FAVORITE BOOKS RECENTLY READ AND PAST FAVORITES
Last read book at the bottom.
Jon Krakaur – Into Thin Air, Under the Banner of Heaven, Into the Wild – all great reads
Jared Diamond – The Third Chimpanzee (about the evolution of man), Guns Germs and Steel (about the rise of civilization), Collapse (about the fall of civilizations, almost always due to environmental degradation), The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies. Very informative reads, but a slightly repetitious writing style.
Touching the Void – Joe Simpson. Probably the best mountaineering book of all time.
The Great Influenza. Describes the 1918 influenza pandemic.
Edward Abbey – Desert Solitaire, The Monkey Wrench Gang, Hayduke Lives! (ecoterrorism gone mad). Confessions of a Barbarian (selections of his journals 1951-1989).
Conn Iggulden – Conqueror Series 1. Wolf of the Plains, 2. Lords of the Bow, 3. Bones of the Hills, 4. Empire of Silver 5. Conqueror – a 5 part series about Ghengis Khan to Kublai Khan. Great historical fiction.
Bill Bryson – Down Under, Walk in the Woods, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, Notes on a Big Country, Notes From a Small Country (about England). One of the best and most humorous travel writers.
Paul Theroux – The Great Railway Bazaar, The Happy Isles of Oceania (about kayaking in the south Pacific islands), Dark Star Safari (hitchhiking from Cairo to Capetown). A good travel writer who opinions are controversial.
Michael Pollan – The Omnivors Dilemna: A Natural History of Food, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
Dan Brown – The Davinci Code, Angels and Demons, Deception Point, The Lost Symbol.
Help – Kathryn Stockett. Great read about a black maid in Jackson, Mississippi.
Born to Run – Christopher McDougall. A fascinating look at the running shoe fraud, the myth of the heel strike, the Copper Canyon Tarahumara (the greatest long distance runners of all time), and humans and how they hunted.
The Fate of Africa – Martin Meredith. Incredible book about all African countries from colonial times through independence to the present.
Killing Pablo – The hunt for Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord.
1491 and 1493 – Charles Mann. Excellent nonfiction about the Americas before and after Colombus.
The Dirt on Clean. An Unsanitized History – A fascinating history of washing.
Nothing to Envy. Ordinary Lives in N Korea and The Aquariums of Pyongyang – both about N Korea. Both good reads.
Marching Powder. About a prison in La Paz, Bolivia
Cutting For Stone – Abraham Verghese. About an Ethiopian medical family.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals. Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific. Hilarious book about an American couple transplanted to a south seas island.
Unbroken. A World War 2 story of survival, resilience and redemption.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – The story behind the first human cell culture, the HELA cell
Vagabonding. An uncommon guide to the art of long term world travel.
City of Joy – A true story about living in the slums of Calcutta
Shantaram – About an Australian criminal living in Bombay
Ken Follett – Pillars of the Earth – Historical fiction about the building of a cathedral in England, World Without End – A sequel to Pillars about rebuilding the cathedral. Fall of Giants – Historical fiction about WW1. Winter of the World – sequel to Fall of Giants about WWII, Edge of Eternity – Third in the Century Trilogy, it follows the same families in the US, England, Germany and Russia from the 60s to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. All great reads.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – An autistic boy in NY city
The History of the Knights Templars
Jeffrey Eugenides – Marriage Plot, American woman and her manic depressive husband, Middlesex – Pulitzer Prize Winning book about intersex girl
John Grisham – every book he has ever written including the nonfiction “The Innocent Man” – A true story about wrongly accused people on death row, The Whistler – a whistle blower exposes a corrupt judge, A Time to Kill, Ford County (a book of short stories, with few of a legal nature.
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire
Malcolm Gladwell – Blink, Tipping Point, Outliers – fascinating book about the keys to success.
End of Faith – Sam Harris
God is Not Great – Christopher Hitchens
Himalaya – Michael Palin. He is a very good travel writer with obviously a wonderful sense of adventure. read this when in Nepal which give it a local meaning.
James Clavell – Shogun, Tai Pan, Gai Jin, King Rat, Noble House. All great reads. Recently reread Gai Jin and enjoyed.
Memoirs of A Geisha – Arthur Golden. Fascinating.
Hiliary Mantel – Wolf Hall*, Bring up the Bodies. Historical fiction books about Oliver Cromwell
The Shipping News – E Annie Proulx. Great book about Newfoundland that won 1994 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
The Hundred Year Old Man Who Crawled out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson. Entertaining but implausible plot.
Sir Francis Drake – great read about somebody everybody knows. May be the most historically accurate, balanced view of Drake.
The Great Sea – David Abulfia. Examines the Mediterranean from ancient times to the present. #1 nonfiction book in Atlanitic Books of the Year. Can be tedious reading about all the wars.
Aravind Adiga. Between the Assassinations – A series of short stories set in one city in India. Very entertaining. White Tiger – another book about India. won the Man Booker Prize 2008. Gives more insights into India.
Kate Grenville – The Secret River, Sarah Thornhill. Two books in a series about a family in early Australia. Good historical fiction. Interesting account of aboriginal contact. Good read.
Inside Scientology: North America’s Most Secretive Religion – Janet Reitman. Probably the most authorative book on this cult
Being Indian: Inside the Real India. Pavan Varma. A must read for anyone traveling in India. Explains the Indian psyche that is so different than ours. Will change your view of Indians.
The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt. Story about 2 hired killers and California goldrush. Entertaining but not great
Damn Few: Making the Modern Seal. Rourke Denver – about the navy seals. OK read.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in the Mumbai Undercity, Katherine Boo – beautifully written book, humerous about a Mumbai slum. Details the corruption rampant in Indian society.
Bel Canto. Fiction about a terrorist kidnapping. One of the hostages is an opera singer. Lovely story.
Cormac McCarthy – All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, The Road
Mexico’s Copper Canyon Country – M John Fayhee. This is a hiking and backpacking guide but he also tells entertaining stories of his advnetures along with a lot of info on the Tahahumara.
Kabloona – Gontran de Poncins. This man traveled through the central Arctic (all to towns that I have worked in) over 15 months in 1938-39. The book gives many interesting observations about the Inuit. To read an excerpt I did of this book, go to IDEAS – Inuit.
Kootenai Brown, His Life and Times – William Rodney. One of Canada’s true heroes that nobody has heard about. He worked for the pony express, hunted buffalo, guided, ranched and was the first superintendent of Waterton National Park. I hiked in Waterton for 17 summers and like the previous two books, were places I knew and had a special interest.
Girls Guide to Homelessness – Brianna Karp. Young American who loses job and home. This bit not interesting but all the insights into her upbringing as a Jehova Witness fascinating.
Eating Dirt – Charlotte Gill. A well written book about tree planting in Canada especially Vancouver Island and BC.
Ronald Wright – Cut Stones and Crossroads (about the Inca), Time Amongst the Maya
Forget You Had a Daughter – Michael Tierney. About a young British woman caught smuggling heroin in Thailand. She spent 4 years in the “Bangkok Hilton” and then was transferred back to British jails – where things got worse!
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry. Another great book about India – terrifying in showing how bankrupt this country is. Written about the mid 1970s, it is still just as bad today.
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers – Loung Ung. Written through the eyes of a little girl who survived the Khmer Rouge atrocities 1975-79.
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine – Illan Pappe. A must read for anybody with an interest in Israel and the Middle East. Will change your mind if you have positive views of Israel and how they have kept this out of their history books and from the rest of the world.
Jeffrey Archer – The Clifton Chronicles: #1 Only Time Will Tell, #2 The Sins of the Father, #3 Best Kept Secret, #4 Be Careful What You Wish For, #5 Mightier than the Sword, #6 Only Time Will Tell, #7 This Was a Man (last in the series). An escapist series by the well known British author. Easy reading best for lazy days on a beach.
Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball – Rafe Barhtholomew. Some insights into Filipino thinking but gets a little boring.
Harvest: Memoir of a Mormon Missionary – Jacob Young. Very worthwhile read about Mormon thinking – fascinating.
Dervla Murphy: On a Shoestring to Coorg – An Experience of Southern India (written in the 1970’s, about her trip through the Western Gnats of India).
The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton. Won Man Booker prize 2013. Murder mystery set in Hokatika gold fields in New Zealand. Long book with detailed character development.
The Big Thirst, the Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water – A must read about the worlds most valuable resource, especially for Australians (the driest continent) and those from the desert SW of the US.
