The Twelfth Day of Christmas: Gift Ideas for the Travel Lover

I am finally getting into the holiday spirit – and why not throw out a few ideas to those seeking to find the perfect gift for a travel lover?

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Over the past few months, I have had many great sounding recommendations of travel themed books to read. Here are a few suggestions from some of the readers of my blog, and myself:

1. Jo Nesbo (author – read all of his books in order).

– Recommended by me

2. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

– Recommended by beingoutthere

3. At Play In The Fields Of The Lord by Peter Matthiessen

– Recommended by kevin meyers

4. Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

– Recommended by Arundhati

5. Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

– Recommended by kevin meyers

6. Discovery Road by T. Garrett, A. Brown, and Sir Ranulph Fiennes

– Recommended by beingoutthere

7. End Of The Earth: Voyage To Antarctica by Peter Matthiessen

– Recommended by kevin meyers

8. Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

– Recommended by beingoutthere

9. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

– Recommended by kevin meyers

10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

– Recommended by iamatticusfinch

11. Down The Nile: Alone In A Fisherman’s Skiff by Rosemary Mahoney

– Recommended by kevin meyers

12. Blue Highways by William Least-Heat Moon

– Recommended by kevin meyers

13. The Education Of Little Tree by Forrest Carter

– Recommended by kevin meyers

14. I Wonder as I Wander by Langston Hughes

– Recommended by transplantedtatar

15. Love In The Time Of Cholera and 100 Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

– Recommended by kevin meyers

16. Apples Are From Kazakhstan by Christopher Robbins

– Recommended by kevin meyers

Thank you to all of you bloggers that helped in formulating this list!

Good reading ahead!

My sister pointed me to a very neat social cataloging site where you can, “see what your friends are reading. Keep track of what you’ve read and organize your books into virtual bookshelves. Join a book club to discuss your favorite novels…”. 

The site is called Goodreads and it’s actually quite neat. It managed to keep me distracted for a few minutes yesterday, and I was able to look at a long list of travel literature recommended books, after I rated a few books that I enjoyed from that genre.

The results left me drooling for some reads:

I also set a reading challenge for myself for 2012: 30 books (starting as of yesterday). Me thinks that’s quite do-able.

Very neat, and a very good way to waste some time, almost as good at wasting my time as Pinterest!

Happy reading!

Reading Resolution 2012

Everyone, once again, is talking about resolutions! The news, twitter, my friends, while shopping….it’s everywhere at the beginning of every year and I usually have the same idea for a resolution as so many others (eat healthier, work out more, save more money…).

This year, I am going to declare something a bit different. A bit different, but not really unique.

That is – READ more.

I have about 8 or 9 new books sitting on my bedside table waiting to be opened and have my eye prints all over their pages.

And once they are all done, these are the next round of books I would like to experience (thanks Lonely Planet for the list!).

1. Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker

Reviewed by Will Gourlay

‘Enchanting’ isn’t a word usually associated with Romania. Think ‘Romania’ and most people will conjure images of Communist-era architecture in Bucharest or hair-raising tales of Dracula. However, in Along the Enchanted Way, William Blacker’s account of years spent living in Romania paints an altogether different – and unexpected – picture of this little-known country.


2. Lost on Earth by Steve Crombie

Reviewed by Steve Waters

In Lost on Earth, young Aussie Crombie  plans to ride his single-cylinder Honda 650cc motorcycle from Ushuaia at the southern tip of South America’s Tierra Del Fuego, toPrudhoe BayAlaska; the Pan American Highway’s unofficial endpoint well north of the Arctic Circle. This cracking tale of sheer determination should be mandatory reading for any young, would-be adventurer.


3. Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple

Reviewed by Elizabeth Shannon

Nine Lives is not really a travel book.  This is not the tale of a bemused foreigner fumbling through an exotic landscape, but rather the result of William Dalrymple’s long familiarity with India:  nine stories of religious practitioners navigating both the innate certitudes and contradictions of their own faiths and how India’s rapid development has affected these traditions and people’s roles in them.


4. In Tasmania by Nicholas Shakespeare

Reviewed by Kirsten Rawlings

In Nicholas Shakespeare’s eyes, Tasmania is a secret and rarely visited place, ‘a byword for remoteness’. His comprehensive biography In Tasmania paints this outpost as a magnet for the lost, a place to be renewed or be forgotten. From the burgeoning towns of Launceston and Hobart, to the fertile northeast and the windy and bleak west coast, Shakespeare reveals the hardships and inspirations of its inhabitants over the centuries, suffusing each corner with history and beauty.

5. Thin Paths — Journeys in and around an Italian Mountain Village by Julia Blackburn

Reviewed by Claire Beyer

Julia Blackburn, author of Thin Paths, has an eye for detail. The seemingly small and insignificant are given big lives. The common dormouse, the developing tadpole and vocal owl are all given as much loving attention as her new surroundings in this lovely tale of life in an Italian mountain village.


Summer Daze


I always love reading a book on a hot summer day, and usually my typical novel is something to do with a great setting. Well, yesterday, I was flipping through this months Travel and Leisure Magazine, and came across this list of great books with a great backdrop.

By Francine Prose

1. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. Nothing has ever captured so well the beauty and the pulse-racing creepiness of this gorgeous city.

2. Le Divorce by Diane Johnson. Reading this smart, delightful comic novel provides all the fun of a week in Paris without having to leave the house.

3. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. Read it to find out how little the splendor of Florence has changed – and how much people have.

4. GraceLand by Chris Abani. The sights and sound of Lagos, Nigeria, pulse through this vibrant novel.

5. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. My favorite of Murakami’s books reveals all sorts of familiar – and hidden – aspects of Tokyo.

6. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. This imaginative first novel is set in an alligator theme park that could exist only in southwestern Florida.

7. Gryphon by Charles Baxter. The American Midwest reveals itself as a place of great beauty and strangeness in Baxter’s eloquent fictions.

8. Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Granted, London has changed a lot since Dicken’s time, but whenever I go there I feel I’ve reentered one of his novels.

It’s time for me to get down to business and read some of these. They sound great and a few can be read online for free!

Check out some of my favorite travel novels as well.