Book your next trip

Book Lust to Go coverA 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:

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?

8 thoughts on “Book your next trip

  1. Helen weideman 16 March 2012 / 5:00 pm

    What about Bill Bryson,s Notes from a Small Island and his book Down Under, they are wonderfully descriptive

  2. helen 16 March 2012 / 8:11 pm

    Please add Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, and his book Down Under, they are wonderfully descriptive, I’m currently reading Travelling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, the background set in Greece, Turkey and France

    • robertafsmith 17 March 2012 / 7:23 am

      You are so right – Bill Bryson must be top of the list. Like the sound of the Sue Monk Kidd as well!

  3. Vanessaccl 20 March 2012 / 10:00 am

    I have been enjoying the Dr Siri Paiboun series by Colin Cotterill – it offers a fascinating picture of Laos, even though I suppose things have changed somewhat since the late 70s, which is the period in which the books are set. I also found the Inspector Chen mysteries by Qiu Xiaolong an eye-opener in terms of their description of daily life for urban Chinese.

  4. robertafsmith 20 March 2012 / 10:49 am

    I LOVE Dr Siri, if only he could marry Mma Ramotse from Alexander McAll Smith’s detective series set in Botswana!

  5. Vanessaccl 20 March 2012 / 12:46 pm

    Now there’s a thought, Roberta! But what about poor Mr J. L.B. Matekoni?

  6. Michael A 21 March 2012 / 3:31 pm

    For a meta view, Alain De Botton’s “The Art of Travel” is a fascinating and remarkable digestable read

    • robertafsmith 21 March 2012 / 4:51 pm

      Oh yes, that is a good suggestion – he is one of my favourite authors.

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