Tuesday, September 4, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey By Langston Hughes, Arnold Rampersad (Introduction by) Cover Image

I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey (Paperback)

By Langston Hughes, Arnold Rampersad (Introduction by)


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days

In I Wonder as I Wander, Langston Hughes vividly recalls the most dramatic and intimate moments of his life in the turbulent 1930s.

His wanderlust leads him to Cuba, Haiti, Russia, Soviet Central Asia, Japan, Spain (during its Civil War), through dictatorships, wars, revolutions. He meets and brings to life the famous and the humble, from Arthur Koestler to Emma, the Black Mammy of Moscow. It is the continuously amusing, wise revelation of an American writer journeying around the often strange and always exciting world he loves.

Langston Hughes (1902-67) was born in Joplin, Missouri, was educated at Lincoln University, and lived for most of his life in New York City. He is best known as a poet, but he also wrote novels, biography, history, plays, and children's books. Among his works are two volumes of memoirs, The Big Sea and I Wonder as I Wander, and two collections of Simple stories, The Best of Simple and The Return of Simple.

Arnold Rampersad, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature at Princeton University, is the author of The Life of Langston Hughes and editor of The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.

Product Details ISBN: 9780809015504
ISBN-10: 0809015501
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Publication Date: August 1st, 1993
Pages: 432
Language: English
Series: American Century

The Big Sea and I Wonder as I Wander are among the wisest, warmest and most informative books to issue from Langston's pen, and by that to say from the Renaissance or any other literary movement.” —Amiri Baraka

“An immensely interesting book.” —The New Yorker


Tuesday, August 7, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m

The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World By Matt Gross Cover Image

The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World (Paperback)


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
While writing his celebrated Frugal Traveler column for the New York Times, Matt Gross began to feel hemmed in by its focus on what he thought of as “traveling on the cheap at all costs.” When his editor offered him the opportunity to do something less structured, the Getting Lost series was born, and Gross began a more immersive form of travel that allowed him to “lose his way all over the globe”—from developing-world megalopolises to venerable European capitals, from American sprawl to Asian archipelagos. And that's what the never-before-published material in The Turk Who Loved Apples is all about: breaking free of the constraints of modern travel and letting the place itself guide you. It's a variety of travel you'll love to experience vicariously through Matt Gross—and maybe even be inspired to try for yourself.
Matt Gross has written nearly 200 articles for the New York Times Travel section. He lives in Brooklyn.
Product Details ISBN: 9780306821158
ISBN-10: 030682115X
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2013
Pages: 288
Language: English
“A tamer version of Anthony Bourdain, Gross enthusiastically juggles food, wanderlust and a passion for foreign culture. A vicariously entertaining whirlwind of scrapbook memories from an author who can't sit still.”

Afar, May 2013

“Matt Gross's travel philosophy has always been to befriend locals, eat street food, get lost while wandering tiny alleys, and roll with all the stuff you can't plan. His new book, The Turk Who Loved Apples, serves as a primer for travelers who want to do the same.”

Afar.com, 4/12/13

“[Gross] has condensed a life of travel into interlocking narratives about the pains and pleasures getting lost.”

Jewish Herald-Voice, 4/4/13

“[Gross is] the Woody Allen of travel writers.”

National Geographic Intelligent Travel blog,4/22/13

“Provides insight into the life and times of a professional travel writer.”

Off the Shelf, 8/6/15
“Matt Gross…can teach you how to get lost and let your surroundings guide you to incredible discoveries. No matter where you are or where you're headed, Gross's globe-trotting memoir is the perfect travel companion.”

Journal of American Studies of Turkey, Issue 42 (2015)
“Provide[s]…insight into the realities of being a concerned traveler.”

"Matt Gross seems to have been everywhere. Any man with the audacity to be bored by the Taj Mahal is the kind of independent-thinking traveler I want to spend time with. This book made me want to get out and go—to just about anywhere!"

Tom Bissell, author of Chasing the Sea

“Matt Gross is one of the most intrepid, curious, good-hearted, and absolutely fearless travelers around. You'll see some of the world's most striking places in this book and meet some of its most endearing (and, sometimes, tragic) people. I, for one, would follow Mr. Gross, on any budget, at any time, anywhere.”

Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding

"Gross's far-flung coming-of-age memoir celebrates the joy of travel, but it also tweaks the easy conclusions and clichés we attach to our journeys. Honest, insightful, and surprising, this book explores the moments—good, bad, ambivalent—that make life on the road meaningful."

ForeWord, Spring 2013

“A behind-the-scenes glance at the world of travel writing.... If you're the kind of person who enjoys random conversations in dive bars, casually delving into your taxi-driver's tangled home life, or swapping philosophy at a bus stop, then this book is for you.... It surely was an absorbing journey.”

