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Thursday, July 17, 2008


So Many Books, So Litle Time

Travel Books

As all web surfers know, the Internet often yields unexpected pleasures. The vast array of information makes it impossible to catch all the gems that can be found, and one shouldn't even think of what is slipping through the net.

Rory MacLean's Travelog in the Guardian (UK), July 16, 2008, is a treasure trove for those in search of travel books.

What I enjoyed -- enjoyed more than the article itself -- were comments from readers.

michaelspring Comment No. 1220830 July 15 13:20
The only travel guide that gets better every time you read it is JG Links' Venice for Pleasure. Be there, even without being there...

petrol Comment No. 1220917 July 15 13:49
This year, for anyone going to the Arab world, I'd recommend "Playing Cards in Cairo" by Hugh Miles

PKupfer Comment No. 1220968 July 15 14:06
The Zanzibar Chest by Aidan Hartley is the best narrative on contemporary Africa I have read and highly under-rated...

Sikandarji Comment No. 1221042 July 15 14:24
Flann O'Brien 'The Best of Myles'

BrianCough Comment No. 1221374 July 15 15:58
Motoring with Mohammed, by Eric Hansen, about travels in the Middle East is bloody great.

nationwide Comment No. 1221678 July 15 18:30
Pete McCarthy's two books. McCarthy's Bar if you're going to Ireland, and The Road to McCarthy if you're going any of the (Irish) places therein. He was fantastically funny.

LouiseMycroft Comment No. 1221801 July 15 20:38
I won't be leaving home without Patrick Leigh Fermor's 'Words of Mercury', to remind me that every single person I meet is a fascinating human being. I love 'Mani' and his other travel books; 'Words of Mercury' is a distillation of his experiences and - like other great 'dipping in' books - always opens at the page most appropriate to that moment.

I'll also be taking last summer's wonderful read, 'Findings' by Kathleen Jamie. She makes every single word really count.

LibertyKnox Comment No. 1222325 July 16 10:01
To me, Jonathan Raban is genre-busting in his brilliance - 'travel writer' doesn't do him justice. Old Glory and Passage to Juneau are ferociously good.

rosangela Comment No. 1222407 July 16 10:36
I have just ordered a book called "The Wrong Way Home (Paperback) by Peter Moore".
As I live in Austria and the book is coming from England I will have to wait a bit till I receive it. In any case it promises to be a good read.
Has anyone read it? Regards from lovely Vienna!

Haven't found The Best of Myles by Flann O'Brien but quite a few of the recommended titles are in my local library. Enough to keep me hooked for a while. "Motoring with Mohammed" and Pete McCarthy's books about Ireland are at the top of my list. When I traveled in Ireland, J.P. Donleavy's The Ginger Man was what I carried with me. Not a travel book but it made sense to me to re-read it in Ireland.

"Mary Maloney's beautiful arse
Is a sweet apple of sin
Give me Mary's beautiful arse
And a full bottle of gin."
--The Ginger Man, J.P. Donleavy

My own submission to the Guardian:

fiatlux Comment No. 1223371 July 16 16:25
Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger
Slow Boats to China by Gavin Young

"shemarch" (Comment No. 1220949 July 15 14:00) submitted Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Yes, that too beckons at odd times and occasions.

So many books, so little time. But we keep going back to old favourites.

The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you the knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.
---Elizabeth Hardwick

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