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Great Travel Books

Patty
The list author says: "I love to read travel books, but I'm a bit picky about them. I don't want to read about what could be the experience of any average tourist. I like to learn about a place, love good descriptions of landscapes or food, and prefer a funny take on things. Here are some of my favorite travel books."
The Travels of Marco Polo
The Travels of Marco Polo
"Hey, it's the original travel narrative. A great book, surprisingly interesting and absorbing after all this time."
Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain (Wsp Readers Club)
Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain (Wsp Readers Club)
"An average American young black girl becomes obsessed with Spain, sure that it's the place where she'll be happy. When she finally gets there, she finds that, well, it's not quite what she expected. A lovely, touching book."
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
"Troost is my favorite travel writer, hands down. A hilarious, fantastic book."
Lost on Planet China: One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation
Lost on Planet China: One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation
"A really great, really recent, look at China. Not quite as funny as Troost's earlier books, but it makes up for it by being deeper."
From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet
From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet
"Seth also writes about traveling through China, but this book is from his experiences in the early 1980s, as he hitch-hikes his way to Tibet and then walks across the border to Nepal. Full of lovely descriptions of landscapes and meetings with people, this is really worth reading. I love Seth's fiction, but also found this book to be wonderful."
Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
"Not quite a travel book, since Mehta was living in Bombay/Mumbai, but a vivid portrayal of many different aspects of an amazing city."
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
"Not the best travel book ever, but I really liked its unique conceit: looking at how different countries are (or try to be) happy. Really nice overview of many cultures."
Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East
Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East
"A bit out-of-date now, but this is a very fascinating look as some places that have really changed, including Burma before it became Myanmar, and Tibet when it had just been opened to foreign visitors."