Kirkus Reviews, 4/15/13

Bon Appetit The Feed blog, 5/1/13
“It's more than just a litany of sights seen and weird foods consumed. It's about how to be a human being outside of your hometown—not a tourist, and not necessarily a self-righteous ‘traveler,' either, but a person who wants to see new places, make new friends, and learn how to deal with life when it doesn't turn out quite like you planned.”

InterviewMagazine.com, 4/30/13
“A collection of satisfyingly real anecdotes that pepper the larger story of what a life devoted to leaving the Big Apple and experiencing the world on one's own is actually like. Gross' writing is informed by travel as muse, allowing him to address life's major tropes, from feeding oneself to feeding one's soul, with relatable sensitivity.”

Portland Book Review website, 4/30/13
“Part memoir, part travel odyssey and part growing-up story…This is an introspective book based on Gross's none too glamorous but always interesting travel adventures. Gross writes with detail and realism…A satisfying read.”

Bookviews blog, May 2013
“Gross is a graceful writer.”

BookPage, May 2013
“[Gross] examines why we travel and what our travel experiences can tell us about ourselves. The narrative gathers stories from his stops all around the globe, but strings them along a continuous thread.”

TechPageOne.com (a Dell website), 5/9/13
“Anthony Bourdain called it ‘exactly the kind of travel book you should read while traveling.' For what it's worth, it also reads pretty good from the armchair.”

New York Journal of Books, 5/16/13
“We grin at the devil-may-care attitude of this seasoned traveler, a free spirit who makes himself at home wherever he goes and does not feel obliged to do the usual tourist things on his travels…Anyone would enjoy being seated next to Mr. Gross at a dinner party. His world travels, both in the capacity of journalist and as rootless young traveler out to make his way in the world, are varied and interesting, and his policy of avoiding the predictable traps most ‘tourons,' as he calls them, frequent when they venture away from home surprising and quirky…Mr. Gross does ‘gastrotourism' (his word) very well. His descriptions of meals he has consumed in Vietnam and elsewhere are vivid and appealing.”

Publishers Weekly, 5/20/13
“Gross talks about the 55-year-old Turkish farmer in whose apple orchards he volunteered for several days in exchange for food and lodging. Their meeting affected him tremendously, giving him greater confidence. Reflections and experiences like these keep Gross's work from getting too self-involved and add substance to what could have been one travel writer's self-indulgent catch-all.”

New York Times Book Review, 6/2/13
"A joyful meditation on the spontaneity and unpredictability of the traveling life."

“[Gross] writes with uncommon perceptiveness about what it means to cross borders, to break bread with strangers, and to come home again. Full of wonderful stories of his round-the-globe adventures, Gross's book is a welcome reminder that the best moments as a traveler—like the best parts of being a dad—happen when you set off for parts unknown.”

Johns Hopkins Magazine, Summer 2013
Turk offers [Gross's] thoughts on travel thus far, roaming through his misadventures to suggest a perspective that fellow travelers can remember while on their own excursions…creating a thoughtful, episodic memoir as practical guidebook...Turk is an old-fashioned approach to a very new thing: a primer on navigating global travel in the information-overloaded 21st century.”

Praise for The Turk Who Loved Apples

New York Times Books Review

"A joyful meditation on the spontaneity and unpredictability of the traveling life."

Anthony Bourdain, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchen Confidential

"The Turk Who Loved Apples is exactly the kind of travel book you should read while traveling. Filled with the moments of absurdity, sadness, madness, wisdom, beauty, realization, and Weltschmerz familiar to the chronic, lifelong traveler."

Andrew Zimmern, James Beard Award-winning host of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

"A book with lasting relevance for all travelers—about how to access the mystery and awe of our first travels...and perhaps most brilliantly about how one comes home."

Eric Weiner, author of the New York Times bestseller The Geography of Bliss

“Matt Gross is the perfect travel companion: smart, funny, and game for (almost) anything. Plus he knows all the best places to eat. As in all great travel books, the real terrain covered in The Turk who Loved Apples can't be found on any map.”

Andrew McCarthy, actor and author of the New York Times bestseller The Longest Way Home

Fathom, 6/20/13
“[A] charming account of what happened when [Gross] let himself wander.”

DreamPlanGo.com, 6/18/13
“Five Must-Read Travel Books for Summer Vacations” roundup, 6/18: “Provides inspiration for letting go of the guidebook and exploring a destination by feeling, rather than checklist.”

Toronto Globe and Mail, 6/15/13
“Matt Gross gets around.”

AmateurTraveler.com, 7/6/13
“Gross provided innumerable adventures and to listen to them unwind was a rare treasure…Pick up this book. Read it cover to cover. Recommend it to your friends.”

