Favourite Travel Books

Jun 21st, 2007, 09:29 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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..in the same vein, more or less, I highly recommend Tim Park's "Italian Neighbors" and the same author's other books which recount his life as an Englishman living in Verona.

The book I mentioned above and recommended very highly is "Slow Boats to China" and the author is Gavin Young. A must for Paul Theroux fans..moseying around exotic places with a sense of humor intact.

Eric Newby is another author of travel classics.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 09:38 AM
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Tim Parks is great, funny and thoughtful.

Jamie Ivey's "Extremely Pale Rosé" is an entertaining romp around France seeking that which the title suggests -- fun for travel buffs, Francophiles and wine drinkers.
fnarf999 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 09:55 AM
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Charles Alvin Gillig's LONDON GUIDE, 1900 - 14th Edition.

My favorite guide for casual reading and many chuckles - written by a rich American entrepreneur who ran the Great Eastern Railway Company's American Rendezvous in London as a watering hole for the rich.

Book is full of shameless plugs for his Rendezvous (2 Cockspur St, Trafalgar Sq) and lots of ego about what a great guider he is.

Great old ads by such: Swears & Wells, Hosiers, Glovers, Outfitters 190-192 Regent St

Jaeger Pure Wood - several London locations

Royal Mail Route to Holland via Harwich

Robert Lewis havana Cigar Importer, 20 St james st

Pyjamas House 19 Haymarket Alfred Burden, hosier and outfitter

Stovel * Compy 23 Conduti St - Tailors

W A Stimson Military Outfitteres 9 Hanover Sq

E Tautz & Sons Breeches makers 485 Oxford ST

Tiffany & Co 221 Regent St

Princes Restaurant Piccadilly


a real hoot
PalenQ is online now  
Jun 21st, 2007, 10:23 AM
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That's very similar to my "London: It's a Man's Town (But Women Go There) by Helen Josephy and Mary Margaret McBride (New York: Coward, McCann, Inc., 1930). Same sort of thing -- where an American should shop for the accoutrements of wealth in London.

It's written from a veddy, veddy uppah-class point of view, which is pretty interesting right at the dawn of the Depression! But if I ever get a time machine, and find myself on Saville Row in 1930, I'll know where to get the best spats and morning coats and riding outfits for Junior.

I should copy some of it out here for laughs.
fnarf999 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 10:36 AM
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Some of my favorites have already been mentioned, but two by Graham Greene that I enjoyed:

Journey Without Maps (Liberia)
The Lawless Roads (Mexico)

I also enjoyed reading "Too Late to Turn Back: Barbara and Graham Greene in Liberia" by his cousin and traveling companion in Liberia. It was interesting to compare Graham's and Barbara's versions of the trek.
Jake1 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 11:01 AM
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Yes of course, Graham Greene! That reminds me of a great book about Mexico and Central America, "So Far From G-d," by Patrick Marnham.

Another one that I have read over and over is by Helen Winternitz: "East Along the Equator," about her travels along the Congo River.

I have also liked "Nothing to Declare" and others by Mary Morris.

There is an English author with a great sense of humor who wrote a few books about travels to exotic places..Peter Biddlecombe. (I cannot find my copies and fear I gave them away when I moved..) Anyone who likes Bill Bryson should take a look!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 11:34 AM
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I lent a Bryson book on tape to my daughter who was doing a road trip with my teenage grandson. On the way home they decided to listen to the book until it was time to look for a motel for the night. They had so much fun listening to it, they decided to keep driving all the way home and listen to the rest of the book instead of sleeping.
Dottee is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 11:50 AM
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I really liked Edward Rutherford's "London". Sarum and Russka were good as well. For a book that moves all over Europe, Byzantium by Stephen R. Lawhead is an excellent fictionalized account of the Book of Kells.
blackrood is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 12:04 PM
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Has anyone read the autobiog. "Discretions" by Mary De Rachewiltz? She's the illegit. daughter of Ezra Pound (who lived decades in Venice?) Wondered if you'd recommend it? Annealex
annealex is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 03:45 PM
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I've loved many of the books you all mentioned -- especially Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island."

Another favorite is "Without Reservations" by Alice Steinbach. It's a memoir/travel book about her extended stays in France, England, and Italy.

annettetx is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 05:10 PM
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My daughter just finished Eat, Pray, Love and she attended a talk/booksigning by the author. The event was filled with women, all as enraptured as my daughter, hanging on the author's every word. If you like this book and the author is appearing in your town it would be worthwhile to stop in.
specs is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 07:06 PM
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"Travelers' Tales Italy: True Stories" by Anne Calgano & Jan Morris

"Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia" by Elizabeth Gilbert.

"The Best American Travel Writing" (published yearly) - collection of travel stories/essays

"The 10 Best of Everything - An Ultimate Guide for Travelers" by Nathaniel Lande & Andrew Lande

"A Year in the World" by Frances Mayes
ready2travel is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 07:42 PM
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For something unusual, hunt down some titles from the 50s-60s by Chinese writer/artist Chiang Yee, under the "Silent Traveler" series:
The Silent Traveler in London
The Silent Traveler in New York
The Silent Traveler in:
Edinburgh etc

The Paris volume involves, among other threads, studying French among other foreigners. (Yees speaks none at all on arrival, and finds few who speak Mandarin) It predates the similar angle in David Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day"

Others of interest: Paris To The Moon, by Adam Gopnik
The Flaneur by Edmund White
Americans in Paris (an anthology edited by Adam Gopnik)
Paris Out of Hand (a wicked sort of travel guide parody meant for the Paris=lover and guide book nut)
The First Time I Saw Paris (memoir and photos by Peter Miller - charming and wide-ranging)
A Place In The World Called Paris (anthology edited by Peter Barclay and including the likes of Truman Capote, Claude Debussy,Nabokov, Styron ... )

For oenophiles, Romancing the Vine, by Alan Tardi, a chef who ends up in the Barolo vineyards

The Seasons of Rome by Paul Hoffman, and almost anything by Hoffman. For real Italophiles, a copy of Cento Citta is a must. A guide to 100 Italian towns, in case anyone ever thought there is a short list of "must sees"

In the air on the way to Italy the first time I read D.H.Lawrence's Twilight in Italy, Sea and Sardinia, and Etruscan Places, now easily found in one volume titled "DHLawrence and Italy". Great, obviously from a past perspective.

A fun one is "Route 66 AD" by Tony Perottet = traveling Italy today, but with ancient tourist texts as a guide.

I also like the oftmentioned "Italian Neighbors" by Tim Parks.

In that vein, I must heartily recommend:
"Pasquale's Nose" by my very good friend, Michael Rips. Also the story of a family of outsiders living in an Italian town, but more about Michael's peculiar attraction to the more peculiar among the locals. Very quirky book indeed. It's been published in 7 or 8 languages, proving the enduring appeal of books about Italy and Italian life!

One last favorite:
The Perfect House by Witold Rybczynski, actually in the category of architecture writing, but as it is about Andrea Palladio and ends up with the author renting a Palladian villa, truly a wonderful book incorporating the Veneto, etc.

And lest I forget, another writer known more for food than travel, but without travel where would her food writing be? M.F.K.Fisher. Everything.

And Ludwig Bemelmans.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2007, 07:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 6
"Almost French"--Sarah Turnbull
"On Rue Tatin"--Susan Herrmann Loomis
"Tarte Tatin"--Susan Herrmann Loomis
"Are We There Yet?"--Scott Haas
"Neither Here Nor There"--Bill Bryson
"Talk to the Snail"--Stephen Clarke

So many travel books, so little time!


jhd is offline  

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