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I'm traveling to Berlin in July/10 to do final research for the Taxi Gourmet book. All funds pledged over my goal will go toward more taxi adventures!
In July, 2010, thanks to 56 wonderful backers, I traveled to Berlin to do the final research for the book inspired by the Taxi Gourmet blog. 'Driving Hungry' (Pantheon/Random House, July 2015) is the result.
In July, 2010, thanks to 56 wonderful backers, I traveled to Berlin to do the final research for the book inspired by the Taxi Gourmet blog. 'Driving Hungry' (Pantheon/Random House, July 2015) is the result.
56 backers pledged $3,526 to help bring this project to life.

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Coming in 2015: Driving Hungry

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Berlin TV Tower from the Oberbaum Bruecke
Berlin TV Tower from the Oberbaum Bruecke
Hello Everyone!

Greetings from Berlin -- and apologies for the long silence. Would you believe I've been revising the Driving Hungry manuscript the entire time since I last updated you?

Well, it's true - what a joy and what a pain the writing process has been. I am so looking forward to sharing the book with you -- and to that end...

A few bits of news:

1. Driving Hungry is slated to be published in hardcover by Pantheon! (And, if all goes well, later on in paperback by Vintage). The original plan was to publish it as a trade paperback, but my editor pushed for the hardcover, which he tells me is good news, as it means the critics and reviewers will take it more seriously.

2. Publication is now being forecast for spring/summer 2015 (June/July of next year). It seems like ages away, but that will give me some time to dive back into the Taxi Gourmet blog and back into the world in general (I admire those writers who can multitask and be on social media and work on multiple projects at once, but I've discovered I'm not one of them...).

3. We're in the final stages of designing the cover for the book - which will be taxicab yellow! As soon as it's official, I'll send you an update and a picture.

Again, I'm sorry for the long gap between updates - but I wanted to wait until I had something concrete to report before I contacted all of you.

Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions about any of this.

Thank you again for supporting me in this project. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this book would not be happening without your backing!

All the best to all of you,

Layne

Driving Hungry on its Way

Hello everyone!

A quick update from Berlin: I'm thrilled to report that after almost two years of wild writing, the first draft of 'Driving Hungry' - the book inspired by the Taxi Gourmet blog - is finished! 

A little about the book:

The story starts in Buenos Aires, where I kept getting into fascinating conversations with taxistas en route to tango parlors -- where after a particularly painful afternoon of tango dancing, in search of sustenance and not sure where to turn, I decided to hail a cab and ask the driver to take me to his favorite place to eat. When I ended in a cab with Enrique, a hilarious taxista who showed me the way to a transcendent plate of bife de lomo at Parrilla Peña, I knew I was onto something. 

Eventually the taxi adventures led from Buenos Aires to New York City, where I met a pair of extraordinary lady cab drivers who took me to their favorite spots for goat curry and mofongo -- and inspired me to get my own hack license. Misadventures ensued when I started driving a yellow cab, which climaxed in a nightmarish journey with a hysterical bride through Central Park. 

One day, in the middle of a nasty taxi-driving shift, I escaped to the travel section at the New York Public Library, where I found an old Lonely Planet guide to Berlin that claimed the taxi drivers there know as much about Nietzsche as they do about sausage. Intrigued, I decided to see how the taxi adventures would play out in that unlikely food city. Eventually I did meet a Berlin cab driver whose knowledge of Nietzsche matched his wisdom about sausage - and the taxi adventures took a turn I'd never imagined.

So when is the book (finally) coming out? 

Spring 2014, if all goes as planned.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for feedback from my editor at Vintage and the manuscript will probably go through a couple of rounds of revision before it's in its final form.

I want to thank you again for supporting the Berlin chapter of the Taxi Gourmet adventures - I am so looking forward to sharing the book, and the story of this journey, with you!

All the best from Berlin,

Layne

20 Chapters in...

Greetings!

I just listened to a disturbing report about Kickstarter projects that never get completed - http://www.studio360.org/2013/feb/08/who-backs-the-backers-on-kickstarter/ - and I wanted to give you a quick update on the progress of 'Driving Hungry', which is scheduled for publication by Vintage in spring 2014.

As of today, I'm 20 chapters into the book, smack dab in the middle of the New York section -- and I'm on target for finishing the manuscript and submitting it to the publishers this August. After that, it will take them about a year (give or take) to transform the manuscript into the book you'll eventually hold in your hands.

In the meantime, please feel free to let me know if you have questions about the book or the writing process or the Taxi Gourmet blog (which is on hold until the manuscript is finished). I'm more than happy to keep you posted about my progress.

Thank you again for supporting my project. I wish you all the best from Berlin!

Layne

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Coming in 2014: Driving Hungry (It's a Book Deal!!)

At last! After 4 1/2 years, three hemispheres, ten addresses, hundreds of taxi adventures, a whole lot of remarkable cab drivers and food I'm never going to forget, I finally get to tell the story behind the story of Taxi Gourmet.

Driving Hungry, the book based on my blog, the book you helped support last summer during the great adventure to Berlin, has been accepted for publication by Vintage (Random House), and it's coming out in 2014!

There is no way - no way - I could have realized this dream without your support. The research in Berlin was the missing piece I needed to tell my story, and you helped me find it.

I know it's been a long time since you've heard from me about what's going on with Taxi Gourmet, the Berlin project, and the book, but if you've ever written a book proposal, I'm guessing you understand how long it takes for all the pieces to come together. I'm so thrilled to report that they finally have, and I'll be sure to keep you posted as the book gets closer to publication (we're going to plan lots of fun events around it.)

For now, I want to thank you for sharing my joy, for believing in this project and for helping me realize this dream.

Cheers to the taxi drivers - and cheers to YOU.

Layne

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Goodbye to Berlin (for now)

"And now the city was left behind. Those familiar faces, forms, and voices…seemed as remote as dreams…a world of massive brick and stone and pavements, a world hived of four million lives, of hope and fear and hatred, of anguish and despair, of love, of cruelty and devotion, that was called Berlin."
- Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

Whenever you return from a trip - especially a long one - it's your job to condense your experience into one or two sentences. You have to answer the inevitable, well-meaning question from people back home in a way that captures what's happened to you over the course of weeks or months - and you have to do it before their eyes glaze over.

I already know what I'm going to tell anyone who asks me, "How was Berlin?"

"Berlin was a dream," I'll say.

Berlin was a dream. And it wasn't just all the great press that Taxi Gourmet kicked up while I was here. It wasn't just the thread I discovered at the center of my book (I've still got two sample chapters to finish, but the bones of the thing are there, and I'm happy about that). It wasn't just the city, which feels like an adolescent burning for adulthood.

The part of the dream that's most vivid for me is the artistry that people weave into their lives in this city. A punk musician raises the money to cut a CD by participating in medical studies. A naturopath moonlights as a taxi driver. A taxi driver appropriates his job for his writing and his pictures. And on and on and on. Life is a creative exercise in Berlin. Even if the chaos of the fall of the Wall is mostly gone.

Berlin was a dream. And when I get back into the driver's seat of my cab in New York, I'm bringing it with me.

PS - Thank you again, wonderful backers of this project! I'll be putting together my Berlin restaurant guide and will send that along with the NY and Buenos Aires food recommendations in the next few weeks.

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