Ian Frazier's storytelling is without pretense, making it easy to absorb. It is truthful and informative, making it a learning experience. Finally, it is engaging and thoughtful, making it addictive. If you're a fan of The New Yorker or of travel writing in general, you should be familiar with Frazier's direct and insightful tales. When he desires, this former Harvard Lampoon writer can elicit a laugh from the reader, even when the topic is as morbid as Jerry Falwell's father murdering a cat and feeding it to his employee.
His newest book takes him far from his usual stomping grounds in the American west (Great Plains and On the Rez) to Russia's far east. Travels in Siberia documents Frazier's adventures in the chilly, forbidding, and fascinating region. It also tells the histories of other explorers and adventurers who braved the extreme elements of Siberia and lived to write their tales. The book makes you glad to be warm in bed and only reading about giant bugs, poop-stained ceilings, and permafrost.
Sat., Nov. 20, 4 p.m., 2010