Thursday, December 09, 2010

Book Lust to Go

Nancy Pearl has outdone herself this time.  By the time I got my hands on Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers, I was already familiar with the first two books in the series.  I found both Book Lust and More Book Lust to be useful additions to my personal library and I turned to them often to get some ideas about what direction to next take my reading.  I discovered many books that way, books I would have otherwise missed.  But neither of those little volumes are the kind of book I felt compelled to read from cover-to-cover.   I recognized early on that would not the case with this one, and I read the whole thing in just a couple of days.

I was particularly happy to find that Book Lust to Go was not just a listing of the most helpful travel guides, as I at first feared from its title that it would be.  It is much more than that.  Pearl focuses on travel writing, of course, and some of the books she recommends are the old fashioned travel guides most travelers have come to depend on over the years.  Also prominently featured under the general heading of travel books are those written by adventurers, explorers, solo travelers, long-long distance walkers, women who travel alone, and “star trekkers” (those who seem to spend most of their lives traveling around the world).  I have a small collection of books by distance walkers, those people who walk from one country to the next for months, or years, at a time, and I was a bit surprised that not a single one of my books is mentioned in Book Lust to Go.  At first, that perturbed me; than I wised up and saw it as a wonderful opportunity to increase my collection by adding some of the titles that Pearl recommends. 

Book Lust to Go is arranged by country, alphabetically, and presents the best fiction and nonfiction works from, or about, those countries.  Pearl, as much as possible, includes books written by the natives of each country as well as the best books written by outsiders who have fallen in love with their adopted countries.  I was particularly intrigued by all the modern crime fiction Pearl included in the lists because I have found that there is much to be learned about a country and its culture from crime fiction writers who grew up there.

I am convinced that Book Lust to Go will be a long-term desk top companion of mine, a book I will reach for each time I need someone to guide me on another stage of the armchair travel I so much enjoy.  My copy of the book is so marked up now that someone not knowing how new a book it is would believe I have been dipping into it for several years already.

Regardless of whether you do your traveling by actually leaving your home, or prefer to do it while seated in your most comfortable reading chair, this is a book you will be happy you found.  Don’t miss it.

Rated at: 5.0

(Review Copy provided by Publisher)
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