While my own travels don't generate stories worth sharing with great frequency, I am an obsessive reader, and often come across essays that readers of this blog would find interesting. I hope to post a monthly list of some of the best pieces I've encountered, including eye-opening travel narratives, commentaries on foreign affairs, insightful profiles of foreign places and people, and essays offering new ideas and ways of seeing the world.
Here, in no particular order, are my recommended reads from the past month:
"Is This Goodbye to Lonely Planet?" (Bronwen Clune, The Guardian)
Hype, most likely, but still an interesting read on the state of the modern travel industry and a possibility that is forcing many travelers to assess how they value the ubiquitous guidebook publisher. (Will this instead inform how we plan our travels someday soon?)
"When 772 Pitches Isn't Enough" (Chris Jones, ESPN The Magazine)
Fascinating window into the obsessive world of amateur baseball in Japan.
"What Algeria 1992 can, and cannot, teach us about Egypt 2013" (Hicham Yezza, openDemocracy)
A more informed look at the comparison that's been tossed around a bit too much this month.
"Woman's Work" (Francesca Borri, Columbia Journalism Review)
A powerful screed against the state of modern war reporting, from an Italian stringer risking her neck in Syria.
"Andrew Pochter’s death a setback for public diplomacy in the Middle East" (Alexandra Raphel, GlobalPost)
My good friend Alex on the importance of inter-cultural exchange in tough times.
"Buried Secrets" (Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker)
Welcome to the underworld of African mining deals; a well researched and intriguing piece.
"Arabs are rebelling because they want capitalism. Why can't the West see it?" (Hernando de Soto, The Spectator)
On the microeconomics of the Arab Spring; not the whole picture by any means, but an under-appreciated aspect of the event's many roots.
"Abandoned in Syria" (Nathan Thornburgh, Roads and Kingdoms)
Interview with a longtime Damascus resident; useful bits of perspective from an outsider who sounds like he knows Syria well.