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Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers Paperback – August 31, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
With the holidays just around the corner, Nancy Pearl's little gem will please many a traveler (or dreamer) who loves to read about faraway places but doesn't know where to start. With fanciful alliteration, Pearl lists titles under topics arranged from "A is for Adventure" to "Zipping through Zimbabwe." Recommendations are accompanied by brief critiques and insights. In an entry for "Las Vegas," for example, Pearl recommends Chris Ewan's novel, The Good Thief's Guide to Vegas, for fans of Hiaassen and Westlake, capers that use various cities of the world for their settings. Pearl classifies her recommendations well enough so that readers can take or leave her advice. In "Africa," for instance, she includes the classic Cry the Beloved Country as well as contemporary mysteries such as Wife of the Gods. It might have been easy to stick with the country structure for a book like this, but Pearl mixed it up, to good effect, with chapters like "So We/I Bought (or Built) A House In…" which includes books about homes in Morocco, Mexico, France, Brazil, and Ireland. Pearl has produced a winner and the perfect bedside companion. (Oct.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
As in the other volumes in her "Book Lust" series, the idea is very simple. Pearl, a former Seattle librarian, suggests books in various categories. She gives the impression of having read almost everything, and her recommendations are varied and exhaustive. She offers something for everyone’s taste — romantic novels, mysteries, histories, sportsbooks, travel books, comics, poetry and so forth.
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Top Customer Reviews
In her third book, Book Lust To Go, she tackles travel. To me, it's the best of the series. These aren't Lonely Planet guides: you aren't going to learn language or customs or cheap places to stay. Instead, it collects a list of titles based on the destination. You want books set in Finland? There's a section for that, and it includes fiction and nonfiction from the region, as well as history books that may be useful. She covers the world with books; even the most obscure countries and cities have titles listed. Being able to see a grouping of several genres in one geographical category makes this the ultimate resource if you are studying a particular area or doing a regional reading challenge.
Besides travel to real cities, states, and countries, she includes sections on imaginary travel destinations. Also listed are groupings of books based on sailing, walking, rowing, travel by plane, etc. The book is complete and thorough: this just released new collection is up to date. Books that were released as recently as a few months ago are listed in their appropriate region. It's hard to hide my enthusiasm for this title, it's just that good, especially for those of us who are curious about the world around us...
In this book about books, Pearl shines the luster of her book lust on books for travelers, both the inner and outer variety. BOOK LUST TO GO is subtitled "Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers." Does this not include, well, just about everybody who can read?
This is not a trip read; it's a book to read before you go, to help you choose some books to take along. If you're traveling to Sweden, grab a trendy Stieg Larsson mystery for the journey (but be advised, as Pearl points out, Larsson's books are as dark as a far northern winter). If to Botswana, throw in your pack the writings of the delightful Alexander McCall Smith and the more complex Bessie Head --- a study in contrasts, but both writers are equally true to the soil of their home. Head's MARU, a bit darker and more poetic than the offering Pearl chose, is a near-poetic depiction of tribal prejudice and personal pride.
Going to Cornwall? Corfu? There's a book for you.
Maybe you just want to travel "in the footsteps of." Try Tim Butcher's BLOOD RIVER: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart, about the great explorer H.M. Stanley, or CHASING CHE: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend, by Patrick Symmes. If you're a hiker, walk along with Dan White and his girlfriend Melissa in THE CACTUS EATERS: How I Lost My Mind - and Almost Found Myself - on the Pacific Crest Trail.
You may not wish to visit Haiti in these troubled times, but you can read about it in the classic TELL MY HORSE: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica, by Zora Neale Hurston, a Southern black writer who is finally, posthumously, getting the attention she deserves. If Burma is on your literal or literary itinerary, you can read George Orwell's remarkable BURMESE DAYS, and if that piques your interest, you can follow up with FINDING GEORGE ORWELL IN BURMA by Emma Larkin.
I agree with Pearl in hoping that people still read J. P. Donleavy and will do so if Ireland is the destination. His THE GINGER MAN is, as she attests, "probably one of the funniest, raciest, and most outrageous novels you'll ever encounter." And so Irish!
In such a collection, because it is expansive but not exhaustive, there are bound to be little sins of omission. I would have loved to have seen a few of the many books about the Pilgrim Walk in Spain, and was surprised at the exclusion of any but peripheral mention of India, home to some of the greatest literature of modern times. E. M. Forster's marvelous A PASSAGE TO INDIA is de rigeur for the sub-continental vagabond, and no one should bypass the immortal Rudyard Kipling's KIM or HEAT AND DUST by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Vikram Seth's epic A SUITABLE BOY sprang at once to my mind, along with the older but no less powerful NECTAR IN A SIEVE by Kamala Markandaya. I read the latter as a child and was infused with the goal to see India, which I was able to fulfill in my 20s.
However, it would be churlish to complain that my or your personal picks are not included, because this is not our book. It's Pearl's, and --- I will say it again --- she is one lucky lady. But luck is made by being smart and being there. BOOK LUST TO GO is a fun read, an erudite view and a helpful guide, and I will be recommending it to my traveling companions.
--- Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott
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Admittedly I had never heard of Nancy Pearl until a fellow Amazon reviewer placed this book in my hands.Read more