Books Corner | Travel writing broadens more than the mind

It’s summer! Time to make a dent in that huge pile of books on your nightstand. Whether you plan to spend the next few weeks in an armchair or ?oating down the Amazon, a book could be your ideal companion. 

Summer holidays are also the perfect opportunity ‘to mention one of my favourite genres: travel writing. A travel guide, especially a good one – normally one that suits your particular type of travel – is great for navigation, but if you want to go one step further and truly immerse yourself in your destination and see it through the eyes of writers, explorers and other travel bugs, then I suggest travel literature. 

Many writers (of other genres) enjoy adding travel writing to their repertoire, and there are therefore great compilations of travel writing where a single book allows you to cross continents and cultures. 

There are also writers such as Bill Bryson, Don George, Michael Palin, Paul Theroux, Bruce Chatwin and many, many others for whom travel writing is their particular forté. So if the pile by your bed has lost its appeal, here are a few titles you may want to consider as you book your tickets.

What am I doing here? by Bruce Chatwin – a collection of essays and travel stories that will take you from Benin to Boston, and to India and Nepal, to remind you that “Man’s real home is not a house, but the road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.”

Tales from Nowhere, Unexpected stories from unexpected places by Don George goes where you didn’t expect – or even wanted – to go with stories by international adventurers from places that seem to be out in the middle of nowhere.

Whether you are travelling in Europe this summer or just living here, Bill Bryson’s Neither here Nor there is worth a bit of space in your bag. Filled with the writer’s characteristic humour, and experiences you are bound to recognise (such as disputing a hotel bill in Copenhagen!), it might keep the traf?c ?owing on the German autobahn.

How could it be anything but entertaining to travel to Brazil with the ‘nicest’ member of the Monty Python clan, Michael Palin. In his latest book (and television series) Palin visits Brazil and shares his adventure in his usual unique, inviting and entertaining style.

Finally, a different kind of travel writing, not so much because of the style, but because of the region explored. A Tourist in the Arab Spring by Tom Chesshyre allows us to travel into a region where reporters poured in, while tourists stayed out.

And should the urge come over you while you’re ?oating down the Amazon to do some travel writing of your own, you will ?nd great advice in Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing by Don George. 

Shared experiences are often the best kind of experiences, so why not grab a pen – or a keyboard – and tell the world how you avoided that anaconda!

Happy Summer Reading!

Isabella Mousavizadeh Smith is the owner of Books & Company, an English language book shop in Hellerup that prides itself on providing an interesting and diverse range of books, an excellent cup of coffee, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. For more about Books & Company, please visit, or the shop at Sofievej 1. 

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