Stephanie Rosenbloom is a New York Times travel writer and her book, Alone Time, is about such mindful travel. She spent a week each in four different cities and wrote about them. There are many beautiful literary and philosophical nuggets in this book. If you've never done solo travel and want to, read it. If you're an experienced solo traveler and just want comfort from the experiences of someone who GETS your kind of traveling, read it. Here's my review at PopMatters.
While there has lately been a growing number of small-town India travel memoirs, 'Nautanki Diaries' by Dominic Franks stands apart with its earnest sincerity and exuberant love for cycling as, beyond a sports activity, a metaphor for life. Certainly, it is worth spending a few hours to take this charming journey with the writer and let his beloved Nautanki reveal and redefine both exterior and interior landscapes for us readers too.
Shoba Narayan, a journalist and columnist, has a second memoir out. Here is my review of it at PopMatters. Narayan, a Columbia grad, returned to India with her family after two decades in New York City. This memoir is about how, while living in Bangalore, she bought a cow. Overall, the book is a compelling and different take on a prominent and vastly popular subject: the place of the cow in Indian culture and history. But, of course, it is so much more than that. It is also an insightful and humorous account of the reverse immigration journey and how she navigated and negotiated those endless terrains of personal identity, familial belonging, and social community to assimilate on her own terms. This is a well-researched and well-written account and uses humor at just the right moments.