"A story is time itself, boxed and compressed," writes Michael Paterniti in his new book, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese(Random House). Paterniti's story is a doozy. Somehow, he manages to bring together Roman-era caves in a Spanish town that time forgot, a gentle giant cheesemaker-turned-truck driver bent on revenge, a magical cheese, and a dreamy grad student in Michigan who grows up to become an award-winning journalist who dedicated years of his life to understanding those caves, the giant, and, of course, that cheese.
Paterniti, a correspondent for GQ, has traveled to places like Cambodia to write about the Khmer Rouge and Japan to tell an amazing story about the 2011 tsunami, but at the heart of almost all his work—especially in The Telling Room—is a fascination with storytelling itself. At one point in The Telling Room, Paterniti describes himself as "someone given to tilting the most quotidian events into a Viking epic," an impulse readers will sense from the very first page the book. At times, The Telling Room reads like a fairy tale, as Paterniti moves his family to a town where farmers talk with animals, one resident might be able to fly, and where his hero, Ambrosio Molinos, once created a cheese that could bring back forgotten memories.
We sent a few questions to Paterniti, who lives year-round in Portland, Maine with his wife, writer Sara Corbett, and their three kids. Here's what he had to say.
Few people can claim they personally changed the way an entire generation sees the world. Tony Wheeler, who co-founded Lonely Planet with his wife Maureen in 1973 could easily take that sort of credit were he not such a modest and unassuming guy.
Last week, Wheeler stopped by T+L's offices to discuss Lonely Planet and other topics. For a man who sold millions of books worldwide and made a lot of money (The Richest, a site that tracks celebrities' net worths, estimates he and Maureen are worth $168 million), Wheeler, 66, comes off as an unpretentious guy with a backpack and comfortable walking shoes. If you saw him on the street, you'd never know he started an internationally-recognized publishing company based on the diaries he and his wife kept as they traveled from London to Asia in a van during the early 1970s. (The New Yorker's Tad Friend profiled Wheeler in 2005, which you can read here.)
You get the sense from Wild Ones that the animal stories are Mooallem's passion, but that they aren't always easy to write, especially since, as he puts it, "The wild animals always have no comment."
We asked Mooallem a bit more about his book and the many species—humans among them—he met during the course of writing it.
You went all over North America in search of places where people are interacting—in some cases in very odd ways—with endangered animals. What was the most interesting place to you as a writer and as a tourist? Jon Mooallem: I spent some time traveling with a non-profit called Operation Migration, which teaches endangered whooping cranes how to migrate by training them to fly behind ultralight airplanes. They travel with the birds from Wisconsin to Florida. It’s a big swath of America that we tend to dismiss as Flyover Country, and they’re flying directly through it, very slowly, stopping for the night every 25 or 50 miles.
The next time you find yourself enjoying a finely crafted beer, you might want to ask yourself what it took to bring that drink to your lips. Tom Acitelli, author of The Audacity of Hops: The History of America's Craft Beer Revolution (Chicago Review Press) did more than wonder about it: He went off across America in search of the stories behind the suds.
Acitelli, the founding editor of Curbed Boston, and a contributor to The New York Times and other publications, answered a few of our questions about where to find the best beers, how Europe is catching onto America's craft movement, and what it's like drinking brews infused with St. John's Wort or hot peppers.
Here are some of his insights:
Where is the heart of the American craft brewing scene? Tom Acitelli: There are now more than 2,300 breweries in the United States, the most since the 1880s, so pinpointing a definite geographic heart might be a tad difficult. Spiritually, however, the American craft beer movement indisputably pivots on Northern California—specifically, the San Francisco Bay Area. The oldest craft brewery still in operation (Anchor Brewery, famous for its steam beer) is in an old coffee roastery in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood. The first startup craft brewery since Prohibition (New Albion Brewery, which went out of business in 1983) was also nearby, in Sonoma County wine country; and the nation's second- and third-oldest brewpubs, Mendocino Brewing and Buffalo Bill's, started just outside of San Francisco.
