“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
Confession time: I Love Books, any kind. I can’t stress this enough! The smell, the stories, the texture feeling, everything. I often lose track of the number of books I am reading at the same and I can recall a few times, falling asleep with a book.
As a Food & Travel blogger, I believe that it is part of a proud Traveller that gets the wanderlust bug, throughout the pages of a good travel book. Today, I have combined some of my favorite lists of travel reading. If you have read them, let me in the comments below whether you like them or not. I am waiting for your own recommendations also. 🙂
Let’s start! – Wanderlust Books
Shantaram: A Novel – India
An epic and captivating book. It literally took my breath away!! I have read it three times already and every time, my feelings towards it, surprise me. My favorite travel book indeed!
Written by Gregory David Roberts, an Australian author. He was a heroin addict and convicted bank robber who escaped from Pentridge Prison and fled to India where he lived for ten years. “It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay.
Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere. The novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and passionate love for India at its heart.
The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto – Japan
The author of Video Night in Kathmandu wrote this book. I just finished it and it captured my attention from the first pages. For the Japan lovers and those interested in Buddhism, it is a MUST read book. Enjoyable, well-paced and engaging.
“When Pico Iyer decided to go to Kyoto and live in a monastery, he did so to learn about Zen Buddhism from the inside, to get to know Kyoto, one of the loveliest old cities in the world, and to find out something about Japanese culture today – not the world of businessman and production lines, but the traditional world of changing seasons and the silence of temples, of the images woven through literature, of the lunar Japan that still lives on behind the rising sun of geopolitical power. All this he did. And then met Sachiko.”
Eat, Pray, Love – Italy, India, and Indonesia
Personal story: During 2008, while I was in a big dilemma, trying to figure out various issues and take big decisions this book introduced, to me, by my best friend. To add to that, I was really struggling to travel ANYWHERE alone. I did not even dare to eat out or just head for a coffee. Up to the moment, I read this book and decided on my first solo trip to India. I arrived very early morning, dark outside and thousands of Indians on the exit door. Panic! Three weeks later I, fell in love with solo traveling Solo in Cambodia – Volunteering , Cambodia Angkor Wat , Solo in Sri Lanka . Magically all the answers to my questions & dilemmas solved! India was a life-changing experience for me and it all started from this book.
Elizabeth Gilbert, the writer, is in her thirties, settled in a large house with a husband who wants to start a family. But she doesn’t want any of it. Thus, a bitter divorce and a rebound filing later. So she begins her quest in Rome, India and Bali. “Hilarious, Brilliant, very well written”
Kaleidoscope City: A Year in Varanasi – India
Sitting down and recalling my adventure in that Holy city I can really say that the city stole my heart from the first sight. Within 30 days of returning from Varanasi, I found this book. This is a classic book about Varanasi, Love it!
Piers Moore Ede, the writer, first fell in love with Varanasi when he passed through it on his way to Nepal. In the decade that followed, it continued to exert its pull on him and so returned there to live, to discover what it is that makes the spiritual capital of India so unique. “Brims with warmth and curiosity. The rhythms of life and death by the river are vividly rendered in Moore Ede’s fluid pose“-Times Literary Supplement.
The God of Small Things: A Novel – India
I purchased this book just last month and I haven’t managed to read it. Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer. It is a story about the childhood experiences of fraternal twins. Their lives are destroyed by the “Love Laws” that lay down “who should be loved, and how. And how much.” The book explores how small things affect people’s behavior and their lives. It won the Book prize in 1997.
“Richly deserving the rapturous praise it has received on both sides of the Atlantic… The God of Small Things achieves genuine tragic resonance. It is, indeed, a masterpiece” – Christina Patterson, Observer.
Roots: The Saga of an American Family – Africa
Another masterpiece! Richly deserving the rapturous praise it has received by lots of readers. A friend gave it to me as a present and I locked myself in a room for 2 days in a row. I could not put it down.
Alex Haley is the writer and it is about his extraordinary account of the search for his family’s origins. Tracing his ancestry through six generations. Slaves and freedmen, farmers and blacksmiths, lawyers and architects – back to Africa he discovered a sixteen-year-old youth, Kunta Kinte.
“Roots is a study of continuities, of consequences, of how a people perpetuate themselves, how each generation helps to doom or helps to liberate, the coming one” – New York Times
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel – Around the world
It is rare to find a book that so effectively explains the Art of Long-Term World Travel. I found it through a friend who convinced me that it’s one the bests out there. No regrets!
Rolf Potts is the writer. As he mentions in his book, Vagabonding is about taking time off from your normal life – from six weeks to four months to two years – to discover and experience the world on your own terms. As a Veteran shoestring traveler, he shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel.
“We do not need to understand other people and their customs fully to interact with them and learn in the process” – Mary Catherine Bateon.
I love to read but have never thought of combining my love of reading and travel into one. Thanks for the recommendations!
Thank you for your message! I think its time to start reading 🙂
I love this list! I’ve read Shantaram before and I loved it, these other books also sound great 🙂 thanks for giving me some ideas for my next book to read!
Hello Zoe! Thanks for your message. 🙂
I JUST read Shantaram, and absolutely was obsessed with it. great list!
Hey Gabby, me too!! I am in Love with this book!!
So excited to dive into a few of these! Particularly The Lady and The Monk, and Shantaram. The author’s real story is unbelievalbe- I’m sure his fiction is equally excellent.
I listened to vagabonding on tape, and though a little dated at this point, is a great philosophical guide to long term travel.
Thanks for your message 🙂 I haven’t read his fiction but I am sure too that it will be great!
Some great suggestions here! So far I’ve only read Eat, Love, Pray, but I’ve got some catching up to do!
Hey Sarah, thanks for your message! Eat, Pray, Love its great compared it with the movie. 🙁
I’m such a huge bookworm and have been looking for some new reads — I’ll be adding these to my list, for sure!
This is a wonderful post. Definitely gave me some great reading recommendations! God of Small Things is one of my favorite books. Read it soon! 🙂
Thanks Sarah! Yeah I have to read it soon!! 🙂
I’m seeing lots of India books… So fitting as I’ve had India on my mind recently! Is this a sign maybe?! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!
Hey Jamie! Everything comes up for a reason! 🙂 If you haven’t visit India, put it in your bucket list, one of my favourite countries!
So many good recommendations in here! Can’t you believe I have not read Vagabonding? It is a classic in travel circles, so, I need to check out that book. Love the initial quote about a house without books. SO true for my husband and I.
Hey Ruth, thanks for your sweet message!! Vagabonding is more about how to travel and how to find inspiration, a great read! 🙂 I can’t even imagine a house without books! It looks empty and “cold”.
Magda | follow the view
I really love this list, to be honest I’ve never read any of these books, but they look fantastic! I only saw Eat Pray Love movie, now time to catch up with the rest 🙂
Hey Magda, thanks for your message. I did not like much the movie of Eat Pray Love.. The book is way much better, take a shot and read it 🙂
Great post, I’ll need to check these out to inspire my wanderlust! I love reading anything by Levison Wood 🙂
Hey Gibbers, thanks for your message! I am fan of Levison Wood too 🙂
As a travel lover, I always want to know more about different place where I can make an adventure. Your books save my day and I will read them. I already read Kaleidoscope City which is best for me. Now, I want next!