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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

January 16, 1994|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

MAIDEN VOYAGES: The Writings of Women Travelers edited by Mary Morris. (Vintage: $14; 439 pp.) There you are, in the dining car, a light supper, reading the letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, written in 1717 in Turkey, to her friends back in London. Or Isabelle Eberhardt, who died in 1904 at age 28 in a flash flood at Ain Sefra, writing about her travels in North Africa: "I feel lonely without Ouiha, and cannot stand the boredom." Or Box-Car Bertha, "hobo for 15 years, a sister of the road," who's excerpt from "Sister of the Road" begins: "So I knew he was tired of me, or had another woman, or both, and when I told him that I was going away we were both relieved." There's Joan Didion in Bogota, vigilant in her reporting of American culture as it seeps through Latin America; Robin Morgan, an editor at Ms. magazine chronicling the troubles that confront a woman traveling alone in the world, and Isabella Bird in Cheyenne Wyoming, saying goodby to the Rocky Mountains. Something for your pack/duffle/sea chest on the next trip.

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