Loveland Reporter-Herald, 7/9/13
 “Provides insights and adventures from [Gross's] lifetime of travels.”

Arrive, July/August 2013
“Gross goes beyond his travel articles to reveal the loneliness, fears, failures and triumphs of a onetime math major with a love of exotic food, places and people.”

WomanAroundTown.com, 7/26/13
“Gross has literally been just about everywhere on the planet. Luckily for us, he's happy to share his anecdotes…He is a champion of the unplanned moment.”


Tuesday, July 3, 7:00 pm
A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS By Robert F. Worth Cover Image

A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS (Paperback)


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days

A New York Times Notable Book of 2016
One of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2016, Publishers Weekly
One of the Best Books of 2016, NPR
Winner of the 2017 Lionel Gelber Prize
One of 20 Notable Reads from 2016, Mother Jones
Finalist for the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Current Interest
Silver Medal Winner of the 2017 Arthur Ross Book Award

In 2011, a wave of revolution spread through the Middle East as protesters demanded an end to tyranny, corruption, and economic decay. From Egypt to Yemen, a generation of young Arabs insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Their bravery and idealism stirred observers around the world and led militant jihadis to worry that they had been superseded by a new and peaceful uprising.

Five years later, the utopian aspirations of 2011 have darkened. In one country after another, brutal terrorists and dictators have risen to the top as old divides reemerge and deepen. Egypt has become a more repressive police state than ever before; Libya, Syria, and Yemen endure civil war; and the extremists of ISIS have spread chaos and carnage across the region and beyond it.

A Rage for Order tracks the tormented legacy of what was once called the Arab Spring. Writing with bold literary ambition, the distinguished New York Times correspondent Robert F. Worth introduces a riveting cast of characters. We meet a Libyan rebel who must decide whether to kill the torturer who murdered his brother; a Yemeni farmer who lives in servitude to a poetry-writing, dungeon-operating chieftain; two young Syrian women whose close friendship devolves into enmity as their sects go to war; and an Egyptian doctor who is caught between his loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood and his hopes for a new, tolerant democracy. In a final chapter, Worth tells the moving story of the two eighty-something statesmen whose unlikely camaraderie allowed Tunisia to escape its neighbors’ worst fates.

Combining dramatic storytelling with an original analysis of the Arab world today, A Rage for Order captures the psychic and actual civil wars raging throughout the Middle East and explains how the dream of an Arab renaissance gave way to a new age of discord.

Robert F. Worth spent fourteen years as a correspondent for The New York Times, and was the paper’s Beirut bureau chief from 2007 until 2011. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and The New York Review of Books. He has twice been a finalist for the National Magazine Award. Born and raised in Manhattan, he now lives in Washington D.C.
Product Details ISBN: 9780374536794
ISBN-10: 0374536791
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: April 18th, 2017
Pages: 272
Language: English

"This is not simply the best book on the Arab spring, it is the best book on the Arab world today. It is also the best book of foreign reporting I have read in a long time. Deeply intelligent and beautifully written." —Fareed Zakaria, CNN

"Read Worth’s remarkable new book, A Rage for Order, and weep . . . The book is a beautifully written chronicle, told through the struggles of ordinary people, of shattered hopes, lives, families and societies . . . Worth does not judge. He reveals." —Roger Cohen, The New York Times

"This is the book on the Middle East you have been waiting to read . . . [it] tells the story of the 2011 Arab Spring and its slide into autocracy and civil war better than I ever could have imagined its being told. The volume is remarkably slender for one of such drama and scope—beautifully written, Worth’s words scudding easily and gracefully across the pages. It is also a marvel of storytelling, with the chapters conjuring a poignancy fitting for the subject . . . All great works of fiction are works of great philosophy, pondering the fundamentals of humanity. Few volumes of nonfiction ever achieve this, but Worth’s does, touching essential truths about the human condition." —Kenneth M. Pollack, The New York Times Book Review

"[An] excellent book . . . One of the many strengths of Mr. Worth's book is his gift for finding and telling the small story that illuminates the big picture . . . Mr. Worth has the good judgment to focus on some first-class stories pursued over the course of his extraordinary travels. It is our additional good fortune that he writes about it so well." —Bartle Bull, The Wall Street Journal

"Subtly insightful." —Gerard Russell, The New York Review of Books

"[A] finely detailed book . . . A Rage for Order offers vital lessons to help us understand a region whose conflicts rage on." —Melissa Block, special correspondent, NPR News

"This is not your typical Middle East manuscript . . . It's a beautifully written, moving account that brings humanity and heart to a region typically only considered in terms of conflict and chaos." —Bryan Schatz, Mother Jones

