Following Josh

Following Josh

by Dave Norman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983185819
Publisher: f/64 Publishing
Publication date: 05/20/2011
Pages: 322
Product dimensions: 0.72(w) x 5.25(h) x 8.00(d)

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Following Josh 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
kakadoo202 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
in geneal i like travel books but here i was glad the trip was over. i know gow difficult a trip can be if you travel with the wrong firend but her it seems they simply picked thr wrong countries for them. dave's expectations of each city were hear-say instead of researched knowledge about them. with more preparation and a better match of a friend it would have been a better trip. sometimes it is simply better to travel alone.
acornell on LibraryThing 25 days ago
As a twenty something traveler I always dreamed of doing what Dave Norman and his friend Josh do: travel the world via the Trans-Siberian railroad. Dave flies to Seoul, Korea where he meets up with Josh and together they form a roving fraternity duo heading their way through China, Mongolia, Russia and Eastern Europe to the tune of booze and bad moods.I have read a lot of very good travel memoirs. Most of them are extremely well written and full of witty observations and self-deprecating humor. I love a wry take on the theme of a stranger in a strange land. Dave Norman does not seem to understand the genre, rather he seems to have published his travel journal and included every whimsical thought and internal monologue that he had while trekking across the North Hemisphere. Each page was full of half thoughts and slang terms and fevered experiences and elipses. This book could have used a good editor. From the absense of any acknowledgements in the final pages (which I always love to read) I have to believe he forgot to run this by anyone.This is why, strange to say, that in the parting pages of this book, when Dave Normal promises his next book will be about part two of this grand tour with another friend named Jake, I actually felt a little interested in it. Was it true that I stuck with the writer long enough, through enough eye rolling, angst ridden travel that I actually want to see how this turns out? Perhaps.Also, once I waded between the awkward prose, I did enjoy seeing parts of the world to which sadly, I will probably not venture. My rugged, youth hostel, strange meat eating days are long past me. So Dave Norman, if you read this, I am one of those Saints who would sit with you at dinner and hear your whole travel story from first to last and ask you about all the crazy adventures you had and admonish you for having a perpetual bad mood all the way around the world.
ramsbee on LibraryThing 25 days ago
In his warts and all travel tale, Following Josh, Dave Norman and his traveling companion, Josh, often come across as the typical Ugly Americans abroad. Norman disdains rules such as not to cross the line marking the DMZ between North and South Korea, not to take pictures in certain areas, and even those governing Internet usage in a Mongolian youth hostel. He gets furious at the culture of bargaining in Asia and the commercialization of the Great Wall of China. He seems to think his ¿aw shucks¿ demeanor should carry him through, and can¿t understand why he isn¿t treated better after plopping himself down in a neighborhood Chinese restaurant without having the least bit of Chinese language. Norman describes the last adventure as his ¿racist lunch,¿ but perhaps the racist label works both ways in this case. Meanwhile his buddy Josh hangs with the other expats at the hostel and in the bars guaranteeing him an experience so mind numbing he eventually has to get a piercing to ¿feel something.¿It doesn¿t help that the journey, much of it on the romantic sounding Eurasian railways, is a cheap trip through some of the grimmer parts of Russia and Asia, including a horrendous sounding week¿s layover in Ulan Bator where Norman¿s idealized notion of life on the steppes of Mongolia is dashed against the realities encountered during an overnight stay in a local family¿s yurt. Still, Norman is willing to laugh at himself and the mistakes he makes, including stories of using a gynecological cream to soothe a sunburn, and his quest to find mid-American mall Mongolian food in Mongolia. In addition Norman does a good job at providing historical background for the places he sees, and I enjoyed reading about his experiences while using ¿Zen Navigation¿ which Norman describes as foofy, but balanced by doing it while wearing combat boots. As with most self-published efforts, this book could have benefited from an editor¿s hand to replace some of the repeated references to the ¿madding¿ crowd and ¿amazing¿ or ¿fantastic¿ food, as well as some of the clunkier metaphors. However, Norman¿s experience as a paintball journalist translates into a breezy conversational style that may appeal to some readers.