I am Hutterite – Mary Ann Kirby. Fascinating look into Hutterite life. I was originally from Southern Alberta where there many Hutterites. It was very illuminating to see communal living at its ultimate and the difficulties on leaving the colony.
Adventures and Sufferings of John Jewitt. One of the most amazing books. Recently had the chance to reread this in an edition with drawings and annotations. Very enjoyable. About an English merchant boat where, in 1802, the natives of Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island murdered 23 of the crew and took two into slavery for almost 3 years before they were rescued. A unique anthropological study especially improved with all the supplemental information provided by Hilary Stewart.
Agatha Christie – Clocks. Probably the first Agatha Christie I have ever read. Short read to discover her “style”.
True History of the Kelly Gang – Peter Carey. Winner of the Booker Prize. True story of Ned Kelly, a true Australian hero.
The Doukhobor People – A Tribute to Good Citizens – Ken Morrow. A sympathetic book about the Doukhobors by a man who lived in the West Kootenay in the 50s and 60s.
Honeybee Democracy – Thomas D Seeley. Investigates how honeybees swarm and find a new hive site based on democratic consensus decision making.
Sex on Six Legs – Lessons on Life and Language from the Insect World – Marlene Zuk. Explores the fascinating, weird world of insects.
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth – Reza Asian. Examines Jesus the man, not the Messiah. A must read for anyone interested in Christianity, especially those creationists and evangelicals who take the bible literally (although they probably would not accept any of it, so maybe a waste of time for them).
Infidel My Life: Ayann Hirsi Ali – About a Somali woman raised in strict Muslim society (she was circumcised as a child), lives in Kenya and Saudi Arabia and then moves to Holland as an immigrant. She gets an education, fights for the rights of Muslim women and children and becomes a member of parliament. Fascinating account of Muslim thinking and Dutch society and its acceptance of all societies.
Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey – Laurence Blair / Lorne Blair. Two Brits who made documentary films on Indonesia back in 70-80s.
Krakatoa – Simon Winchester. Besides the volcano, as informative on plate tectonics, evolution and Indonesia.
Shadow of the Silk Road – Colin Thubron. One travellers excellent account of his journey from Xi’an to the Middle East.
The Tower – Kelly Cordes. About Cerro Torre.
Decoded: A Novel – Mai Jia. About a Chinese genius who breaks ciphers.
The Private Life of Chairman Mao – Zhisiu Li. A must-read if at all interested in China and especially Mao. Written by his personal physician of 22 years. Mao was a true whacko: not educated, never brushed teeth or bathed and wiped down with warm wet towels so never washed genitals, sexual monster with 100s (1000s?) of short adventures with nurses, dancers and anyone young. Details misadventures of Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Could care less if millions died as “China had lots of people”. Interesting bit about preserving his body “forever” – let’s face all these are wax. Both Lenin and Ho Chi Minh had significant rot after a few years.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz. Winner in the BBC Culture critics’ poll and the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. About New Jersey ghetto-nerd Oscar, it reaffirms the strong connections Latinos maintain with their ancestral homeland’s culture, language and history. It re-energised these questions: Who is American? What is the American experience?”. Chilling account of Trujillo’s dictatorship in Dominican Republic.
The Known World – Edward P Jones. Set in 1855 on the plantation a black slave-owner – this is a stunning work about humans experiencing and surviving American slavery – an epic, complex, unflinching and engrossing view of America’s messy history. #2 on the BBC Culture Critics Poll.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize winner. Joe Kavalier, a Houdini-like escape artist, smuggles himself out of Nazi-occupied Prague in 1939 and ends up in New York City. With his Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay he invents a superhero character called the Escapist and launches the golden age of comic books. Hilarious, this is the second book I have read by Chabon – he is the best.
The Corrections (2001) – Jonathan Franzen. Winner of a US National Book Award, this big, sprawling, fat, edgy multigenerational family saga touches on some of the most important themes of the early years of this millennium – economic uncertainty, the conflicts between parents and their drifting middle-aged children and the enormous issues of an aging society past its prime. He does it with great storytelling and a lot of humour.
Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel’s Barrier Wall, For Fun by Mark Adams. A must read (along with “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”) for anyone interested in the real story behind the illegal occupation and systematic attempt at destruction of the Palestinian Territory. Don’t believe what Israeli Jews tell you – it is all propaganda they have been fed since birth. Israel must be stopped.
Solar – Ian McEwan (Atonement,: Clever book. Picked up in a hostel in Tel Aviv and nice to read paper again.
Bad-Assed Librarians by Joshua Hammer – Timbuktu has been the repository of Islamic and historical literature for North Africa for over a century. When threatened by terrorists, 372,000 of the 377,000 manuscripts were smuggled out and are now stored in Bamako, the capital of Mali.
Sapiens, Homo Deus. Yuval Noah Harari – the evolution of our species and its rise to defy the laws of natural selection and enter the Anthropocene Epoch.
A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan. Won the National Book Critics Circle and Pulitzer awards. A narrative around a punk rocker-turned-music producer, his sticky-fingered assistant and a circle of wannabes, has-beens and hangers-on. Juxtaposes timeless literary themes, most notably the inexorable journey from youth to age, with an exploration of the ways in which a rapidly changing world reshapes the human experience.
No Way Down – Graham Bowley. Relates the story of the climb of K2 in 2008 when 11 climbers died – another story of too many people on a mountain who despite the goals of cooperation, didn’t.
The Enigma – The life of Alan Turing, a genius in the class of Newton, Darwin and Einstein.
The Year of Living Danishly – Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country. Helen Russell. This book was a fascinating look at Denmark from the view of an expatriate. Every country should have one of these and I would love to see one on Japan and South Korea. “Being Indian” is great about India.
Prisoners of Geography – Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World. Tim Marshall. A concise overview of the world’s history and how differing geography affected history. Very informative.
The Five Love Languages – How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate – Gary Chapman. A must read for anyone in a relationship – couples and families with children. One more way to look at relationships, but possibly the easiest to put into practice. The five languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service or Physical Touch.
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi. A neurosurgery resident develops terminal lung cancer and finds god.
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad. One of the worst books I have ever read. I was in the Congo when I read it and learned nothing about the Congo. The book is wordy description and all about Kurtz, a trader who appears briefly at the end of the book. I had traded Kindles with another passenger and there was not much to read in his Kindle, but I did stick it out.
We Were Soldiers Once….And Young – la Drang – the Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam – Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret) and Joseph L Galloway. About the first big battle in Vietnam. 306 Americans and 4000 Viet Cong lost their lives. The book is an endless story of death. The best part may be the very end when they discuss the decisions to continue the war. 58,000 Americans were eventually killed. I would not recommend reading this book.
Shadow of the Silk Road – Colin Thubron. Interesting with much history but his writing gets a little boring.
In Xanadu – Willian Dalrymple Does the road from the Middle East to Beijing. This is the first book I have read by this English travel writer and I want to read more. He is very entertaining with a great sense of humor and eye for traveling. Much better than the previous book on the “Silk Road”.
A World Without Us – Alan Weisman. A great read about many fascinating subjects about how we have impacted our planet and how long these effects will last.
No Picnic on Mount Kenya – Felice Benuzzi. 3 POWs from a prisoner of war camp in Kenya escape and climb the mountain then return to the camp.
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome – Mary Beard. SPQR (Senatus Populus Que Romanus). A great read about Rome from ancient times to the 3rd century AD.
ON MY READING LIST – This is so long and eclectic because I ask many fellow travellers what their favourite books are and add them to the list. I also use the book reviews in Atlantic and Time to get ideas.
Walking Down From Mongolia
Time Best Novels of 2016: 1. The Underground Railroad 2. Homegoing 3. Swing Time by Zadie Smith 4. The Trespasser 5. Here I Am
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town – Jon Krakaur
Sebastian Barry – A Long Long Way, The Secret Scriptures, Days Without End
The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts (author of Shantaram)
Louis de Berniere: Corelli’s Mandolin, The Dust That Falls From the Breath. Two novels about WWII.
Bottom Billion – Statistical look at the poorest on the planet.
A Brief History of Seven Killings – Malon James. Man booker winner 2015.
It Started in Babylon – An anthropological study of racial groups.
What is the Name of this Book? logic problems.