"The best way to make sense of the past six years is to ask the Arab people what happened. Robert Worth has done just that . . . Mr. Worth narrows the field of view, using personal narratives to illuminate the larger dynamics. This is a common technique, but Mr. Worth does it better than most . . . [he] weaves together his stories with subtlety." The Economist

"A masterful account of humiliation and despair . . . A Rage for Order brings the broad disappointments of the Arab Spring to the human level . . . . showing how events unfolded at the scale of individual lives. This is an important service, since when we talk about the Middle East, we tend to use large religious and ideological abstractions—Sunnis and Shiites, secularists and Islamists. Worth brings those words back to their roots in the lives of real people, showing how people who never dreamed of making war or revolution ended up being unmade by them." —Adam Kirsch, Tablet

"Striking . . . Worth isn't so much writing a recent political history of an incredibly tumultuous time as he is telling the intimate stories of a dozen or so mostly ordinary people who were picked up, dragged along, and battered by events as if by bad weather, desperate for some traction to·determine their own fate . . . Worth holds to his skepticism, but he leaves his readers with a glimmer of chance and change." —Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, Bookforum

"Extraordinary . . . Worth is a wonderful writer . . . [he] brings [a sense of] tenderness—tinged with melancholy and regret—to his entire narrative, which seems intent upon resisting despair even when it is reflected back to him over and over again . . . [a] spectacular work of literary journalism." —Elaine Margolin, The Jerusalem Post

"This is the book you have to read on the Middle East—not just to understand the Arab revolutions, but to feel them as human drama and tragedy. Robert Worth is a master who writes journalism as literature and history." —George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate and The Unwinding

"It would be hard to find a more astute and eloquent guide to this explosive corner of the Earth than Robert F. Worth. He somehow managed to be on hand for a score of crucial moments in the Arab world’s great convulsions, from the vast demonstrations of Tahrir Square to a just-liberated Libyan prison to the crushing of great hopes in the years that followed. Whatever lies ahead, I suspect that, as with John Reed’s reporting on the Russian Revolution, people will be reading this vivid eyewitness account for years to come." —Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars

"Riveting, vivid, lucid, and wise, Robert F. Worth’s A Rage for Order is reportage of the highest order: it illuminates current Middle Eastern crises through the daily experiences of ordinary, and extraordinary, men and women. I’ve read no finer or more nuanced account." —Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs

"As the Beirut bureau chief for The New York Times, Worth has seen a lot, and he writes compellingly about the dashed hopes and personal tragedies that followed the 2011 uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen." —Foreign Affairs

"Worth . . . draws on his intimate knowledge of the Middle East to offer a penetrating, unsettling analysis . . . Informing the vivid narrative are many revealing interviews as well as the author's own eyewitness accounts of events. A crucial portrait of a deeply troubled region." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Veteran correspondent Worth traces the 'Arab Spring' through five countries, from the heady idealism of 2011 to the largely grim aftermath. Significantly, he does so through the stories of individuals rather than groups or sects, challenging simplistic, monolithic conceptions of rival factions . . . Worth provides no easy path forward. Instead, he skillfully presents the competing perspectives in play to explain the daunting impediments to stable states in the present-day Middle East." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Worth utilizes his long experience in the Middle East to provide a riveting survey of the origins, course of events, and causes of the dashing of so many of the dreams fueling the uprisings. He concentrates on Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Tunisia, and he effectively combines his personal observations with the experience of participants. The result is an informative, if often heartrending, account of events whose consequences are still unfolding." Booklist

"The Arab world is in the grip of unprecedented crisis. Popular uprisings have weakened not just authoritarian rulers but the region’s very foundations of security and stability. In his gripping account Robert Worth narrates the reversal in the Arab World’s fortunes. First hand accounts, brimming with detail, unveil why the region rose up against dictatorship and then why it was not able to sustain democracy. Well-written and informative, A Rage for Order is an eye-opening read for policy-makers and anyone else interested in understanding the raging crisis in the Middle East." —Vali Nasr, author The Dispensable Nation and The Shia Revival

"Robert Worth’s A Rage for Order is a deeply informed and moving account of the politics of the Arab world during, and since, the Arab Spring uprisings of 2010. It is beautifully written and describes the tragedies and aspirations of the Arabs struggling under the yoke of authoritarian oppression and corrosive venality. Drawing on a deep understanding of language, culture and history, Worth provides a series of finely delineated portraits, bringing to life the struggles of individual men and women in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen. There is simply no better account of the recent events that have convulsed the countries of North African and the Middle East." Bernard A. Haykel, Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia at Princeton University

"A Rage for Order is an outstanding book that captures the high hopes and deep despair of average Arabs who lived through the revolutions of 2011 in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen—and their tragic aftermath. This is a brilliant contemporary history by one of The United States’ most distinguished Mideast correspondents, and a compellingly readable account." —Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs and The Fall of the Ottomans