bartsy123 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Old high school buddies, Dave Norman and Josh Vise kept in touch over the years. After a few life adventures, the two young men hatched a plan to hook up in Seoul, South Korea and head out overland to Europe. Traveling mostly by train from China to Poland, Dave and Josh experience life as they never have before. Considering some of the treacherous stories found in this book, they also endure some life lessons they probably never want to repeat.From a relapse of heat stroke while walking on the Great Wall of China to dealing with shady border police in Belarus, these two guys definitely had their share of traveling setbacks. Along the way they did see some of the great sites of the world and seemed to (at times) enjoy the bohemian lifestyle for a few weeks. They just didn't seem to spend much time together. Though the two guys are backpacking together, Following Josh is the narrative of Dave Norman. As Dave's travel journal, in this book Josh Vise pops in and out of the picture quite frequently as Josh heads in different directions and enjoys different activities. The book is chaotic at times to follow, but I'm sure a trip like the one they took really actually was chaotic a lot of the time.One particular passage in this book really resonated with me. I was pleasantly surprised to read Dave Norman's insights when he encounters "The Dutch Brothers" from Holland. It was refreshing to see Mr. Norman drop a stereotypical ugly American mindset as he compares the American lifestyle with that of a typical European:"Many of my friends have never left America, and some have never left the Midwest. Flights to the coasts are expensive, and then there are hotel bills and food, and what is there to do, really, when your friends are back home working? For the young traveler on a tight budget on public transportation, there aren't many places in America to go.But we can hit Europe on thirty bucks a day once we get there; we can hop a four hour train and be in another country, or fall asleep in the train car and wake up on the other side of the continent...all without any planning whatsoever. For Europeans, it's just a few hours' ride back and they're home in time for work or classes on Monday. We just can't do that from St. Louis, unless you like taking the Greyhound to Effingham, Illinois...but having Warsaw, Frankfurt, even Moscow, right there for a weekend getaway? That's a whole different world, with a totally different culture surrounding the freedom....They're not locked into the American college-work-retire-regret-die formula."Personally, I love reading travel memoirs and this one didn't disappoint. Travel memoirs allow readers to experience the world in a way that they probably never will see in person. That vicariously living adage is definitely true with this book, given the length of the train trip, the perils and the interpersonal dramas of this book. I definitely look forward to Dave Norman's book Leading Jake which is scheduled to be released in 2012.And for the record, after reading Following Josh, it would be wise to consider your international traveling partner VERY carefully. You might want to know: This story chronicles the adventures of a young man traveling the world. It occasionally contains swear words, drinking and other life situations that are decidedly R-rated (or more).My source: I received this book from f/64 Publishing via the Library Thing Early Reviewers giveaway in exchange for an honest review but the opinion is all mine.
TBRetc on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This is the thing that I like about Early Reviewers- it gets me to read books that I otherwise never would have thought twice about. Following Josh is a novel about a young man who sets off on a tour across Asia and Europe via the Trans Siberian Railroad. He visits places that I have only read about, such as Mongolia and Moscow.I enjoyed reading this book. I was surprised by the amount of history, culture, politics, economic, etc information that it covered. It forced me to dig deeper into historical events and places such as the Great Wall and Ghengus Khan, and I am happy that I did. It made me appreicate our own "basic rights"- freedom of speech, the internet, etc. I spent three weeks in Europe during my college years, and I could definitely identify with the author. I thought his perspective was true to someone in his age group, and could appreciate that he didnt sugarcoat some of his experiences. I liked the titles at the beginning of the chapters, for me, it helped give a shapshot of what the following would be about. I also enjoyed the photos and wished there were more.It reads like a jornal but is a lot more descriptive. I love the author's style and detail. That being said, I would have liked to know a little more about the author's background. We didnt know about the fiancee until China- tried for Marines, paintball, etc.Overall, a great eye-opening read. I will be reading Leading Josh.