Books of the year 2015 from the Economist
The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale
Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World
The Vegetarian by Hans Kang
Politics and current affairs
Near and Distant Neighbours: A New History of Soviet Intelligence. By Jonathan Haslam – A detailed appraisal of how the Soviet Union handled undercover operations from the communist revolution in 1917 until the end of the cold war. The most gripping chapters focus on the chaos that was unleashed by Josef Stalin.
Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. By Robert Putnam – The most important divide in America today is class, not race, and the place where it matters most is in the home. In a thoughtful and persuasive book, the former dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government analyses the growing gulf between how the rich and the poor raise their children, adding a liberal voice to long-standing conservative complaints about family breakdown.
North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors. By Daniel Tudor and James Pearson. – Two knowledgeable journalists offer a bird’s-eye view of everyday life that teases out how the famine of the 1990s prompted unexpected change in the attitudes, governance and lives of ordinary North Koreans, giving the lie to the simplistic view that Koreans are a homogenous people under the thumb of a power-crazed dictator.
Ghettoside: Investigating a Homicide Epidemic. By Jill Leovy – Black men are still dying at alarming rates in the toughest urban pockets even though, overall, America’s murder rate is down. A study of one neighbourhood in Los Angeles has the power to change how people think about policing in America.
Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story. By David Maraniss. One of America’s finest non-fiction writers, a son of Detroit, offers a lively and meticulously researched account of how the city, once the engine room of America, began sputtering.
Nagasaki: Life after Nuclear War. By Susan Southard. The searing account of five teenage hibakusha (“explosion-affected people”): how they survived the atom bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945, and the terrible price they paid in the aftermath of the war.
Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles. By Bernard Cornwell. A great and terrible story of a battle that was fought 200 years ago, told with energy and clarity by a writer who has a deep understanding of men in combat and why they do what they do. “Waterloo” proves that Bernard Cornwell’s non-fiction is as fine as his novels, if not finer.
The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East. By Eugene Rogan. How a multinational Muslim empire was destroyed by the first world war, by a historian of the 20th century who is director of the Middle East Centre at Oxford University.
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. By Timothy Snyder. A historian at Yale University has made a detailed study of where Jews were in most danger during the second world war. In France and Italy, three-quarters of the Jews survived. In eastern territories, which suffered “double occupation”, first by the Soviets and then by the Nazis, at least 90% of them perished.
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. By Mary Beard. A masterly new chronicle, by Britain’s most engaging historian of the ancient world, about Rome from its myth-shrouded origins to the early third century. She shows that the key to its dominance was granting citizenship to so many people.
Empire of Cotton: A Global History. By Sven Beckert. By focusing on a sector that until 1900 was the world’s most important manufacturing industry, Sven Beckert offers a fine account of 900 years of globalisation.
What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing. By Brian Seibert. How tap-dancing entertained many, even as it had clear racist overtones. An engaging, warts-and-all history of one of America’s greatest creative inventions by a dance critic at the New York Times.
Towards the Flame: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia. By Dominic Lieven. How Russia went to war. A gripping, poignant and in some respects revolutionary contribution to European history by a distinguished British scholar who is descended from several of the protagonists he describes.
Biography and memoir
Kissinger: The Idealist, 1923-1968. By Niall Ferguson. Penguin Press; 1,008 pages. The magisterial first instalment of a two-part biography about a man who towered over American foreign policy for more than two decades, and still divides opinion as no one else does.
Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot. By Mark Vanhoenacker. A highly readable account, as moving as it is unexpected, of what flying means, by an airline pilot with a gift for words. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry lives again.
Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life. By Jonathan Bate. It is hard to write a literary account of Ted Hughes without writing about the life, as many authors have found. Five years in the making, this biography began as an authorised life only to become unauthorised when the author fell out with Hughes’s widow, Carol, over how much personal detail to include, prompting the poet’s estate to withdraw its co-operation.
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World. By Andrea Wulf. Explorer, polymath, friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Jefferson and Simon Bolívar, Alexander von Humboldt was one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. His ideas are as relevant today as they ever were.
Economics and business
The Public Wealth of Nations: How Management of Public Assets Can Boost or Bust Economic Growth. By Dag Detter and Stefan Fölster. Governments have trillions of dollars in assets, from companies to forests, but they are often poorly managed. Two investment experts explain how things could be improved by ring-fencing assets from political meddling in independent holding companies. Professional managers could sweat them as if they were privately owned.
Other People’s Money: The Real Business of Finance. By John Kay. If the world is to avoid future banking collapses, or at least limit their economic impact, people need to think clearly about what the finance sector is for. This book does the job.
Inequality: What Can Be Done? By Anthony Atkinson. A crunchy book that analyses policy discussions in detail but avoids dullness, thanks to its unapologetic support for robust government intervention.
Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics. By Richard Thaler. Why people don’t behave the way economic models predict lies at the heart of this brilliant intellectual history by the founder of this once-obscure blend of psychology and economics.
Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science. By Dani Rodrik. Economists still have a lot of explaining to do. Dani Rodrik reassures those outside the profession of the helpfulness of economists, and also removes some of the wishful thinking from his colleagues.
Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup. By Andrew Zimbalist. Any country thinking of hosting an international sporting jamboree should read this book to see what a bad deal the IOC and FIFA seek to foist on them. Hamburg has just voted against bidding for the 2024 Olympic games. Clever move.
Culture, society and travel
The Road to Character. By David Brooks. The author, a columnist for the New York Times, clearly thinks people are too full of themselves. A thoughtful polemic on why the self-regarding Facebook generation should move from narcissism to thoughtfulness. They’d be much happier.
Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family. By Anne-Marie Slaughter. Why organisations will have to change radically to make work-life balance a reality, by a respected foreign-policy expert who left her high-octane government job to spend more time with her two teenage sons. A rational, well-argued call to arms. Move over Sheryl Sandberg.
Between the World and Me. By Ta-Nehisi Coates. In a homage to James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time”, a father writes a warning letter to his teenage son about growing up black. The year’s most talked-about book on race relations in America.
Schubert’s Winter Journey: An Anatomy of an Obsession. By Ian Bostridge. One of Britain’s foremost tenors, Ian Bostridge has performed Schubert’s “Winterreise” more than 100 times. He knows every last nuance of the work and his book offers many fresh insights that will inform the enjoyment of both old admirers and newcomers to the music.
Plucked: A History of Hair Removal. By Rebecca Herzig. Most of Earth’s mammals possess luxuriant fur. Only one seeks to remove it. A curious account of hair-erasing, and why people have tried clamshell razors, lasers, lye depilatories, tweezers, waxes, threading and electrolysis to try and free themselves from hairiness. Self-enhancement or oppression?
Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio. By Misha Glenny. How Antonio Francisco Bonfim Lopes, better known as Nem of Rocinha, became a drug-dealer after his daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease and he needed the cash—and how he eventually took over an entire Brazilian shantytown.
Science and technology
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction. By Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner. A scientific analysis of the ancient art of divination which shows that forecasting is a talent; luckily it can be learned. You need a healthy appetite for information, a willingness to revisit predictions in light of new data, and the ability to synthesise material from sources with very different outlooks on the world.
Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. By Steve Silberman. How a widely contested condition grew out of conflicts between Nazi psychiatrists anxious for career advancement. The descriptions of how autistic children were treated in the 20th century is especially shocking. Winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction.
The Vital Question: Why Is Life the Way It Is? By Nick Lane. A persuasive and demanding attempt, by a thought-provoking British scientist, a biochemist at University College London, to answer some of the most fundamental questions in biology. It posits a new theory of how life came to be.
Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. By Jerry Kaplan. An intriguing, insightful and well-written look at how modern artificial intelligence, powering algorithms and robots, threatens jobs and may increase wealth inequalities, by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and AI expert.
Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension. By Matt Parker. Officially described as “a riotous journey through the possibilities of numbers, with audience participation”, this is an unusual, in-depth but highly accessible popular-maths book by a member of the London Mathematical Society who also has a sideline in stand-up comedy.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. By Carlo Rovelli. Translated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre. A startling and illustrative distillation of centuries of science by an Italian theoretical physicist. Simon Carnell and Erica Segre, a poet and a translator, have preserved the book’s lyrical and stripped-down prose.
The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation. By Fred Pearce. A carefully researched, analytical look at the effects that new species have on different environments into which they are introduced. The book debunks poor science and the cherry-picking of statistical examples to feed hysteria about keeping invasive species out and protecting an imaginary perfect past.
Adventures in Human Being. By Gavin Francis. A Scottish doctor, once the medical officer on a British research mission near the South Pole, takes a delightful journey closer to home, through the wondrous human body, from top to tail, inside to out.
Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells. By Helen Scales. A marine biologist-turned-science writer describes coming face-to-shell with a giant clam on the Great Barrier Reef, enjoying a bag of smoked oysters in Gambia and meeting a sea-silk seamstress in Italy. She makes an impassioned and convincing argument that, contrary to expectations, molluscs have much to teach us.
How to Talk about Videogames. By Ian Bogost. Some say video games are the great sport of the 21st century, the summit of art and entertainment. Others call them mindless. Meditative essays on the meaning of gaming, by a game designer and professor of interactive computing.
A Brief History of Seven Killings. By Marlon James. A failed assassination of Bob Marley becomes a prism through which to see Jamaica’s history from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. Violent, lurid, scabrous, hilarious and beautiful, this novel teems with life, death and narrators. A deserving winner of this year’s Man Booker prize by the first Jamaican to carry off the award.
The Fishermen. By Chigozie Obioma. A lyrical retelling of the Cain-and-Abel story in which four Nigerian brothers play truant from school, go fishing and meet a soothsayer who predicts that one brother will kill another. Not yet 30, Chigozie Obioma is a writer to watch.
Seiobo There Below. By Laszlo Krasznahorkai. Translated by Ottilie Mulzet. Seventeen stories by a Hungarian modernist whose sentences wind and unwind and rewind, creating what one translator described as “a slow lava-flow of narrative, a vast black river of type”. A fitting winner of the 2015 Man Booker International prize.
Submission. By Michel Houellebecq. No other French novelist knows how to stir trouble quite like Michel Houellebecq. This account of France under Muslim rule is set in 2022. It came out on the day of the Charlie Hebdo attack and has been called scaremongering. Its fans say it speaks to France’s deepest secret fears.
A Little Life. By Hanya Yanagihara. On the surface a story about four university graduates trying to make it in New York, at heart Hanya Yanagihara’s second novel is a fairy-tale about child abuse, pitting good against evil, love against viciousness, hope against hopelessness. It has divided critics, but readers love it. Hypnotic despite its length and considerable flaws.
An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It. By Jessie Greengrass. Restraint and a formal writing style, by a philosophy graduate from Cambridge University, give a tone of melancholy to this spectacularly accomplished, chilly debut collection of short stories about thwarted lives and opportunities missed. The strongest are also the most ordinary.
The Story of the Lost Child. By Elena Ferrante. Translated by Ann Goldstein. This four-volume narrative, with all its operatic overtones, is a tribute to feminism and female friendship in mid-20th-century Naples. Written by a pseudonymous author whose real identity remains unknown and translated by an editor at the New Yorker, it is a wild and unlikely hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
12 BEST NOVELS OF THE 21ST CENTURY – The BBC Culture Critics Poll (*I’ve read)
12. *Middlesex (2002) – Jeffrey Eugenides
At 14, Calliope Stephanides discovers she has a rare recessive mutation that renders her a pseudo-hermaphrodite. Claiming her “male brain”, she shifts genders and becomes Cal. Ultimately Cal’s condition gives him a near mythic gift – the ability to communicate between the genders, to see not with the monovision of one sex but in the stereoscope of both. Middlesex bridged the gap between critical and commercial acclaim, as well, winning a Pulitzer and selling millions of copies.
11. White Teeth (2000) – Zadie Smith
Won the Whitbread and Guardian first book awards. Set in London, is chockablock with vivid scenes and characters, a portrait of postcolonial multicultural London. Her continuing work includes two other novels named by critics in the BBC Culture poll – NW, which ranked at number 18, and On Beauty.
10. Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
A serious political novel about love in wartime, the Biafra conflict traumatised her country and her family for three years after the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria seceded in 1967. Adichie’s 2013 novel Americanah also ranked high in the poll, but missed out on a spot in the top 12 by one vote.
9. *Atonement (2001) – Ian McEwan
McEwan’s haunting and beautifully crafted novel opens with Briony witnesses her 15-year-old cousin Lola being assaulted in the darkened woods. Her testimony implicates Robbie, her sister Cecilia’s boyfriend and he is jailed. In a second section, McEwan gives a panoramic account of the harrowing evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, with Robbie among those saved. Briony works as a nurse during the Blitz in a third section. As McEwan follows these characters through six decades, Briony’s search for redemption evolves into a meditation on the power of art.
8. *Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2012) – Ben Fountain
Winner of a National Book Critics Circle award, is about eight rookies from the US army’s Bravo squad, fresh from a firefight with Iraqi insurgents. Dubbed war heroes by the Fox News cable channel, their two-week stateside victory tour ends with a halftime salute at a Dallas Cowboys game. Fountain captures the excesses of Texas, American football, business and war.
7. *A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) – Jennifer Egan,
Won the National Book Critics Circle and Pulitzer awards. A narrative around a punk rocker-turned-music producer, his sticky-fingered assistant and a circle of wannabes, has-beens and hangers-on. Juxtaposes timeless literary themes, most notably the inexorable journey from youth to age, with an exploration of the ways in which a rapidly changing world reshapes the human experience.
6. *The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) – Michael Chabon,
Pulitzer Prize winner. Joe Kavalier, a Houdini-like escape artist, smuggles himself out of Nazi-occupied Prague in 1939 and ends up in New York City. With his Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay he invents a superhero character called the Escapist and launches the golden age of comic books.
5. *The Corrections (2001) – Jonathan Franzen,
Winner of a US National Book Award, this big, sprawling, fat, edgy multigenerational family saga touches on some of the most important themes of the early years of this millennium – economic uncertainty, the conflicts between parents and their drifting middle-aged children and the enormous issues of an aging society past its prime. He does it with great storytelling and a lot of humour.
4. Gilead (2004) – Marilynne Robinson,
The Rev John Ames, a small-town Iowa minister, describes his life and anti-slavery heritage to his young son in dazzling lyrical language in this first installment of Robinson’s trilogy (along with Home and Lila). Few living novelists write more seriously and profoundly about religious faith.
3. *Wolf Hall (2009) – Hilary Mantel
Won the Man Booker and National Book Critics Circle awards, was adapted to the stage and has been filmed as a new BBC miniseries. Told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell (with Henry VIII as a supporting character), it brilliantly retells an oft-told tale. Mantel’s flawless examination of power completely catapults the reader into the character’s mind. Mantel’s sequel, Bring in the Bodies, also gathered votes.
2. *The Known World (2003) – Edward P Jones,
Set in 1855 on the plantation of Henry Townsend – born a slave, now a slave-owner – this is a triumph of empathy, immersing readers in a complex moral time without making simple judgments. Facing an early death, Townsend ponders the future of his 50-acre Virginia plantation and the slaves he treats the way his former owner, now his mentor, taught him. This may be the best American novel published in the 21st Century – a stunning work about humans experiencing and surviving American slavery – an epic, complex, unflinching and engrossing view of America’s messy history.
1. *The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) – Junot Díaz,
Winner in this BBC Culture critics’ poll and the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. About New Jersey ghetto-nerd Oscar, it reaffirms the strong connections Latinos maintain with their ancestral homeland’s culture, language and history. It re-energised these questions: Who is American? What is the American experience?”
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas Adams
Kafka on the Shore.
More Books on North Korea:
1. Under the Same Sky: From Starvation in North Korea to Salvation in America – Joseph Kim. One of the most famous defectors. The best of these 4.
2. The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story – Hyeonseo Lee
3. A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea – Eunson Kim
4. The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson. Fiction, won 2012 Pulitzer Prize.
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr. Novel about blind French girl and young German boy.
Mary Roach: Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (2006).
Wheatbelly. So this is my problem.
Freedom Climbers – Bernadette McDonald. Polish climbers in the Himalaya. Hard core.
No Way Down – Graham Bowley. 11 people die on K2. Reads like an Agatha Christie novel.. you know that 11 will die, but you don’t know who is next, or how they will die. Gripping.
The Villain – Jim Perrin. Bio of Don Whillans, famous British climber late 50s to 80s or so. Good climbs, bad behaviour.
So, Anyway – John Cleese. Should be a good read as it deals with his approach to comedy.
The Imitation Game – About Alan Turing, the Brit who solved the Enigma Code in WWII and invented the computer, but was gay, put in jail for his sexual beliefs and committed suicide. Now made into a movie released in 2014.
All Days are Night – Peter Stamm
Sonic Boom by Joel Beckerman. Everything you ever wanted to know about sound.
