Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
By Tony Hawks
Why this book?
Travel writing can be so serious. “I was a divorced heroin addict so I went on a hike” or “I have a terminal disease; this is my final journey.” This book (and the other books on my list) illuminate foreign places and people with erudition, thoughtfulness, and laughter.
Whenever I’m in London, I visit Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street and ask the sales assistant to recommend a humorous book about the former Soviet Union. Playing the Moldovans at Tennis is one of my favorites. British comedian Tony Hawk's first book, Round Ireland with a Fridge, saw him hitchhike around the island to win a drunken £100 bet. In this book, Hawks accepts a bet from a friend that he can’t beat the entire Moldovan football team at tennis and the loser has to strip down and sing the Moldovan national anthem on Balham High Road. While his escapades are laugh-out-loud funny, Hawks develops a real affinity for Moldova and the epilogue to the second edition of this book is incredibly moving.
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