September Books at A Traveler's Library

by pen4hire /
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Oct 11, 2009 / 0 comments


 We had a lot of fun at A Traveler’s Library last month. While the most visited posts had to do with travel writing in general, the introduction of four books that you would never find in the travel section in the bookstore turned out to be quite popular as inspirations for travel.

William Dalrymple wrote an essay in the London Guardian that seemed to say of travel writers, “they just aren’t making them like they used to.”  His article stirred a lot of comment, but most of us decided he was just out to promote his new book, “Nine Lives.” 

The Travel Insights 100, a collection of travel professionals and travel writers and travel bloggers, took a poll and I focused on part of their reaction to Twitter.   Readers like discussing the future of travel writing, and they obviously like to know what travel writers and travel professionals think. (Disclaimer. I’m one of the 100)


Toward the end of the month, a guest blogger, Stephanie Stiavetti answered the question “What book has inspired you to travel” with a most unusual choice.   She found “The Life of Pi” a stimulus to travel and perhaps after reading her persuasive article, you will agree. Steph can usually be found at her food blog, Wasabimon. 

I like to talk about children’s books that help children understand other cultures and turn them into inquisitive travelers early in life. Mara Gorman, who writes the wonderful family travel blog, Mother of All Trips, shared with us the book that she treasured and her son also loved as a guide to the gardens of Monet in Giverney. Mara’s son read the book with his dad on the train from Paris to Giverney, and was delighted to find the landmarks pictured in the book, “Linnea Visits Monet’s Garden” by Christina Björk and illustrated by Lena Anderson

(Earlier in the month, I had written about the classic Heidi, and how its scenes played in my mind when I went to Switzerland, and that book also resonated with readers.)


It is not necessary to move into a country in order to appreciate it, but sometimes a culture takes immersion to “get it.”  That was the decision that drove Steven Otter to move into one of the poor neighborhoods of South Africa. He writes about the experience in “Khayelitsha – uMlungu in a Township.” Guest Blogger David Lee wrote eloquently about how this book introduced him to South Africa.  Dave’s exciting travels are recounted with helpful hints to independent travelers at Go Backpacking.

And another popular book with readers--I wrote about “American Fugue” by Alex Stamatis, a road trip across America that becomes a white-hot thriller before it reaches the last page.   This American road trip book has a refreshingly different point of view, since it is written by Greek author.

This is book publishing time, with everyone trying to get on the Christmas gift shopping list.  So I have big stacks of brand new books to review. Look for a new book at least once a week between now and the end of the year. I have some exciting stuff to share, from a remote Pacific island to the ancient land of Romania. I’ll be back next month, but meanwhile, come visit A Traveler’s Library.

Vera Marie Badertscher is a freelance travel writer who blogs about books, travel and movies at A Traveler's Library and about a biography she is co-authoring of Navajo artist Quincy Tahoma
She is our Traveler's Library Editor at Wandering Educators.