Cleopatra: A Life – Stacey Schiff. Won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010.
Isabella, The Warrior Queen by Kristen Hauney. The queen of Spain who with her husband, Ferdinand, expelled the Moors in the Reconquista.
Woman Who Would be Queen: Hatshepsuts Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney.
Victoria: A Life by A N Wilson. Also wrote On Duty With a Queen.
Gone Girl: Mystery but really about dark side of relationships.
Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley
Power of Hubris by Charles Dihigg
One Year Off (travel log book)
Penelope Lively – any books by.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed
The Penguin History of Europe – 1. The Birth of Classical Europe 2. The Inheritance of Rome, Dark Ages 400-1000 3. Europe in the High Middle Ages 4. Renaissance 5. Christendom Destroyed 1517- 1658 6. The Pursuit of Glory 1645-1815. All great reads.
Jonathan Franzen – Freedom (2010), Purity (2015)
In the Kingdom of Ice – Hampton Sides. A great read about the ship Jeanette and its ill-fated voyage to the Arctic.
The Super-Organism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies – Bert Holldobler and E O Wilson.
The Ants. Same authors as above. Won the Pulitzer Prize.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer – Siddharta Mukherjee. Won the Pulitzer Prize.
Land of Love and Drowning. About US Virgin Islands.
The Emperor Far Away. Travel on the Fringes of China.
Edward St. Aubyn – Melrose Books: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother’s Milk, At Last. On the Edge. A Clue to the Exit. Lost for Words.
Yi Yun Li – The Vagrants. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. Kinder than Solitude.
The Extreme Life of the Sea – Steven R. and Anthony R Palumbi
Nadine Gordimer (15 novels about apartheid S Africa, won 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature)
Peter Matheison: At Play in the Fields of the World, The Emerald Forest
Books on Russia
It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway – The truth about Soviet Russia.
Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak. A rich novel spanning events from tsarist Russia to the birth of the Soviet Union.
Peter the Great, His Life and World – Robert Massie
Prince of the Princes – Simon Sebag Montefirore. The life of Grigory Potemkin, lover of Catherine the Great
Catherine, Empress of all the Russias – Vincent Cronin. A sympathetic portrait rather than as a scheming, power crazed sexpot.
A Journey from St Petersburg to Moscow (1790) – Aleksandr Radishchev. A passionate attack on serfdom.
1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow – Adam Zamoyski.
War and Peace – Tolstoi. About the recovery after the Napoleonic wars.
East of the Sun – Benson Bobrick. The conquest of Siberia.
To Kill Rasputin – Andrew Cook.
A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924 – Orlando Figes. Vivid picture.
Gulag: A History – Anne Applebaum. Won the Pulitzer Prize.
Stalin: The Court of the Red Czar, Young Stalin – Simon Sebaf
Finland Station (1940) – Edmund Wilson. Recounts the development of socialism and communism in Russia.
Red Plenty – Francis Spufford. Part novel, part social history focuses on real people in the 50s and 60s.
The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad – Harrison Salisbury. Harrowing account.
Stalingrad – Antony Beevor
Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Twentieth Century Russia – Catherine Merridale. Enthralling read oolong at its bleak recent history through psychology and philosophy.
Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan. 1979-1989 – Rodric Braithwaite.
Robert Service has written celebrated biographies of Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky plus the Penguin History of Russia, from Nicholas II to Putin.
Yeltsin: A Life – Timothy J Cotton. A sympathetic look.
Putin’s Russia – Anna Politkovskaya. A searing indictment of the country and its leaders from a fearless journalist who was murdered in 2006.
The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia – David Hoffman. The rise and fall of the robber barons.
Russia History – Masha Holl.
Russia and the Russians – Geoffrey Hosking. Definitive one volume of 1000 years of Russian history.
A History of Russia – Nicholas Riasanovky. One of the best through to the end of the Soviet Union.
Russia: A 1,000 Year Chronicle of the Wild East – Martin Sixsmith. A very readable sweep of Russia’s history and a 50-part radio series for BBC.
Inside Putin’s Russia: Can There Be Reform without Democracy? – Andrew Jack, the Moscow bureau chief of the Financial Times.
A Taste of Russia – Darra Goldstein. 200 recipes and essays on local food culture.
Running with Reindeer – Roger Took. Vivid account of travel in Kola Peninsula and wildlife there.
The Russian Far East: A Reference Guide for Conservation and Development. Presents work by 90 specialists from Russia, UK and US.
Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy and the Secret History of the Russian State – Mike Lawrence Schrad
Moscow 1937 – Karl Schlogel
Red Justice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man’s Search for Justice – Bill Browder. About Russia and how it got rid of this financier.
Adventuresome Kate’s Travel Reading List
The Ridiculous Race by Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran — Two young comedy writers (they went on to write for 30 Rock!) decide to race each other around the world without airplanes. I’ve never laughed so hard from a travel memoir in my life.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway — My favorite book of all time. This novel depicts the wild lives of the “lost generation” expats living in Paris and traveling around Europe in the 1930s.
Into Thin Air by John Krakauer — After reading this memoir, you will join me in swearing that you will never, EVER attempt to climb Mount Everest. Journalist John Krakauer happened to be on the disastrous expedition of 1996.
Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche — When you fall in love with a man planning to sail across the Pacific and he invites you to join him, you don’t let your fear of water stand in the way. This hilarious, sweet and heartfelt memoir was written by a friend of mine.
The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver — No writer moves me like Lionel Shriver. After I read this novel, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters for months. It’s not as travel-oriented as the others, but it absolutely nails life as an American expat in London.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt — Savannah is a CRAZY city, y’all. This “nonfiction novel” will blow you away — it doesn’t seem like a place like this can be real. Savannah is painted as a closed-off town with characters that would even Dickens would think are extreme.
Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah — You’ve just moved to Paris with your beloved husband — but as soon as you arrive, he gets transferred to Baghdad for a year. What can you do? Well, you spend a year diving into French food and writing about it. Delicious, sweet memoir.
Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles — A fun and surprising novel about life in Odessa, Ukraine, in the 1990s, which at that time was run by the Mafia, and a brilliant young woman who takes a job working for a mail-order bride company.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed — Cheryl lost her mother, her marriage, and was descending into heroin addiction. So she decided to spend months hiking the Pacific Crest Trail on her own, despite having zero experience. A beautiful, real, transformative memoir about the power of solo female travel.
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris — I love David Sedaris’s witty essay collections, but this one has some particularly great travel moments, including a lengthy story about using a trip to Japan to quit smoking.
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman– Why are French children so polite and well-behaved? An American writer and her British husband raise three children in Paris and compare French and Anglo parenting firsthand. Even if you’re not a parent, it contains fascinating nuances about French culture, behavior, and priorities.
Where’s You Go, Bernadette? by Mara Semple — A fun, quick and unusually buoyant beach read. This novel takes in a wacky artist who goes missing and her daughter and husband’s journey to Antarctica to find her.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan — Another fun beach read about the stratospherically rich Chinese living in Singapore and their quirky behavior. While the characterization leaves a bit to be desired, this is a fascinating culture to discover for a few hours and you can tell the author knows a lot about this world!
Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman — At age 48, following a sudden divorce, Rita decided to sell her possessions and become a nomad, living simply among locals for months to years at a time, from Mexico to Bali to the Galapagos. What she was doing was revolutionary at the time — she’s like our digital nomad grandmother!
Eat, Pray, Love and its sequel, Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert — Loved, reviled, and justifiably famous, because Elizabeth Gilbert is one of the most joyful writers alive today. These books are beautifully self-aware and showcase the healing power of travel.
Drink, Play, F*ck — A funny faux memoir told from the point of view of Gilbert’s husband, who goes on to drink in Ireland, gamble in Vegas, and, um, get busy in Thailand.
Books about Mongolia:
Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire – Christopher Atwood.
Genghhis Khan and the Making of the Modern World – Jack Weatherford
The Secret Life of the Mongols – Written in the 13th century, made public in the 20th century.
Modern Mongolia, Reclaiming Genghis Khan – Paula Sabloff.
Imperial Moongolain Cooking: Recipes from the Kingdom of Ghenghis Khan – Marc Cramer with food from all lands once part of the Mongol empire.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan. After building the ‘Death Railway’ in Burma, 1000 were transported to Japan working as slave labor in coal mines.
