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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.)
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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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The entries in BOOK LUST TO GO do NOT include travel guides. Otherwise, they include almost every sort of book about travel and travel destinations -- travel narratives, biographies of explorers, memoirs, novels set in those destinations, even history. Here's a representative sampling of the categories or chapter titles: Arabia Deserta; Baltimore; Cavorting through the Caribbean; Iran; Making Tracks by Train; Nebraska: The Big Empty; Provence and the South of France; To the Ends of the Earth: North and South; and Vietnam.
For the most part, the recommendations do not duplicate or overlap with Pearl's earlier volumes. That means that there are some omissions (although one could always refer back to "Book Lust" and "More Book Lust" to remedy that). Still, there is a cornucopia of books about travel and the cities and countries many folks are interested in reading about and/or visiting in person. Pearl's writing is sufficiently varied and engaging that she avoids the pitfall of a "book of lists". Best of all, Pearl is very well read and she is discriminating in her judgments and recommendations. As it turns out, I have already read about one hundred of the books she lists in BOOK LUST TO GO. And with the exception of only two or three that I found to be duds, I endorse Pearl's recommendations. She even lists relatively obscure gems, such as James McClure's Kramer and Zondi mysteries set in South Africa, Richard Shelton's "Going Back to Bisbee" (Arizona), J. B. Mackinnon's "Dead Man in Paradise" (Dominican Republic), Barbara Pym's novel "Jane and Prudence" (Oxford), and Gavin Young's two classics of traveling the world in a miscellany of ships, "Slow Boats to China" and "Slow Boats Home" -- all of which I have reviewed separately on Amazon.
If you are interested in the category of "travel books" broadly construed and you are looking for reading suggestions, BOOK LUST TO GO is the place to go.
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Admittedly I had never heard of Nancy Pearl until a fellow Amazon reviewer placed this book in my hands.The Life of My Choice and in Algeria there is Alistair Horne's A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 (New York Review Books Classics) as well as Camus's Read more