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Enlightenments from Lives on the Road


                                Paul Theroux                                               


“[A] diverting meditation on passages from his own and other writers' works . . . The strongest pieces descry a tangible place through a discerning eye and pungent sensibility." — Publishers Weekly


“[A] determinedly personal collection of travel appreciation."

— Kirkus Reviews


This spring, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is pleased to publish a literary traveler’s handbook by one of our finest travel writers, Paul Theroux. He calls his new collection THE TAO OF TRAVEL: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road(May 19, 2011), a “vade mecum,” which is a “book for ready reference; a useful object, constantly carried on one’s person.” The term is not only technically but spiritually appropriate for his latest undertaking, a unique and joyously nostalgic paean to the pleasures and pains of travel in its golden age.


Part miscellany, part philosophical guide, part how-to, and part reminiscence, THE TAO OF TRAVEL collects the best writing on travel from the books that shaped Theroux as both a reader and a traveler in celebration of his decades wandering the globe. Interspersed with excerpts from the best of Theroux’s own work are selections from other accomplished writers and sometimes unexpected travelers: Vladimir Nabokov, Susan Sontag, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Graham Greene, as well as Pico Iyer, Jonathan Raban, Jan Morris, Tim Cahill, Peter Mathiessen, and Vikram Seth.



THE TAO OF TRAVEL: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road

by Paul Theroux

Publication Date: May 19, 2011

$25.00 hardcover (ISBN 978-0-547-33691-6); $11.99 e-book (e-book ISBN 978-0-547-54919-4)



THE TAO OF TRAVEL, bound as a traveler’s journal with flexi-binding and elastic, is divided into twenty-seven short sections, each on a different yet equally entertaining aspect of travel. They include:

  • All of the places that various peoples consider to be “the navel of the earth”
  • Notable sojourns in order of travel time, from thirty-four years down to a mere few hours
  • Odd items that famous travelers insisted on carrying with them: disguises, a monkey wrench, sealing wax, even a portable toilet!
  • Neuroses and fears of legendary travelers
  • The most bizarre foreign edibles
  • Profiles of interesting little-known travelers
  • The best imaginary journeys and places writers have chronicled
  • Treatises on home, or nontraveling travel writing
  • Travel advice: lessons from world-class journalist Mort Rosenblum as well as Theroux’s own “tao of travel”

Perfect for explorers and lovers of literature as well as the ideal gift for Father’s Day and soon-to-be graduates, THE TAO OF TRAVEL encapsulates the essence
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