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Find more Top 10 Literary Travel Books
The following literary travel books, reviewed in Booklist over the past year, will convince readers that armchair travel is no second cousin to actual travel.
Between Terror and Tourism: An Overland Journey across North Africa. By Michael Mewshaw. Counterpoint, paper, $16.95 (9781582434346).
The author wonderfully engages the travel reader’s vicarious demand for history, cultural insight, and unexpected incident in this account of his 2008 passage through North Africa.
Contact! A Book of Encounters. By Jan Morris. Norton, $23.95 (9780393076400).
Morris, a major contemporary travel writer, here emphasizes individuals rather than destinations, resulting in a delightfully idiosyncratic kaleidoscope of small portraits rendered in colorful prose.
A Country in the Moon: Travels in Search of the Heart of Poland. By Michael Moran. IPG/Granta, paper, $16.95 (9781847081049).
In this respectful and entertaining book, the author explores Poland, past and present, from the perspective of a visitor who came to work and fell in love with the country (he lives there still).
Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town. By Elyssa East. Free Press, $26 (9781416587040).
In lissome prose, the author renders a remarkable depiction of a Massachusetts town, fluidly mixing history, character sketches, and personal observations.
Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah’s Beard: A Journey through the Inside-Out Worlds of Iran and Afghanistan. By Nicholas Jubber. Da Capo, paper, $15.95 (9780306818844).
In this eminently readable literary travelogue of a recent sojourn in Iran and Afghanistan, the author discovers sundry aspects of popular admiration for tenth-century Persian poet Ferdowsi.
Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild. By Michael Forsberg and others. Univ. of Chicago, $45 (9780226257259).
It takes a big book to portray such an immense, complex place as the Great Plains, and this spacious volume fits the bill.
The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Unconventional Detour around the World. By Jennifer Baggett and others. Harper, $24.99 (9780061689062).
Three young Manhattan women decide to climb off the career ladder for a year to travel the world, making for the ideal armchair journey.
The Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage. By Anthony Brandt. Knopf, $28.95 (9780307263926).
The history of the search for the fabled Northwest Passage here proves to be a superior tale of nobility, hubris, and, sadly, futility.
To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism. By Chuck Thompson. Holt, paper, $15 (9780805087888).
The author turns out a riveting, hilarious, and wildly entertaining account of trips to four destinations he has long avoided.
Travels in Siberia. By Ian Frazier. Farrar, $28 (9780374278724).
This is an unforgettable and enlightening portrait of a place most of us know very little about.
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