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Where the Wild Things Are: Q&A with "Wild Ones" Author Jon Mooallem

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"When the nation was founded, it didn't have a Sistine Chapel or any Great Books. It had coastlines gushing with oysters and crustaceans, forests crammed with deer and wolves and, out on the frontier, some thirty million buffalo rumbling over the plains as a single, shifting spectacle." So writes Jon Mooallem in the introduction to his book, Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America (The Penguin Press).

While America may no longer teem with wildlife in quite the same way, Mooallem has dedicated much of his writingto documenting how humans interact with those species that remain. As a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and writer-at-large for San Francisco's beloved cult sensation Pop-Up Magazine, Mooallem has covered everything from a wild monkey in Tampa to "gay" birds in Hawaii and baby turtles suffering after the BP oil spill. And he hasn't ignored humans: Here he is on the history of the high five and the magic of long-lost wallets.

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.

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The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending May 10, 2013

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Forbes's Larry Olmsted discusses Boston Bites Back, the tasting event happening next week in Boston's Fenway Park where top local chefs are teaming up to raise $1 million for victims from the marathon bombings. (Peter Schlesinger)

One hotel in Egypt is trying to provide a "new kind of tourism"—by smashing all the booze in its bar and declaring itself the country's first dry hotel. HotelChatter takes a closer look. (Nikki Ekstein)

Have you ever dreamed of chucking it all and moving to tropical paradise? Outside's Ned Zeman chronicles how one couple's dream of building their own mountaintop compound in Costa Rica went very, very wrong. (Matt Haber)

What's it like to be a personal chef on a private Gultstream G550? So glad you asked since Cincinnati Magazine's Donna Covrett talks with Michael Worth about his high-flying gig. (M.H.)

Let Mashable take you on a trip Around the World in 80 Instagrams. (M.H.)

Check out this amazing animated GIFs that show how the earth has changed over time using images from Google Maps. (M.H.)

Got a recommendation? Tell us in the comments.


Photo: iStock Photos.

The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending May 3, 2013

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The Skies Belong to Us author Brendan I. Koerner points to this lovely Flickr photo album of Czech matchbox labels. Check out this great one from Czechoslovak Airlines. (Matt Haber)

The New York Times sent humorist Henry Alford to exotic Williamsburg, Brooklyn to see if he could blend in and go native. The result? How I Became a Hipster. (M.H.)

Meanwhile, across the pond, Christian Lorentzen, an American writer in London is having some trouble adjusting, as he relates in this wonderfully cranky London Review of Books essay Buck up, old boy, at least there aren't hipster there! (M.H.)

Airbnb fans take note: a new verification program requires your official photo ID, according to All Things D's Liz Gannes. (Jennifer Flowers)

Walk/Score blog's new tool allows you to find hotels within walking distance your ultimate destination and has published their Top 10 U.S. Cities to Travel Car-Free. (Ann Shields)

TimeOut London employs some cool graphics to overlay historic photos with new ones by Rob Greig to create Soho: Then and Now (A.S) 

Gizmodo's Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan shares German photographer Michael Wolf's images of aging high rises in Hong Kong. Very surreal. (Peter Schlesinger)

Swissinfo's Susan Vogel-Misicka has a fascinating update on the $2 billion Andermatt Swiss Alps construction project, including the Chedi Andermatt hotel at the (formerly?) quiet Swiss village. (P.S.)

Alaska's cruise season has started, and this year there are stricter fuel standards. The Anchorage Daily News's Becky Bohrer takes an in depth look at the new law and what it means for the environment and for the cruise industry. (P.S.)

Google Now is finally available for iPhone users, and The Associated Press' Anick Jesdanun does a remarkably thorough job of putting it to the traveler's ultimate road test. (Nikki Ekstein)

CNN rounds up a list of the 10 ways our travel experience can be improved, and we agree with all 10 of them. (N.E.)

In-flight yoga? New York Times travel writer Stephanie Rosenbloom shows you how to strike a pose with just 17 inches of airplane space. (Maria Pedone)

Photo credit: iStock photo

 

Finding America's Best Beers: Q&A with "The Audacity of Hops" Author Tom Acitelli

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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.

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The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending April 26, 2013

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There are two reasons to look at Brian Lam's Scuttlefish post about swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. First, the photos, which are just beautiful. Second, his tutorial that explains how to take similar ones without fancy equipment. Warning: These pictures will make you very, very jealous. (Matt Haber)

Grantland presents Out in the Great Alone, a story about the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race by Brian Phillips. This is a massive story that you're going to want to spend some time with. If you get lost while reading it, don't worry: It comes with a convenient (and very smart) map of Alaska that shows you the locations at each point in the race. (M.H.)

Sure, animated gifs are now the default way to report news via repurposed Will Ferrell jokes, but photographer Nicolas Ritter's One is a much more subtle, artful use of the  ubiquitous image format. Striking photos of London are animated with just the tiniest hints of movement, making these images feel very alive. (M.H.)

Boston Magazine has released its May cover, which features hundreds of pairs of running shoes heartbreakingly arrayed with the simple cover line: We Will Finish the Race. Well done, Boston. (M.H.)

Frank Jacobs of Big Think presents a taco map of Mexico. (Ann Shields)

Dwell has a slideshow of some pretty dreamy modern bikes, including one of those Dutch bring-the-kids numbers and a polka dot SF ride. (A.S.)

