Travel literature, part 2, Updated 13 September 2016

Honourable mentions:

I reviewed several of these book on the original 52 Books blog. Unfortunately tBlog seems to have disabled the static links, so I can not link directly to the reviews. I’m working on a solution to this problem.

Polly Evans: It's Not About the Tapas.
Around Spain on a bicycle. Previously reviewed.

Christopher Sale Wren: The cat who covered the world: the adventures of Henrietta and her foreign correspondent.
The biography of Henrietta, who lived with her owners in such diverse places as Russia, Egypt and South-Africa. An unusual and beautifully told story which qualifies as “travel” because of all the different countries they lived in.

Talia Zapatos: A Journey of one’s own.
Part travel story collection, mostly travel guide and therefore not eligible for the main list.

Bill Bryson: Down Under.
Bryson in Australia. I didn’t much care for the other Bryson books I’ve read, but I liked this one.

Chris England: Balham to Bollywood.
Memoir of filming the epic, Oscar-winning movie Lagaan, where the author played one of the bad guys. Would not have enjoyed it half as much had I not seen the movie, and would have enjoyed it more if I knew anything about cricket.

Bad Trips (alternative title: Worst Journeys).
A collection of essays by professional writers about their worst travel experiences. Most have some humour in them, but a couple of them are really harrowing.

Traveller’s Tales from Heaven and Hell and More Traveller’s Tales from Heaven and Hell.
Two collections of short travel stories by various travellers from all over the world who participated in a competition on this subject.

William Dalrymple: The Road to Xanadu.
Tracing the route supposedly taken by Marco Polo on his epic journey to China.

I am currently reading Bill Holm´s Eccentric Islands, which I will probably not finish, finding Holm a bit too preachy; and Laurens van der Post’s First catch your eland, which is about my two favourite non-fiction subjects: food and travel.

*Rosemary Mahoney: The Early Arrival of Dreams: A Year in China.

*Peter Matthiassen: African Silences. I am treating this one for cigarette smoke poisoning and will read it when I no longer need to put on a gas mask to open it.
*Mark Twain’s travel books (and those of a couple of modern followers in his footsteps).
*Robert Lois Stevenson’s classic Travels with a donkey in the Cévennes
*Isabella Bird’s books.

*Marco Polo’s "Travels".

 Originally in the TBR, now read:
*Isabella Bird: The Englishwoman in America. Liked parts of it but found other parts too dry.
*Alexandra David-Neel’s My Journey to Lhasa. Loved it. Favourites list.
*Theresa Maggio: The Stone Boudoir: In Search of the Hidden Villages of Sicily.
*Mary Morris: Nothing to Declare
*Eric Newby: A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush.One of my favourites.
*Freya Stark: The Southern Gates of Arabia. Honourable mentions list.
*Thomas Stevens: Around the World on a Penny-farthing. Another interesting book that eventually did not make it onto either the favourites or honourable mentions list.
*Rosie Thomas: Border crossing: on the road from Peking to Paris. Not a favourite, but had some interesting points.
*Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, A Tramp Abroad. Liked them all, honourable mentions list.

The “Most Wanted” list:
*Anne Mustoe: Lone Traveller: One Woman, Two Wheels and the World

*Books by Freya Stark, Dervla Murphy, Jan Morris, Polly Evans


I love Paul Theroux and Jan Morris, as far as travel writers go. Bill Bryson is without a doubt the most hilarious (not just In a Sunburned Country, but all his works). For its raunchy humour and snappy title and cover, try No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late, by Ayun Halliday. It's hysterical.
Bibliophile said…
Thanks for the recommendation. I will put it on my "to check out" list.
I have only read history books by Jan Morris (back from when she was still James) and found the style appealing. I'm looking forwards to reading some of her travel books.
As to Theroux, I agree he is a good writer, but I find him a bit too negative about people, almost misanthropic at times.
If you like humourous travel books, try Polly Evans and Tim Moore. Both have humour that has been likened to Bryson's.

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