Whenever we go to New Mexico and Arizona, I take the latest Tony Hillerman book. I enjoy Tribal Policeman Jim Chee and his compadres who solve crimes the Navajo way rather than the linear progression way that most lawmen use. Last spring my son served as a peidatric resident for the Navajo Nation at their new health center in the Four Corners area. While he didn't meet Jim Chee, I sent him the latest book at the time, and he said that he looked for Jim. Cheers...Marolyn
What an interesting topic. I just got back from a mini trip and this is the first message that caught my eye. The last few major trips I took I managed to find (always by accident, just by browsing through the fiction in Barnes and Noble) a book relating to the location we were going. It was always so fun to be reading about the area while we were there. My recent finds:
1) The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips. This is an excellent book, a sort of psychological drama that is totally fictionalized but set in historically accurate Cairo and Luxor. A great book to read while taking a Nile Cruise!
2) Empress Orchid by Anchee Min. Another historically accurate but completely fictionalized story set in China's Forbidden City. I read this during a trip to Beijing and it really gave a good look at what it must have been to live in the Forbidden City. Fascinating.
3) Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors. This is a fictional yet, again, nearly accurate account of the story surrounding the construction of the Taj Mahal. Although perhaps not as enthralling in its writing as the first two, this was a great book to read while sitting on our terrace at the Oberoi Amarvilas with an amazing view of the Taj!
A great final book I just read is packed with locations I'd really like to visit: Istanbul, Prague, Romania, Ukraine, among others. The book is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, and this is a real page turner about a present day vampire hunt. Not usually my topic of choice, but this book is modern, exciting and intelligent and I couldn't put it down during a recent flight!
Thanks to both of you These are interesting suggestions and I will make note of them. Marolyn I will get a Tony Hillerman book asap since we are constsntly going back and forth to Arizona. Thank you!!! How fascinating that your son was able to have work experiences such as these. Pleasant reading and wonderful travels...Funtimes
Great topic! I love travel writing, and enjoy reading about the places I'm visiting before and during my travels. Also, as I said on the souvenir thread, I think that books make some of the best souvenirs, especially if they are by local authors whose work isn't available in the UK.
Some of my favourites have been:
Backseat Safari (Robyn Keene-Young) A witty, wry behind-the-scenes look at life with renowned wildlife photographer Adrian Bailey.
The Lion Children (Angus, Maisie, and Travers McNeice) The story of life in Botswana written by three amazingly articulate British children whose mother moved to Maun and married a lion researcher.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Gavin Bell) The story of a return trip to the new South Africa by a journalist who covered the final days of apartheid. It's a bit dated now (SA has made a huge amount of progresss since 2000 when the book was published) but still very inspiring.
Venetian Dreaming What visitor to Venice hasn't fantasised about moving there? This is the story of woman who follows her dream to do just that.
Donna Leon's Venetian mysteries. A very atmospheric series set in Venice.
Under the Tuscan Sun (Frances Mayes) Similar to Venetian Dreaming, but the author relocated to Tuscany and renovated an old farmhouse. Can you tell that I thought about moving to Italy for awhile?
I also find that reading historical works about a country can make my experience there richer -- before my first trip to SA I read Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom and a number of other books on the anti-apartheid struggle, which made my visits to Robben Island and the Apartheid Museum much more meaningful.
One of my favourite post-trip reads is my own travel journals -- not so much for their breathtaking prose but for the memories they bring back.
Message Edited by jashermd on 03-17-200706:55 AM
I took The Historian on my last trip to Africa -- it's a great book, and definitely piqued my interest in Istanbul, though it was a bit surreal to be reading it in a tent in the middle of the Okavango Delta! I left it at Mombo Camp to intrigue future guests.
Actually, a lot of people leave their airplane reading at safari camps in a bid to lighten their luggage, and that section of the camps' libraries makes for an interesting sample of what people read when they're on the plane on their way to Africa. There are a lot of mysteries and thrillers (quite a few with a paranormal slant), a fair amount of what people over here term 'chick-lit', and some more random selections, like a Lonely Planet guide to China (I guess someone couldn't wait to get started on planning their next trip...though the fact that they left the book behind makes me wonder if they ever got to China).
The camps themselves supply Africa-orientated books about the wildlife, environment, and local culture.
Has anyone else noticed a pattern in the books found in the libraries of hotels they have stayed at?
What a great thread! I love to match my reading to my travel! As someone else here mentioned, Donna Leon's mysteries are so evocative of Venice. Anne Rice is indispensible if you're planning to visit New Orleans (and come to think of it, they could use our tourist dollars right now). If you're an anglophile, read Peter Ackroyd's "London; The Biography". Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City" series is a wonderful introduction to San Francisco (although during an earlier decade). James Conaway's "Napa" and "The Far Side of Eden" will tell you all you ever wanted to know about what it's like to live in the Napa Valley and produce wines. Robert Harris's "Pompeii" is just the thing if you're going to southern Italy (because if you're going there you must visit Pompeii.) And before heading to the South of France, pick up almost anything by Peter Mayle (author "A Year in Provence")
I could go on and on, but I'll stop now. Can you tell I'm as passionate about books as I am about travel?