reluctantm on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I was really looking forward to reading this book, but, unfortunately, I wasn't as happy with it as I thought I might have been.The frat-boy tone, with the one word sentences like ``Lame" and ``Ew", the constant quest to find a place to drink, the ignorant way he considers insulting his friend by calling him ``gay", really limits the appeal of the travelogue for me. Norman often seems blissfully unaware of his hypocrisy at times - for instance, it's disgraceful that the locals are drinking at nine in the morning, he comments on his way to find a bar to drink at in Mongolia. He complains that not enough Russians smile, yet spends almost all his time in Russia scowling and miserable, including one memorable scene in which he threatens to punch a woman. I'm not clear on why Norman even travels since he seems so miserable until he gets to Poland, and, even then, he only seems happy because he's ditching his travel companion and going to Portugal at the end of the week.And the ellipses. So many ellipses. If there was ever a reason to remove someone's full-stop key from his keyboard, this book would be it. Each page is, literally, dotted with them. I don't want to have every one of his travel thoughts drift off half-baked. I want complete, self-contained, sentences.I think this book would benefit from a more professional, more thorough editing. An impartial editor may be able to streamline some of the points about growth and adulthood that Norman flits around but never really examines. Right now, it's just some guy's travel litany of things that are ``wrong" in the places he visits (Seoul is too crowded, Beijing is too filthy, Ulan Bator too derelict, Perm is too boring, Moscow is too expensive). It needs a more cohesive narrative thrust than just going from one place to the next and documented why Norman would rather not be there.
SamSattler on LibraryThing 25 days ago
For a long time, my favorite kind of travel book reading has involved long trips by train, foot, automobile, boat, or hitchhiking, during which a solitary traveler connects on a basic level with people in remote parts of the world. Dave Norman¿s description of his trip by train from China to Poland, Following Josh, although technically not a trip he took alone, certainly qualifies in every other way. I use the word ¿technically¿ here because, for two guys traveling together as far as Dave Norman and Josh Vise did, the two managed to spend as much time apart as they spent together. It was almost like they did not like each other ¿ more on that later.Dave and Josh are old high school buddies from St. Louis whose lives took different turns several years prior to the trip. Josh has been teaching English in Asia while Dave has been earning a living as a freelance sportswriter from his home base in New Hampshire. Now, each is ready to begin the next chapter in his life. Josh is returning to his hometown to see what happens next, and Dave wants to take the long way (around the world) to his new home and life in New York. They decide to meet in Seoul, from where they will travel all the way to Poland together.As the book¿s subtitle summarizes, this is a trip from China to Poland, but its actual route is this one: Seoul, Beijing, Ulan Bator (Mongolia), Irkutsk (Siberia), Perm (Russia), Moscow, Brest (Belarus), to Warsaw. Along the route, Dave and Josh are tested in a number of interesting ways but manage to survive the journey in relatively good health and with their friendship passably intact. As difficult as some of the trip proves to be, the biggest danger the two face is that they might not be friends by its end.Dave and Josh, despite the high school friendship Dave recalls fondly, are not much alike these days. Josh is the organized one who arrives in Seoul with detailed written plans for each leg of the trip; Dave is willing to go along with Josh¿s plans but would be just as willing to take the whole trip one day at a time. Josh is the kind of American traveler who worries excessively about not offending any of the locals along the way; Dave ridicules Josh¿s political correctness and is more, as he sometimes demonstrates, the Ugly American type. Their Odd Couple relationship makes for some interesting moments, confrontations, and misunderstandings.The boys have some interesting experiences (although the more interesting ones do not seem to have been all that much fun) involving friendly and not-so-friendly locals, corrupt border officials, and other travelers they meet along the rail system. The trip is a way for Dave and Josh to say goodbye to their old lives and to welcome their new ones. As Dave puts it:¿Back home, I react to the same things in the same ways, day after day, and that becomes who I am. But in completely new surroundings, I can be anyone I want as I feel my way through the customs. Travel lets me character-act, and the locals get a kick out of helping.¿Rated at: 3.5
MissReadsTooMuch on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I enjoyed Following Josh, by Dave Norman. It's an interesting tale all on its own, full of anecdotes and history, and worht reading for any arm-chair train travelers stuck in one place for a while. It also made me take time to reminisce about my own post-college travels, which made me like the book even more! A good adventure, we are lucky Dave Norman took the time to share it with us!