The Associated Press: Travel: United, US Airways Raise Ticket Change Fees to $200 (Jennifer Flowers)

The Telegraph: Most Expensive Airport Transfers Revealed. (J.F.)

USA Today's Bill McGee takes a look back at the 10 most important changes in travel over the last 10 years. (Peter Schlesinger)

Good news for American ski bunnies, the fantasy of learning from a dreamy Norwegian instructor lives on! The Senate has pushed a provision into the immigration reform bill ensuring easy entry into the country for foreign ski teachers. From The Wall Street Journal (sub required) via New York's Margaret Hartmann. (Amy Farley)

Got a recommendation? Tell us in the comments.


Photo: iStock Photos.

Surfing as Art and Lifestyle: Q&A with Saturdays' Colin Tunstall

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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.

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"The Great Gatsby" Inspires Retro Holidays

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In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, Gatsby refutes Nick Carraway’s assertion you cannot repeat the past: "Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can.”

Hoteliers seem to agree with Gatsby, as evidenced by a slew of promotions tied in with the upcoming release of Baz Lurhman’s new film, The Great Gatsby.

New York’s Plaza Hotel, which features prominently in the novel, has announced its “The Great Gatsby Getaway Contest.” Anyone who snaps a 1920’s themed picture of themselves and posts it on Instagram with the hashtag #theplazapremiere has a chance to win seats at the New York premiere of the film, along with a night at the iconic property. Hurry though, the contest ends April 24th.

Nearby, the Trump International Hotel & Tower is offering the Trump ‘Great Gatsby’ Package. Guests spend three nights in suites overlooking Central Park, enjoying some top-notch perks. Men receive a custom-tailored suit and shirt from Bergdorf Goodman and Art Deco cufflinks, while women will go home with an Ivanka Trump Art Deco jewelry and a personalized note from Ivanka herself. Dinner at Three-Michelin-Star restaurant Jean Georges, a magnum of champagne, and chauffeured car-service are also included. This Roaring Twenties extravaganza comes with a roaring price tag… $14,999.

And while not directly related to the classic novel, these other properties do their best to bring back some of that Gatsby glamour:

°  The SLS Hotel South Beach: Opened this past June, the Philippe Starck-designed waterfront hotel brings a 1940 property back to its former glory. Trompe l’oeil walls, murals, and a gigantic rubber ducky by the pool add a touch of whimsy to this art-deco gem.
° Hotel Shangrila, Santa Monica: Another art-deco property, this 1939 building has recently undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation. The 71 rooms and suites feature period furnishings and decorations. This year, there are two promotional packages celebrating the renovation.

Then again, if hotel suites don’t do it for you, why not be like Gatsby and throw a party at your own private mansion? With water frontage, a grand pool, and lots of vintage charm, the Luxury Retreats villa Locusts on Hudson, in the Hudson Valley, lets you feel like you’re living in West Egg, if only for a week.

Peter Schlesinger is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo credit: The Fitzgerald Suite at The Plaza, a Fairmont managed hotel, designed by Catherine Martin

The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending April 19, 2013

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ABC News's Genevieve Shaw Brown gets the scoop on a new program called Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP, for short), that brings therapy dogs to LAX to help ease the nerves of wary travelers. (Nikki Ekstein)

Want a discount at your favorite restaurant? Put away your phone! CNN Money's Erin Kim reports on phone-free dining. (N.E.)

Here's a fascinating interactive graphic from The New Yorker that breaks down the average income for residents surrounding each of the five boroughs' subway stops. (N.E.)

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L.A. by the Book: Los Angeles Times Literary Map

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If, like me, you’re as likely to read a novel about a city as a guide book when preparing for a visit, the Los Angeles Times book staff has pieced together an excellent resource for you.Their Literary L.A. map pinpoints bookstores and lit landmarks around town (the library at UCLA where Ray Bradbury tapped out Fahrenheit 451 on a coin-operated typewriter!), and also includes passages from great fiction inspired by the the city and includes hardboiled L.A. classics like Double Indemnity and The Black Dahlia to more modern works like Steve Erickson’s Zeroville. The map has been released in time to accompany this weekend’s Festival of Books at USC.

LA Times Festival of Books, April 20-21, 2013, at USC, free. (events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/)

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of L.A. Times

The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending April 12, 2013

Fans of the Ping Island rescue operation scene in Wes Anderson's Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou will love these Tokyo Times photos of the abandoned Fujiya Hotel in Shimoda. (Matt Haber)

Coffee fanatics should check out David Farley's Afar piece "Coffeland," in which the author went to southern Ethiopia to learn more about coffee culture. (M.H.)

Vanity Fair's William Langewiesche goes inside the mind of Felix Baumgartner, the daredevil who undertook the highest free-fall in history last October. (M.H.)

Real life princess (and mother-to-be), the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton will soon be the godmother of a new cruise ship, the Royal Princess, reports Chloe Berman of Travel Weekly UK. (Peter Schlesinger)

The Twitterverse is now expanding into music. According to Mashable's Chris Taylor, the social network is launching an app today after its acquisition of the music discovery site We Are Hunted. All the more tunes for your weekend getaway. (Maria Pedone)

Jay-Z's "Open Letter" says all it takes to go to Cuba is an OK from the President, but CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg isn't about to let you believe it. Over on his blog, he sets the record straight for those who aren't buddies with the First Family (or prefer to do things legally). (Nikki Ekstein)

Travel Weekly's Michelle Baran takes an in-depth look at the rise of culinary travel in the last decade. (N.E.)

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