In what can only be described as one small step for space travelers, one giant leap for Virgin Galactic's publicity team, WhiteKnightTwo, a Sir Richard Branson-owned passenger aircraft, managed to reach an altitude of 46,000 feet over the Mojave Desert yesterday. The test flight lasted all of 16 seconds.
Branson called it "stunning" and "a critical day," according Reuter's Irene Klotz. The airline, mobile service, and music label magnate has been pushing for commercial space flights for almost a decade, even going so far as to accept deposits on the $200,000 tickets. Now that one of his craft's has achieved some small measure of escape velocity, Branson and his two grown children plan to fly in a second test of the WhiteKnightTwo scheduled tomorrow. Watch a YouTube video of the test flight above.
What does that mean for you? Well, as an air traveler it means fewer delays for your next trip. As a taxpayer? That all depends on what you think about the budget crisis that created those furloughs in the first place.
Any store can put out a catalog or a little circular that focuses on its brand, but few would dare print a full-color, oversized glossy and sell it for $25. That's exactly what Saturdays, a New York City-based surf shop has done with it's massive Saturdays Magazine.
The second issue (out now) is a celebration of all that's great about print: It's heavy, its pages make noise as you turn them, and it falls open with a satisfying "thunk." The magazine, which was printed in Iceland (watch this video of it coming off the press), is so massive you might not be able to fit it in your carry-on bag. But if you do, inside you'll find striking multipage spreads of surfers at work and at play, interviews with artists like Larry Clark and Christo, and projects from photographer Bruce Weber and designer Hedi Slimane. What you won't find is a hard sell for surfboards.
We spoke with Saturdays co-owner and Saturdays editor-in-chief Colin Tunstall. Here's what he had to say:
What's a little surf shop with two locations in New York and two in Japan (the newest in Kobe) doing putting out a 300+ page oversized doorstopper of a magazine? Colin Tunstall: I've always wanted to produce magazine. Before starting Saturdays I worked in publishing for 10 years. The concept was simple, we just wanted to produce something cool. We decided to focus on Q&A's with people we thought were interesting. We cast a wide net and embraced the variety of backgrounds, ages and locations of everyone to define the common thread of our lifestyle.
What's it like to mix drinks on a cruise ship? In the May issue of Travel+Leisure, writer Bruno Maddox tells all in I Was a Cruise Ship Bartender.
Maddox has already practiced his brand of immersion journalism by working as a Las Vegas hotel concierge and renting a private island for T+L, but we wanted to know what it was like to be among the crew chasing down fluttering napkins and serving up Baileys Banana Vanilla Thrillas on a massive floating hotel.
Here are some of Maddox's insights:
What was your first thought when you got this assignment? Bruno Maddox: Well, it was December, and the thought of a sunny cruise in the Caribbeandid obviously hold some appeal, but the job itself sounded pretty bad. I knew there'd be uniforms. There would also almost certainly be mandatory grooming, shaving, etc., which is always a nightmare, and then there was going be the pure living hell of having your photo taken, for hours, in a crowded public space... and if all that weren't bad enough I'd be making high-degree-of-difficulty cocktails for people primed to expect flawless service. But you know. This is what I do. It's like being a soldier. When your commanding officer tells you to go, you go.
As we, and the rest of the country, wait for information about the horrific bombing in Boston yesterday, we'll be sending our hopes and prayers to that city's residents. We also want to take a moment to remember all the things we love about that classic American city and look forward to visiting there again soon.
The iconic chimes of London's Elizabeth Tower (aka, Big Ben) will be silenced on Wednesday while Margaret Thatcher is laid to rest, according to various reports, including this one from the BBC. Thatcher died at age 87 on April 8. This is the first time the bells have been silenced for a funeral since 1965 in honor of Winston Churchill.