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--Martin Luther

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Books Involving Travel

Today I am again linking up with The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is Top Ten Books Featuring Travel In Some Way.  I love travelogues, but I haven't read a lot of them, so I decided to include a couple of travelogues, as well as some novels that involve a journey.
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle:  I read this many years ago, but I remember it being very funny.  It's about a British man and his wife, who after years of vacationing in Provence, decide to move there for a year.  Cue loads of cultural misunderstandings and hilarious anecdotes.

Anything by Bill Bryson:  I'm a big Bryson fan, though I haven't read all of his books.  The one I remember most clearly is Neither Hear Nor There:  Travels in Europe.  Having traveled a lot myself, I like writers who see the lighter side and can laugh at the crazy things that happen on the road.

A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain:  My mom bought me this before I moved to Germany.  It details Twain's travels around Germany, Austria, and Italy.  He actually visits my city (Heidelberg), which endeared me to the book forever.  The book also has Twain's essay "The Horrible German Language" as an appendix, which is pretty much required reading for any foreigner who learns German.
Apples are from Kazakhstan by Christopher Robbins:  A completely random pick-up at the library one day.  I grabbed it because there are a million travelogues featuring Italy or France, but I'd never read anything featuring Kazakhstan.  So interesting!

The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith:  One of my favourite books as a child.  Obviously there is a larger story, but I loved the description of how the Pongo and Missus traveled on the road, how they "networked" with other dogs, the difficulties of traveling back with all the puppies, etc.  If you've only seem the Disney movies, PLEASE do yourself a favour and read the original; it's 100 times better.

King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard:  A good old-fashion adventures story featuring a desert trek and the discovery of a mystical land ruled by a despotic and cruel king.  This book is fun summer reading.  (Note:  The book is well over 100 years old and some of the language and attitudes towards African people is offensive by today's standards.)

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien:  Once again, this is a much bigger story, but so much of the LOTR trilogy is about trekking into the unknown, meeting new people and exploring new customs, especially if you view it through the lens of Merry and Pippin.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore:  Not a story about travel, but once again with a lot of travel in it.  Katsa and Po travel around the Seven Kingdoms.  Towards the end, there is a harrowing trek through impassable mountains.  It's quite riveting.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See:  We read this for my book club last fall.  It's the story of two very-westernized sisters from 1930s Shanghai who due to war and family strife end up traveling to Los Angeles.  There is an actual travel story involving a ship across the Pacific, and then the issues of adjusting to American life and the struggle between assimilation and retaining one's own culture.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck:  This is obviously NOT a light read, but it's one of my favourite books.  It follows the Joad family in their journey from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to California.  You really see the difficulties of life on the road, the strife it puts on the family, and the scope of the migration.


  1. Great list! A lot of unique picks - the Mark Twain one sounds really interesting. I'm a Twain fan but have never read that one - off to add it to my TBR pile!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! It's one of his lesser-known works for sure, but very enjoyable.

  2. I'm hearing a lot about Steinbeck and it seems like I should read him at some point.
    I never even knew that 101 Dalmatians was a book - it sounds fun!
    I remember reading Solomon's Mines when I was in junior school, and not enjoying it. Probably I was too young for it.
    Thanks for stopping by my TTT!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I avoided Steinbeck for many years because I thought he was depressing, but now I love his books. King Solomon's Mines is probably more appealing to those not living in Africa because it features everything that outsiders imagine about Africa: Elephants, deserts, adventure, gold mines, etc. It feels dated now, but it's fun to pick up when you need a good old fashioned ridiculous adventure.

  3. How did I forget Bill Bryson?!! I think it's because my favorite is At Home, which is decidedly NOT about traveling, although the book itself does hop around quite a bit. Which reminds me, I must go finish listening to Notes from a Small Island.

    And you're the second person to mention 101 Dalmations. Clearly, I need to bump it higher up on my TBR list!

  4. BTW, forgot to mention that I love your blog name -- and yes, I know the reference, being a diehard Anne lover myself! Perhaps we are kindred spirits? I'll be following your blog. :-)

    1. Thanks! Definitely kindred spirits. :-)

      I love Bill Bryson, though the last one of his I read was Mother Tongue, which was fascinated and also not travel-related.