Books on LDS Church. 1.Secret Ceremonies 2.I’m (No Longer) a Mormon: A Confessional 3.Standing for Something More: The Excommunication of Lyndon Lambar (sp?) 4.Mormaon Diaries. Sofia Stone 5.Monmonism: A Life Under False Pretences – Lee Baker. 6.No Man Knows My History
Failed State – Noam Chamsky
Going Through the Slaughter. About jazz.
Haruki Murakami – many good books on Japan. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle
William Dalrymple (a travel writer who specializes on India) – in Xandu (about Silk Road), Nine Lives: In Search of the Saved in Modern India
Storm of Steel – Ernst Junger. Written in 1920 about a German soldiers experiences in WWI, it charts the evolution of trench warfare and is a war classic. War simply happens, and when it does, it is neither good or bad, but “the great, the overwhelming, the hallowed experience”. The first translation from 1929 was poor, but this from 2004 is much better. (Penguin Classics)
Indonesia Epic: Exploring the Improbable Nation – Elizabeth Pisani. Travel book (she spent 1 year in Indonesia) devotes large parts of the book to even most Indonesians know nothing about. Java and Bali receive scant attention. 13,466 islands, 360 ethnic groups, 719 languages held together by a national language and 32 years of dictatorship now decentralizing itself but with Islam, strong family, clan, village and island ties. Personal networks are so strong that corruption holds the country together – patronage is the price of unity.
Conn Iggulden: Emperor Series: The Gates of Rome, The Death of Kings, The Field of Swords, The Gods of War
Salamon Rusdie: Midnight’s Children, Shame, Satanic Verses, Joseph Anton
The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari – Robin Charma
Bacardi: A History
Heroes – Joh Pilger. Australian journalist writes about Vietnam and Cambodia
An Evil Cradling – Brian Keegan. About Lebanon
Rohinton Mistry: Such a Long Journey, Family Matters. The author of A Fine Balance. Indian lives in Canada.
Sacred Rage. Foretells the rise of terrorism.
Francisco Orellana. An account of the first man to travel the Amazon.
The Dirty War – Jeremy Scahill. Also wrote Blackwater.
Me Against My Brother
The Open Veins of Latin American
The Bang-Bang Club. South Africa’s Apartheid Era
The History of God – Karen Armstrong. A nun’s experience in the Catholic church.
Asia Overland: Mark Elliot and Wil Klas – alternative way to travel in Asia.
Books on Myanmar: The River of Lost Footsteps, The Glass Palace, Burmese Days by George Orwell.
On the Trail of Ghengis Khan
Who Discovered America – Gavin Menzies, Ian Hudson
And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini
Tudors – A History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I
Malcolm Gladwell – David and Goliath, What the Dog Saw
Lahiri – The Lowland -The Namesake
The Evolution of God – Robert Wright
Ronald Wright – A Short History of Progress, A Scientific Romance, What is America, Stolen Continents: Conquest and Resistance in the Americas. A Canadian travel writer with an anhropological bent.
Dervla Murphy – Wheels Within Wheels (autobiography), Full Tilt: Ireland to India by Bicycle, The Island That Dared: Journeys in Cuba, Where the Indus is Young: A Winter in Baltistan, In Ethiopia with a Mule, A Month by the Sea (about Gaza), Silverland: A Winter Journey Through the Urals, Through the Embers of Chaos: Balkan Journeys, One Foot in Laos, South Across the Limpopo: Travels Through South Africa, Muddling Through Madagascar, The Ukimivi Road: From Kenya to Zimbabwe. An Irish travel writer who often travels by bicycle and with her family.
The Monk who Sold His Farari – Robin Sharma
North Sea Archaeologies – Robet Vande Noort
Humboldt – Life on Americas Marijuana Frontier. Brady
Times Shadow – Arnold Bauer. About Kansas in the 1930’s to 50’s
The Elephant, the Lion, the Tiger and the Cellphone. About India.
Holy Cow – Sarah McDonald Traveling in India.
Mark Tulley. Many books about India.
A Thousand Pardons. Jonathan Die
The God Of Small Things
Good Behavior – Molly Keane
Iron Curtain – Anne Applebaum
Far From the Tree – Andrew Soloman. About parents and children.
NW – Zidie Smith. About NW London.
The Black Count – Tom Rei
My Life, My Freedom. Somali woman.
A Short History of England Illustrated
Escape: The True Story of the only Westerner ever to escape from Thailands Bangkok Hilton
The Broken Shore, Peter Temple
Cry of the Kalihari, Beverly Harper.
Dion Meyer – Crocodile In the Sun, Mukwai (both recommended by a S African woman
Dinner With Mugabe – Heidi Holland
A Queer and Present Danger. Exposes Scientology.
Michelle Wrong – any book by her.
Number: The Language of Science, Tobias Hantzig
Abraham Verghasse – In My Own Country, The Tennis Player
Room – Emma Donaghue
Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak, Victoria Jason.
Igloo Dwellers Were my Church
Atanaijirat, The Fast Runner
In Search of the Lost City of Zee
D. J. Taylor – Pegasis, any other books by him.
Evening Empire: A History of the Night in Early Modern Europe, Craig Koflifsky
Beyond Love, Domminque Ladriro? About Aids.
Fairness and Freedom: A History of Two Open Societies, New Zealand and the US
How I Met My Wife
An Economist Eats Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies.
Memphis Under the Ptolemies? Dorothy
Sir Walter Raleigh – Mark Nicholls and Barry Williams.
The Map Thief – Heather Towell.
Masscult and Midcult, Dwight McDonald.
Peter Hessler – River Through Town, Oracle, Country Driving
Atul Gadandi – Better, Complications, The Checklist.
The Spiral Staircase, Karen Armstrong
The Golden Age
Thank You for Not Smoking, Christopher Bentchley
Edward St. Aubyn – Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mothers Milk, At Last
Cleopatra, A Life, Stacey Scheff
No More Clueless Sex
The Gift of Rain
Elegance of the Hedgehog
Ishigura, The Floating World
Mennonite Waiting, Rudy Wiebe
Started Early, Took My Dog
Hark! A Vagrant
A Dance With Dragons
Open City, Teju Cole
A Singular Woman
Ideas in History from P to Freud, Peter Watson.
The Looming Tower
History of Nelson
Bart Iman – Misquoting Jesus, Peter Paul and Mary Magdeline
Beyond the Outer Shores, Eric Tamm
Proust was a Neuroscientist
The Last Great Sea, Terry Glavin
Colleen McCullough: Masters of Rome – 1.The First Men in Rome 2.The Crown 3.Fprtimes Favourites 4. Caesar’s Women 5.Caesar 6.The October House
Mountain Books (a Compendium of the best written)
Learning to Breath – Andy Cave
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush – Eric Newby
Annapurna – Maurice Herzog
Nanda Devi – Eric Shipton
TOP 101 BOOKS FOR INDEPENDENT TRAVEL
By BootsnAll and the BootsnAll Community | April 15th, 2013
Most travellers also have an affinity for reading. All the time we spend in airports and on planes, buses, and trains makes for the perfect situation to pick up a good book and get lost. There’s nothing better than reading a book set in a destination I’ve been or dream of going. There are a lot of great books out there that are great for travellers, so we talked amongst ourselves here at BootsnAll and asked our community for suggestions. We were overwhelmed with awesome suggestions, many of which we hadn’t heard of before. So we put together this list of top travel books:
1. *Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel – Rolf Potts: This book inspired a whole new generation of backpackers and long-term indie travellers by the Voice of Generation X and Y traveler, Rolf Potts. Most of the content is not “how to” – which is commonplace on the web today, but philosophical and helps would be AND experienced travellers with the stuff that goes on in your head. CEO and Co-founder of BootsnAll said this about the book Vagabonding, “If there is one book on this list to read, read this one. I’ve read it multiple times, given it as a gift to folks old and young, and the book stand the test of time. Get one, read it, and GO”
2. The Rough Guide to First-Time Around The World – Doug Lansky: A great book for those who want to take a long-term trip for the very first time. Outlines all the basics as well as gritty details necessary to get you started. A must-read for first time RTW travellers.
3. World’s Cheapest Destinations – Tim Leffel: This fourth edition was released in early 2013 and is a great guide for those of you looking for the best budget destinations around the world. Even if you’re a mid-range traveler, you can find a lot of value in Tim Leffel’s boo
4. Take Me With You – Brad Newsham: Long-time friend of BootsnAll, Brad Newsham wrote this book over 10 years ago now. It’s an epic story, of Brad’s mission to bring someone back from his travels, something many folks feel after doing some intensive indie travel. Brad wears his heart on his sleeve in everything he does, and this book is no different. Enjoy.
