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Travel books top my summer reading list

 Travel books great for armchair travel

Try a little arm chair travel with some great travel books?

Are you ready to roll?

Travel books litter my bookshelves and declare my lifelong passion for traveling. I was born traveling and made my first move at the tender age of two weeks old. You see, I’m an Army brat. That should be a big clue as to the source of my wanderlust. It’s no wonder that, despite my intentions, I became a travel writer when my first publishing contract turned out to be for a travel guide.

Whether you’re a writer looking for an inside scoop on what it’s like to a travel writer or you’re an armchair traveler seeking new worlds to conquer, these travel books will allow you to experience some strange and not-so-strange places. As Teddy says, “Are you ready to roll?”

Better than Fiction by Don George

What do you get when take 32 well-known fiction writers and task them with retelling their best true travel adventures? You get Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers, a new travel anthology edited by National Geographic Traveler’s magazine editor at large Don George. Armchair travelers will find stories by Alexander McCall Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, Frances Mayes and Isabelle Allende, as well as many others. This promises to be something different.

A Sense of the World by Jason Roberts

I have had A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler on my shelf staring at me for quite a few years and it’s high time I took the book down and opened it up. A blind man climbing a mountain. What a premise — and it’s a true story. Imagine a man known only as the blind traveler making his way around the world.

Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? by Thomas B. Kohnstamm

Hey, I’m a travel writer. I gotta know. With a title like Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism, this book is pretty hard to resist, don’t you think? What exactly do those Lonely Planet writers do when they take an assignment? Well, read this and you’ll have all the behind-the-scenes information you’ll need to decide if travel writing is for you.

Travels by Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton, the author of such wildly fantastic books as Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, happened to also be a travel writer. Somehow I missed that about him for many years until I ran across this book while combing through the travel section at the local bookstore. Did you know he wrote a travel books? I can’t wait to read his travel book titled simply Travels.

A Book of Voyages by Patrick O’Brien

Hot new travel book release by Patrick O'Brian full of historical travel narratives.A Book of Voyages is a new travel book full of stories told by historical travelers culled by Patrick O’Brian. Lady Craven recounts her time in the court of Tatar Khan, and John Bell tells of hunting with the Emperor in China in 1721. Clearly O’Brian, who is best known for his fictional historical adventures on the high seas had his imagination fueled by these intrepid explorers from a world long gone.

The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarthy

I didn’t know Mary McCarthy had even written a travel book. McCarthy’s known for her prose style and wit. The Stones of Florence exposes McCarthy’s love for the city and its history in all its fascinating detail. I’ve loved Italy for years and especially Florence. In 2000 I had a chance to go there but, at that time, I didn’t know about this travel book written by such a well-regarded writer. I’m curious to see what McCarthy has to say, as well as how she says it.

Dinner with Persephone by Patricia Storace

Travel books promise adventure for the armchair traveler.
Funny how we pick books to read. I loved the title, the cover drew me in, and I’ve wanted to go to Greece for ages. Dinner with Persephone: Travels in Greece was a no-brainer. Being a huge mythology buff — love those Greek gods — I’ve been enchanted with Greece since childhood. Those annual calendars of Greece with their images of blue and white Greek landscapes only fuel my desire to visit Greece. For now, this travel book will have to suffice.

On the Shores of the Mediterranean by Eric Newby

When I was a small girl, I remember visiting a fishing village on the shores of the Mediterranean. The little hotel served the catch of the day, and I stood on my tiptoes staring at the fish, still breathing, placed on a platter for display prior to dinner. That night a man traveled from table to table performing magic and pulled a shell out of my ear. Will more memories surface when  I read  On the Shores of the Mediterranean?

A Place of Healing for the Soul – Patmos by Peter France


When I fell under the spell of Byzantine iconography, I knew traveling to Greece would be a lifelong dream. For someone interested in iconography, Patmos is one of the major places to go whether it’s for curiosity’s sake or for a pilgrimage. I want to see the “Greek light” France speaks of.  A Place of Healing for the Soul: Patmos is a travel memoir that I am eager to read.

Travels with my Donkey

Since I recently read Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson, I feel like I have to read Travels with My Donkey: One Man and His Ass on a Pilgrimage to Santiago. People today are still attempting the same trip Stevenon made so many years ago. Tim Moore is one of them; it sounds hilarious. It will be fun to compare the two. One written several centuries ago, the other in the near past.

Travel books make the top ten this Tuesday.

The Broke & the Bookish

Those are my ten picks for this week. Share your thoughts and comments below. I had to smile when I saw this week’s Top Tuesday topic: Travel. Travel has been on my mind all day as I only learned last night that my publisher has released an ebook version of my last travel book. Do you have a favorite travel book?
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  • http://www.rulethewaves.net/ Lianne

    The Stones of Florence I believe is on my want-to-read pile. Hope to get around to it at some point. Italy is such a wonderful country, isn’t it? <3 it (I was in Florence on two occasions; sadly they were only day trips as I would have loved to have visited the museums but I enjoyed roaming the streets)

    My TTT

  • http://www.downthewriterspath.com/ Vikk Simmons

    Oh, I”m so glad someone else has it to read, too. It’s been on my TBR pile for way too long. I nearly forgot about it. I love Italy. I was able to visit Milan and Florence during my tip and did get to visit a couple of museums in Florence. Saw the David. Magnificent. I hope you get to go again. Roaming is good.

  • Terri B.

    Great list – OMG, I just added so many more books to my TBR pile! I had never heard of Better Than Fiction but it sounds awesome!

  • http://www.downthewriterspath.com/ Vikk Simmons

    I know, I hadn’t heard of it, either, but I discovered it during a search last night and knew I had to have it. I enjoy anthologies, anyway.

  • berendsen70

    Michael Crichton was a travel writer??? I so have to get this book! That first compilation by fiction writers sounds fascinating too!

  • debnance

    I certainly need to find the Stevenson book. Maybe it’s in the public domain. Lovely!

  • http://www.downthewriterspath.com/ Vikk Simmons

    I know! I couldn’t believe he’d written a travel book. I used to watch him give talks on CSPAN and was so sad when he died. It felt like he still had so much left to do.

  • http://www.downthewriterspath.com/ Vikk Simmons

    I think it is. I have the Heritage Press copy that belonged to my parents and reread it recently during a Dewey 24-hour readathon.

  • Victoria Hooper

    I haven’t read much travel writing, but really should give some a go. This is a nice list of recommendations to get started. Great list! :-)

  • http://www.downthewriterspath.com/ Vikk Simmons

    Thanks! Lots of great books in the travel writing genre. Enjoy.