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Travel Book Recommendations

Submitted by on August 22, 2008 – 2:39 pmNo Comment

Travel stories, both fiction and non-fiction, can be inspiring and insightful. I love to read a good story to learn about different takes on anything from history to culture to current events… I have a few recent and not-so-recent reads that I recommend below (in no particular order). Anyone who wants to post more book suggestions for the list is welcome to post a comment on this blog entry…

1. Heroes – Jon Pilger (Various Locations)
2. What is the What – Dave Eggers (Sudan/U.S.A)
3. Ciao, America! – Beppe Severgnini (Italy/U.S.A.)
4. World’s Most Dangerous Places – Robert Young Pelton (Various Locations)
5. Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette – Sena Jeter Naslund (France)
6. Day of the Bees – Thomas Sanchez (France)
7. The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri (India/ U.S.A.)
8. Round Ireland with a Fridge – Tony Hawks (Ireland)
9. The Beach – Alex Garland (near Thailand)
10. The Road to McCarthy – Pete McCarthy (Ireland)
11. The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai (Himalayas)
12. Holidays in Hell – P.J. O’Rourke (Various Locations)

P.S. I came across the website www.goodreads.com recently. It is a good place to get recommendations from people with similar tastes in books. Another good site is http://www.salon.com/books/literary_guide/. Here you can find book recommendations and reviews for specific regions or countries around the world.

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  • I’d like to recommend my own book, too: A Journey into Michelangelo’s Rome (Roaring Forties Press, 2008). It’s part biography, part travel book.

  • lisa says:

    One of my favorite books is Hawaii by James Mitchner, which isn’t really a travel book, but its a great read if you’re traveling to Hawaii. And if you’re talking travel books, don’t forget Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

  • dominick says:

    I like this book better, “How to Survive Your First Year of Marriage by Travelling”. Totally recommended!!

  • This looks like a great list and I’ve read several of them. Actually, there are a few that I believe were also made into movies.

    Kind regards,

    Danielle Barkhouse

    Author of ‘The Expat Arc’

  • I love good historical fiction for giving a sense of where a place has been and the characters that have shaped it. Some of my favorites are:

    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth – At 1400+ pages, it’s not for the faint of heart, but this novel of India a few years after independence is completely engrossing and filled with humor and drama. It’s both epic and intimate, and paints a vivid portrait of India in the 1950s.

    Sharon Kay Penman’s trilogy of medieval England and Wales – Here Be Dragons, Falls the Shadow, and The Reckoning. Impeccably researched and beautifully written, these books are a wonderful window into Britain’s past, including insights into the Welsh character and experience. I’d also recommend Penman’s other books, especially The Sunne in Splendour (about the Wars of the Roses and Richard III) and When Christ and His Saints Slept (the first in her trilogy about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine).

    The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George – (Like Penman, George writes historical epics that suck you in so that you hardly notice their length. I’ve enjoyed all her books, but this brilliantly written novel is my favorite. You really believe that Cleopatra is telling her own story of her queenship and her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

    For straightforward travel literature, a few books I remember enjoying are: Terra Incognita by Sara Wheeler, Pagan Holiday by Tony Perrottet, The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Martin Troost, Trading with the Enemy by Tom Miller (now somewhat dated perhaps, as it’s about Cuba and was written in the early ’90s), and of course just about anything by Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux.

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