5. The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
7. Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana – Stephanie Elizondo Griest
8. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom – Jonathan Haidt: If you know you’ve wanted to travel, but you can’t seem to make it happen, then maybe your rider and your elephant are not aligned. The author motivates this simple rider-elephant metaphor in 10 powerful chapters in which he supports ancient wisdom with the latest scientific research to help us understand what happiness is and how we can get it. And, it’s not by sitting around meditating.
9. The World’s Most Dangerous Places – Robert Young Pelton: “Robert Young Pelton, a professional adventurer, and his team of international war correspondents have updated this indispensable handbook for the intrepid adventurer– a “how-to” in getting in and out of the world′s hot spots.” – Synopsis from Good Reads
10. The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World – Chris Guillebeau: Chris Guillebeau wants those of you who wonder “Is this it?” to realize that you can get more out of life, but you have to work for it. This book outlines methods of going against societal norms and crafting the life that you want.
11. Rite of Passage: Tales of Backpacking ‘Round Europe – Lonely Planet: “From the company that kick-started the trend, a funny, touching and mad collection of first-time European backpacking experiences that bring new life to a well-told tale.” – Synopsis from Good Reads
12. Make Money From Home Or Abroad Like A Rockstar – The Best Companies, Pro Tools And Insider Tips To Live The Life Of Your Dreams – Connie Brentford: ”Make Money From Home or Abroad Like A Rockstar” is filled to the brim with tips on starting your freedom business to work from home. The best part are the interviews from real folks who have done it successfully and lived to tell the tale. There are tons of links to help you get started including resources for building your web site, marketing yourself, and building your skill set. With information like this, there are no excuses left for you to put off creating the work life of your dreams. What are you waiting for?” – Review from Karla, on Amazon Reviews
13. *Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts: This epic novel clocks in at over 1000 pages, but it’s a page turner. If you’ve ever wondered what traveling and living in India is like, the country is highlighted as a main character in the book, loosely based on the author’s life. This is the first book that made me excited, instead of scared, to visit India.
14. The Beach – Alex Garland
15. *The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho: It gave me the motivation and inspiration to DREAM that I could keep going and growing, and the knowledge that my dreams (of travelling) WOULD come true if I want them badly enough – Edric Hsu
16. The Pilgrimage – Paulo Coelho: “The Pilgrimage details Paulo Coelho’s journey along the legendary road of San Tiago across Spain. In The Pilgrimage, Coelho recounts the spectacular trials that lead him to discover personal power, wisdom, and a miraculous sword that seals his initiation into the secret society of the Tradition. With his enigmatic mentor, Petrus, he follows a legendary road travelled by pilgrims of San Tiago since the Middle Ages, encountering a Chaucerian variety of mysterious guides and devilish opponents. Coelho’s experiences and his mentor’s teachings impart the spiritual wisdom that reveals itself as the true purpose of their exciting journey.” – Review by Maverick Book Review
17. *Into the Wild – John Krakauer
18. *Into Thin Air – John Krakauer
19. A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
20. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
21. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values – Robert M. Pirsig
22. Round Ireland with a Fridge – Tony Hawks
23. Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog – Ted Kerasot: “While on a camping trip, Ted Kerasote met a dog—a Labrador mix—who was living on his own in the wild. They became attached to each other, and Kerasote decided to name the dog Merle and bring him home. There, he realized that Merle’s native intelligence would be diminished by living exclusively in the human world. He put a dog door in his house so Merle could live both outside and in.A deeply touching portrait of a remarkable dog and his relationship with the author, Merle’s Door explores the issues that all animals and their human companions face as their lives intertwine, bringing to bear the latest research into animal consciousness and behavior as well as insights into the origins and evolution of the human-dog partnership. Merle showed Kerasote how dogs might live if they were allowed to make more of their own decisions, and Kerasote suggests how these lessons can be applied universally.” – Synopsis from Good Reads
24. *The Road – Cormac McCarthy
25. On the Island – Tracey Garvis Graves
26. The Rainmaker – John Grisham: Though its not a travel related book, it actually gives you the courage to move out of your comfort zone and go with what you believe in. – Pulkit Mathur
27. *The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific – J. Maarten Troost: Your plane/bus/train mates may look at you funny when reading J. Maarten Troost’s debut novel. That’s because you will no doubt be laughing out loud during the entirety of this book. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live on a far off island in the S. Pacific, this book describes it perfectly.
28. Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu – J. Maarten Troost: J. Maarten Troost is at it again as he and his wife head back to the S. Pacific to live first in Vanuatu, then Fiji. Like his first book, The Sex Lives of Cannibals, hilarity ensues as he tries his best to fit in with the locals.
29. Lost on Planet China: One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation – J. Maarten Troost: I’m not sure if this made me more intrigued to visit China or scared me away, but I do know that Troost’s third travel book entertained me and had me laughing just as hard as his first two. While laughs are a great part of Troost’s books, they are also very informative and offer great insights into the countries he visits and lives in.
30. *A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail – Bill Bryson: This was my introduction to Bryson, and I have come back to it a few times since the first read. His wit, writing style, and hiking companion, Katz, make the perfect guide to hiking America’s Appalachian Trail – 2100 miles between Georgia and Maine.
31. Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson
32. *In a Sunburned Country – Bill Bryson
33. The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East – Sandy Tolan: An excellent book for anyone interested in traveling to, or simply just interested in the history of Israel and the Middle East. Told through 2 families, one Jewish, one Arab, The Lemon Tree does a great job of being unbiased and telling the story of this volatile region through the eyes of real people and families.
34. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
35. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian – Marina Lewycka: “Marriage,” writes Marina Lewycka, “is never just about people falling in love, it is about families.” Lewycka’s debut novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, begins as narrator Nadia’s widowed father Nikolai announces his intention to marry a glamorous divorcee fifty years younger than he. His two feuding daughters realize they must unite to free their father from the clutches of Valentina, a Ukrainian bombshell and “boil-in-the-bag cook” with “superior” breasts and a “genius” son, whose demands on the elderly man only begin at marriage. Family secrets are revealed, and the tragic history of Ukraine is revisited in this moving, informative, and laugh-out-loud funny family drama.” – Synopsis, review, and interview with the author from Penguin.com
36. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
37. A Year in Provence – Peter Mayle
38. The Rum Diary – Hunter S Thompson: Begun in 1959 by a twenty-two-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is a brilliantly tangled love story of jealousy, treachery, and violent alcoholic lust in the Caribbean boomtown that was San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. –
39. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S Thompson
40. *On the Road – Jack Kerouac
41. Geography of Bliss – Eric Weiner
42. Long Way Round – Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman: “Beginning in London, Ewan and Charley chased their shadows through Europe, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia; across the Pacific to Alaska; then down through Canada all the way to New York. Long Way Round is the result of their four-month, 20,000-mile joyride. Featuring original diary entries, travel maps, mileage charts, and dozens of photographs, this is a freewheeling, fully charged, and uproariously entertaining book about two world-famous individuals who chose the road not taken…and made the journey worthwhile.”
43. Istanbul: Memories and the City – Orhan Pamuk
44. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man – John Perkins
45. *The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
46. *A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
47. A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar – Suzanne Joinson
48. Seven Years in Tibet – Heinrich Harrer
49. Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism – Thomas Kohnstamm
50. Wolf Totem: A Novel – Jiang Rong (Author), Howard Goldblatt (Translator)
51. Memoirs of a Solo Traveler – My Love Affair with Italy – Margie Miklas: She is an inspiration to spend three months travelling solo around Italy. I interviewed her here – Bex
52. Extra Virgin: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month Is Enchanted – Annie Hawes
53. A Walk Across America – Peter Jenkins: “Twenty-five years ago, a disillusioned young man set out on a walk across America. This is the book he wrote about that journey — a classic account of the reawakening of his faith in himself and his country.”
