Start: 7:00 pm
A varied and colorful collection of the best-loved pieces by one of America's most popular travel columnists; these vignettes from Susan Spano's life on the road are like a box of chocolates-once you've tasted one, it's hard to put the book down. Susan Spano, America's original Frugal Traveler, explores some of the most romantic, most exotic, and wildest corners of the world in this captivating collection of her best-loved pieces.French Ghosts, Russian Nights, and American Outlaws: Souvenirs of a Professional Vagabond ($15.95) takes the reader on magical trips, when everything conspired to make a place unforgettable, like a temple in Java at sunrise or an ice hotel in the Artic Circle at sunset. In some of the stories, she finds the kind of enlightenment that only travel can provide by following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Federico Fellini, Julia Child, and Chairman Mao.Other stories are about travel itself: how it became Spano's passion and calling; how it fed her incurably restless spirit; how it inspired her philosophy of travel and life: Go forth and find meaning. Take a condemned cable car over the Yangtze River or a shared taxi over the Andes with a leaking gas tank and chain-smoking driver. Eat oysters and drink martinis wherever you can. And, as often as possible, come home with a tan.Susan Spano has journeyed the world reporting on culture, nature, and the curiosities of humankind. She launched the still-running "Frugal Traveler" column for the New York Times, and later joined the staff of the Los Angeles Times, which sent her to the City of Light from 2003 to 2006 to start the popular travel blog "Postcards from Paris." She spent six months in Beijing studying Mandarin and researching stories in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics before moving to Rome-her favorite foreign posting-where she wrote about everything Italian, from Caravaggio to mozzarella. Her work has appeared in the Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler and Redbook; she is the co-author of Women on Divorce: A Bedside Companion and Men on Divorce: The Other Side of the Story.