A mere twenty-four hours after my return from a wonderful holiday, I found myself covertly planning my next trip. I say “covertly” because I am trying really hard to live in the moment this here month and you will know what I am talking about if you have read The happiness project by Gretchen Rubin.
But if you too believe in travel a-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n, then the library is the place to be. Our travel collection is droolaciously comprehensive (8325 items and counting) and is almost certain to deflect your attention from the long list of DIY projects you really should be tackling in your next annual leave.
Book lust to go – recommended reading for travelers, vagabonds and dreamers by Nancy Pearl – “America’s favorite librarian” (I kid you not) is one such gem. Curl up with it long before you find yourself spraying expensive perfumes on your wrists in the duty free shops at Christchurch airport. Here’s why: Pearl believes that you will learn more about a country (120 of them in this case) from its literature than its travel books.
Turn straight to page 123 for New Zealand recommended reads then move on to destinations more exotic like Chile, Laos and Ethiopia. Apparently Ms Pearl actually visited New Zealand and probably popped in at Christchurch library while she was at it. Here’s a few of her Kiwi reading recommendations, all quite lofty and almost certain to bring us a very classy breed of tourist:
- The bone people by Keri Hulme – “not easy but rewarding”
- Towards another summer by Janet Frame – “filled with a yearning for home, wherever that may be.”
- Here at the end of the world we learn to dance by Lloyd Jones – an author who is better known for his novel Mister Pip
- Come on shore and we will kill and eat you all by Christina Thompson – a culture clash memoir with the best title ever
So what that I’m unlikely to be anyone’s favourite librarian, but I do wish I’d thought of writing a book like this first. Still, I can at least add a recommendation to her list. Mine would be A land of two halves by Joe Bennett – not great literature, but a lot of fun.
How about you? What book would you recommend as a way to gain an insight into another culture?