AUTHOR: Joshua Samuel Brown, Portland, OR.
CONTACT: josambro AT gmail DOT com
ABOUT THE BOOK: There is a little of Hunter S. Thompson in Joshua Samuel Brown’s writing, a pinch of P.J. O’Rourke, maybe even a dash of “Gulliver’s Travels.” For unlike many travel writers who draw back and write about exotic places from a safe and contemplative distance, Brown plunges right in, experiencing the good, the bad and the inedible. Ever wonder how you can tell the difference between good and not-so-good dog meat soup in Korea? Did you know that Beijing has a ghetto inhabited primarily by Muslims? Brown is counterculture savvy, technologically wired and, to some degree, able to converse in Mandarin. Yet through all 19 of these traveler’s tales, he never forgets who he is — a bewildered outsider.
BACK STORY: Writes Brown: “When people find out that I spent nearly a decade as a travel writer and gave it up (to lead a vaguely normal life,) they sometimes react with disbelief. ‘But that’s the world’s greatest job,’ some folks tell me, imagining lobster on the beach, first class tickets to everywhere and endless exotic entertainment.
“After being driven slightly mad by too many years on the road I decided to compile some of my bizarre stories from my years as a travel writer (for Lonely Planet and others) into one book. Several of my test readers found the stories quite visual, and suggested I illustrate some of them. But I can’t draw, so I hired my friend David Lee Ingersoll – a professional cartoonist who’s worked for, among others, Dark Horse Comics, to do the illustrations for me.”
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: None of us can, in the relatively short life span which we are allotted, go everywhere. So travel writers like Joshua do that for us — and in this case, visits some of the off-the-beaten-track and under-the-radqar places we probably wouldn’t see even if we did go to that country. He eats dog meat stew so we won’t have to.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: “I was a teenage bike messenger. For three years I rode through Manhattan’s artificial canyons of steel and stone, dodging cars and pedestrians with fanatical diligence, lungs full of marijuana and exhaust fumes. By sixteen I’d developed a knack for getting between points A and B with speed and precision. At eighteen I was burnt out and sick of New York, so I enrolled in an upstate university, graduating four years later with a degree in creative writing and a powerful desire to see the world.
“Taiwan seemed like a good place to begin an expatriate life. After a few dips into various vocations (including teaching kindergarten and busting sweatshops) I started taking writing more seriously, becoming first an Asia-based journalist and then a guidebook writer. Travel writing provided an ideal way to force-mate my compulsive fetish for escape and logistical skill. My knack for uttering pleasantries in many languages didn’t hurt. For a decade-plus I lived an obsessive logistic-junkie’s dream, earning my way around the world reporting from exotic lands while connecting points from A to Z. Though I’ve written for tons of magazines, websites & literary publications, the stories in this collection, a mixture of new journalism, non-fiction and pure fiction, share a common denominator outside of belonging to the travel genre: None of them offer anything in the way of useful information.
EDITED BY: Two of my amazing Lonely Planet colleagues, Celeste Brash and Zora O’Neil, helped with editing and proofing.
PUBLISHED BY: I self-published through Amazon. The Kindle version is available here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P3BWGYY, and I’m working on getting the print version out.
WHERE TO BUY IT: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P3BWGYY
HAVE A TASTE: Amazon lets the author set their own sample length, so I set mine so that anyone can read the first two stories and illustrations as part of the sample. After that, I’m hoping folks’ll buy the book. That’s also here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P3BWGYY