callmejacx on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Librarything showed me that I wouldn't like this very much. It's so nice when they are wrong.I really enjoyed this book. I have never traveled. When I look inside travel books I see outstanding photo's and when I skim over the words I read about how wonderful the place is. I have never been interested in travel. I always felt they were sugar coating the whole thing. Reading Following Josh allowed me to travel along with Dave Norman and experience the good with the bad. It felt real. It was an experience I could believe. Dave Norman didn't sugar coat his experiences. He told it like it was. His journey had it's good points and not so good points. He put his thoughts on paper and shared it with the world where others would have kept it in a journal too afraid for others to know their true experience.A friend of mine is fulfilling his dream by attending every Yankee's game this year. He wanted to share his experience with a friend. Today, he shared that his friend won't be travelling with him any more. He thought he would have double the fun if he was with a friend. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way. Dave Norman was honest with us about his relationship with his friend. Sometimes we are so involved in the moment and feel everything will be just right.It takes a different man to admit and write a book about how things don't work out as well as you hoped they would. The important thing is, is that he did want he wanted to do and stuck with it even when times he wished he wasn't there at that moment.I enjoyed my journey with Dave Norman and looking forward to his next journey.
reb922 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Following Josh is told from the first person perspective of Dave Norman as they travel together from Seoul to Warsaw. It was in interesting look though a travelers eyes at places you may never get to or want to visit and his ramblings about the experience and thoughts along the way. Is was a bit of a downer at some points but I imagine traveling to some of the less travelled regions of Russia by train gives you plenty of time for self reflection. Im interested to read the follow up to see how his trip ends and to see parts of Europe through his eyes. In general the book flowed well and held my interest and I found myself really engaged in his Journey
aeisen on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This book is part travelogue, part history lesson, and part autobiography. I especially liked the history the author wrote about the places he visited along his travels. While I got annoyed at times through the book when he complained about the trip and seemed unappreciative of the opportunity he got, at least his account was honest. Trips never go as planned, Dave Norman did not sugar coat his account and that made the book seem more real.
EllenH on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This was an early reviewer thru Librarything. Josh and Dave reunite and travel thruout eurasia together as young people can, and also as young people reuniting, they find how far apart they've grown. Despite their increasingly strained relationship they manage to find their way (mostly separate)to interesting, and sometimes scary places in the far east, Mongolia, and Hong Kong, and Seoul. It was an interesting book, but the underlying strain of the two guys, along with something else I can't quite name, dampened the book for me.
saratoga99 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
As an avid armchair traveler, the unexpected advantages and additional benefits of reading a book such as Following Josh is its exceptional ability to provide a captivating cerebral journey. Dave Norman's impressive facility to turn ordinary words into sharply visual and spontaneously engrossing experiences eminently surpasses most travel memoirs.Although his somewhat pompous friend Josh considers himself the superior and knowledgeable guide, Dave truly is the consummate traveler who tumbles as easily into Josh's turf in Seoul as he does in Beijing, Ulan Bator, Irkutsk, Perm, Moscow, and Brest. Their long-planned marathon Russian railway adventure quickly runs awry as Josh whines and groans when the cultural environs and disparate hostels prove less enchanting than the well-marked guidebooks promise. Josh totally dissipated and blatantly cynical as they approach Krakow decides to leave, and Dave alone continues to their projected destination, Warsaw. An enduring friendship ebbs and flows and nothing tests one (or a marriage) more radically than daily confinement with that sole person, regardless of various locales and intermittent fellow travelers along the way. Written more like a novel than a travel journal; this is a book well worth reading, if not for Dave Norman's exceptional writing, then definitely as an inconspicuous traveler seeking an incredulous cultural and historical adventure. I think Dave sums it up best, "¿life is freedom and discovery and music you've never heard before¿thinking outside our narrow channel even if we're happy with the herd's direction¿"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
reading_happy52 More than 1 year ago
Great story from a new emerging author. Looking forward to more great books!