Thursday, October 6, 2011

Great Travel Writers Reveal Their Favorite Travel Books

Where to go? Its the most fundamental and yet, often, the most difficult question to solve when planning a vacation.

A strategy I've used in the past has been to read up on various places before deciding. And though it may seem out of character, considering my last name, I don't read guidebooks during this initial process. Instead, I turn to travel memoirs and (sometimes) books of history. When I've hit upon one that inspires me, I then look at the guidebook to plan the concrete details of my trip.

Finding good travel memoirs, however, can be tricky. Often they're the literary equivalent of watching someone's very long-winded and not very insightful slideshow on their last vacation. Which is why I was so pleased to stumble across a recent article in London's Guardian, in which well-respected current travel writers were asked to reveal which books and authors most inspired them.

Some of their favorites were already mine--Pico Iyer, Ian Frazier and Jan Morris make the list (not surprisingly). But so do more obscure writers and writers who are better known in other genres, such as Patrick Leigh Fermor, Apsley Cherry-Garard, and Henry Miller.

To read the list, and more importantly, the descriptions of these authors' work, click on the link above.