Like to travel but don’t have the money? Happy to experience travel vicariously through stories and tales?
Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds and Dreamers by Nancy Pearl is a great resource for armchair travelers – aka couch travelers or people that stay put in their comfy homes, and travel through reading commentary from writers of many genres.
Nancy Pearl, a librarian from Washington State is famous for her incredible knowledge of books and her NPR show where she talks about books and recommends reading for every topic of interest.
She is the author of Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason which had a greater-than-expected success in 2003, Basically, Nancy knows books like a computer knows data. She is a voracious reader who is able to remember what she reads. As a trained librarian, she reads while keeping in mind other readers who may also enjoy the book. Reading and recommending are Nancy’s focus.
So why is Book Lust to Go such a great travel book? Because Nancy identifies hundreds of books – some non-fiction, some fiction – that illustrate a sense of place, books where the setting itself becomes a character.
If you want to know about Albania, read The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax or Chronicles in Stone. In a chapter named Cornwall’s Charms, Pearl recommends Read My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, and about 20 others. There’s even a chapter on the Chesapeake Bay where Pearl suggests Beautiful Swimmers, Song Yet Sung (James McBride), and the obvious – Chesapeake by James Michener.
There are 132 chapters (very short, 2-3 pages). Each chapter covers a location or topic – Vietnam, Scenes from Sri Lanka, Sojourns in South Asia, Texas Two-Step, Baltimore, Oceana – or Miles of Isles and Approaching Appalachia. In each chapter, Pearl recommends books that offer the reader an opportunity to travel vicariously through reading or get a feel for that particular landscape. You’ll have a sense of the place when finishing the book.
My favorite chapters were Wales Welcomes You, South Africa, Patagonia, Siberian Chills, and Alaska. <–All places I want to see someday.