This inaugural edition of THE BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING journeys around the world to reveal our fascination with places both familiar and foreign. Guest editor Bill Bryson has gathered together remarkable pieces that travel across the remote stretches of Bhutan, along the busy roads of Cuba, and into the far-flung corners of Cambodia. Whether an account of an overnight stay in Central Park or the story of a hilarious ice golf tournament in Greenland, the selections in THE BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING 2000 exhibit the diversity and creative wonder of travel writing today.
Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole's tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces. This 30-year-old medievalist lives at home with his mother in New Orleans, pens his magnum opus on Big Chief writing pads he keeps hidden under his bed, and relays to anyone who will listen the traumatic experience he once had on a Greyhound Scenicruiser bound for Baton Rouge. ("Speeding along in that bus was like hurtling into the abyss.") But Ignatius's quiet life of tyrannizing his mother and writing his endless comparative history screeches to a halt when he is almost arrested by the overeager Patrolman Mancuso--who mistakes him for a vagrant--and then involved in a car accident with his tipsy mother behind the wheel. One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, Ignatius is out pounding the pavement in search of a job.
Over the next several hundred pages, our hero stumbles from one adventure to the next. His stint as a hotdog vendor is less than successful, and he soon turns his employers at the Levy Pants Company on their heads. Ignatius's path through the working world is populated by marvelous secondary characters: the stripper Darlene and her talented cockatoo; the septuagenarian secretary Miss Trixie, whose desperate attempts to retire are constantly, comically thwarted; gay blade Dorian Greene; sinister Miss Lee, proprietor of the Night of Joy nightclub; and Myrna Minkoff, the girl Ignatius loves to hate. The many subplots that weave through A Confederacy of Dunces are as complicated as anything you'll find in a Dickens novel, and just as beautifully tied together in the end. But it is Ignatius--selfish, domineering, and deluded, tragic and comic and larger than life--who carries the story. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. His fragility cracks the shell of comic bluster, revealing a deep streak of melancholy beneath the antic humor.
Penguin Book of Indian Ghost Stories
Penguin Book of Indian Ghost Stories by Ruskin Bond
From Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling to Satyajit Ray and R.K Narayan,a collection of spine-chilling (and sometimes humorous!)tales of the supernatural from India.
Between the Assassinations
Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga
Kittur is an undistinguished everytown in between Goa and Calicut on India's south-western coast. Here unfolds the world of Adiga's second novel.An illiterate Muslim boy who works at the train station is tempted by an Islamic terrorist; a Dalit bookseller gets arrested for selling a copy of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses; a spoiled student decides to explode a bomb in college; a sexologist has to find a cure for a young boy suffering from a mysterious disease that may be AIDS.
Kittur is mapped across class, religion, occupation and preoccupation and What emerges is the moral biography of an Indian town in the seven-year period between the assassinations of Prime Minister Gandhi and her son Rajiv.