Monday, November 21, 2011

Larry McMurtry's 5 best travel books

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove. His other works include two collections of essays, three memoirs, and more than thirty screenplays, including the coauthorship of Brokeback Mountain, for which he received an Academy Award.

His new novel is The Berrybender Narratives.

One of McMurtry's five best travel books, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
A Time of Gifts
by Patrick Leigh Fermor (1977)

In 1933, when Patrick Leigh Fermor was a restless 18-year-old, he set out, with only minimal preparation, to walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. "A Time of Gifts," about the trip's first stage, is a lovely account of how welcoming Europe was just before it stopped being welcoming for a very long time. When the book ends, he has reached Hungary. A second volume, "Between the Woods and the Water" (1986), gets him to the Iron Gates gorge on the Danube between Serbia and Romania. It is rumored that the final volume, taking him to the Golden Horn, is in the publisher's hands. I hope so. Leigh Fermor was a commando on Crete during the war years and even captured an important German general, an episode filmed as "Ill Met by Moonlight," in which Dirk Bogarde plays Leigh Fermor. He lived much of his life in Greece and was a lifelong friend of the former Deborah Mitford, now the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire; the recently published "In Tearing Haste" is a volume of their letters. Patrick Leigh Fermor died in June at age 96.
Read about another book on McMurtry's list.

Also see: Samuel Muston's ten best travel books, Tony Hiss's six favorite travel reads, Don George's top 10 travel books of the last century, Peter Mayle's 6 favorite travel books, Laura Landro's five best books about travel, and Paul Collins'a 10 oddest travel guides.

--Marshal Zeringue