54. Across China – Peter Jenkins: “A phone call from a friend marked the beginning of a rare opportunity for Peter Jenkins to trek deep into Tibet, over Mount Everest, and across China to gaze on an ancient mysterious land that few Westerners have ever seen. You will share in his wonder and excitement as he joins some of the world’s most daring adventures to conquer the Himalayas…as he defies the Chinese authorities to explore an off-limits fishing village…as he wanders across the steppes of the proud Mongol herdsmen to wrestle with the descendents of Genghis Khan’s legendary Golden Horde.” – Synopsis from Good Reads
55. A Ride to Khiva: Travels and Adventures in Central Asia – Fred Burnaby: “In the winter of 1875, a young British officer set out across central Asia on an unofficial mission to investigate the latest secret Russian moves in the Great Game. His goal was the mysterious caravan city of Khiva, closed to all European travellers by the Russians following their seizure of it two years earlier. His aim was to discover whether, as many British strategists feared, this remote and dangerous oasis was about to be used as a springboard for an invasion of India.” 56. Turn Right at Machu Picchu – Mark Adams: Makes me want to jump on the next plane to Peru and take the full Inca trail trek. Brings back memories of what might have been my favorite trip ever.
57. The Songlines – Bruce Chatwin
58. *In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin
59. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtz – Peter Hessler
60. Heart of Darkness and The Congo Diary – Joseph Conrad: “Dark allegory describes the narrator’s journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad’s finest, most enigmatic story.”
61. Tuk Tuk To The Road – a Bolingbroke-Kent
62. The Lost Girls – Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, Amanda Pressner: “Whether they were running away from something (Jen), searching for something (Amanda), or seeking adventure (Holly), The Lost Girls took a leap of faith together and ventured off on a global journey that took them to South America (Peru & Brazil), Kenya, India, Southeast Asia (Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia) and Oceania (New Zealand, Australia).”
63. *The Life of Pi – Yann Martel: This book holds a special place in my heart because it’s the first book I read on our RTW trip. But it’s also an awesome book. Extremely original, this book turned movie is both entertaining and inspirational, following the story of Piscine Molitor Patel, a young boy who survives a shipwreck. An addicting read.
64. Female Nomad and Friend – Rita Golden Gelman: A collection of short stories. So inspiring. If you love to travel you’ll identify with elements in all the stories – Vicki Allen
65. A Year of Adventures – Andrew Bain: Adventures from all around the world for every week in a year; everything from crocodile swimming in Australia to skydiving in Nepal. – Petra
66. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed
67. Why Smart People Do Stupid Things with Money – Bert Whitehead: If you think the only thing holding you back from long-term travel is money, then consider spending $7 to buy this book. Don’t be distracted by the provacative title, this book provides an easy-to-understand comprehensive way to plan your life’s finances regardless of how much money you have or what age you are or how “smart” you are. The perspective is imminently practical and is an antidote to worrying about money.
68. *Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown – Paul Theroux
69. *The Great Railway Bazaar – Paul Theroux
70. The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas – Paul Theroux
71. Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East – Pico Iyer
72. The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama – Pico Iyer: “In “The Open Road,” Iyer takes a long, hard look at the many meanings of this deceptively simple man. At first blush, one might wonder why Iyer, best known as the author of many travel memoirs including “Video Night in Kathmandu” and “Sun After Dark,” would take on such a subject. The answer lies in the understanding that Iyer is not just a travel writer, and the Dalai Lama is not just a monk.” – Holly Morris, New York Times
73. The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto – Pico Iyer
74. Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal – Conor Grennan
75. Invisible Cities – Italo Calvino
76. The Way of the World – Nicolas Bouvier
77. Sailing Alone Around the World – Joshua Slocum
78. The Butterfly’s Daughter – Mary Alice Monroe
79. Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War – Deborah Coaken Kogan
80. Avoiding Prison and Other Noble Vacation Goals: Adventures in Love and Danger – Wendy Dale: “From salsa dancing in a rum-induced haze and struggling to exercise in Colombia (“the guerillas were using the track again today”), to crossing international borders unconventionally and dodging bombs in Lebanon (“the good news was that they were ‘small bombs’”), Wendy somehow manages to find herself in the midst of hysterical, adventurous, and often illegal situations.” – Synopsis from Good Reads
81. Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman – Alice Steinbach
82. Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World – Claire Fontaine
83. The Golden Bough – Sir James G. Frazer: It’s a cross cultural survey of traditional rituals, taboos, sacrifices, myths, and superstitions — from Europe to Asia, from American Indians to African tribes. Often in our travels we notice that seemingly very different cultures may have similar practices – We find totem poles in Vancouver, and yet we find similar totemic practices in southern China and even in Hungary. We often wonder how this could be possible, and Frazer’s book tells us why. For the cultural traveler it’s an incredible book of insights and an invaluable tool to help us get the most out of our travels. – Bruce
84. Travel Means Freedom – Various Authors, David Nagy, GInger Kern, Denisa Nastase, Elena Epure
85. Honeymoon with My Brother: A Memoir – Franz Wisner
86. Mongolia: Travels in the Untamed Land – Jasper Becker: “For seventy years Mongolia was all but closed to the west – a forbidden country, shrouded in darkness. Jasper Becker had long dreamed of exploring the sweeping land that lay just beyond China’s Great Wall and when communism disintegrated, he finally did. Setting out from Kublai Khan’s capital, Beijing, Becker was one of the first westerners to cross the border. Tracing the course of the Yellow River, he ventured deep into the heart of Mongolia, witnessing the birth of one of the world’s youngest democracies as well as the deep and tragic impact of the rules of Mao and Stalin on the Mongolian people.” -Synopsis from Good Reads
87. Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection- John Man: “John Man’s absorbing and beautifully written book investigates a vast amount of evidence, much of it partial, much of it conflicting and much of it mysterious, to produce a thrilling account of Genghis’s life, death and his continuing influence.”
88. Empire of the Soul: Some Journeys in India – Paul William Roberts: “One of the finest travel writers has taken on the most impenetrable country, describing his spiritual pilgrimages of the ’70s and return visits of the ’90s. Paul William Roberts says “[India] is the only country that feels like home to me, the only country whose airport tarmac I have ever kissed upon landing.” But no sentimentality dulls Roberts’s keen eye as he visits ashrams, junkie dens, and Mother Teresa’s order, explaining the complex history of castes and colonialization as he goes. He ferrets out beauty and hypocrisy with an insightful take on the masses of humanity that travel and live there.”
89. Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story – Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
90. Duchess of Bloomsbury Street – Helene Hanff
91. In Ethiopia with a Mule – Dervla Murphy
92. Where the Indus is Young: A Winter in Baltistan – Dervla Murphy: “One winter, Dervla Murphy and her six-year-old daughter Rachel walked into the Karakoram mountains in the frozen heart of the Western Himalayas and along the perilous Indus Gorge. Accompanied only by a gallant polo pony, they encountered conditions that tested the limits of their ingenuity, endurance, and courage. Hair-raising, gloriously subjective, and with the quirky vitality of fiction, the resulting book is a classic of travel writing.”
93. Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle – Dervla Murphy
94. The City of Falling Angels – John Berendt
95. Finding George Orwell in Burma – Emma Larkin: Excellent book, and shows exactly how important it is to scratch the surface of a place you visit before thinking you understand it. –
96. How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling through South America
– Peter Allison: “Ever the gifted storyteller and cultural observer, Allison makes many observations about life in humid climes, the nature of nomadism, and exactly what it is like to be nearly blasted off a mountain by the famous Patagonia wind. Allison’s self-deprecating humor is as delightful as his crazy stunts, and his love for animals—even when they bite—is infectious.” – Synopsis from Good Reads
97. The Art of Travel – Alain De Botton
98. 360 Degrees Longitude: One Family’s Journey Around the World – John Higham
99. 4 1 9 – Will Ferguson
100. The Light Between Oceans – M. L. Stedman
101. Hand to Mouth to India – Tom Thumb: Author Tom Thumb offers his account of hitchiking from England to India – with NO money! It reads more like a journal than a novel, and may actually persuade you to hitchhike.
Bonus travel books to read. You wrote – we listened! This was never meant to be an all encompassing list and we have collaborated with our readers on this project from the get-go. Here are some additions to the list based on your comments and feedback!
102. At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels Through Paraguay – John Gimlette: Personally, I would definitely put Gimlette’s “At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig” for his unrivaled look at Paraguay. – Richard
103. *Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck
104. The Painted Veil – Somerset Maugham:
105. The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova: “The Historian made me want to go to all of the places in the book.” – Nicci
106. The Innocents Abroad – Mark Twain: “No travel book list could be complete without Mark Twain. The Innocents Abroad or Following the Equator are the originals. His style and language might be dated, but his insights into traveling in that age are unique.”
107. Following the Equator – Mark Twain
108. Into the Silence – Wade Davis
109. Starlight and Storm – Gaston Rebuffit