My aim on TraveLit is to introduce readers who share my love of travel literature to good books they may not know about. Mostly classics, some new, the books cover travel in its many forms, from exploration to tourism. Along with reviews, TraveLit also brings together provocative, entertaining travel quotations and reader recommendations. I welcome comments on the readings, the reviews, the quotations, or the fascinating enterprise of travel itself.

TraveLit--A blog about travel literature

Even with the best of maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys.

Book Review

December 30, 2013

High Albania.
By Edith Durham. With a new introduction by John Hodgson. First published in 1909. Beacon Press, Virago/Beacon travelers, 1985, 352 pp.

I have always been fascinated by those early, mainly British, women travelers who donned their thick skirts and set off on incredibly difficult journeys—to Africa, or Asia, or the southern Arabian deserts. How ill-prepared they should have been. How extraordinarily well they coped! Mary Kingsley credited her good thick skirt for a safe landing when she fell into a game pit!

For Edith Durham, according to John Hodgson’s introduction to High Albania, travel began as a curative for a personal crisis. (more…)

Travel Quotation

December 14, 2013

Little islands are all large prisons: one cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow.
―Richard Burton

Book Review

December 14, 2013

Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will.
By Judith Schalansky. Translated from the German by Christine Lo. Penguin, 2009, 143 pp.

Islands occupy a fascinating place in the Western imagination. Conceptually, they exert a strong pull, but they pull in contradictory directions. On the one hand, they offer a dream of freedom, solitude, a perpetual idyll; on the other, a nightmare of imprisonment, isolation, and permanent abandonment. As Judith Schalansky observes in her elegant and original book, “Paradise is an island. So is hell.” (more…)

Books you might like: Reader recommendations

December 3, 2013

Margaret Piton, writer, editor, lecturer, and blogger at yourtravelwriter.blogspot.com recommends two of her favorite books: Travels in Siberia by Ian Fraser, and Siberian Dawn by Jeffrey Tayler. "Both," she writes, "are very readable accounts of travel through one of the little explored but beautiful parts of the world."



Books you might like: Reader recommendations

December 3, 2013

Travel writer Elaine J. Masters recommends two books that she says she has adored: The Voluntourist:A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem by Ken Budd, and My Gutsy Story an anthology of short narratives compiled by Sonia Marsh.

Links of Interest

December 3, 2013

On her web site, A Traveler's Library, freelance writer Vera Marie Badertscher reviews books (and sometimes movies) that inspire travel whether they would be found in the travel section or not--novels, non fiction, travel narrative, memoir, history, etc.--that have a strong sense of place and/or culture.

Selected Works

Travel Memoir
"Loved this book, which appears to be but is more than an account of an anthropological expedition, more than a travel book, more than a memoir."--Barbara Beckwith, author of What Was I Thinking?: Digging Deeper into Everyday Racism, barbarabeckwith.net.
***
"It is undoubtedly the best written account of, and reflection on, fieldwork I have read, and --perhaps -- the best book on fieldwork (period) I have come across. --Joel Savishinsky, Professor of Anthropology (Emeritus), Ithaca College, author of Trail of the Hare.
Nonfiction
“An impressively insightful, deftly written, accessibly articulate, expertly knowledgeable, and decidedly analytical survey of…book reviewing today.”
Midwest Book Review
Anthology
“Captivating stories in an anthology of epistolary fiction from the last 50 years.”
Kirkus

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