in Palestine: A Love Affair with a Homeless Homeland, Pamela J. Olson covers her personal experience of moving to Palestine. Acting as a blank slate with some bare knowledge from news headlines, she discovers the typical daily events that are universal to each country. Acting as a background to these events are the violence and political issues that shape these regions. Her adventures vary from celebrating Passover in Tel Aviv to observing Ramadan in a Hamas village, revealing the truth that is rarely seen, except through one’s own unbiased eyes.

Paul Theroux’s newest work, The Last Train to Zona Verde, continues his adventures through his beloved continent of Africa. In this work, Theroux covers his travels from Cape Town in South Africa to Namibia and Angola. He visits with locals and shows a more grim side of Africa, while continuing with his trademark travel writing and wit.

Full Upright and Locked Position uncovers the hidden truths about air travel. Written by former FAA chief counsel and senior aviation policy official Mark Gerchick, this spills all the details about flying. He explains what has changed since September 11, 2001, what pilots really do in the cockpit, why we get sick on planes, and the safety issues you should be most concerned about. You may never look at air travel the same way again.

If you’re planning a trip but aren’t sure what to read, check out The website offers a wide range of literary works that can give you a greater insight to a region’s history, culture, and lifestyle. You can search by region, but also check out what books are recommended—Longitude Books pairs up with travel programs and tour operators to have the best selection of recommended reads. The site also offers classic travel writing and hard-to-find books, as well as a selection of atlases and globes.

By Stephanie Ervin for